Episode 3 Designing or Finding the Right Floor Plan

I must have looked at hundreds of floorplans online.  I have also toured hundreds of homes and reflected on the designs I really enjoyed.  I have an advantage of being in the residential real estate business to understand how important flow and home design impacts day to day living and overall happiness.  I’ve seen many beautiful but totally non-functional homes, that don’t work and cause their owners stress.  So I know it is extremely important to design a home that is pleasing and functional!  I was hoping to find stock plans to suit our needs.  Unfortunately, stock plans are not necessarily designed for a specific lot with a massive exterior water view.  Lifestyle considerations are also key in the home design.  So here are key take-aways!  First, design or find a home plan that meets your needs.  How many bedrooms do you require?  How many bathrooms are necessary?  Do you want or need a garage?  All these questions are important when looking at home design and functionality.  Second, focus on how you live in a home.  As I stated before, there is no wrong or right answer.  When I work with my buyer clients, I talk to them about their needs and also how they live in a space.  It’s a consultative approach.  For instance, where do you eat?  Where do you watch television?  Do you work from home?  Do you ever go outside?  Do you take baths?  Do you cook?  Do you need a garage?  Do you entertain often?  How do you entertain?  Do you need a coffee maker in your bedroom?  The list can go on and on!  I’m going to share with you my discovery process and our final home design to meet our budget and our lifestyle.  So here’s what and how we decided on a home design! 

We decided we needed at least 3 bedrooms and 3 full bathrooms.  We also needed a garage large enough for 2 cars and water gear.  We wanted to find or design a home with two master suites.  One master suite is on the main level, the other is on the upper level.  We wanted the main level master to be for special guests or perhaps my Mother-in-Law if she needs to move in with us in the future.  We designed this space with a large walk-in closet and a large shower that if needed could be adapted in the future for mobility issues.  The main level mast suite enjoys a very large walk-in closet, tons of windows and natural lighting, and terrific water views.  The upper level master suite has magnificent and expansive views, abundant windows, a huge walk-in closet, and a dream master bath.  We will use the upper-level master suite for our bedroom for as long as we desire.  Additionally, on the upper level, we added one large bedroom, a family room over the garage, and another full bathroom.  The next important design feature for us was having an open main level.  The need for formal spaces was not important for us.  While I entertain a lot, I very rarely have formal sit down dinners.  My gatherings are more casual and often use a large island for a buffet.  I love my guests and family in the kitchen with me sharing in the joy of cooking and eating.  I also like to be part of the activity in the main living area while I entertain.  We are designing a large kitchen space with a large island that opens to the living area.  I will be able to watch TV from the kitchen or be included in festivities while entertaining from the kitchen.  We will have stools along the large kitchen island for casual dining and the island will contain a large farm style sink, and dishwasher.  I intend to have a large professional range for lots of cooking and entertaining.  A walk-in pantry is a must as is a covered porch for outdoor living space and entertaining.  For the past 15 years, I have enjoyed having my laundry adjacent to the garage.  For me, an upper-level laundry is not important; however, being able to have a garden, fishy, and mucky clothing popped into the washing machine off the garage is critical.  We are building a large laundry room that will be able to accommodate a sink and a half bathroom for dirty or wet people in need of the toilet.  The main level will have a two-story great room.  This was critical for our needs as we will have a large shed dormer window for natural lighting from above.  Since the rear patio is covered, we were concerned about losing too much natural light from the covered porch.  In doing this, we are giving up upper-level bedroom count, as the open to below area could have been used for another bedroom.  With our lifestyles, this was less important than the loss of main level daytime lighting.  The main level will also have a powder room for guests.   The exterior will be Craftsman.  I personally love shed dormer windows and angled Craftsman styled columns.  The water table will be brick and the siding will be a painted cement board.  The 3 car garage will be side load with 2 bays showing on the front of the home, the third bay will be on the back of the home for easier access to the water for fishing gear, etc.  Since my wants and needs were so specific, we could not find a plan online.  We worked with the builder, an engineer with input from an architect for our floor plan.  Stay Tuned!  Episode 4 will be the building process!

Follow our journey through the process of buying land and building a new home by following the Lifestyle & Experience Section of my blog.

I hope through sharing our journey it will help many more families consider buying land and building their dream homes!

There are land opportunities in Northern Virginia. Steve and I would be happy to help you make a raw land purchase.

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