Tuesday, October 30, 2007

First bid is in

The first bid is in, and it doesn't look good. It was about 30% higher than we had hoped. We have the plans out for bid with two other builders, so we'll see where they come in. In the meantime, we have some renderings of the front and back of the house.
We love the front facade. It makes a big difference to see it in perspective. The side gables balance things out well. I actually like the right facade even better. Megan, however, likes the rear facade the most. I think I agree with her now.
When we looked at the elevations, we were worried about the left facade. There wasn't a lot of interest other than the garage doors. But really, what can you do with a garage? But looking at it in perspective, I guess it doesn't look so bad after all.
Kerry did a great job with the roof lines. Overall, we love it.
One of our next steps is to get approval to start building. And that requires approvals from two different groups: the village's architectural review board, and the subdivision's architectural control committee. The developer who initially developed the subdivision runs the architectural control committee so we need to start there.
Both groups need to see construction plans and site plans. The developer also wants to see colors and materials for the exterior. So we had to go through a few steps. We bought a flat lot, and we want a partial exposure on the right side, so we have raise the house a couple feet above where the master grading plan for the subdivision suggests. Which meant in addition to a survey, we also had to get a grading plan. We need to show the location of sidewalks, retaining walls, patio and driveway, so we hired a landscape architect to do a landscape plan for us.
The architectural review board only meets once a month. Before we can go before the board, we have to get developer approval. I tried to get everything done prior to the October meeting, but that didn't happen. I now have everything but the landscaping plan, which is going through a second revision right now. Hopefully, I'll make it in time for the November meeting, but it looks like December might be a better bet.
With the state of the real estate market, and the bids we're getting from builders, the delay isn't a big deal: we may not start the house for a while anyway.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

The plan

The preliminary plans are done and out for bids. Before I talk about what was necessary to get the bids, I'll talk about the plans. Here's a simple rendering of the front of the house. The style is, as we asked for, influenced by the shingle style.
A small gable in the center, flanked by two larger gables over the garage and the dining room. Gables are clad with shingles, and we'll use Lannon stone (a local limestone) to decorate the front facade. We had some trouble with the front facade: Kerry began with two columns flanking the front door, but that left a big expanse of porch that appeared unsupported. He solved the problem by replacing the separate columns with a a double column centered on the porch. It looks better, but we might want some half-columns built on either side of the porch.

The first floor incorporates a number of design patterns. We decided to build over the family room, which means the house needs to maximize ceiling height without any two-story rooms (other than the foyer). So we used the varied ceiling height pattern to distinguish rooms from each other without putting physical walls between rooms. The dining room uses the long view pattern to look through the kitchen into the breakfast room. It uses the same pattern to get a diagonal view of the family room.

On the second floor, we decided to go with four bedrooms, even though the guest bedroom is located on the first floor. We wanted interesting features in each room so that none of them look like a box. The basement includes plenty of storage, as well as room for a rec room, bedroom, and theater. It also includes a workshop under the garage.
Those are the highlights. In the next post, I'll talk about how we prepared for the bidding process.