The House I Want:
I have always desired a particular floorplan. All one level (no basement, no attic), and all interior rooms except bedrooms and bathrooms being divided by 30"/1 meter high walls. So I could have a sensation of space. Kitchen cabinets at the floor and above, but with the space between them open.
I want a 2 bay garage; one bay for the car, a second bay for a decent small boat.
I want a workshop about 20'x30' so I don't have to push equipment around on wheeled bases to get at them; with a garage door for easy access.
I want a TV room positioned where I can watch the TV while I prepare food in the kitchen (as I can now), because I spend a lot of time doing both.
I want a fireplace where I can see it burning from anywhere in the house.
I want high ceilings for a feeling of space.
I want geothermal HVAC (Heating And Ventilation Air Conditioning) and solar panels covering a unobstructed south-facing roof.
I emailed many "custom-builders" asking about such a floorplan. Only one replied, saying the layout needed "rearrangement for utility efficiency". That's OK, its the basic open structure that matters.
My basic idea is this:
I sent the diagram to a dozen custom builders asking if they could build something like that. I had no idea what to expect, but I figured that if anyone HAD built custom-designed houses, they might already have something like that. Only one replied and said the design was flawed for efficient utility design and they couldn't tell the scale, but they could come up with "something more buildable" in a couple days.
I waited 3 days and emailed to ask if they had anything and were still interested. I even said that I understood my amateur diagram probably had some flaws and looked forward to just a paper sketch suggesting a new arrangement of rooms so that I could imagine "walking around through the house" before we discussed details of actual architectural plans and costs.
Now, keep in mind that there are thousands of free basic floorplans on the internet. None of those will enable you to build a house. The real work is in the details and a basic floorplan doesn't provide those!
But the custom home builder apparently wanted (and I didn't realize THAT being new to custom-built houses) payments up front. OK, I might have considered it in $100's, had he mentioned that. My conclusion is that this particular builder wants to know how much I CAN spend, and get me for some few $1,000 starting fees of the process without MY having the slightest idea of the final fees or design. Well, maybe he is used to building houses for really rich people who have too much money...
So I replied that the overall dimensions were about 30'x80' and it was otherwise to scale. I took 2 classes in mechanical drawing, and an architect's ruler (a weird triangular ruler) adjusts to all scaling would have told them everything.
I emailed a note of apology for wasting his time...
I don't know why my basic design is so hard for builders around here to consider. It seems they just don't LIKE the idea. I had an Uncle and Aunt with that basic house in New England, and it was easy to build.
I still want that house. I just might have to approach getting it another way.
But then there is the property. I wanted a lot large enough to guarantee sunny space for gardening and sun on the roof for solar panels regardless of neighbors' trees.. And I wanted geothermal HVAC. I thought that meant at least 2-3 acres.
So I had a Real Estate Agent looking. She found several properties close to my fishing locations, open and level, 2-3 acres. I visited them. They certainly were open and level. I took lots of pictures.
When I got home and loaded the pictures, I realized things I had missed...
The lots were end parts of working farms. I hadn't considered the smell of commercial fertilizers and the sound of agricultural equipment working from dawn to dusk. If the entire farm was being sold for residential lots, that would be one thing. But they were not. The one soybean field being sold as residential was fine in THAT regard, but the slope of the property from the owners house shows severe erosion. Not good.
The Real Estate Agent suggested some other properties. But those were all on well water and septic tank sewage. I'm not ready for that. Wells dry out sometimes, and both wells and septic tanks need some routine maintenance. I'm not that great on routine maintenance.
And they only have satellite TV service.
So she suggested that I consider places closer to me that were on city water and sewage and cable/Fios. And she mentioned that places with city water and sewage were generally 1/2 acre lots and already built on with standard houses.
Um, I'm there NOW... So I would be going through the trouble of moving to be in a house and lot about what I have now.
No point in moving, is there?
I'm going to keep looking, I might find just the right space. But I won't find it today or tomorrow.