Building a home is a complicated process . . .

      The design phase is so critical in the overall outcome of your project and how you’re going to live for years to come. Each space needs to be well thought out so I will educate you on all of your choices, the final decision is yours.

For example: When you’re sitting in your favorite chair and want to watch tv, you want to be able to look at the tv, the fireplace and the outdoors all at the same time. You ideally don’t want your back to any of these. You might not understand what’s happening with the space until you experience it. Did you ever walk into a room and you hated it or you loved it but didn’t know why? I do. It’s simply the “how it feels” quality of being in a place. There are a lot of decisions that you have to make therefore it is imperative that you are educated throughout the process and make the right choices for you and your family. Every home is different and unique just as we are.

     Wouldn’t it be nice if you walked down your hallway and glanced into your powder room and you’re not looking at the toilet?

     I had a client where I specified a steel beam instead of a wood beam in his garage ceiling. My client was having their one story garage roof removed and adding a kitchen/dining room above. The steel beam cost more but to me it is money well spent. When I have a choice to make, it is always in my client’s best interest. Well now, needless to say, they went with the wood beam and my client will forever have a metal post right in the middle of the garage. Every single time someone tries to get in or out of either car door in the middle will have to be so careful in order not to hit the car door on the metal post. The steel beam required no post. The wife hates it. This was a foolish savings of $200.00.

     At times, important decisions have to be made between costs vs. design. This is an example of where you, the homeowner, need to be educated. You shouldn’t be foolish and only choose the one option because it is cheaper. I had a client that added a room over his existing basement level garage. I specified engineered I joists for the floor where the electrical and plumbing lines can be run thru the webbing of the I joist that has pre-drilled holes. This option would have given my client a finished garage ceiling height of 7’-8” tall (to match existing) and required no steel beam to hold it up and you can drywall right up against the bottom of the joist. This would give you a “squeak free” floor and more garage ceiling height.

     Due to a cost savings of $1500.00 on the joists, my client choose to go with 2 x 10 floor joists. Now they lost more inches in ceiling height because code will not allow you to drill thru the 2 x 10 joists so the plumber had to run the plumbing lines below the joists. Now you also have to hire a carpenter and pay them for their the labor and time to fur the ceiling down around all the plumbing and drywall it in because it is required by code. Also now required is a steel beam in order to hold up the 2 x 10 floor joists. This now makes the ceiling height at the beam 6’–10” tall. This now makes the beam lower than the 7’–0” tall existing garage door. The price of the steel beam, the cost of the crane to set the beam and labor also needs to be added in. In reality you’re only saving a couple hundred dollars.

    Personally, I would have preferred the 7’-8” finished ceiling height because it is already 4” shorter than the typical garage ceiling and I would not want to lose any more inches in height. Everything should be taken into consideration such as oversize vehicles with luggage racks on top etc. Remember, the final choice is yours, it’s your home and it’s your money. My job is to recommend or educate you, the client, ultimately it is the clients choice which materials they decide to use.

     In real estate they say the 3 most important things are location, location and location. In home building, I say the 3 most important things are design, design and design. A detailed set of house plans is a small investment when compared to the cost of building, adding or renovating your home.

     For the homeowners benefit, I highly suggest you work with a trained design professional (not a builder) that understands the space and how to make it work for you and your family and agrees to make several revisions until complete. Design is a growing process. One idea generates more ideas and it just keeps growing. There is no right or wrong just what “feels right”. You’ll know it when it hits you. I would love to talk to you about your project!