Image via Live Love DIY
It seems for years I have been in some way developing the plans for our home. Since I can remember I have seen the vision of this home somewhere in my head. I have walked through it hundreds of times in dreams. I have pinned a hundred images that seem to feel like it. It has been this idea and dream that constantly has felt hazy in my brain. At times it has felt nearly tangible and other times like a far off fantasy. But the moment we found our land and we walked up that driveway I knew this dream and this hazy vision was about to become a reality.
Before we started the process of designing our house my dad had asked us what we wanted in our home. What was the look, the feel, the must-haves on our list. This took us nearly 2 months to fully settle on. Even though I have seen this house in my head so many times I had never really thought about writing down the things we had to have and the things we wanted aesthetically. Thinking through how it be the palette and canvas for our life with our family was such an overwhelming thing to think through. But after a ton of pinning, discussing, and hard questions we came down to a list of things that we needed and wanted in our home so we knew even where to begin.
When you start from scratch you begin with nothing other than the land itself, so in order to begin a plan for your home you have to start by figuring out what you plan that space to be. You have to make a list of the must-haves in your home. You have to decide what spaces must exist and what doesn’t need to. You have to decide the major things so the design can begin there and the rest can fall into place.
So before we even BEGIN the aesthetic part of this whole Building Home series we have to talk about our list that we handed to my dad. This is going to sound crazy and long, but we talked through this for a long time before we ever came to these decisions. Some are things we will have to find a compromise on as you will see as we get closer to the final design.
I already can picture most of these spaces, but designing the room before you even have a room or no where the room will flow into next is pointless. So we must begin at what must exist and how we wish for it to exist for our family. So let’s begin:
Image via: Dwell
- Lots of Windows
Since we are light people this was huge on our budget. We wanted our home to feel light filled even in the darkest days of winter.
- Home facing north to south
When your house faces this direction as much as possible you will get the best light all day.
- Entertaining spaces off of kitchen/great room
Entertaining outdoors is huge for us. We love it and we want a space that is our everyday space we can do this our friends and family.
- Scandinavian farmhouse style
We want a more Scandinavian style exterior mixed with a classic American farmhouse. This means the roof will be flush with the exterior walls. This was big in the decision because of the shape and structure of the home. The aesthetics play out with this later in the design process as you will see.
Image via: Remodelista
- Two Car Garage
We have to have a garage especially since in many instances it will also act as a barn for things for our farm and chickens and so on. We only have one car currently so the extra space will hold a tractor/4-wheeler (more on this another day haha) we will be using on the land.
- Garage must be attached
winter isn’t kind here and a small luxury is to have your garage attached so you can slip inside easily in a storm or cold day. It also keeps the cold out of the home more. Oh and you don’t have to clean the ice off of your car whenever you need to go somewhere. Garages are actually cheaper to attach as well because you do not have to pour two slab locations.
- Mudroom is not optional
We are going to be farming, getting dirty, and oh yeah we have a boy so for my neat-nick self I need a space where all the dirty boots and wet clothes can go. I have plans for this space but that will be in another post as we plan each room here. Yes, we will be sharing the designing room-by-room for you guys.
- Laundry Room
Just as critical the mudroom is so is the laundry room. I would love a dedicated space for laundry and clean up every day after being out in the dirt or adventuring in the summer.
- Half Bath
Since this whole area will most likely be clustered together near the garage entrance and I figure this will be where our half bath will live. This way this is the one that is easy to access for guests from the kitchen and so on.
Image Via: Amber Interiors
The Great Room and Kitchen Decisions (this is where the most thought went)
- Kitchen set-off:
So we went around in circles on this one, but I saw this layout where the kitchen was still apart of the great room but everything wasn’t in one long line. I loved it. It made the kitchen feel intimate and welcoming but still apart of the big picture of a great room. Since then it has stuck in my head. So the dining and living room will be together and the kitchen will be off but open to the kitchen. In the plans it will make sense. I promise! I am so geeked about it.
- Kitchen sink must overlook a window
Yes, I am being that specific, but when you are building your home you have to decide what are musts in your life. This was a must. I wanted to make sure we could watch our land shift and change through the seasons from many angles of our home, but being at the sink is a daily practice when you cook in the kitchen so I wanted our sink not to look out on the living and dining but be looking over the farm and woods on our land.
- The Kitchen will have an island
A complete must when I have envisioned this kitchen. I see the stools and place for each of our kids to start their day before school and do homework. I realize I might be idealizing this but it is helping me picture what life will be like in our home.
- A dedicated Coffee area in the kitchen:
Mike is a coffee geek and so I want to make sure he has his space for his coffee addiction.
- Under cabinet storage:
I don’t plan to have a lot of upper cabinets. I love how open it feels without them and we are minimal people so I think we can have plenty of smart storage in lower cabinets plus the other cabinets we plan to have in the dining area.
- The ceilings will be Cathedral Ceilings
See a similar picture above, but I have always seen this room having high peaked ceilings. I want a great room to feel great and like the sky is the limit.
- There will be a fireplace
We want the focal point of the great room to be the fireplace and about spending quiet time and most of our family life here. A fireplace is essential in the north so it will be our main focus in this space.
- Built-ins please!
We love the idea of less furniture which means we are happy to build in specific things into our space. We plan to build in some cabinets and benches to make the great room more minimal but feeling intentional.
- A large table:
I want a room that accommodate a table that could seat 10 if necessary. We love having people over for dinner and with kids that means there are many that will gather around. So I want the space to accommodate it if necessary.
- Stairs that open into the great room:
I want our stairs to be a part of this space. End of story. I left that to my dad to figure out.
Image via: Bolig Magisenet
- Simplicity wins
We want our entrance to feel welcoming but simple but still make a statement. I want it to be a designated space in our home so guests can feel they have somewhere to be welcomed in at.
- Give it a view
Growing up my dad always talked about entrances needing to give a view into the home and the scene around the home. I wanted the scenery outside to be the art we needed. So I wanted the entrance to look nearly straight through the house. We will see how that works out.
- Coat Closet
This was on the list and I am leaving it here, because this is something we worked through eliminating and I think it is important for you to know it was on the list and eventually we will explain why it was eliminated.
Image via: Martha Stewart
- Our biggest decision here was that we wanted an office space. We don’t have clients come to us so we don’t need anything more than an area that is private, quiet and allows us room to work. So we wanted to leave it in the hands of my dad to help us figure out. Since downsizing our company in many ways this last year it means so much of our work is minimal and happens in our real life and outdoors when we shoot. This plan will only continue so all we need is a place to setup shop that is quiet and gives us dedicated space for working.
Image via: Alpine Modern
- At least 2 bedrooms other than our master:
We wanted at least 2 bedrooms upstairs. We decided to do an upstairs because 1. it lowers the footprint of our home in terms of foundation poured and 2. it puts all our rooms on the 2nd floor. I like the feeling of bedrooms being upstairs. I was hardcore about single story till we stayed on a main floor bedroom this summer and it realized how freaked out it made me.
- Linen Closet:
I want a space for all of our linens and so on somewhere on the 2nd floor. Mike dreams of a laundry shoot, but I think it is good for the kids to have to take their laundry down as they become capable of doing laundry.
- One bathroom:
I am a believer that kids should share spaces as much as possible. I think it makes them better at sharing and being conscious of other’s privacy and needs. So I want our kids to share a bathroom. I always did and it was good for my brother and I. We learned overtime how to problem-solve the mornings and find a middle ground.
Image via: Remodelista
Master Bedroom Decisions
- Room to grow
We would love for their to be space in the room to allow for the next baby to comfortably be in our room. I liked having Hayes close in the first 4 months but it was tight in our home. I would love to share a room but not feel we are on top of each other when we have the next one.
- A retreat
Since this is where we will grow our family we want our master bedroom to be a real retreat for us as parents. Our bedroom has always been the place where work stays at the door, but even more so I think it is vital to have this be our space so we want it to have space for relaxing together.
- Master Bathroom
All I can say is 2 sinks and 2 mirrors is all I want. Mike on the other hand, wants a large glass window next to the shower since we are in the woods and no one can tell if you are naked. I kind of love it so we are pricing it all out to see if we can swing it in our budget. We will most likely have a bath and shower in our master bath because I am a shower person and Mike love baths.
- Master Closet
Never had one and though neither Mike or I have a large amount of clothing, It would be nice to have a space to get ready more than anything.
Image via: Mother Mag
Basement Decisions (we weren’t sure if we wanted one, but we are doing it)
- Leaving it unfinished
We are doing a basement but we plan to save the money for now and not finish it. It is fairly inexpensive to add this large amount of sq. ft to your house especially in Michigan. We are making sure the space can be walked out of and that our side patio/dining area on the upper level can walk down the lower patio. We most likely will eventually do a fire pit down below.
- This will be where our family room will be
As our family grows and ages we know the kids (yeah we will eventually have more) will want their own space in a big way so we feel this space will become that when our family is ready.
- At least a bedroom and bathroom
For now, we do need to have at least have a rough plan for where we would like the bathroom or any plumbing in the space. Most likely where there are no windows we will use a portion for dark underground storage for canned items and herb drying as well as for wine. We also plan to have one bedroom and bathroom so guests can stay over and have a nice space for themselves.
I know the list is massive, but I cannot stress how important it is to start knowing the spaces and things that you need when building a home. Believe me, I am terrible about jumping the gun on getting to the design details, but starting with an idea of what you want in your home is so important to build a home you will love.
In the coming weeks, we will be sharing plans of our home before we go into the aesthetics and design of our home. We also will discuss choosing a contractor.
Excited to hear your thoughts on our list!
See more about how we chose our land here.