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Mackin Drafting & Design, you sound like a great designer because you are willing to listen to your clients. My problem with open concept is that it is not one size fits all, as you rightly point out.

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Mackin Drafting & Design

celestina89 Stick to your guns! Remember, this is your house, not theirs. A good designer or architect will see the vision of their clients and be able to put it on paper and ultimately to completion!

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@jamieleestein Just keep an open mind and allow yourself plenty of time to find the right people to help you build what you want. I began by looking at everything including suburbs and subdivision builds. Those builders don't design but use house designers. Then they offer the client choices. Why? It's cheaper by the dozen, so they can offer things for those who are slim on the budget but want something nice. It's a trade off.

However, there are those builders who also do custom individualized jobs whether a renovation of a room or two; an expansion of square footage; or a total new build. Keep them on your list and follow them. See what sets them apart.

If you dabble like me, get yourself an inexpensive CAD program and work out a floor plan. That's what I did for my current house. I found my builder by accident. My bro and I were looking for someone to help with my townhome and the problems it had. The HOA was typical deaf, blind and dumb, so I decided to go around them while sticking to the rules. Well, we found Doug, a transplant from the east coast. I was impressed with his knowledge, workmanship and creativity. That started our 35 year relationship.

He was able to take my CAD floor plan and explain things like air conditioning/heating ducts, how I needed internal walls and why (oh, yea, I was a hippie/beatnik type) and that I couldn't build the ranch house more than x feet deep unless I wanted steel trusses instead of wood. So I went back to the floor plan and readjusted. Keeping an open mind and learning is important.

My current project is a bit more complex and involved a few different aspects than just building a small cottage in the woods. So, after two years of reading stuff, looking on line, attempts to educate myself on pond building, wildlife habitat and what type of cottage I wanted and so on - I began to dream of a fun place for me and my rescue dogs while having acreage for wildlife.

That's when I realized the need for a "team" - architect or home designer, land architect, builder and interior designer (not decorator). It's taken me more than a year to draw out a viable floor plan and placements of separate garage & well house. So it does take time, as well as to find parts of the team. I had my builder, Doug - he was delighted over my "challenge" as I knew he would be. I found my land architect after months of searching and interviewing. Been looking at architects & home designers since last spring. Found the home designer last week.

I'm working on the land - pond and flora last year, this year and next. I hoping to have my build plans in place by 2019-2020. Then the build will begin. My builder says he can do it in 6 months or less depending on oops factors. I think it'll be about a year possibly more. I'm working toward a move in 2021 so my buyers can move in once he retires from the military. Either way, I've built in more than enough time for me to get most of it done. The landscaping part will take longer, as mother nature works with me.

So don't give up - take your time, know what you want and they type of people you need to help you realize your dreams. It does and can happen anywhere you life - whether city, suburbs, urban, subdivision, rural or semi-rural (as our area is getting to be).

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