I am going to warn you now – this is not a happy upbeat post. This post is all about the disappointments of building your own house without any previous experience. Many things have worked out well – this post is not about those things. This post is about the downside…
Charles and I looked at hundreds of houses – probably more like thousands – trying to come up with an elevation that we both wanted to pull up to every day and call home. We found that the houses that we liked generally called for a larger floor plan than we needed, or were a ranch that would have eaten up a lot of our back yard in order to get the size we wanted… but the moment we came across this elevation, we knew that it was the winner. Debate over.
The next step was to fit everything we wanted into this floor plan. One thing that we spent a lot of time on when selecting the lot was finding one that was above grade, but only slightly. We didn’t want a house on a hill, nor in a ditch. The lot we ended up with was relatively flat, but sloped slightly up from front to back. That gentle slope, combined with the decision to put the house on a crawlspace was perhaps one of our first major disappointments… the house was now too high off the ground. All of a sudden – we created our own hill of a problem. The crawl space was necessary housing for the tankless water heater and down draft venting – two items that were on our MUST have for the dream home. It is all a game of give and take we told ourselves…. but little did we know this was the problem that kept on giving.
Another thing that we really focused on was making sure that the front window did not “rise from the roof”. That look drove me bonkers, but in order to make that happen we had to lower the pitch of the roof and per code, for that pitch, we needed a metal roof. At the time we were really pleased with that because we loved the idea of a metal porch roof. As soon as the house was framed we realized that once again, because of the additional height from the crawl space, the street view showed the window “rising from the roof”. We looked into several options on how to fix this. Charles sat down with a pen and paper and busted out some high school trigonometry to figure out what solution would be best – bringing this room of the house further forward or raising the window were the two options on the table. Each with its own downside: per code, the window could only go up a foot, and could not be shortened. Would this be enough? And wouldn’t raising it look strange from the inside? The other option was to bring the entire room forward – the only problem there was the several weeks set back and the $8,000 price tag. YIKES.
After much debate and trigonometry, we decided that we would raise the window 6 inches. The good news is that we got the window raised and re-framed for free! Remember that extra window we debated about in the office forever?! Everyone’s vote was to add the window – and we ended up adding it because we thought the elevation would look strange whit out it there. The down side of this was that it made the room a nightmare to decorate. There was not one wall without an obstruction of some window, closet, or door. Oddly, when the framers were building the house – they forgot to put in this window. 100% forgot it. Due to the height of the house – you could not see it from the street, so we decided to tell them to leave it out. We were able to barter the fact that they didn’t have to fix that mistake for fixing the window in the front bedroom. Free solution that worked well for everyone – Finally!!
And remember how happy we were about the metal roof, again little did we know that due to the additional elevation for the crawl space… you can not see the metal roof. Huge frown 🙁 – this was something we were both so excited about, and as it turns out you cant even see it. Frustration run a muck…
Now for the really good news – despite all of this – we LOVE the elevation. Sure, its not what we planned, but that’s okay by us. Every day when we pull up to check things out – we feel like we just came home 🙂