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I think we can all agree that if buying your first home is a huge milestone, building one can seem more than daunting! I’m going to share why we decided to build a custom home and how we designed the right floor plan for our family.
About 4 years ago we stumbled across our dream property (2 parcels down from my in-laws) and bought it before it could hit the market. We immediately began looking at floor plans online in hopes to find the perfect home for our kids to grow up in. Non-negotiables for us were 5 bedrooms, 2 jack-and-jill bathrooms, the laundry, locker room & powder bath to be right off the garage entry, and a massive kitchen window. It didn’t exist. A few plans came close, but none had 2 jack-and-jill bathrooms. Five months went by and countless hours were spent scouring the interwebs with no luck. We decided a custom home would be the best route to go to meet our family’s needs. I started drawing.
Once we had a pretty good idea of our floor plan we contacted a local builder to figure out how to move forward. We needed actual blueprints made up and he recommended a draftsman and an architect. The draftsman was considerably more affordable and charged by the finished square foot. The architect charged a flat fee that came with X amount of hours, and a fee for every additional hour. The draftsman was the easy choice for us. We worked with him for almost a year to create our plan. The original I drew was a ranch style home, seen below, which wouldn’t work with the grade of our property. It was also considerably more to build. If you want to a deeper dive into all things draftsman vs architect, stay tuned.
– Your lot. Not every lot can have every type of home. You’ll also want to consider which way your home faces to capitalize on as much natural light as possible.
– Your needs vs. your wants. AKA budget. Womp womp. Keep your needs list short, think 3-5 must haves. This will make it easier to find the perfect plan and minimize any disappointment from unrealistic expectations. I’m just going to be honest with you, you won’t get everything you want.
– How you want to live in your home. Want an open floor plan, or more defined space? Do your kids get their own rooms? Do you even have kids? All things to consider.
My favorite place floor plans is architecturaldesigns.com. They have thousands of plans and lots of different architectural styles to choose from. Even if you’re building a custom home I would recommend browsing plans to get ideas for room sizing and flow. One thing to consider when buying plans online is that you’ll need to take them to your county or city permit office to ensure that they’re up to local building codes.
Pinterest is another great resource for planing your home. I recommend separating your boards into categories by room, exterior features, etc. Most importantly, share this with whoever is making your blueprint so they have a better understanding of what you want. Pinterest will be an invaluable tool throughout your entire building journey so definitely create an account, get organize and start pinning. You can find my Pinterest here and and example of it to the right.
I hope this post makes it easier to choose the right floor plan. If you have any questions feel free to drop them in the comments below. You can find more Building 101 topics here.