Custom Home : Months 1 to 4 – Plan! Plan! Plan!

My first (not-to-scale) attempt at designing our home.

The first few months of designing a custom home are probably the most significant but, still, they felt so theoretical since it consisted of mainly “paperwork”.

At the end of April, we had already locked down the company that we had chosen to be our builder. Once the purchase of the land was finalized in May 2020, we started working with the architectural designer to design the house. Since we were in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, our exchanges were primarily via email. The designer reached out and asked us to send him as much information and pictures as possible of our “wish list” to give him an idea of what we were looking for.

Eight emails (and several attachments) later, I had basically described as much as possible of what we had been dreaming of for our custom home. I also provided the above drawing that was, of course, not to scale but that set out how we hoped the rooms could transition in our home.

I had poured hours and hours over floor plans online of bungalow/one-story homes but I didn’t like the flow in any of them… I was really looking for spaces to be divided by hallways; instead, a lot of the homes we were seeing omitted the hallways (probably as a means to save square footage), so you would just step from one room into another, which I didn’t like.

The architectural designer took my scrawny pencil drawing (and numerous emails) and came back a few weeks later with our dream floor plan! We never met him, hadn’t even spoken to him on the phone at the point, and he just got it – he knew what we wanted. Of course, it wasn’t 100% done – we had a few back and forth exchanges over specific details and, ultimately, about 4 versions of the plans – but it was so close that we were finally able to start getting excited about the possibilities. (I won’t share the final floor plans since, technically, they are someone else’s work but my Instagram account is sure to provide a good idea of the design as I walk through the spaces, once things get started.)

After the plans were finalized, a lot of the work was done behind the scenes by our builder and his team. The floorplans turned into engineered drawings; drawings setting out the location of the house on our land, including slope percentages, etc., were made; and a whole package was put together and submitted to the City for building permits. The whole process – from start to finish – took about four months and then, in September, we got word that the land was ready to be cleared!

Finally – some tangible progress that we will be able to see and walk through!!!