Monday, July 14, 2008

So You Wanna Build a House?

I'm not sure what led us to the point of wanting to build a house. I've always loved houses in general: architecture, design, and construction. When I was a kid, I used to bike through the city I grew up in to look at the different styles of houses. I've kept my eye on the real estate market, wandered through open houses on occasion, and drew house plans and elevations for houses I thought would be cool to live in.

As the DC real estate market started to cool off, it seemed to me that it might be a good time to look at what options might be available. We casually looked at several homes, all of which had a list of problems that would require extensive renovations. At the price point for these homes, renovating wouldn't be in the budget for years to come. Many of these houses were extremely energy inefficient. Others were simply out-dated with 1980's kitchen cabinets and linoleum flooring. None of them were modern design. And the vast majority of them were huge, with bedroom after bedroom that would go unused.

Several years ago, Mom and Bill had bought me a subscription to Dwell Magazine, which contained many homes that were really cool looking, and which seriously introduced me to the concept of a "green" house as a viable option. They keep renewing the subscription and I read each issue religiously, learning with each turn of the page. Then a lightbulb went off in my head (or maybe Andreas said it often enough that I finally heard it). Why not build what we want rather than move into someone else's house and modify that to meet our needs?

And that's the start of the journey. In future posts, I'll write some more about the path we went down, considering pre-fab (of different shapes and sizes) and detail some stumbles we had along the way. Many people have helped us significantly with our learning process, and we've put together a good team that have counseled us through the planning and implementation phases. I'll introduce you to some of those folks too. More to come...

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