Building a New House – Choosing the House Location
The original house was going to be a ranch. We were looking at modulars and plans that were about 40’ at the front and 27’ or so deep. We had measured and laid it out on the land and it fit perfectly. The driveway would wind around to the garage. The bedroom would be on the left, with the view of the brook. The back porch would overlook the little woods. The garage would be on the side we are selling, so we wouldn’t be as close there…
But now the house is going to be square. A few days before the contractor was coming out to give us a price on the grading and site prep, we went out with a tape measure to lay out where we wanted the house. We went to Lowes and bought some of the bright flags and started putting them out. And ran into a problem.
The prettiest view is where the flood plain stripes are. That looks down toward the brook, which is near the word Comet on the map.
We turned the house every way we could think of.
Every way we did it, we had problems. The back porch no longer has a view of the woods because it is too close to the property line. We would have to cut the trees down. We would have a view of someone else’s woods and who knows what they may do? We turned the house every which way and… well… there are only so many ways to turn a square house. If you put the house where the view is, you no longer have the view.
We came up with a compromise, but I wasn’t really happy with it. I was really, really not happy with it.
That night I couldn’t sleep. I started playing with Photoshop (actually Fireworks). I made a copy of the house plans and made it to scale to the land survey. Then I started moving it around to find the options. I printed them all up to discuss with Cliff when he woke up. (The pictures above are some of what I made.)
And I had an epiphany! We had not considered building in the front of the land. But if we put the house there, we have the view! The whole view. With no house on it!
AND it would make everything else cheaper. Less expensive to put in the driveway. Less expensive to run water, power and gas. No issue with getting snowed in. (It doesn’t happen often, but it won’t happen at all if we are on the paved road.)
We can move the windows. We don’t need windows to look at the neighbors. Just open to the back to look out over the field toward the brook.
When Cliff woke up, I started selling him on it. He was less enthusiastic than I was. He really liked the idea of being in the exact center of the land. But when we went out with our little flags again and laid it out and stood in what would be our rooms, he was convinced. It works. It works great! The only problem is, this idea puts the house right in the flood plain. What does it take to build in a flood plain?