Our journey to build our dream home: hiring an architect vs. purchasing a house plan? our second stop!

Created by: Federica Chacon
Date: Jan/24/2024

The process of building a semi custom house plan

Source: https://elements.envato.com/architects-taking-pictures-of-blueprint-house-plan-33Z6W34

Welcome back to our series, where we share our journey of building our dream home. As a young couple seeking our forever home, we understand the importance of making design-related and budget-wise decisions that will also become a worthwhile investment. As I already expressed in my previous article, searching and finding the right lot was an exciting and stimulating experience. We had the opportunity to learn about and consider so many factors, and it was a thrill to see how our vision at the time came to life as we narrowed down our options.

We have already moved on to the next step in our journey. In this article, we'll discuss the choice -we faced- when selecting between a spec or semi-custom home. We did not even consider the possibility of taking the custom home road. While a custom home would allow us a totally tailored design, we also understood the challenges involved, such as design cost and time, among others. It was out of our possibilities! 

At this stage, we also needed to figure out the floor plan layout, its size, the number of floors, the incorporation of a basement, and the house design style for our home.

By carefully exploring the differences between a spec and a semi-custom home, we weighed the pros and cons of each option and decided to go with a semi-custom home. This alternative aligned perfectly with our vision. While purchasing a spec home from a homebuilder offers excellent convenience, it partially caters to needs such as land's location, views, and the house design style, among many others. After all, a semi-custom home provides us the best of both worlds. 

A semi-custom home allows us to select the right home design style and the wished floor plan design, and on top of that, it enables us to personalize certain aspects of it. Of course, we needed the support of an experienced professional home builder. This option gave us the advantages and flexibility required to make design decisions that reflect our personality and lifestyle. By working closely with the builder, we can tailor certain features such as layout modifications, interior finishes, and customization of spaces to suit our needs. 

This way, we strike the perfect balance between affordability and the ability to create a home that reflects our needs and expectations. Choosing a semi-custom home meets our budget-wise goals and allows us to embark on an exciting and creative journey alongside professionals who can guide us through the process.

Using an industrial house plandesign vs a modern or contemporary house style

Source: https://elements.envato.com/planning-new-house-design-RBNFFV4

Now that we've settled that, we had to focus on other essential aspects such as the house size, floor plan layout, and house style. Here are a few things we took into account that we think you should too: 

  • Number of bedrooms and bathrooms
  • Single-story vs. two-story or more
  • Open floor plan vs. individual rooms
  • The overall design style of the house
  • The interior design
  • Outdoor space
  • Additional features
  • The cost, mortgage… the investment

We've carefully considered these aspects for our home, and we would like to walk you through our thought process:

Considering the number of bedrooms and bathrooms was crucial as we envisioned the growth of our family in the years to come. We aim to create a space that meets our current needs and provides flexibility for the future. So, we had to think about how big of a family we wanted -the number of kids-and whether we needed a playroom/working-den-office room, etc.

Deciding between a single-story or two-story home involved careful consideration. However, we included the dilemma when searching for and selecting a suitable land for our house. Generally, land dimensions and topography determine the number of floors it allows. While we appreciate the grandeur and privacy of a multi-story home, we also recognize the accessibility and ease of movement of a single-story home. Considering that the land we purchased works well for a one or two-story house, we're leaning towards a one-story layout that caters to our current and potential future requirements.

Choosing between an open floor plan concept layout and one designed with individual rooms is exciting. We understand that both alternatives offer pros and cons. However, we love the idea of an open, flowing space that encourages interaction and facilitates entertaining guests. However, we also appreciate individual rooms' intimacy and defined functionality. Striking a balance between openness and privacy is essential to create a home that suits our lifestyle. Therefore, we searched for open floor plan designs -carefully designed- that included gentil-subtleties offering openness and space quality while also bringing a sense of individuality.

open floor plans work well in any home style

Source: https://elements.envato.com/the-home-design-architects-are-reviewing-the-house-YUV2V3D

Expressing our personal style was paramount in our design decisions. As a couple, we are drawn to a modern "Avant Gard" efficient-simple home design with a quirky twist, incorporating unique elements and bold color schemes. Additionally, creating a cohesive and visually striking home that reflects our personality requires harmonizing our home's exterior and interior designs. 

As we all know, traditional home styles have existed for many decades. Most suburbs around the country have welcomed this popular style. But as my couple and I see it, we live in fast-changing times. Social and technological transformations are coming on a fast track. Thus, we needed to adjust, update and open our views to new and exciting house styles, design concepts, and layouts reflecting tomorrow's changes.   

As we delve into interior design choices, we consider everything from furniture styles and materials to lighting fixtures and decorative accents. The goal is to create a welcoming, comfortable, simple, and beautiful space. There is a saying that says, "less is more." But we definitely do not want to live in an empty house. Our goal is to find the right balance, one that highlights the openness of our floor plan and also reflects the times we live in. One that combines simple modern furniture with older pieces… As a true reflection of who we are!

The surrounding outdoor spaces were another vital aspect of the process. We greatly value the connection with nature and the ability to enjoy outdoor activities. So, integrating the design of the house with it was crucial. However, we also understand the maintenance involved with the front back yards. Finding the right balance between the outdoor space and our ability to maintain it was essential, ensuring an inviting and manageable outdoor oasis.

In addition to the core design elements, we're also exploring various additional features. We're intrigued by the possibilities of innovative home technology and currently evaluating whether the added convenience justifies the investment. We are also excited about using eco-friendly materials and incorporating sustainable "energy-efficient" practices wherever possible, aligning our home with our values.

Lastly, we're mindful of building a house that represents -economically speaking-the effort, time, and money invested in it. We all know that building and owning a home involves a huge investment and debt, yet the payoff will be much greater if done correctly! So, it is also necessary that the house design we use for our dream home breaks away in quality and stands out with a beautiful design. This will increase its resale value -our real estate investment- in case we need to move and sell it. While we plan to enjoy our dream home for many years, we want to ensure that our home aligns with possible home buyers' expectations. We're considering how certain features and upgrades impact the overall value of our house, providing a harmonious balance between personalization and broad appeal.

We're filled with enthusiasm and anticipation as we embark on our home's planning and design phase. Each decision brings us closer to turning our dream into tangible reality. We're grateful to have you join us on this journey, and we're excited to share more updates as we advance and progress through the process.

Stay tuned for our next step: hiring professionals! Together, let's continue building our dream home!

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