In 2016, I was approached by a retired couple with a house plan that they found in a magazine. They like certain aspects of the house plan, but had several modifications they wanted to make, and needed custom plans done. They had built five houses before this one, so they had experience with the process. Upon nearing the completion of the custom plans for them, we got construction bids, and found that the construction of the house would end up being $200,000 more than my clients’ budget. The design was beautiful, and we had all spent a lot of time getting things just right. I did not want my clients’ time and money to go to waste. Because of my construction experience, I knew that there were several design elements that could be adjusted or eliminated, in order to lower the cost of construction, yet still leave them with a wonderful design:
- The roof pitch did not need to be so steep, thus cutting down on the amount of roof framing and shingles needed
- The roof did not need to have quite so much variation
- Some of the spaces were larger than they needed to be
- Some spaces that were designed to be indoor/outdoor spaces could be changed to be simply outdoor, with the possibility of making them indoor in the future.
- Some of the ceiling detailing could be simplified
With these things in mind, I spent a couple of weeks coming up with an alternative design. After reviewing it with my clients, they decided to move forward with construction. Not only were they able to knock off that $200,000 from their cost of construction, but they gave me feedback that surprised me wonderfully. They told me that out of all of the other houses they built before, this one was their favorite!