Now that we have figured out the floorplan of our house, I thought I would share the first couple designs that DIDN’T work. My husband Josh and I have designed all the versions of our floor plans except for the first one below, which was done by our design guy. The design process is basically me rolling ideas around in my head for days and days, then spending a long time sketching it out on paper, Josh using SketchUp to for a 3D model, then we do some tweaking. Our guy then looks at the design and engineering, gives us feedback, and drafts up a plan. I have a folder full of paper scraps in which I drew ideas, because that’s the way my brain works best! 🙂
This first floor plan was designed for us, and if we had a larger lot, I would definitely build this house- the main house was H shaped, the short part of the H facing the front and back yards. It also included a detached garage and adjacent Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) with its own entrance from the alley. We loved the house plan, but felt it was too cramped to grow into. The city of Portland is currently experiencing a HUGE population boom, and ADUs are all over the place. This would have given us the option to have an airbnb, but we would have chosen to rent it out to someone we knew, because we ideally would live on a compound surrounded by friends! While the rental income would have been nice and this layout gave us a decent sized yard, it was not enough outdoor space for the garden, greenhouse, and chickens that we want to have.
This next floor plan we LOVED. I still love it and it would be my ideal- one story, room to grow, L-shaped…I spent a lot of time figuring this one out and was so excited that Josh loved it as much as I did. However, it did not meet city code because it was 173 sq ft too big of a footprint on the lot. I was pretty devastated, honestly. The city of Portland has laws about the percentage of a lot you can cover with a single-family home, and we were barely over. We tweaked it so much, and just couldn’t get it to work. We are building this house adhering to ADA building codes so we can “age in place” so this made tweaking the layout challenging. We are building with hallways, doorways, space in the kitchen, etc that will fit a wheelchair and other mobility devices in case we ever need them. Ultimately, there was no way to tweak the plan that didn’t leave us with a house we felt was cramped. Having space to entertain and to host guests is important to us since it’s something we do very often, and we didn’t want to waste this opportunity we have of designing and building our home on something that felt like settling.
I’ll be sharing what we ended up with. We did eventually figure out a layout that we are really pleased with, gives us plenty of room, and is an even smaller footprint than the city requires which means even more backyard!