It took me a while but I think I figured out how our original plan for a 2500 square foot house ended up being over 4000 square feet. The house we're in now is just about the right size at 1500 square feet, it's just the layout that we don't like. We figured that if you took the 225 square feet from the extra room and divided it up among the rooms that are too small, we could have the house we want. Set it on top of a 1000 foot basement guest suite and there we are!
However, this house is a box. In order to get the passive solar we want, the house had to spread along the southern exposure. This created extra space here and there and it added up.
Now that school is out for the summer and I've had time to reflect, I'm realizing that most of the big emotional things that I wanted in the house I'm not getting.
No guest room for my parents on the first floor. No 12x12 craft room. And no, making the craft room 11x17 and squeezing a bed in there is not going to work. For both my parents to sleep there would take at least a queen sized bed (5x7=35 square feet) Add 2 feet on either side to access the bed takes up another 28 square feet. A 12x12 room would be 144 square feet. 11x17 is 187 square feet. By the time you take out the 63 square feet for the "guest room" area, I'm left with only 124 square feet for my work area, just a tiny bit larger than the cell I have now. That's not acceptable. Another thing that is not acceptable is that I'm hoping that my parents come and stay for at least a couple of weeks at a time. Time for Mom and I to work on quilts in MY CRAFT ROOM. To scrapbook together in MY CRAFT ROOM. The idea was that Dad would have a guest room WITH A CHAIR AND TELEVISION AND STEREO where he could escape when we were working on our stuff in MY CRAFT ROOM. Obviously, he won't be able to escape if his guest room is also MY CRAFT ROOM.
Instead of the big kitchen window over the sink that I wanted, Angela designed a corner sink with smaller window. Instead of Larry getting his own prep area with full sink, she designed in a coffee area with a prep sink. In essence, she designed a kitchen in which I would, again, get squeezed out of having a clean prep area when I needed it. We took care of those concerns at the last meeting but now I have more concerns.
In the living area there is no place for a television set. This would not bother me, but I know Larry will want a TV in there. I'm going to ask to remove the window between the door to the deck and the fireplace, move the fireplace into that space which will leave the back of the book wall for the TV. Also, there is no upstairs storage for my holiday decorations, nor is there space for an upright freezer, so we are going to have to put a clean storage area put in the garage.
The debate over strawbale construction continues. I haven't liked the look of any finished product I've seen so far, but am willing to see other examples to see if it can be finished with a cleaner surface. Then I would be willing to consider it. I also have concerns about expense of shipping since Larry is understandably nervous about living in a wheat straw house when he is allergic to wheat. Larry has been doing his homework, too, and has some concerns about the expense of wiring and placing other utilities.
On the financial end, deciding to go for the larger home means we will have to sell our SoCA house. That's OK. Even if we decide northern Utah is not for us, we will never return to Southern California. I also believe that, difficult as it is for me, it only makes sense that I continue to work for another year. I'm not sure how the finances will work, but we should be able to get the construction loan based on double incomes, then dump the proceeds from the SoCA house into the final payoff somehow to keep the final mortgage down.