We're having professional house plans drawn up in October, and MANY people who have gone through this process before are telling us to bring plans to this meeting that are as close as humanly possible to what we want, so there's less room for misunderstandings when we discuss it with the professional.
Since I'm a visual person, that makes perfect sense to me. What I picture in my mind when I'm trying to verbally explain something and waving my hands in the air is probably not what the other person ends up picturing in THEIR minds. In normal day-to-day life, this really doesn't matter that much.
BUT IT MATTERS A LOT with this! We've started the ball rolling on the house project and it's still really exciting but now it's also terrifying.
We know a lot about what we want in our house - the size, the general layout, the orientation on the land... how hard could it be to do the plans?
Answer: A lot harder than I ever would have thought in a million years.
I checked out a huge stack of house plan books from the library and I looked and looked online, and out of all of those house plans a pretty small subset fit our basic requirements.
The one we liked the best was from www.houseplans.net:
So then I messed around with it to tweak it (no garage, add a wood stove, living room on left-hand side so it has a view of our land, etc):
I felt pretty good about it! I showed it to my mother-in-law, who had her current house built and has also built a house herself. She brought up a few things I never ever would have thought about until it was too late - the guest bathroom opens directly into the living room, and the laundry nook does as well. That means laundry would be piled up in the living room and the sound of the washer and dryer would easily heard.
Once she said that, it makes sense. Now I wonder how many other little things like that will we overlook until it's too late? There's not much of a learning curve for building a house. We plan to live the rest of our lives here, and that's a long time to regret any sizable mistakes.
Luckily we happen to know a bunch of people who have gone through this and they've given us great advice. So I think we're way ahead of where most other people would be.
I can't wait to see the real, professional plans for our house! I think that's the point where it will suddenly feel 'real' to me.