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Do-It-Yourself Home Design

I knew a guy (a pretty smart guy) who tried to design his own house. 700 hours later he was ready to give his plans to his builder. The builder’s response was somewhat deflating. He pointed out that his roof would probably collapse with the first snowfall. The foundation was overly complex and would drive the price up considerably. The room sizes were such that they would waste materials excessively, driving costs up even more.

The builder explained that even though he (the builder) had 30 years experience in home building, he always involved an architect. As a result his homes looked better, built easier, and sold faster.

Still convinced he had a good house plan, this guy took them to an architect (not me), thinking a few minor adjustments would make his problems go away. After about 15 minutes, the architect showed him how he was wasting space and could ad two whole rooms without increasing the overall square footage. He improved traffic flow, made it more beautiful, and showed him numerous “secret-of-the-trade” ways to cut his cost even more.

By the time this man finished his home, he had spent 18 months designing it. During that time, inflation added another $10,000 to the cost of his home. He spent $1,000 having a draftsperson help him with the first floor plans, and another $1,000 having the architect fix everything for him.

There are literally thousands of items and decisions that go into a home design. It’s a huge undertaking, and without years of experience and training, something is bound to get missed. Unfortunately most do-it-yourselfers don’t discover the problems until they are living amongst them.