I wanted to provide a bit of information about the house itself. We search various sources online for blueprints, especially plans that would accommodate a walk out basement. Knowing the lower floor would be part of the overall floor plan and not simply a "basement," we focused on houses with the main floor at about 1750-1850 sq foot. Our current house is about 1730 on the main floor so we knew that would be about right. Especially given that it would be just the two of us living in it most of the time. We didn't want a house that was too big, but also not too small.
Between us, we have five grown children and already have six grandchildren, with every expectation (and hope!) that number will grow. :) So, we wanted a house big enough to accommodate our family when we all get together and plenty of room for other out-of-town friends and family visitors. So, 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms seemed about right.
We found a plan that was fairly close to what we wanted, then I started fiddling with it.... tweaking, re-arranging and expanding wall, and drafting our own tailored plan. After looking over and contemplating it for months, tweaking it a bit more, reading everything I could find on floor plans, we finally came up with a plan we felt was perfect for us. We took my drawings to a draftsman who provided some additional good advice which led to a bit more tweaking, and then the final blueprints.
We ended up at around 1910 sq ft for the main floor and after removing Glen's fish room (he's keeps/breeds African Cichlids!) and a storage room downstairs, there's another 1500 sq ft downstairs. A bigger house than what we planned, but exactly what we want. :)
Here is the exterior. From the road in the front, it'll look like a one-story house, but from the side and back and with the slope of the hill, you can see the lower, 2nd floor. As you can see below, it looks much bigger from the back. The garage extends in the front, and the two-level covered porches extend in the back (and overlook the woods and pond!).
We decided to go with vinyl siding and stone exterior. I actually prefer vinyl siding to brick for this type of house. There were other, more expensive choices for siding, but vinyl siding works well and suits us just fine. We'll be using a quality siding .044 thickness, in a dark gray color, with white trim and windows, and Owens Corning dimensional shingles. (More info to come on hunting down the best deal on building materials.)
I love the exterior, the floor plan....well just everything about this house. We feel very blessed and lucky to be able to build a new home, expecially one that is exactly what we want. More to come including info on the floor plans, and details of the interior.