Thursday, March 27, 2008

The House Design Process

I do not know how this usually goes, but for me customizing the house design to our needs has been an immensely rewarding and enjoyable process. When we began discussing home plans with Church Hill Homes we decided upon their "Millmont" model as something the closest to what we wanted. We prefer (at least at this stage of our lives) to have our bedroom on the second floor, away from the living area, and we also were aware of how the house would sit upon our lot and thus where the rooms would align to the sun and to the surrounding houses.

The only problem was the standard interior did not fit the way we have become accustomed to living in our houses. We prefer an open plan to the more traditional separate kitchen/formal dining room/family room layout. We also wanted to have a soaking tub in our master bath, something the original plans did not include. What could have been a difficult process instead became a collaboration. Here's roughly how things went. The "stock" floor plan looks like this:

This is the back half of the house; we didn't make (at that time) any major changes to the front. The entrance is the back door, which will be fairly heavily used as it leads to the backyard and garage, where we expect one car to be most of the time. The back of the house also points roughly south, so there is the opportunity for a lot of light in that area. I told Church Hill that I liked the size, but we wanted a more open plan, the master bath tub, as well as space for a home office. "Fine", I was told, "why don't you sketch what you have in mind."

I did a rough plan in Photoshop and sent it to them and the next day I received a plan from their designer that took my elements and put them into a feasible scale. Here's what we ( emphasis on the "we") came up with:

The back entrance opens to a small mudroom with storage for coats and shoes. That opens up into the family room area,which is open to the kitchen with a small counter separating the two. We'll have pendant lights hanging down over that and a couple of stools for the kids to eat their breakfast. Across from the kitchen is the office and at the back is a small 2-story bump out that not only gives needed space to the family room but also allows for the tub in the bathroom upstairs. we later decided against the fireplace, opting to put more windows in that back corner.

But the exact design isn't really the reason for this entry. What is more important, I think, is how open and responsive Church Hill Homes was in making what could have been a tug-of-war into a really fun process. I'll have more posts as we continue adjusting our plan, and decide upon interior features and lighting.

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