After a LOT of deliberation, we decided that we really liked the common living spaces of her plan, with the kitchen tucked to the side but still open to the dining and the loft space above. But the narrow footprint of my plan and ‘walk out’ condition with the garage made more sense with our sloping site and existing trees. I had to promise to carry groceries up (although there is space for a dumb waiter in the thick masonry dividing wall) and our plans were merging together after all!
We did some massaging (for instance, the discussion of resale added a walk in closet in the master suite), and we kept both a library and a separate loft space. The overall finished area totaled about 12.5% more than the 2,400 s.f. we had programmed for.
We found ourselves making little adjustments to the design, but really didn’t know if the big picture fit into our budget. Rather than polishing the design or making cuts right away we thought it was time to get a schematic estimate, so it was time to talk to a contractor.
We originally talked about acting as our own general contractor. Two things complicate this matter – most banks won’t provide a construction loan for an ‘owner-builder.’ I found ONE and the loan was a 6 month term. That’s adequate for a production builder, not an owner-builder who intends to perform some of the work. The other complication was that our first born is due the same time we were hoping to break ground. Woo hoo!
We talked to a couple friends that do contracting. This includes Ryan Page of Page Construction Services, my brother’s good friend from college who started his career in architecture but transitioned into construction and recently started his own contracting company. Ryan was eager to be a part of our project. We met with him to talk through some of the rough details, knowing that a lot of assumptions would still go into the estimate at this point.
So now, chomping at the bit, we anxiously wait for an initial estimate from our contractor. Eeeee!