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Posted by Cara in Orlando, FL on 6/1/2005

Wednesday, June 1st, 2005
5:59 P.M.
Design Appointment
More progress! We have our (second) initial meeting with our designer on the 24th of June. He will take us through the entire process, start to finish, including sealing the plans (structural engineer thing) for the windload certification, etc. We have a general idea of what we want, both form and function-wise, so that should help. A list of a few things that are important to one/both of us (extra credit if you can guess who wants what)
1. oversized garage with workshop area and side (east) entry
2. Master Bedroom on east side of house with east/rear windows
3. large covered patio (sort of closed in on 3 sides by house)
4. summer kitchen (outdoor kitchen for you non-fancy types)
5. rec/game/theater/multipurpose room
6. walk-in pantry/laundry room
7. peninsula-style kitchen (not necessarily connected to wall, but you get the idea...)
8. 9'4" or 10' ceilings
9. pool/mud room bath (we're not building a pool, but an indoor/outdoor bath would be handy since we are planning to entertain on the patio frequently)
10. LARGE great room rather than broken up spaces
11. study/den/library
12. lots of natural light in master bath

There's probably tons more, but maybe as I think of them I can add them and then reference this when we go to the designer...

When we began this process back in October of 2004, we thought we'd buy some ready-made plans on the internet, be out the door for just a few hundred dollars, and be ready to build the house. Not so. In Florida, they need to be locally approved/sealed/etc. to meet code. The other issue with pre-made plans was that there were minor changes (position of garage door, adding windows) that would cost us several hundred dollars per change. When we did the math, it made more sense to get it custom designed. This way, we get a house that:
a) is well-suited for a lakefront lot
b) is designed to be built efficiently (i.e. not lots of bumpouts, dimensions of rooms for minimal material waste)
c) includes construction docs not included on internet plans
d) we can say "custom" when we finally resell
e) is uniquely designed for our needs (conducive to entertaining, conversing, and cooking for many people)
f) has other things integrated that J wants, such as propane where needed or light switches in particular places
The list goes on.
At first, it took some convincing for J to see that in the end, spending more money on plans would be cost-efficient, but at our first meeting with the designer, I brought a plan we were considering and showed it to the designer. I asked him how he might redesign it to save $$ and he was easily able to point out things that would save us several thousand dollars on the building side of things. From then on out, we were sold on the idea. Ok, enough for now... For those of you still getting to know me, you now also have some insight into my personality by my almost obsessive use of lists, both lettered and numbered ;)

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