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wendybwoodrum

Suggestions for Building Forever Home

Wendy Woodrum
4 years ago

My husband and I are young (mid-40s) but plan to build our forever home in 2018. What recommendations do you have for a single story, less than 3000 heated sq feet, 2 small kids? We are building on family land and it will be farmhouse style. What should we think about now to prepare for 20-30 years down the road?


Thanks for all the great tips and advice!

Comments (64)

  • _sophiewheeler
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    Just remember that a forever home doesn’t last as long as a tattoo. And the regret for a tattoo isn’t as regrettable as sinking boatloads of money into something that is way oversized for the smaller needs of retirement living. If you want this to be truly “forever”, then go back to the earlier years standard of kids sharing bedrooms and bathrooms. They won’t die from it. And you won’t have so much wasted space when it’s just one or two. Kids are gone in a flash.

  • PRO
    JAN MOYER
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    I would guess that regret has something to do with the location of the tatoo. : ) Just as it does with HOUSING.: ) The school system, number of beds and baths, storage needs and every bit of it evolves. Add improvement and upkeep , updates over time in decades as none of that is "forever" either. Realize you can be golfing at 80 one minute, and confined/limited the next. Live life in the present, and realize the present comes with no accurate indicator, or crystal ball. Live presently. Think three times on ANY tattoo.....present or future. Especially "I love Joe" on your backside

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  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    I have a lot of experience in designing "forever" homes. The most important features to design into a "forever" home are features that make it sellable. I've owned two "forever" homes myself.

  • mamadada
    4 years ago
    1. By flood insurance even if they tell you the area never floods.

    2. Build high.

    3. Put 2 x 8's to reinforce all shower and toilet areas for grab bars for when you are older so you can stay in place.

    4. NEVER...NEVER...NEVER build a 2 story house.

    5. Laundry should go near Master

    6. You can never have too many outlets

    7. Flow is everything.

    8. Think traditional and not trendy or contemporary which changes. Think about what looked good 100 years ago and what still looks good today.

    9. Your outdoor living should be equally as important as your indoor living.

    10. Spend the money on the big ticket items that should never bee changed.

    Those are my top 10.

  • Mrs Pete
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    On the idea of a "forever home":

    I agree that few people are going to build a house in their 40s and actually live in that house for the rest of their lives. Life intervenes. Jobs change, neighborhoods go downhill, finances change, divorce - death - remarriage ... so many things happen that throw a wrench into your plans.

    On the other hand, my grandparents built an old farmhouse shortly after their marriage in the 1930s ... they raised their children in it, then moved to the city for job reasons ... but my mom raised us in that house ... now my brother is raising his kids in that house. The house boasts several additions, and the kitchen has been remodeled a couple times, but the house has contained SOMEONE in our family for almost a century.

    I do think you can design a house that'll "age with you" through various stages of life. If you need another bedroom or more storage, you need to add on or clean out the garage -- not get a whole new house. If you have more space than you need, you can close off a bedroom.

    My thoughts:

    - Don't build a 3000 sf house. It's more house than an average family needs, which means more money to build /maintain /clean. Keep your money free for all the other things a family with two young children needs. Good design is way more important than oversized spaces.

    - Build one large main living room + a smaller away space. These spaces might change functions over the years, but that set up will work for most people.

    - Three bedrooms + two bathrooms is pretty standard and will work for most people. Build simple, good-sized bathrooms ... and bedrooms that'll hold a queen-sized bed (for the years when your children come home with a spouse). Include plenty of storage in the bedrooms. Don't worry overmuch about kids moving back home ... their childhood bedrooms will still work just fine.

    - Separate the bedrooms. You don't need to sleep within feet of your children -- even when they're small. When they're small and need you, they'll find you and/or you'll hear them ... but when they're older you'll appreciate the privacy. And if you need a caregiver in your old age, you'll really appreciate the privacy.

    - Yes, think about aging in place: As few threshholds as possible -- tripping over changes in flooring was BY FAR my grandmother's #1 problem as she aged, yet people insist upon planning for wheelchairs (which are a fairly remote possibility) while ignoring the tripping-over-flooring-changes-issue, which is almost guaranteed to happen ... laundry near the master bedroom ... be realistic about what a bathroom needs /ignore the things that are trendy ... at least one covered entrance with as few steps as possible ... the list goes on. Most of these things aren't expensive, and they don't just benefit the elderly ... but, at the same time, don't go overboard with these things. Keep it reasonable.

    - Building on family land has its pros and cons. On the one hand, you may have definite feelings about selling the house EVER ... so you may feel more pressure to do everything "just right" because the expectation is that the land will stay in the family (our farm's been in the family since before America was America, and I certainly won't be the one who sells a single inch). On the other hand, you're less susceptible to the whims of neighborhoods; for example, I live in a neighborhood of early 1970s brick ranches -- many of them only ever owned by one couple -- and it's kind of a senior citizen's community now. More than a few houses are now rented. Our neighborhood is changing. You're somewhat immune to this on a family farm.

    - When you have family land, choose carefully where you place your house. When they enlarged the road, they took half of my mother's front yard (good thing it was over 12 acres to start with).

    - Build quality ... but be reasonable about it. For example, you could buy the tip-top windows that are the ultra-most-best in energy efficiency, but they're awfully expensive and only a bit better than the better-but-not-tip-top windows. The same can be said for quite a few things.

  • mamadada
    4 years ago

    Mrs. Pete has made my point. If everyone in the 50's would have bucked the trend of ranch style homes they wouldn't be dated today. Building a classic colonial or tudor or something that has been around for 200 years makes more sense long term.

  • jmm1837
    4 years ago

    We recently moved into what I fervently hope is our "forever" house (mostly because I just couldn't go through another move!). But we're in our late 60s/70s, and know what our lifestyle demands now and have some glimmer of what it will demand in the future. And the most important aspect for us was location - a town with lots of good medical and social facilities, and a house within walking distance to supermarkets and cafes (and to many of those medical facilities). We will not be driving cars forever, after all.

    To me, those are the most important aspects of aging in place. I suspect they are important to others as well, since our area is becoming increasingly attractive to the senior set.

    Our house is all on one level, with a very small garden. It's spacious, but we use all the space. It's not ADA, but it does have wide hallways everywhere, and would be easier to maneuver around with a walker than the apartment where my parents lived until they were in their 90s.

    The thing is, that our house would not necessarily suit a family with kids. So, as others have suggested, it may not be possible to build a house that will suit all of your needs now and into the future. You may have to find compromises along the way, or simply plan on one further move later in life (and hope that life agrees with that plan!)

  • patty_cakes42
    4 years ago

    I’m going to be realistic. When I moved to TX almost 10 years ago, and built what I thought *for sure* was my forever and DREAM home, turns out I was mistaken, My reason for moving from another state was it had become over crowded and I wanted to get out. My SIL had accepted a promotion from his company, and it just so happened to be in TX, and he and DD wanted out as bad as I did. My youngest son moved out 6 months after my daughter, as well as daughter’s mother-in-law. Within 4 years, when my youngest grandson started school and found it not to be the best school system, and had already tried a distant private school for a year, decided to make a move...50 minutes away. I know I assumed all would go well and their home would also be their forever home. Same with her MIL...she moved not too far from them. What I want you to consider is, will you be willing to stay put when your kids finish college, and possibly start a family of their own or will you want to be closer? At the moment, neither you nor they know the outcome of what their future holds, but as a mother of 5 grown adults kids, it’s worth a thought or 2. It just so happens my oldest daughter also decided to make the move 3 years ago, as well as her son, I recently found out my oldest grandaughter who graduates from college this year, has done a lot of research, and will also be moving here to find work. Things can change, sometimes drastically, so my suggestion is not to plan too far ahead. I’m in the process of building another home, 3 miles from DD and family. Will it be my forever home? It’s a single story but still a bit larger than I would like, so who knows.

  • mushcreek
    4 years ago

    As others have said- life happens. I have a friend who had his dream home built in a rural area when he was in his 70's. He developed a heart condition so bad that the doctors told him that he'd never survive the ambulance ride. Live in town, or plan to die at home.

    My BIL had a home built in a rural area to 'get away from it all'. That area is now jam-packed with new subdivisions, strip malls, car lots, and traffic.

    I also know other people who have been in the same house their entire lives, but it's rare, and getting rarer.

    We just built out 'forever' home. In our 60's, our vision for this was much clearer than it was even 10 years ago. With any luck, we'll leave this house feet-first, but ya never know. Personally, I would find 3000 sq ft too big at this stage of life, but then, I've never lived in a house over 2000 sq ft. Our current home is 1400 sq ft on the main level, with another finished 1400 in the walk-out basement. The basement has a guest BR, bathroom, and storage. We 'live' on the main floor exclusively. The basement suite will be ideal if we ever need live-in help, but until then, we can ignore it. Since there's no HVAC in the basement, we aren't taxed on it.

  • rocketjcat
    4 years ago
    I agree with Alison's comment above. We built our "forever" home 10 years ago when my DH was 60. And in even 10 years your needs and capabilities can change. Now the long wide driveway isn’t so much fun to snowblow and we sometime have to have it plowed. The decks and porches we love have to be shoveled. The water system for our well water has to be maintained with heavy bags of salt. The mowing and hand trimming on 4 acres is a joint effort but takes about 5 hours a week. My point is needs change, and they can change fast. What you think is no big deal in your 30’s and peppy can be a huge deal when you want to take life a little easier. Design with some flexibility for the next 10 years and go from there.
  • robinrlg
    4 years ago

    We are in the process of building our "forever" home on a large piece of property (9 1/2 open acres; 15 1/2 wooded). It was important to us that our primary living space be on one level, and feel open. It is a ranch-style home with 10 foot ceilings. Much of the basement is also above-grade and has 9' ceilings. We wanted to design it in a way that if we needed assistance as we age, we could have someone move in on the main level and we could have our "senior apartment", in a well-lit, open basement. that had easy access in and out. We are finishing the basement off with two full bedrooms with windows and sitting rooms that lead to a patio, along with two full baths. In addition, there will be a family room, complete with a fireplace (uses the same chimney as the one on the first floor). Finally, we are adding in a rough-in for a kitchen, just in case we ever need to live there (or a caregiver).

    Kitchen: Thinking down the road, when I might not be able to climb up on cabinets to reach things, or bend down to lift heavy objects, we are including a couple of "lift" inserts in our cabinets -- one for my heavy kitchen-aid mixer and one for my food processor. While we do have upper cabinets along one wall, much of our cabinet space is coming from our double islands with pull-out shelves and drawers. We will also have a walk-in pantry so that I can store things I frequently use on shelves that are easy to reach.

    Final recommendation for this post -- don't move too far away from family. It makes for an exhausting day when we need to go help my in-laws (3 hour drive to get to them, do whatever work needs to be done, 3 hour drive back home), Now that they are in their 80's this trip happens more frequently than it did when they moved away in their 60's. We chose to build close to our kids and their families.

  • ILoveRed
    4 years ago

    My mom is 91 and in assisted living. My dad has been gone for years. We just sold her "forever home". This was actually her second forever home as the first one was the farmhouse I grew up in. Best laid plans....

    Do the best you can, try not to plan too far ahead, stay humble, and don't get too cocky, lol.

    I really like Virgil's advice.

    "My advice is to design and build a custom home which will support your known needs and wants for the next 5-10 years, and be prepared to remodel or sell and move on thereafter as your life changes in ways you cannot now anticipate.

    It's always a good idea to design a home using passive solar and daylighting strategies. You will never tire of these.

    It's always a good idea to design the "adult" portion of the house with accessibility principles since one never knows when an injury or infirmity may occur."

  • PRO
    Virgil Carter Fine Art
    4 years ago

    If one has to remodel and/or add an addition to a "forever" home, then it really wasn't a "forever" home was it? Of course, there's absolutely nothing wrong with remodeling or an addition to a home--it's done every day.

    My point is that "forever home" is simply a term like "modern farmhouse"--aspirational. Aspirations, however, often have to be modified in the face of life's changing (and often unpredictable) realities.

  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect
    4 years ago

    The two forever homes I had are now forever someone else's.

  • just_janni
    4 years ago

    I am currently living in my forever home and building my "next home". I got 21 years out of Forever 1. If I get that out of Forever 2, I'll be happy.

    It's also possible that it simply took me that long to recover from building in order to even entertain doing it again.

  • mushcreek
    4 years ago

    There's also another definition of 'forever home'. Built out of steel reinforced concrete, my ICF home will outlast many 2X4 McMansions, although 'forever' is a relative term. I sometimes wonder what some future tear-down buyer of my house will say when they go to tear it down.

  • PRO
    Virgil Carter Fine Art
    4 years ago

    Hate to say this, but reinforced concrete takes very little to demolish. Look at all the commercial buildings which come and go. Really not a biggee from a demolition point of view!

  • Mrs Pete
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    If one has to remodel and/or add an addition to a "forever" home, then it really wasn't a "forever" home was it?

    Totally disagree -- this makes no more sense than saying you should never need to repaint a bedroom or update a kitchen. It seems wise to plan a house in such a way that you could add a bedroom or a family room.

  • PRO
    Virgil Carter Fine Art
    4 years ago

    Mrs Pete, you misunderstood me and didn't read my post, where I specifically said remodeling and additions are perfectly fine. It's done all the time, as everyone knows.

    That said, the fact that one wants to remodel and/or create an addition to an original home is prima facie evidence that the original home wasn't "forever" isn't it?

  • PRO
    Anglophilia
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    Virgil, maybe yes, maybe no. They didn't move, so that's pretty much "forever" in my book.

    I constantly read on this forum how most people move every 7-10 years. I must live in a VERY peculiar neighborhood as just on my side of the street in my block, there are at least 5 of us who have lived here more than 25 years. Yes, some have done some remodeling during that time, but the fact that they bought the right house (one that COULD be remodeled) in the right neighborhood says much to me.

    When I look at most of the floorpans people post on this forum, very few of them could ever be remodeled/added onto. They just don't lend themselves to being able to do so. My neighborhood was a 1948 subdivision and the lots are small, so most people go out the back or take the garage (not front-facing) and convert it into a family room. I've remodeled my house twice plus a kitchen at a separate time. But at no time did I ever consider moving, nor have my neighbors.

    I think this is partly due to it being a highly desirable neighborhood that is easy to get downtown, a good elementary school, and the fact that these houses were traditionally designed so adding on is not that difficult.

    When I think of my friends - in this town, in LA, in St Louis, Vineyard summer friends - they all have lived in the same house at least 30 years and some far longer. Do I just have weird friends?

  • David Cary
    4 years ago

    No Anglo - you just are older than the average person surveyed and as all of us do, you tend to associate with people that are like you (ie weird friends). Please do not take that as some kind of insult - it is absolutely not meant that way.

    People in the tech industry move all the time. Very few people I know in that industry keep the same job for over 5 years. But then I work in a field where people tend to stay put. We still move all the time - just in the same city.

    The survey I have seen recently is 13 years BTW.

    But - take a population that can afford to custom build. They can also afford to move. So they do. Moved out of my 8 yo custom build. Building now with little chance of retiring there.

    The funny thing about your neighborhood (and I am making assumptions) - it is full of retirees despite it having good schools and close to downtown. Honestly - does not make a lot of sense. Unfortunately the trends in my area encourage young families to live in suburbs which just adds to traffic and time in the car. Not particularly rational at all.

  • bluesanne
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    A home built upon family land, especially if it is family-owned rather than inherited by one, is much more likely to be a forever home than a dream house built upon newly purchased land with no emotional ties. You don't just sell the family farm...

    This makes it all the more important that the house not only be of universal design and be appropriate to aging in place, but also that it be as timeless and as flexible as possible. Being able to close off part of the house is extremely valuable, as is being able to turn a walkout basement into a caregiver's suite. A house built on family land MUST be worthy of the land.

    As Anglo mentioned, not everyone flits from house to house. On the road where I grew up, four of the original five families still live there after well over 60 years. My childhood home now is primarily owned by my sister; my other siblings and I all own lesser shares in the property. The lot is over an acre in what has become Oregon's most expensive community, but nobody wishes to sell. Within our family, my husband and I are considered flighty and coldly disconnected from our homes, as we have owned three houses over the last 20 years. Two of my brothers have owned their homes for 30 and 40 years respectively, while my younger brother and his wife inherited a house her family has owned for nearly 60 years. We're all professionals, and while some have changed employers or started new businesses, staying in the same home is a family tradition.

    While we may be the exception that proves the rule, forever homes are not a thing of the past. They do exist.

  • madpebs87
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    All these are good ideas, but how about the very first
    thing about building a house. Isn't it Location, Location, Location??? So for
    me hopefully 1.5 years from now, i retire 60.5 yrs. My most important
    priority's - International airport close by for travel, medial facility's for
    when I DO get really old, a state that will not tax my pension, SS and IRA withdrawals,
    55+ activities to keep me busy, golf, cards, socializing etc, pretty close to city or college to have cultural and possible take classes to keep brain sharp..... You find a place that will satisfy all your requirements and then find a place to build, How close do you
    need to be for grandkids and old friends etc. I'll be retired and I can travel
    to see them...

    Oh so looking forward to this next journey, Best of luck
    !!!!!!!!!

  • B Carey
    4 years ago

    I agree that people building on the family farm have a much higher chance of staying put! My grandparents had 6.5 acres that I contemplated buying 15 years ago when they were selling. It was not the state we wanted to be in to be close to family though. The house would've needed changed/added onto, but the land was amazing!

    Some people have more of an impulse to "put down roots." We finally found enough land that we can do all the things we want to do. I wish we had been able to get it sooner. I wish the huge garden we built at our last place and the evergreens/apple/peach trees/raspberries/blueberries we planted at our old place were now 7 years established at our new land. I still have the same desires for land that I did in my mid-20s, just more $$ to make it happen now. I can only imagine if my husband and I had been able to buy an acre (knowing we could add on 40 acres as we could afford it) when we were in our early 20s. We could've started with one of those movable tiny houses and got to work creating our outdoor dream. DH could've built his dream shop while we still had no mortgage (or whatever you would on one of those tiny houses!) 10 years ago, we could have afforded to build the house we are building now (at least without finishing the basement), as materials were so much less. Or we could've designed a home with an architect that could be added onto or finished later. If we had the perfect land then, we could've even finished the basement first and finish the main (more expensive) main floor as money allowed over the next 5-10 years. For us, the joy would've been more in establishing the garden, building the chicken coop, having space for my miniature cows, and DH would love to have been able to get his family barn up already. Since we are building now(or soon!), so much of the other things have gotten pushed to later. They all take time and money, which we already invested in them once before!


    We talked about adding onto our previous home and buying additional land, but it came down to location. And that the money we would have in that property once all said and done could buy us what we really wanted in a better location. We never bought that acreage with the intention we would be there in 20 years, but we still tried making that a reality. I could see us moving if the kids all end up in a different location. But I could also see our kids building on our property (They would all have 5-10 acres). If we move in 20 years, then we leave behind so many of our hobbies (orchard/shop/garden/etc) that were built exactly as we wanted them.

    But, in thinking about my home build, I have realize I will probably do remodels down the road, at least a kitchen remodel. It would be awesome if I still love my kitchen in 20 years...but if I don't, I will remodel. I don't think I will add on to the house, but we will add buildings. And the kids rooms in the basement will likely be converted (if kids end up close by). Even if the exterior and every room has been remodeled in 25 years, I would still be on the same parcel.

  • er612
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago



  • bpath
    4 years ago

    The family land factor has a huge impact. My parents built on family land. My grandparents and my uncle lived in their homes until their passing, and my parents are still in theirs at 90. But that's a marginal "still in". Dad is in rehab and converting their home, especially bathroom and accesses, to accommodate his new needs would be not only costly, but would intrude on my mother's ability to stay in the house during the remodel. They should have moved 15 years ago. But, you know, "family land". I think that's a big reason they didn't sell.

    I'm champing at the bit to sell the house. I'm responsible for its maintenance, as well as overseeing my parents' care, besides my own family. The house is quite idiosyncratic. (That said, I do tout some of their design choices here, some are really great.) I hope there isn't another change of caregiver, because I'd have to train all over again on what controls what, why things are done (or not done) a certain way. But, three of the nine houses on the lane are on the market (maybe a fourth; it's empty but I don't know what its status is) and have been for 3-4 YEARS. One just sold and has been torn down. This is a charming wooded lane, 5 acre zoning though some have more, desirable village, but insane property taxes. And at the price point, people want certain things.

    So, maybe do a favor for your children and yourselves, and build a house that is easy and affordable to maintain and live in, and easy to sell should the need arise. Not that you need to design for unknown buyers, but make it easy on them by not doing anything too outlandish.

  • cpartist
    4 years ago

    er612, what was the point of posting those two poorly laid out house plans?

  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    Do yourself, your family (past, present, and future), and everyone that will ever set foot in your home a big favor and hire a local architect that you feel you can work with to design a home with you. The last thing you want to do is plop (there's that technical term again) a preconceived plan on your site. Good design starts with the site.

  • cpartist
    4 years ago

    I must say that what I desired for a house in my late 20's/early 30's was different than what I desired once I reached my 40's and is a heck of a lot different now that I'm in my 60's.

  • fixer687
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    Go Solar.

    I find it somewhat disappointing how little interest there is in this forum regarding solar and other renewable energy. Maybe folks do not understand it or are intimidated and confused by permitting, engineering and constructing a solar system. Or most likely the "numbers don't work for them". For a moment consider the possibilities: generating energy to power your home in its entirety if you choose. No more electric bills. If you have an all electric home you could have zero monthly energy costs. For some that could mean the savings of thousands per year. I just learned that NC has proposed a new solar rebate program for up to 10kw systems reimbursing $0.60/kw.

    I have assembled an abbreviated list of construction features and materials, some exclusive to my construction methods and others that I have found to be basic and essential for any build. It should be of no surprise that solar power is at the top-of-the-list.

  • cpaul1
    4 years ago

    For anyone building from scratch, I would always say to have every bedroom have it's own bathroom. That is the future of how we will live, whether it's kids home from college before their first job, or aging parents that have to move in with you, or you yourself aging and needing to bring in live-in help. Whatever the scenario, I think every bedroom has to have it's own bathroom, and that eventually that will become expected and required when buying/selling homes because it just makes the most sense.

  • just_janni
    4 years ago

    2 things:

    1. Consider operating expenses when building. Look at solar, energy efficiency, low / no maintenance exterior finishes. the cost of a house is relatively fixed, but operating costs can be a huge burden in the future should we see large increases in energy costs, etc. Things like more brick, less siding, long-lasting roofs, fewer valleys to collect snow / ice / leaves.

    2. props to bpathome for the proper use of champing.

  • PRO
    JayMarc Homes
    4 years ago

    Hi, Wendy! One thing we highly recommend is having your architect and builder work together or to at least get your builder's opinions on the floor plan. It is really easy to over design and go over budget without realizing it when designing with an architect. It's always good to get a builder cost estimate since they will be ordering the materials and know the cost of labor.

    For more tips, you can view the article we just wrote for 10 Things to Consider When Buiding Custom. Feel free to reach out to our team if you need any opinion!

  • er612
    4 years ago

    chartist - obviously I didn't post thinking they were poorly laid out. They meet the poster's requirements and with a couple adjustments I think either one could be a great forever home.

  • cpartist
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    For anyone building from scratch, I would always say to have every bedroom have it's own bathroom. That is the future of how we will live, whether it's kids home from college before their first job, or aging parents that have to move in with you, or you yourself aging and needing to bring in live-in help. Whatever the scenario, I think every bedroom has to have it's own bathroom, and that eventually that will become expected and required when buying/selling homes because it just makes the most sense.

    BULL PUCKY! Kids don't need their own bathroom. Have we become that spoiled that two or even three kids can't share a bathroom? Maybe we need to master bathrooms too by that thinking?

    If you're building a mansion, then yes, maybe each bedroom needs its own bathroom, but there comes a point where all of this becomes ridiculous and a bit too self indulgent.

  • cpartist
    4 years ago

    obviously I didn't post thinking they were poorly laid out. They meet the poster's requirements and with a couple adjustments I think either one could be a great forever home.

    They have bloated roofs and are too many rooms deep so no natural light will enter the rooms. Ideally homes should be 1-2 rooms deep and without roofs that are overscaled in size for the house. The roofs are so massive they overtake the house.

  • PRO
    Anglophilia
    4 years ago

    David, my neighborhood is full of young families! Yes, there are retirees or those nearing retirement, as well. But it's very popular with young families.

    My city does not have a lot of people having corporate transfers - most work for local businesses or are doctors/lawyers/CPAs. My NYC friend and her husband moved when she got pregnant with their 4th child and they needed another bedroom - moved from E 72nd to Park between 95th-96th. That was about 35 years ago - they went on to have a 5th child who is now 30. It's a pre-war "Classic 8" in a Rosario Candela building. No, they do not still need an apt that covers an entire floor in this building, but the capital gains tax would kill them. So, they stay. And it did have room for 38 for Christmas Eve dinner (all seated!).

    I guess I like stability and continuity in my life. I've always wanted the same kind of house - couldn't afford it when I bought my first - still can't afford what I would really love to have. I keep my furniture - just recover. I'm not someone always looking for a change - quite enough of that in the world as it is.

    I think that I and most of my friends would be quite happy if there were a family home that was passed down through generations. It's kind of an English upper class attitude - the "family pile". I know my MIL felt that way - her home was her rock. And yes, if I won the lottery, I would buy back that house that my in-laws owned for over 50 years and put it in a trust so it would never again go out of the family.

    This constant moving and moving "up" is something my DS's former wife was constantly wanting to do (and they did). The final fight that killed the marriage was when my son refused to move from their 6400 sq ft house to one with 7200 sq ft - with only two children. She liked constant change; he was a chip off the old block. And yes, he's been in the same apt now for 3 years since his divorce, and if they will allow him to continue to stay, he'll stay there until the children are in college and then move into the city to avoid the daily commute.

  • mushcreek
    4 years ago

    Hate to
    say this, but reinforced concrete takes very little to demolish. Look
    at all the commercial buildings which come and go. Really not a biggee
    from a demolition point of view!


    Of course it's easy to demolish, once you know that that's what you're dealing with. If enough years go by, the person tearing it down may assume it's stick-built, like 99.9% of the other houses around here. It's hard to hunt bears when you're loaded for chipmunks.
    Like
    Save

  • Maria Privat
    4 years ago

    So much wonderful advice has been given already. Just add my little bit of insight. It might not be a bad idea to compartmentalize the house a bit. So that it is one house, but can easily be divided into two separate ones. For maybe one of your children will like to live close to you in your old age. You could take the smaller part and they the bigger part.

    Great rooms seem like a great idea, but in the end with grown teenagers can be quite demanding on the nerves. We had a living room and dining room separated by glass sliding doors, so it could be open and one, but also closed and sort of two. Besides that we had a play room, later media room, for the children and their friends, where they watched their movies, while we watched ours in the living room.

    This gave much rest, which became all the more necessary as I got ill. I could be up and about without being disturbed too much by the normal noise of life.

  • PRO
    Virgil Carter Fine Art
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    "...It's hard to hunt bears when you're loaded for chipmunks..."

    Always expect bears. Or elephants. And always have a Plan B.

    Ask me how I know...

  • beckysharp Reinstate SW Unconditionally
    4 years ago

    Virgil, my philosophy has always been, "Hope for the best but plan for the worst."

    As the ant child of two grasshoppers, I know my parents thought it was an overly cautious and pessimistic approach, but it's served me well, especially the older I get : ) .

  • bluesanne
    4 years ago

    Do yourself, your family (past, present, and future), and everyone that
    will ever set foot in your home a big favor and hire a local architect
    that you feel you can work with to design a home with you. The last
    thing you want to do is plop (there's that technical term again) a
    preconceived plan on your site. Good design starts with the site.


    Mark, this is exactly what I had in mind when I said the house being built must be worthy of the land. To "plop" a house from a one-size-fits-all plan onto your family's heritage is a tragedy and a crime.

  • Jennifer Hogan
    4 years ago

    When building or buying a home you need to know what you requirements are.
    Take an inventory of your current home. How many linear feet of hanging space do you have for clothing. How many upper and lower cabinets do you have in your kitchen? How much counter space do you have? What is the size of your bathroom, bedroom, living room? How much storage space do you have? Once you know exactly what you have think about every room and space and what works and what doesn't work. Do you need more closet space? Do you need more storage space? How many electrical sockets do you need in each space? Think about how you use each room and how much time you spend in each room. Think about the areas in your home that you love and the things that drive you nuts.
    Once you nail your needs go to every open house and every new build you can find and take pictures of the spaces/things that fit those needs. Look at 1000 house plans on line and see if you can find something that works for your family. It is far less expensive to alter a plan than to pay to have a plan drawn from scratch.
    My sister built a home and had a couple of great features. Instead of having appliance garages that eat up counter space she built her pantry on one side of the kitchen and had garage doors placed at the back of the counter that open to a counter in the pantry that holds her mixer and other small appliances. She has a first floor master with the kids on the second floor. On the second floor there is a bedroom on your right, another on your left. Both bedrooms have a walk in closet and next to the walk in closet is a 6' wide space with a vanity and sink on one side and a door to the shared bathroom at the far end that holds a bath tub/shower combo and a toilet. The girls each have space to do their hair and makeup without monopolizing the facility space. Spend the time to plan and think about your plans and plan again before spending money building anything.

  • artemis_ma
    4 years ago

    Cpaul1 - every bedroom having it's own bath -- may be for the super rich, or those who don't consider budgets, or those who don't consider teaching their children some of the parameters of sharing / getting along with siblings.

  • artemis_ma
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    Wendy - i dont know if my home is my forever home or not (although i certainly won't actually BUILD another), but i put in features useful from an ADA perspective that wont interfere with living today. Wide doorways, no thresholds, roll in shower, lever style door handles. But I did put in tall kitchen counters, as I am tall now, and not in a wheelchair - and i prefer to cook at this point in my life without stooping. So... it's balance... dont plan so much for the future that you ignore today.

  • PRO
    Summit Studio Architects
    4 years ago

    I work on a lot of remodels. One of the primary reasons people remodel is to resolve bathroom issues. I just don't see the sense in forcing young adults to share a bathroom to save the cost of a small shower and a toilet in a forever home.

  • _sophiewheeler
    4 years ago

    A forever home is like that “till death do us part” bit that seems to end with over half of folks taking the plunge wishing death would part them, but relying on the state to do so.

    What suits us as young people is very often well outgrown by our 50’s. We have different bodies, and different priorities.

    The only constant is change will happen. You either roll with it, or it rolls over you. Eschew inflexibility in both your outlook and your residence. And be liquid enough that the sudden changes to marital status or hurricane destruction do not destroy you.

  • Jennifer Hogan
    4 years ago

    Sophie - I often said that my husband and I reached most of our goals - we mastered richer and poorer, sickness and health . . .

  • Pinebaron
    4 years ago

    Yeah: We are building our fourth forever home; I pray there won't be a fifth, if there is, it will be a 2b condo on the first floor (can't believe I said that).

  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect
    4 years ago

    Is anybody taking wagers on how long the OP will be in their "Forever Home"? Is the OP still around?