It feels like ages ago that we announced our grand plans for building a house from the ground up. From the beginning we’ve had a vision of what our dream home would look like and with the help of my wonderful father-in-law our ideas have been put to paper – our design plans are finally sealed and finished. There have been many revisions and changes that have led us to this point and we will be (fingers crossed) officially breaking ground within the next couple months.
And while I haven’t shared much up until this point, we have been hard at work behind the scenes designing #TheLittleGrayHouse. People have routinely told us that building a house is quite the process, and no kidding – it’s definitely not for the faint of heart. It’s been one of the most stressful, but fun times I’ve ever had.
Shortly after we bought our lot we started thinking about the layout of our house and how we wanted it to flow. Our original idea was to have a one story home, but we quickly learned that you have to work with the shape of the lot you are given – so we went back to the drawing board to tweak our idea. We pulled ideas from Pinterest and invested in the design program Home Designer Pro to properly lay out our house.
Once we got some of the basics out of the way – number of bedrooms and baths – we created a wish list of specific wants and needs for our house design plans.
THE WISH LIST
1 story2 story home with second floor being over garage area
- Home office space with lots of windows for natural light
- 3 bedrooms
- Private backyard
- Vaulted ceiling in the living room with beams
- Lots of windows
- Soaking tub in master bathroom
- Covered back porch with french doors off living area
- Separate laundry room
- Walk-in master bedroom closet
- Metal roof
Like I mentioned before, you have to work with not against what you are given. Our lot is more of triangle shape with a creek running along the back and up one side, which, with the combination of set back rules required us to get creative. Keeping as many of the existing oaks was top priority so we shaped the house around them and we were able to position the house with in regulation to give us the private back yard we wished for.
The list above might seem lengthy to some, but I found that the more detailed we were with what we wanted the easier it was to piece together the flow of our house. I’ll be real with you, there were times we had to face the music and come to terms that we simple couldn’t do something either due to engineering restrictions or budgeting reasons. Having a wish list to refer to helped us prioritize what we truly didn’t want to live without. We had our hearts set on a vaulted living room ceiling, but it just wasn’t going to work so we opted for a flat ceiling with beam details.
When it comes to the details of designing a home it’s always good to have a list of needs and wants. Number your list from most to least important to have a starting point. This way if you need to let go of something you can start at your least important detail. My top three design aspects were an open floor plan, soaking tub, and windows. Through out the design process whenever we were faced with making a change my husband and father-in-law already knew that this lady has gotta have her tub so something else has to go.
After drawing and tweaking, and drawing and tweaking some more we came up with design plans that checked off majority of our wish list items.
DESIGN PLANS: FIRST FLOOR
The first floor is where majority of our living area will be. Once you enter from the covered front porch you can either walk right to the open kitchen and living area or left to the master suite. We were able to include an office (that can be converted to a bedroom) with double and triple windows, hello lovely light! I can not wait to have a space of my own to create in. In the hall bathroom we have two options: build out a shower or turn the shower space in to a closet that could be turned in to a shower at a later date. What would you choose? We’re pricing out both options, but haven’t come to a final decision yet.
The master bedroom has a walk-in closet (woohoo!), room for a small sitting area, and I got the tub I’ve been pining over.
Moving over to the living area design plan…beams will be running across the ceiling helping to unify the living room, kitchen and dining areas. French doors run along the back of the living room and will have transoms to let in addition light. The staircase leading up to the second floor will be open so I’m on the hunt for the perfect lighting fixture to fill the space. If you have any suggestions on where to look, help a sista out and let me know!
DESIGN PLANS: SECOND FLOOR
The second floor will primary be used as guest rooms and future kids bedrooms. We changed the overall square footage of the second floor from our original design and I’m so happy we did – it gave us a larger stair loft. My idea for this space is to turn it in to a small hang out area with a couch or chairs. It’ll be a great play area once we have kids.
We followed the shape of the garage for the bedrooms and after placing the bathroom in several different spots, decided that the best place for it was in the middle towards the front of the rooms. Originally I wanted the bathroom to have windows, but having more windows in the bedrooms was more important. On a side note: when placing windows throughout your home think about how they will look from the outside as well. Instead of having one closet in each room we split each in to two and added a window in between. Not only will it provide more light for the hallway, but it balances out the look of the exterior.
Seeing our house in 2D has allowed us to create a layout that will be functional for our every day life. We now have a better understanding of the visual flow of the house and it has helped us answer important questions now rather than in the middle of construction. Paying attention to the details is so important, I highly suggest giving your design plans to a fresh set of eyes to help you draw attention to things you may have over looked. Simple changes to our upstairs area helped us maximize our square footage and create a space that will be more functional.
Eric’s dad has been unbelievably helpful throughout this whole process, we are so grateful for him guiding us, lending his suggestions, solving the logistical problems, attending meetings, and organizing all the trades for us. He’s been in the construction trade for many many years and knows all the nitty-gritty technical stuff neither Eric or I understand. We have some awesome people willing to lend a hand, this house really is going to be a family labor of love. Eric’s dad says he’s going in to retirement with a bang with this being his last house he’ll build from the ground up, so we are making the most of the experience and documenting the process by sharing our house building journey with you.
I’ll be posting more behind the scenes action over on Instagram once we break ground and you can follow along as we build #TheLittleGrayHouse….can you guess what our house color is going to be? =)
Right now we are working on picking out exterior finishes and interior selections. I’ll pop back in and report our progress once we narrow down some choices!
Thanks for stopping by!