Building a Home

I often get asked why the heck would I want to spend so much time researching, designing and planning a home rather then just buying one & renovating it.  There is no short answer.

  • I get what I want without having to do a lot of “extra” work that is required to renovate
  • I am cheap – the cost to build a home based on my research is still much cheaper then to buy one and renovate it
  • no home that I have seen on the market has everything that I want to make it my “forever” home
  • I won’t have hidden faults

When I purchased my first home, I gutted it to the roof line and rebuilt it.  New everything.  It was a mess, took way too long and very stressful.  The second home (which is the one that I am now in) has twice the square footage but only about half of it is effective usable space.

The second home has just a few of the following issues:

  1. The windows are too low to the floor on the 2nd floor.  Most of the windows are only about 2 feet off the floor.  This means basically nothing can go in front of them leaving 3 feet in every room unusable.  I can replace the windows, increasing the height from the floor but this will more then double the cost of just replacing them.  The house is double bricked which means hiring a brick laying company to come the same day the windows are replace.  Not going to happen.
  2. Air ducts and cold air returns are in strangle places in the house.  There are no cold air returns on the 2nd floor.  In the master bedroom with the windows and the air duct, there is only one way the bed can go and it still blocks part of the air duct.  Again as with the windows, this can be “fixed”.  All I have to do it gut the 1st and 2nd floors and run new duct work.  Not going to happen.
  3. Closets are only in the bedrooms on the 2nd floor.  They are not deep enough to have a hanger sit straight.  The only way to “fix” this would be to re-do all of the walls on the 2nd floor.  There is no place that a closet can be put by the front or back doors.  It makes hanging winter coats a challenge.  What fixes can be done, are not going to happen.
  4. The kitchen is too small.  There are 2 low windows, a cold air return, air duct, duct work running through part of the kitchen and 3 doors in the room.  The counter space is so limited that when I do the dishes there is no room to make a pot of coffee.  The plumbing for the only bathroom (2nd floor) is attached to the outside wall behind the kitchen cupboards.  There are only 4 of them.
  5. The bathroom is so small that even a skinny person like me finds it a challenge.  I could remove one of the 2nd floor bedrooms to expand the bathroom, this too would give me the ability to widen the spare bedroom closet.  All of the plumbing, air ducts would also have to be move.

It wasn’t until I started to live in the house that I began to realize just what my needs are compared to the lay out of the house.  I do really like a lot of things about this house but I find it a challenge to do most things.

I also want to make sure that I have main floor utilities, bedrooms and bathroom for my older age.  As well as designing it for the “just in case” idea of ending up in a wheel chair or using a walker.

Hence the reason for all the research, planning and designing to build a place.  I want to have a smaller floor space but more storage will a better use of space.


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