Our forever home:Part 1: Planning stages

imageA little blog on our journey of building the “forever home”

“It’s one of the most stressful things you’ll ever do”. If I had a pound for every time I was told this, I probably could pay my mortgage off.
I laughed at people when they said this! I’ve read hundreds of home magazines, I know exactly what I want, I’m into interiors, so how on earth can it be stressful… It was biggest dream….but guess  what… I’m now one of those people that say “it’s one of the most stressful things you’ll ever do”!

I’ve so much to say about building a home, but I’m going to break it into 3 different blogs (I hope). The first one is all about before you start the build!

Think carefully where you want to build! You might think this is a stupid one, it’s your dream house, of course you’re going to think wisely about where it is!
Lots of people get gifted land from parents: so that’s a no brainer.
For us the land that my inlaws own, was going to be a nightmare to get planning and access to, so after a couple of attempts we knew we were going to have to splash the cash!
We landed a beautiful site on top of a hill, views of the mournes and loads of bunnies…. Reality- it would blow the head of you, I’ll not be able to have many pots outside (the bunnies would eat everything anyway) and we have the WORST internet in the history of ever… This is NOT good when your husband is a software engineer, who works from home!!

So would we have rethought our site knowing all this… Unfortunately yes we would… But it is what it is… SO that’s why I say to choose REALLY carefully!!

Ok so site has been purchased… Plans time! For us this was relatively easy, as full plans were passed for our site. I knew I wanted a quirky house over size. And the plans where maybe not 100% what I had in mind ( I wanted a u shaped courtyard style originally) but our architect had told us that the previous owners of the site had fought with planning so much, that in his opinion it would be hard to make any major changes.

So we decided to stay with the plans but make a few changes… Did we make enough – probably not! We removed the stables from the garage (thought they might be a tad elaborate as none of us has a horse!), we removed 2 ensuites and then made a few cosmetic changes like adding field stone, curved walls and a jacknjill ensuite for the boys.

Would I make any changes now to the space only 7 months after moving in… YES. I would have kept 1 of the ensuites, as currently we have a big spare room with no bathroom… this will affect the resale value of our home in later years. The valeted ceiling in our kitchen is gorgeous, but I do sit wondering what a waste of space it is and that another room might have been better (but then we don’t really need another room and id only have to clean it!).

If you are starting from scratch with the plans, my heart actually aches for you… Find a good architect…. David was brilliant for us, he had worked the original plans so we decided to stay with him as he knew all the problems!

The builder!! Really you can only go with word of mouth and going to see previous work. We had been badly bitten about 7 years ago when we extended our previous home… The builder was a complete cowboy (I would name and shame them but they went bust!) and left us with over 40k worth or repairs to do… SO PLEASE ask loads of people and try to get at least 3 tenders.

You can also enlist the expertise of a QA who will draw up a bill of materials for exactly how much of everything you need… This should help reduce costs and make sure you don’t go over budget!!

Your other option is build on the grip… Yes you will save a good amount of money… But I think it would be a logistical nightmare to deal with… Especially if you both work full time!!

I feel this is my most important piece of advice I have for anyone building a new home… Before you start building PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE have your consent to discharge (your sewage) sorted!!! We had been told incorrectly that it wouldn’t be needed until the final installment of our mortgage… Eh wrong…. Needed for the first installment…. We are just very thankful we had very patient builders!!! That was an extremely stressful period of waiting and stress that could have been avoided!

Phew that felt like a lot and it’s nearly therapeutic to type it out!!
If anyone has any questions about any of this please contact me via email or DM me!
Stay tuned for the next installment!!

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