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Can’t build dream plans, need big help reworking!

2 years ago
last modified: 2 years ago

TL:DR – I need help reducing these plans to 2100-2500sq ft above grade and simplify where possible to reduce build costs. Or if not these plans, references to existing plans that would be better starting points. (I feel like I scoured every inch of the interwebs before contacting the architect so my hopes are not high but maybe someone here has better luck.

These beloved plans are the result of years of effort, heartache and missteps - finding the right architect, a good builder and purchasing the land. Cost to build estimate is much higher than we had hoped but we could still afford it and the bank assured us the amount would be no issue. The construction loan officer even thought the appraisal would be greater than the cost to build as she regularly sees this happen in our area. You can probably see where this is going. The appraisal came in MUCH too low, to the tune of $200k too low. No real explanation other than “build costs are really high right now” from the builder and “the area is seeing a lot of low appraisals in the last few weeks” from the bank. The loan officer said she has never had a house appraise for lower than cost to build. There are limited sales and one sales comp in the area that I believe is dragging everything else down.

Regardless, I’m taking all this as a sign that we were overbuilding and need to reduce the square footage drastically - to between 2100 (HOA minimum) and 2500 sq ft from 3711sq ft (above grade numbers). I have several ideas how to do this without compromising our top priorities. Of course, the very top priority being that we still have a house we want to build but can also afford to build. My thinking is that this would reduce the build cost to a more manageable number and potentially a better set of appraisal comps. By my admittedly rudimentary square foot calculations, even if the appraisal again came in lower than cost to build, we could make up the difference if needed.

We are a family of two adults, 9yo daughter, 5yo son and two cats.

We are building on a hilly 6 acre subdivision lot in Southern Indiana, the house would face roughly NE. We will have a walkout basement with craft room, guest room, full bath, family/theater room, mower garage and lots of unfinished space. Our architect is not available for at least two months and I want to be ready when she is. Here are my ideas but I need fresh thoughts from those here. Plans are at the bottom.

Ideas in somewhat order of things to change:

1. Drastically reduce upstairs square footage by ~1000sq ft– have only 2 medium size bedrooms and a full bath

2. 9ft ceilings throughout (could have bedroom/second floor over living room)

3. Reduce size of master closet – our current closet is 8’-5.5”x9’ which we live with fine, just a bit bigger would be great but that still leaves a lot of space to reduce on plan

4. Reduce size of master bath – combine vanity into traditional double sink with makeup vanity in between

5. Change Hardieplank to brick or stone? Plank + painting, etc. was quite expensive

6. Kitchen – lots of space for traffic flow, find way to reduce

a. Go back to combo fridge/freezer

b. Move mudroom wall up to include laundry entry?

c. Move pantry to kitchen accessible?

7. Reduce mudroom/back hallway space (little desk not needed)

8. Flip dining vertical and move great room to right of dining

9. Reduce entry space

10. Reduce/move study

11. Remove 3rd car garage

Priorities to keep, in order

1. Master bed->master bath/closet->laundry->mudroom/kitchen flow (*note – I like being able to get ready without disturbing bedroom and also not having to walk through length of bathroom or closet to get to the other)

2. Master tub, preferably separate from shower

3. Mudroom->powder room->entry flow

4. Wrap stairs

5. Kitchen sink by window

6. Deep front porch, deck, screened porch

Thank you!

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