Plans

My brain is full.  And obsessed.  The other night I had a dream about windows and landscaping, that is how extreme it is.   Right now much of our spare time is being taken up revising building plans, interviewing prospective suppliers and researching our little botties off regarding the various benefits of this window or that door.

We have a budget, we have a plan, we even have someone who’s agreed to build it all for us.  There are many, many more steps between us and our new home but right now I find it hard to think about anything else.  I’m sure my friends and family are already getting a bit bored of Stephen and I yammering on (and on) about our plans but it’s only going to get worse.  Fair warning.

It is dawning on us both that this amorphous dream that has bounced back and forth between us for around a decade, slowly building to a sure desire and then a concrete plan, is actually going to happen.  There are more steps before we can break ground, we need to get some permits, hire people with big diggers and order lots and lots of wood, glass, steel and a million other things but it is happening.  We are actually going to build our own house.

Stephen did the designing himself and then we hired an architectural technologist to draw up the plans and make sure the design is up to code.  We have a builder who specialises in modern, eco-friendly design and he has worked with us on the revisions to make sure we can actually build this thing.  But the bulk of the design and the vision is Stephen’s.  Many long nights of sitting up way into the night creating 3-D designs on Google Sketchup have led us to our final design, one that accommodates not only our dreams of our future but our very real day to day lives.

The house we have designed (I say ‘we’ but my contribution has mainly been along the lines of making a massive list of requirements and saying “That isn’t going to work” and “Where will the shoes go?” to my frazzled beloved.  To his credit he didn’t try to kill me but just went back to the drawing board time and time again) is one that will, hopefully, meet our needs as a family both now and in 10 years time and hopefully beyond.  It also takes into account our desire to work, as much as we can, in harmony with the land around us and to use it’s resources as efficiently and effectively as possible.

Although we are hoping to create a small farm on our land our home will not be the typical farm house.  This is a modern home for the era we live in now. Though it took some time for me to let go of the vision I’ve had of a heritage house filled with vintage goodies it made no sense to build a new house in an old style, if we are going to do new we felt that we should do modern.  So modern it is.  The spec on the house is unusual for North America, though becoming more familiar in Europe, and will hopefully help us run an energy efficient home that will allow us to deal with rising fuel prices and a changing energy economy.

The house will face South South West which will allow it to take advantage of the sunshine from dawn to dusk.  The south wall of the house will be predominantly glass and is taking up a big chunk of the budget but will allow us to have a partially passive house which will certainly help energy costs in the long, cold Canadian winters.  Stephen has designed a 3ft overhang over each floor to shade when the summer sun is high but it will allow the lower winter sun in to warm our toes and hopefully keep our energy costs lower.  The roof is a mono pitch and will have a steel roof as will the garage roof behind, unfortunately we couldn’t have a grass roof (my ideal ) but we hope to include that on later outbuildings.   The main source of heating will be radiant floor heating with a wood stove as back up.

The downstairs is a large, open plan area with the kitchen in the centre, arranged literally at the heart of the home.  All of the bedrooms are arranged along the south side too, so each room will look out over the land.  It  pleases me enormously to think that this will be our first view in the morning and our last view at night.  We will watch the sun travel across the sky each day to sink down over the forest, our windows will turn pink and gold as the sun drops down for his night time sleep.  I imagine our house, warmed by the sun’s heat in the day and bathed in his colours as the day ends.  I think that this will be a good view for our house, watching us form the landscape around us, growing as much of our food as we can and growing ourselves in the process.

We have such a long way to go, so much to do and so many stresses ahead.  Yet I walk on willingly knowing that what we are creating, this exceptional place that is being created just for us, because of us, by us will be worth it.   It will be our home.

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  1. #1 by Valerie on February 21, 2011 - 7:49 pm

    It is worth all of it, the trouble, the expense, the efforts!! It really is a sweet dream that comes true, isn’t it? I know this path too, we’re a little further down but we haven’t finished yet. Yes, how sweet it is to be plotting for a home, sweet home that will shelter your beloved ones. 🙂

    • #2 by emmalina73 on February 22, 2011 - 12:26 am

      Valerie, I’m excited to know you are on the same path! I’d love to know more about how it is all going, sounds so exciting. Will you finish this year? I hope it is all going well. Hopefully it won’t be long before we are both snug and warm in our nests : )

  2. #3 by movita on February 21, 2011 - 9:28 pm

    I am so excited! No lie. Promise you’ll keep us posted every step of the way. I’m dying to see pictures and plans! 2.0 and I would like to build a house one day. Perhaps you could do the leg work, and then we’ll just replicate over here… I understand the pull of vintage versus modern. I think you’ve made the right choice – and you’ll make it yours with little touches of heritage and vintage along the way. The two can live together in perfect harmony.

    • #4 by emmalina73 on February 22, 2011 - 12:25 am

      Thanks my friend! I am super excited to have the prospect of a home that we made. There will definitely be retro touches, how can there not be?! Let’s see how it all works out then you are welcome to copy, then there can be shiny modern houses everywhere!

  3. #5 by kendra on February 25, 2011 - 2:47 am

    so so so incredibly excited for you!!! suppose we could throw down a little cob house way back on an acre there? ; )

    • #6 by emmalina73 on February 28, 2011 - 12:03 am

      You are actually completely welcome to, honestly I don’t think I know you were there! We could do some canning and jam making while the kids run around, sounds like bliss to me : )

  4. #7 by Nicole on February 26, 2011 - 12:49 am

    Why am I so excited for you? I just am. I get you and I think what you and your husband is doing is really cool. Floor to ceiling windows gah! I am inspired by Frank Loyd Wright – are you?
    Mu husband and I almost bought a mid century home – a house that floated in the trees – it was so unbelievable cool – but it was full of mold and needed all the floor to ceiling windows replaced. When then fell in love with our new 110 year old stone house.
    Radiant floor heating sounds good but in my research it is bad feng shui energy — I am sure you can google this for the complete low down. Will you do solar panels? We woke up with no heat today (oil heat) it was a cold 50 degrees inside our home. We would like to change over to solar panel ourselves – in due time when finances are better.
    Thanks for blogging – I love our chats.
    Nicole

    • #8 by emmalina73 on February 28, 2011 - 12:07 am

      Thanks Nicole, we are pretty excited too! We both love modernist architecture, Stephen particularly. The open spaces and light is what we both love. We are also excited at the chance to build a house that won’t need maintenance for many years giving us time to work on the land.
      I don’t know anything about fen shui but we aren’t using conventional radiant heating, I wonder if it will make a difference. I’m going to do a post about the technology in the house in a couple of weeks when we’ve got stuff confirmed. We do want to do solar, not immediately but energy independence is our goal. We are installing a wood stove as backup and for the change in seasons when we don’t want to heat the whole house, we’ll be using wood from our wood lot which is free!
      Thanks for stopping by, it’s great to hear your thoughts! I’ll keep you posted : )

  5. #9 by woowoomama on February 27, 2011 - 6:28 pm

    oh wow! i am new to your blog but i have to tell you that reading this post just made my heart beat so much faster. amazing amazing stuff — please keep us posted with as many of the details as you feel comfortable sharing. i’d love to follow along this dreampath with you all 🙂

    • #10 by emmalina73 on February 28, 2011 - 12:09 am

      Welcome! You are so sweet, we are super excited and I’m sure I’ll be sharing more boring details than anyone can handle! This is a long held dream for us and even though it is tough and a lot of work/terror involved it is going to be so worth it to achieve this goal for our family. Of course we haven’t broken ground yet so we’ll have to see how it goes!!!

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