Dec 5, 2012

Your New Home or Remodeling Project: Can You Plan Too Far Ahead?


Dan's a friend that has done very well for himself in the home-furnishings business and loves to play golf.

So Dan bought a very nice lot in a top golf resort in New Mexico. He wasn't planning to build a home just yet; he was thinking ahead to the house he'd want a few years from now, when he moved his family away from the cold upper Midwest winters.

That was 1991...


A few years later Dan and I met at the site to talk about a new home for him and his young family.   The wish list included four bedrooms (one for Mr. and Mrs. Dan, and one each of the three Little Dans).

Before long, a working design was underway and we were starting to talk about a construction schedule.  But Dan was making some changes with his business, and thinking ahead to how that might impact the design of his house (he'd need more room for entertaining), and put the project on hold for a bit.

That was 2001...

Eventually, Dan called - "let's get together for 18 holes", he said, "and talk about building this house".  But while Dan had been changing his business, his family was changing as well.  Two of the kids were in high school, and would be in college before the house was built.

Which meant four bedrooms weren't needed anymore.

So Dan and I sat down to discuss house design number 2.

That was 2004...

But the story doesn't end there; it's 2012, he's on House Design Number Three, and the lot's still empty.

My guess is that he'll sell the lot before he builds on it, and won't have spent a single day of the last 25 years living on the golf course, looking out over the mountains and the 14th fairway from his pool deck.

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Sure, you've got to plan ahead, but plan to be flexible - plan for the unexpected.

Maybe you need to design a home that's easy to add that extra bedroom to, if the family ends up a little bigger than you planned for (my sister, with triplets, can tell you all about that).

Maybe a home with the master bedroom on the first floor...so you don't have to move out if your knees give out.

Or maybe remodel a home so that it works great now, even if you can't afford everything you want, but will be easy to upgrade when you're ready.

That's what the project below is all about.  The family in this house needs a new kitchen and eating area; a laundry room; and a master bedroom suite.

Problem is, the master bedroom suite doesn't fit in the budget right now.

So we designed the project in two phases - phase one is the kitchen, eating area and laundry; phase two is the master suite.


If you look closely at the two drawings, you'll see how easy we've made it to add the master suite later - the bedroom easily converts to a bath and closet, and the master bedroom is a very simple addition.

With very little reworking of the stuff we'll do in phase one.


So they'll get to enjoy their new kitchen and badly-needed laundry room now...rather than waiting until they could afford the entire project.

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There's a lot you can do to plan your house for the predictable changes in your life (aging, empty-nesting, a riding mower...)

But you don't have to work out all of the details right now.

Because you'll get a lot of them wrong, and miss out entirely on others.

And worse, when you focus entirely on the distant future you'll forget to enjoy the near future.

Like Dan.  Who is going to be shoveling snow again this year, instead of chipping Titleists barefoot in his backyard.

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What could you plan for now, but hold off building until later?



Need expert Residential Architectural advice for your new home or remodeling project? Contact Richard Taylor, AIA at RTA Studio.

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