Finally, after 26 years of researching, dreaming and planning, we have selected our home plan (with modifications). Over the past years of moving with our military career, we have collected likes and dislikes of each home we lived in, researched different home plans and looked at a lot of homes. Now we had to figure out how to choose a house plan.
Gabby has always wanted an open floor plan with room for the girls to bring their families home for the holidays and provide space for our various hobbies. Also, we thought we may need to have a space for our mothers to move in later in their lives. With the plan we picked, we have all of that and a little more.
View from our site
Where to Build
Deciding on where you want to live is the first part of your planning. Our initial home site was very remote and sat on a quiet point overlooking a valley and a river. The cost of running electric and drilling a well quickly came into play, as well as the lack of or a good way to get a road into the home site. It would have been cost and time prohibitive.
So, we decided to begin the search anew and decided to save the original piece of land for wildlife management and eventually an off-grid cabin by the river. We had the fortune of receiving land passed down from my grandparents to my parents. Those 40+ acres held our second home site choice and what we hoped to be our final location for our new home.
Another view from our home site
Building Site Criteria
In the Appalachians, water and electric are major considerations when choosing a site. Secondly, you will need to consider the ease of getting into the home site and getting out in the winter. Hours of sunlight and the type (morning or evening sunlight) can be important as well.
Our site will require electric to be extended and we are hoping for a rural waterline extension that will allow us to “hook” into “city” water. Sewer will be local via a septic tank and the site will need a one-half mile driveway, but we love the location.
Other items you may want to consider are yard size, slope, distance to the nearest town or convenience store. If you have chosen a rural setting you may wish to have a garden, outdoor kitchen, and patio away from the home as well as tool shed, woodworking shop, etc… All are important for your site layout and consideration as you begin planning.
Check out our post on planning.
How to Choose a House Plan
We started by making a list of everything we wanted in the home. Then we started looking for a plan that matched our list – or came extremely close many times.
Gabby and I wanted a home with all the living space on the main floor. We added a walkout basement where we will have extra bedrooms and an entertainment area as well as storage. A fitness room will be included as we both continue to attempt to stay in shape.
The garage will set on a 130-degree angle and create a “courtyard” where the driveway will enter. There is plenty of slope to support the walkout basement and deck with a patio to take in the views. Entering from the garage, we have a mud room with pet bath (our dogs are always getting muddy) and a small storage area.
The living room, kitchen and dining room are open, so it creates one large area. The master suite is located on the west end of the home with the other bedrooms (mother-in-law suite) located on the eastern side, separated by the living area. The kitchen has plenty of storage and Gabby likes a large pantry to store items. This plan has everything we are looking for.
Putting it all Together
We found a plan that met our needs and through the architect, we are making a few modifications to the base plan. Our builder will handle several modifications like making several doors wheelchair accessible while others will be updated by the architect such as the use 2X6s for the exterior wall framing and adding a third bay to the garage (for the ATV and motorcycle).
The plan fits very well on our site and once built, provides several great views of the valley and surrounding mountains. It also has the space to allow our daughters and their future families to come and visit and spend the holidays.
While it took us some time to find the right plan, it didn’t come without some compromise. It is a matter of determining what features are most important to you and finding a plan to match.
Stay tuned over the coming months as we begin the prep work and start with the construction of our home.