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Designing Your Dream Home

The most popular question we get asked is whether or not we will share our plans. If you've looked high and low, don't worry you haven't missed them! We haven't made them public, but we are working towards that. Our thought is to offer a "inspiration" layout version as well as a full set of plans you can take to your builder. Let us know in the comments what you think of that idea!

created by dji camera

The second most asked question is how we came up with these plans. The answer is pretty simple... lots of graph paper and a pencil! We started thinking about this home almost a year before we started building it. We were actively drawing up options for several months until we landed on how the Mad County Build looks like today. So, how can you do that for yourself?

Yes, you can download software to design your home, and eventually that's a great option. However, there's something special about being able to draw out your home and watch it come to life. It feels very personal to know that the walls in your home were once pencil marks that you, your partner, or even your kids put on paper.

  1. Graph Paper

If you want some that will transport, check out THIS pad. It's 11"x17" and we taped two pieces together once we had finalized a design so we could enlarge it.

If you want something larger, grab THIS 27"x34" pad. We were designing this home in a coffee shop which is why we stuck with the smaller pad, but you can get a lot more detailed with the larger pad.

2. Stencils

We probably found this to be more fun than it's meant to, but how cool is it that you can add in doorways and toilets! We bought THIS set on Amazon and the entire family jumped in! We gave each of our kids a sheet and they made their own little homes. We might have some future designers!

3. Something to Write With

You can obviously grab whatever you have around the house, but if you want something in particular we have a couple of favorites!

These PENCILS... the lead comes in black and color!

These PENS are my absolutely favorite and they will erase- for real! I'm left-handed and they write really well. If you're right-handed you don't know the lefty struggle finding pens that write well!

4. Time + Where to Begin

Don't stress over it taking you more time than you thought to see your vision come to life. We have a stack of papers with different versions. We played around with different sizes for our structure and saw how we could fit in the spaces we wanted into those sizes.

There has been a large price increase in some materials this past year, so if you are getting a quote don't be shocked if it's higher than what you wanted. But you have to be able to start somewhere right?! When deciding on the size of your living quarters + garage, estimate at least $110/sf for the house and $60/sf for the shop/garage if you're using a builder, $75/sf for the house and $30/sf for the shop/garage if you're self-building. It's going to be higher if you're picking mid-high grade finishes, but use this as a starting point for getting a quality structure constructed. There's a lot about your finishes that you can upgrade or add later. What you can't add are things that have to do with your foundation, structure, etc. This is not a guarantee from any builder (including us!), but if you're nervous about that cost, then you need to go smaller.

Once you've determined your ideal outside dimensions for your living space and shop space, it's time to get creative! Keep a list of rooms or types of spaces that are important for you to have in your home. Spend some time imagining what you need for your life today, but also how you see your life in the future if this is a long-term home.

Be flexible when you're planning. We've found that the more you dig your heels in, the harder it is to actually get the home that you want. There will always be things that you have to cut, but with careful planning you can design a home that will be a happy home.

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