Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Let's build a house!

This is the house we're going to have built. It's a Hearthstone Homes Whistler model.

Next week, Jamie and I have an appointment to wander on over to one of their subdivisions and put $500 down on a lot. We've decided that lot selection is going to be crucial, as we made a mistake buying our current home - underestimating the resale value of a nice backyard.

Ninety percent of the buyers that came through our current home said that they liked our house - especially the 1750 square feet of space - but that the backyard was too small. Hearing that over and over again while you're trying to sell your house and move on with your life is extremely disheartening. Different people have different priorities they look for when they look at houses and it was just a matter of time before someone with similar views decided what we have is what they want.

We think we've picked out a nice lot. I'll post more details about it as we get them.

We found the Whistler to be Hearthstone Homes most impressive floorplan. For us it's better than some of their top-tier Tapestry floorplans that have somewhat dated layouts, such as the Monet. Open floorplans are much more appealing to us.

Here's the main floor:

And here's the upper level:

Originally, we were thinking we'd go with the Russell floorplan, mostly because of the kitchen. A "U" shaped kitchen is more efficient and (in my humble opinion) looks better. The Whistler, however, has so many advantages over the Russell that we felt it was worth the $4000 price difference. A few advantages:

  • A den - this will be a great place for her laptop, for my book collection, and will serve nicely as a general bill-paying and record-keeping room. She can sit in this room, do her bills and watch the kids playing in the backyard at the same time.
  • Walk-in closets in 2 of the kid's bedrooms
  • Upper-floor bathrooms have doors that separate the mirror/sink section of the bathroom from the toilet - this is nice for obvious reasons, making the bathroom use more efficient for the kids.
  • The master bedroom is huge. Seriously, you can't really get an idea of how much space you'll have in the master bedroom until you walk through the model. Will this be wasted space? Probably not. I'm sure Jamie will find a use for the space...especially when we have our third child and wants to keep him/her in the bedroom with us for nighttime feedings.
  • The master bedroom's huge walk-in closet is accessed through the bathroom. This means after showering, a certain unnamed person can go right into the closet and get dressed without coming back into the bedroom repeatedly and waking me up over and over again.
  • The landing when you come off the stairs to the second floor is nicely-sized. This will make it easier to move when you have to lug large items up there.
  • Laundry facilities on the top floor - an end to the mass migration of laundry all over the house.

The square footage we get - 3580 square feet including the finished basement - should solve any space issues we might face in the future.

Two problems I have with the Whistler:

  • No option to expand the garage - I really wanted a three-car garage, or maybe an option to make the garage deeper. Storage issues make this an important feature. I need somewhere for the snowblower, the lawn mower, the deep-freezer, general tool storage and so on. The basement might help with this - there's a sizable amount of unfinished space down there that might suit us. Hopefully there will be some room for a workshop and the deep-freezer.
  • L-shaped kitchen. Not that efficient, but the island we're putting in will help. Eventually, when we do the floors for the kitchen (several years from now) we think a batwing-shaped island will really make the kitchen stand out. Too bad that isn't an option. Hearthstone Homes should really look into different sizes and shapes for floorplan islands. Kitchens are important to many people and a little more variety would go a long way.

We've an appointment with a title company tomorrow to sign the documents that transfer the deed and so on to the buyer of our current home. We close on the 23rd. We'll be moving on March 15th to an apartment - I'll let you know how that goes.