10 revisions for our first set of Dream Home plans

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Our first set of plans arrived last week! At first glance it seemed perfect and that we would have very few revisions.  Then we viewed some houses and measured room sizes using this Bosch laser tool, reviewed floor plans, and paid special attention to how house spaces were set up. All of a sudden we had a whole list of revisions we wanted completed. If I were doing things over again I would have started measuring and viewing houses differently from the get go (since it took us 6 months to determine we wanted to build instead of buy!)

Learning moment: If your home will be two stories (either with a basement or above ground) the ground level plans must be completed first. This makes complete sense I just didn’t think of it initially. Ground level walls and supports have to be finalized before rooms can be added above or below. When working on a multi story home plans to allow an extra 2-4 weeks for the plans for the additional stories to be completed!

While our architect did an amazing job with our initial floor plan. He also forewarned us he averages 10 sets of revisions. So for our first set of revisions we ended up with 10 major changes.

1) 5+ revisions for the master suite

Everyone agrees the sitting room will never be used so we are adjusting that a bit. The master bedroom itself will become larger and we can add seating if we choose.

Our closet was pretty perfect. However from the bedroom the view looked through the bathroom and into the closet (see below). This made me think of seeing all our clothing which would make me want to organize the closet which would make me realize I needed to do laundry and thought it just wasn’t the view I wanted to see getting home from work every day.

walk-in closet

Awesome walk-in closet
Not an awesome view

We determined we don’t want to look directly in it from the bedroom after we saw some of these amazing showers:

walk-in shower in master

Master bedroom view into master bath

master walk-in shower

Beautiful focal point shower

Bathtubs are not our thing, instead we really want a nice walk in shower as our focal point in the master bath.  Now that we have seen these amazing shower focal points that are in the direct line of sight from the master bedroom there is no turning back. We fell in love with the idea and will be implementing it in our dream home.  So our architect will be going back to the drawing board (literally!).

Instead of having a bathtub in front I am thinking a bench like in this bath I found on Pinterest.

We also don’t want our his and her sinks on a shared counter space.  We either have to have a divider between sinks or have totally separate sinks (which we already knew but forgot to mention to our architect – our bad!). My husband is a messy shaver – I’m seriously considering buying him this to help with clean up.  My hair Items (brush, dryer, straightener) cover my counter top.  We need this separate space. (Auto-correct just typed superstructure instead of separate space – maybe it’s on to something?!)  I’m a believer that bathroom habits are a cause of marital strife so I’d like to keep them to a minimum!

2) Revisions for the great room

A new trend is a long great room that has kitchen – dining – living space in an open room pretty much in a row.

great room floor plan

Initial Great Room Plan

We don’t like the idea of the dining room sitting between the kitchen and living spaces. It’s very “in” right now but we just don’t like it. I imagine kids pushing the chairs away from the table and forgetting to move them back. Also, that’s a big open area for blueberries to roll away to; and while it looks pretty in pictures it just doesn’t seem to translate to real life very well.. We’ve decided we would rather have the dining off to the side – like a giant breakfast nook.

This determination required several revisions to the kitchen. We are leaving the nuts and bolts (ha!) to our architect although we did come up with several possible scenarios. We are anxiously waiting for the next set of plans!

3) Bigger garage/shop

He measured doors and storage spaces and workshop areas in several garages.  We needed to extended the RV shop back another 10 ft! Also, we decided to add a few feet between the garage doors and add larger doors. Wow, our garage alone has 3-4 revisions by itself!

4) Mudroom hallway is a must

One house we saw a while back had an awesome mud room. However when coming in from the garage you had to turn right to drop off any items/shoes before proceeding in the opposite direction. Our initial plans were drawn up similarly. We figured out the more steps required, the less likely things will get into their respective places. Our revision request is asking for a “hallway” mudroom (like this one I found on Pinterest) straight off the garage that we have to pass through before getting to our next destination.  Check out my Ultimate Guide to Creating the Perfect Mudroom for tips and ideas.

5) Easily accessible pantry

One of our must haves is a giant pantry that allows for food storage. Current plans had the door to the pantry outside the kitchen around a corner. We learned of the triangle kitchen set-up for prep, cook, and cleanup. Having to take 20-30 extra steps to retrieve something from the pantry will waste time when cooking. We are going to add a door straight from the kitchen prep area and keep the door in the hallway off the garage.

revisions for house plans

6) Separate work and personal life better

Initially the office was next to our master bedroom. We both agreed very quickly we would prefer any one visiting my husband’s home office not be that close to our personal space. Turns out the laundry room and the office would be an easy swap and also allow for our next revisions.

7) Home office revisions

My husband’s home office needs an outside entrance and separate walk way. He has staff, contractors, and other professionals that meet with him frequently. Having a door they can enter into with their muddy boots and sweaty clothing straight into the office seemed like a much better option. Many homes we’ve visited have this implemented and we love it. It will also allow my husband to separate work and home life a little better.

8) Windows vs. sliding doors in great room

One trend that’s very popular in Arizona are the huge sliding doors off the great room that turn your indoor living space into and outdoor living space by opening up the entire wall. While they’re beautiful they don’t really fit our lifestyle. We aren’t fancy entertainers. It’s often too hot to open windows/doors in AZ. Plus the area we are moving to is desert landscape and that means there will always be a lot of dust ready to blow in our home. The final “nope” came after seeing the dirt and leaves and other trash collected in the tracks of the doors at a house we viewed.

But we still want large windows in their place for the amazing view and natural lighting. So the overall design in that area won’t change too much.

9) We want a 2nd dishwasher.

Hear me out. First I read this post on 40 time-saving tips that are well worth the cost and joked about it to my husband. But after discussing it, the idea really caught on for us; just not exactly how it’s described in the post – I fully intend to actually unload the dishwashers, at least occasionally! This is totally a luxury addition for first world problems. But it is my DREAM house so I get what I want! Right? I constantly have dishes sitting in the sink because the dishwasher is clean and I don’t have time to unload it and reload it.

Case in point. Loaded and ran our dishwasher Saturday night after dinner. Sunday we had an early start to our day and I didn’t think to give myself an extra 15 minutes to unload this dishwasher and reload it with breakfast dishes. All the breakfast dishes went in the sink so I could get myself and 2 little girls ready for the day.  I was TIRED after getting home after 8 hours out and about. Looked at the stack of dishes in sink and noped outta there.

Therefore dinner dishes also went in sink. I told myself I’d do the dishes “tomorrow”.

Monday night after work I hit the grocery store, got home and put the groceries away, then we sat down to finalize house mods to turn into the architect while lasagna baked in the oven, I had an hour+ worth of work to do to finish a presentation I was giving at work for the next day, and then suddenly it was 9pm.

Dishes are still in sink and I’m in bed….  I need that 2nd dishwasher. Because each time the task gets bigger I get a bigger reason to ignore it until my sink is so full I have to empty the dishwasher and then I completely fill it back up and the cycle starts over.  #firstworldproblems

10) A patio off the master suite.

Since we are tossing the sitting area we decided to extend the patio to the master and have a backyard door added. This revision seemed like a no-brainer after looking at the house plans. Plus when we go for a soak in the hot tub in the cooler months we can quickly get inside to change clothes.

What revisions do you agree with? Have you remodeled parts of your home? If you could change 1 thing about your current home, what would it be?

Build or Buy? 5 Questions you must ask yourself first

Buying a house is a huge decision! But building a house is a gigantic decision!  So how do you decide?

We didn’t know nearly 4 years ago when we started our money saving process that we would build our dream home. In fact, at the time we actually planned to buy one! We even went as far as to make an offer on what we thought was our dream home. Thankfully, we wound up purchasing a starter/rental home instead.  Knowing what I know now compared to then I’m glad we didn’t get that house; at the time I was a bit disappointed but decided to trust God and choose wisdom over wants.

But we still thought we were going to buy our dream home.

After a little more than 3 1/2 years and living in 3 different houses (technically one was an apartment) we made the decision to build. We spent 6 months searching for our dream home and finally realized it didn’t exist. We would have to build our dreams from the ground up to get what we desired in our forever home.

Several things also fell in place to make building a reality for us:

My husband started a new business in 2015 and it has done well and he now makes more than $13/hour! However, because his business is still in the growth stage, his salary is still relatively minimal. I got a new job just under a year after we moved that was also a raise for me.

My grandmother started an investment account for me when I was a child that grew into enough for a 20% down payment on a modest starter home (If you can do something like this for your grandchildren, please do!).

Living frugally and practicing money saving habits has become part of our lifestyle. We purchased a flip that we ended up moving in to for 2 years which will help us pay off our dream home faster. Plus, we had roommates for a year. After all this and months of searching we finally decided to build.

Below are the questions we asked to determine if we could make our dream into a reality.

build or buy your dream home

What will you decide?

  • Do you already own property or have enough money to purchase a lot? You have to own the land you plan to build on outright (that means no financing the land). Property costs differ greatly across the country from <$10,000-$250,000+/acre. So reach out to a local real estate agent and find out the cost of lots in your area so you can make an educated decision.
  • Are you in a hurry? Building takes time, this is not a great choice if you want to be moved in and comfy in the next 6 months. First you have to find an architect and general contractor (aka builder). Next your architect will create the plans, then you will spend a while finalizing everything (1-3 months). Once complete, you have to submit for permits. All before even breaking ground! If you are planning a fully custom home this process can take even longer! Depending upon your area home building can take 9 months to 2 years (or possibly longer if unexpected occurrences pop up).
  • What’s your budget and is it flexible? Building and buying can be comparable or one may be much more or less expensive than the other depending on your area. We had to add the cost of land to our home budget to be able to build; which meant our total budget had to increase by about 20%. Does your budget allow you to build or is it better to buy in your area?
  • How good are you at making decisions? Because you will have to make a million decisions over the next 1-2 years during the building process. If you aren’t confident in your decisions and you change your mind later in the process that can increase cost and eat up your budget. The decisions range from picking a floor plan to bedroom sizes to flooring types to paint colors to appliances to should you do things that add resale value or take away value and on and on and on and on (no this isn’t journey singing, it’s your home building process ringing in your ears). Knowledgeable builders can help answer questions surrounding some decisions but others you will just have to make yourself – and all before you move in and get a feel for the space.
  • Do you enjoy the details? Because there are a lot of details. Like where to place outlets or how deep you want your cabinets. If you are detail oriented home building may be exciting for you, but if you feel lost in the details it may become frustrating. This is a good place to mention attention span as well – the excitement of buying a new home is quick and can feel rushed and euphoric. While I’m hoping for that on our first night in our new home – I have to realize that’s nearly 2 years away and there is a lot to accomplish between now and then.

After considering these 5 things and lots of discussion we decided to look for property.

Our first day searching for land we visited 3 lots and were very unimpressed.  We stopped by my husband’s office and we discussed our lack of options with some of his business contacts. They had another lot they recommended to us so after lunch we drove out to see it.  It was our lot! We didn’t know right away but we couldn’t find anything we didn’t like about it. After 6 months of searching for a house we found land to hold our dream home on our very first day. If that doesn’t show you some things are meant to be, I don’t know what will!

Property for building home

Doesn’t look like much right now.

So what do you think, is buying the right choice for you?


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