The first step in designing our new home started before Hurly and I had even sent over a purchase agreement to the lot’s listing agent. Our architect Kristine e-mailed over her firm’s Programming Guide, which was a fourteen page questionnaire Mark and I had to each fill out separately, describing how we wanted our home to feel, and how we needed our home to work.
Filling out my Programming Guide was perhaps the most Shannon Beador experience of my life so far – having to indicate whether I’d be requiring any bedrooms in my home for live-in help or a second kitchen devoted to caterers. (No, and nope.)
To call the house we’re building “Our Dream Home” is feeling increasingly uncomfortable, or maybe incorrect. I think because the term “Dream Home” suggests some gaudy, Theresa Guidice-like trap, with wine cellars on every floor and bluetooth-enabled waterfalls out every window. Where opulence and overkill are the things of which Dream(home)s are made of.
But, having been thinking about designing our own home for four years now, and using that time to carefully study how Hurly and I live and how we could live better, for us the Dream isn’t about shock value or size, and its as much about what we won’t have as it is about what we will have. For us the Dream is simply to have the exact amount of rooms and space we need to do the things we love doing often. No more, no less. And to imbue enough wisdom and warmth into every space so that they invite and urge you to enter and use them regularly.
Our intentions of humble economy, however, are sometimes challenged by the nature-blessed grandeur of our lot. It’s at the end of such a cinematic road, nestled in such a friendly neighborhood, set on such a woodsy little plot between two such sparkling lakes; so I often feel this lot of ours deserves a certain level/style of home that we might not have needed to reach and rise up to had we ended up building our home on a more ordinary, flat, suburban-style street.
There’s a pressure and a challenge to create a home humble enough for just Hurly and I and our budget, and yet earthy and abuse-proof enough to accommodate guests looking to roam our golden woods and dip into our silvery lake. The lot needs the home to be rustic, and yet there is also the desire for it to look refined – and I think that was the main revelation of completing our Programming Guide.
In less-esoteric terms the guide revealed were aiming to construct a 3 or 4 bedroom/3-ish bathroom home with a good kitchen, a walk-in pantry, a fireplace or two, a bright room to live in, and a dark room to kill Mario & Luigi in. A place where we could play boardgames and a closet to store them all in. A space for Mark to make miniature models, maybe some human-sized furniture, and a bunch of dusty messes. A patio/deck or two was on the wish list as well, and at the last minute we contemplated adding an outdoor soaking/hot tub to our wish list since I’m half mer-male.
Those were the basic building blocks of our home (plus an informal dining room) that we’ve been using the past month or so to assemble our home’s initial floorplans. Only a few things look like they won’t be making the cut, so far.
So – so far, so good!