Traditional or open floor plan? Fireplace or French doors? First or second floor master? Paper or plastic? (sorry). Simply put, there are A LOT of decisions that need to be made BEFORE you even get to clearing (click to read our Guide on these steps!)
Yeah, we may have a little bit more of a leg up than most people on this process, with our construction and interior design experience, but we have the same choices to make as everyone else! Read on to see what we mean...
Where do you start?
For us, the garage was a huge part of where we started because the studio was one of the primary reasons for building this home. We loved our initial inspiration image with the detached garage, but:
Tip: A detached garage adds cost because of the added exterior finishes required.
Realizing we had so many other things we wanted for this home, we decided to attach the garage and save the money on this one! We wanted to be able to get to the studio from the house, but our customers/employees to enter from a separate entrance. We were still able to do both!
Two years ago, I fell down the stairs over our golden retriever (she was fine!) and suffered a severe leg break. Three surgeries later, we both decided it was probably time for us to have a first-floor master. This was important to both of us, since we will almost be empty-nesters when we move in.
We wanted to budget for something extra-special in this room, and had a couple choices we were focusing on. I have always fantasized about having a fireplace in our bedroom, and it's an exceptional WOW factor. However, the draw of French doors for our future back deck off the master was also extremely tempting; you know, for picturesque early morning coffee sipping as well as the additional natural light.
My first thought was to go for BOTH - go big or go home, right?
Let's knock out two birds in one and put a see-through fireplace from our master to the living room, and big French doors for our private master deck. But folks told us we were crazy to have a see-through into our master bedroom, and the $$$ of doing both, frankly, gave us a reality check.
The decision? Well, let's face it, neither one of us fair skinned Irish folk would choose to sit on an open deck (and I'm the only one that drinks coffee!), especially if we were going to have a screened-in porch... so the non-see-through fireplace it is!
Think About Resale
When you build what you think will be your "forever home" you don't need to think about resale, right? In the gentlest way possible, I say, "WRONG."
When we thought we had the entire second floor planned with three additional bedrooms and two baths, our daughter, who had taken up a new interest in real estate, says to us, "Why don't you close off this hallway, add it to this bedroom, and then attach the bathroom to it, making it an upstairs master?" She says it not only makes it a nicer guest room, but also makes it more marketable later when you sell.
Wow... she has been listening to us all these years! :) Thank you, Kasey! It was a great idea that we took her up on and implemented right away.
Lots Of Visitors = Open Floor Plan
If you're like us, your home has always been the location for family gatherings, holiday gatherings, all the kid gatherings, etc. So, we wanted a big, open plan that would make our annual Christmas Brunch more comfortable for the family.
That meant we would design the kitchen, dining area, and family room all open to each other in a way that would always allow us to celebrate any occasion together and with plenty of room to sit or stand comfortably. To me, it's an added bonus of being able to enjoy the fireplace view from the kitchen as well as the dining table....adds to the cozy ambiance.