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Christy's Forum Posts: 13
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By Christy in Dickson, TN on 4/11/2006


Hi everyone...

I am looking for a little help here in the planning phase of our build. We are located in Dickson, TN just outside of Nashville. Our house is going to sit on a beautiful knoll in the middle of 30 wooded acres. We are so excited.

However, we cannot get the plans together. We took some ideas to a draftsman in Nashville who has had a myriad of personal issues and wasted two weeks for nothing, so we fired him. Now we are sort of rushing around trying to find a suitable plan on the Internet (we've been looking a plans for 15 months, mind you)... we just want to get some blueprints that are even close to what we are looking for.

Its a long story, but in a nutshell, my husband is an engineer and could design the entire house himself, but there is a time issue with this, and I refuse to start out this enterprise that way. He is the type to do it ALL himself if I let him, which leads to living with a grouch. Our agreement is that he can do the electrical and part of the plumbing... nothing else! He he he...

At any rate, there aren't too many designers/draftsman around here that I can find. Tons of architects, but we can't afford them.

We have found many homes that will be great, but there is one thing missing or the elevation isn't right - or whatever. You know how it is... nothing is perfect. Luckily, we live in a area that isn't too worried about strict code guidelines and my husband knows quite a bit about construction, so we should have any issues with made-for-all plans off the websites.

It seems the only choices we have are to settle for what we can find on the Internet, have my husband do it himself causing undue strain, or hire an expensive architect. Tom, my husband, could make changes if we purchased the CAD files from eplans.com, so we might do that.

Any thoughts, you guys? Any help, advice, support is greatly appreciated.

Christy


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By Kenneth in Lees Summit, MO on 4/11/2006


I would get an architect, but then if you search here you will notice I hold my architect in very high regard. However I would negotiate on what services you need from them, and the fees. I found may architects do the plans, assist with subcontractor selection, site inspections, etc. right up until the house is complete. I have an engineering background; I didn't want this level of service. I didn't even want too much detail on my plans, as subcontractors tend to get a little nervous if they know engineers or architects are looking over their shoulder (they didn't know my background).

I asked the architect to put only enough detail on my plans that you could build it without a code book (most subcontractors don't have these on their trucks). I also asked him to develop plans only, no follow-up construction inspections, etc. that he can normally provide. Once we got his level of service down, his prices were actually very competitive. Also given some things he incorporated to ensure ease of construction, I am almost certain that he saved me more money than I paid him in our negotiated fee.

We looked at thousands of sample plans, and had a pretty good plan drawn up ourselves that would have worked well, but the architect thinks in terms of space and proportion and was able to develop a house plan that was better than anything I could have come up with on my own.


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By Marsha in Frankfort, KY on 4/11/2006


Hi Christy!

I feel your pain! We wasted over six months and a thousand dollars with a draftsman for nothing, then took what we had of our plan to an architect friend who helped finish the design, took another three months, then told us the estimate to build the type of plan we had was going to be roughly $800,000 (in his opinion!!!) Total of nine months and a lot of money wasted! Now, I'm home all day homeschooling three kids in 1,400 sq. ft and one teensy bathroom - I NEED OUT!!!

So, we found a plan on Southern Living's website that we could make a few small changes to and be thrilled with, so that's what we did. Within a week and a half, we had our plans from SL and back from the architect with our changes, and we are going for it!!! Our plan is called Ansley Park and at the time I found it, it wasn't even out in SL plan books or anything - I think it was pretty new. By the way, we are in KY, up on a knoll in the middle of 15 acres and can see 7 miles out!
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By Brian in AK on 4/11/2006


Christy,

  Here is what we did. I bought Home Designer Suite 6.0 from Better Homes and Gardens. We searched the internet plans that we liked, and went to many open houses and used those plans and ideas to draw the basic layout of our house. I then took those plans to a home designer and had them draw up the plans for construction. You can save the plan as a .jpeg; I did that and e-mailed it to my designer.

  The software was $80 I think, on Amazon.com. A nice feature of the software is it lets you move rooms around as boxes and re-size the boxes. It will then automatically draw in the walls. You probably could use it to draw final plans, but I was not comfortable with that. The software has many other features also for design, and includes some plans that can be modified and some that cannot. Many of the plans on the CD I had also seen on the internet sites.

Brian


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Christy's Forum Posts: 13
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By Christy in Dickson, TN on 4/13/2006


Thank you guys for all the support.

We decided to order the CAD from Don Gardner yesterday. Tom will make the changes we need this weekend on the laptop, and we should be good to go... at least I hope so.

Thanks again!


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By Betty in Orlando, FL on 4/13/2006


Brian,

When you export the plans using jpeg, did you get a good resolution with it? I used 3D Home Architect Deluxe Suite and the resolution wasn't too good.


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By William in Galt, CA on 4/13/2006


I use an older version of Super Home Suite from Punch Software (punchsoftware.com). It isn't perfect, but I like it the best (so far). I'm designing my own "perfect" garage, for my many hobby cars (READ: junk).

I'll probably go with a pre-made plan for my house.

Bill

 


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By Brian in AK on 4/13/2006


Betty,

Yes, the resolution was very good. The program also allows you to zoom in and do a .jpeg of that view, i.e. a partial view of the plan. You can even read the dimensions without any problem.

Brian


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By Jackie in Mesquite, TX on 4/20/2006


Christy:

We searched forever to find the right plan for us and we finally found it with Don Gardner. We purchased the plan "Churchdown", which is literally everything we wanted and more with only minor (very minor) changes needed. I think you will be very happy by going with them.


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