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learning and feedback on design before purchasing and building

4 years ago

The gardenweb forums have been very helpful to us in our renovations (old house, kitchens), and as we've talked building at some point, I've been reading and learning through everyone's experiences shared here. We're still years away from actually building, still looking for the right land, but I'm hoping to learn more before purchasing - both to make the process of building closer to our ideal and to inform the purchase of the lot.

I've been reading mostly online regarding design so far, so I don't know much, but from the library I've been reading: Cusato & Pentreath's Get Your House Right, McAlester's Field Guide to American Houses, Susanka's Home By Design, and Hirsch's Designing Your Perfect House. I would love any recommended reads!

We're in Wisconsin north of Milwaukee, and we're in our mid-forties with two pre-teens. I've been very interested in passive solar design, masonry heaters (love the old tile stoves like kakelugns), and designing to age in place, while also providing space for when our children would visit as adults. I think we're thinking smaller/empty-nester than growing family now. I get that design isn't the arranging the building block part, but our "blocks" would be 3 bd, 2ba and library in a single story, maybe with walkout or daylight basement, hopefully under 2000 sq ft.

Like many, I've also been browsing the stock plans to get a sense of what I would like. I'm wondering if you'd be willing to critique a plan (or plans in the future) with me, so I can better see how a plan might work?

For example, there are a lot of things I like about this Max Fulbright Serenbe Farmhouse plan.

I like the potential for southern exposure for the living areas and master bd. I like that the (as I would age) master bd, kitchen, laundry and garage are so close, especially with the southern exposure. I like that there aren't many halls, though maybe some areas would be difficult to maneuver with a wheelchair. I like that the laundry is a separate room, not part of a mudroom. I like that the laundry shares a wall with the master - potential for a pass-through style laundry hamper? I'd like to enclose the screened porch to serve as the library. I like that if our kids (as adults) visited with family there could be two private-ish sections for them (upstairs and bunkroom down). I like the garage on the north. I like the porch entry. Aesthetically, I like the landing picture with the blue (I like the whole Scandinavian/Carl Larsson kind of thing).

I don't like the walk through bath to get to closet in master. I don't like the doors to the porch from the master. I don't like the main bath feeling so public. I don't like stairs right off a foyer. I don't love the lack of pantry.

What would be other problems with this plan? Also, are any of my positives actually problems?

And again, I'd love any recommended reads!

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