Had the chance to have lunch with a great friend of mine this week at Tommy Bahamas in Destin, Fla. (fantastic food, by the way), and we got to talking about what to do if you happen to own some property and plan to build some day, but not in the near future. She wanted to know what she should do in the next year or two to get ready. It would be the first time she and her husband build a home and so they are a bit nervous.
It’s not uncommon for people to ask me this question. Usually they want to sketch things or find a house plan that looks somewhat close to what they want, but they also don’t want to dictate the design to the architect. Funny enough, the guys here at the studio feel about the same way. They want to get the best possible feel for what you want in the house, but we don’t like looking at other house plans.
I know I’ve mentioned the benefits of pulling together some ideas from Houzz or Pinterest online, another really good place to start is your budget. So many times clients come to our office and tell us what they want, but they have no idea of their budget. Everyone’s situation is different and often depends on how you plan to use it, be it a vacation home, investment property or dream home. An overall dollar figure for what you want to spend in the total project is pretty important and something you should share with your architect in the beginning of the project. We can tailor our services so we don’t eat up too much of your budget, especially if the budget is tight.
Once you have an idea of the overall cost, I would then make a list of priority needs in the house. You probably would love a lush master bedroom suite and are dying for that beautiful 48″ Wolf range, but what is really more important for this house: a kitchen or master bedroom? Just knowing where you really want to spend the money helps us guide you if we see the house growing too large or beyond the budget. For some families, a mud room with laundry facilities to store coats and backpacks and wash the dog is more important than spending money in the bedrooms and bathrooms. For others, a bunk room and office space for all the family’s computers, work stuff and homework takes precedence. I highly suggest first making a list of everything you want and then re-writing it in order of what is the most important to you and what is a nice bonus if the budget and space allows. This is a HUGE help for us.
Good luck to all of you dreaming about your next house!