Jim and I have been working hard on our Mountain Modern house design via SketchUp. While we’re making real progress on the computer, I wanted to show you some actual progress we’ve made at the build site. As you can see from the above picture, we finally opened up the Swan Range views on the Northside of our build site. We had planned to go out this June, but COVID has put those plans on hold. Once we know that traveling won’t endanger us or our Montana neighbors we’ll make the trip. Hopefully this Fall!
We decided it would be beneficial to see the “actual” mountain views during our home design phase. Being able to see these mountains will help us decide our window sizes and placement. To help us get the job done right remotely, we created a map of the area, then asked for bids from local contractors on HomeAdvisor. We received three bids, two from Home Advisor and one from an HOA recommended firm. The bids ranged from $10,000 to $4,100, which is why we always get at least three bids. We immediately notified Contractor C ($10,000) that he was out of the running.
As you can see from the first picture, Contractor B did a great job. However, there was a pretty significant mix-up, as Contractor B thought we said to proceed with the job, when in fact, we asked for a quote. We had actually awarded the job to Contractor A, who spent the most time and was the least expensive. However, our mistake was that we never reached out to Contractor B to tell him we chose another firm. We were pretty surprised when Contractor B called to say the job was done and sent us pictures. We now had to call Contractor A, who we had promised the job and already sent a $1,000 deposit. We are honorable people, so we apologized for the mix-up and asked Contractor A to complete an equal amount ($4,100) of tree work in a secondary area.
Lesson Learned: One person needs to take full responsibility for communicating with contractors on each job. Luckily we had the funds and needed the extra work done. We also are pretty easy going people, never fight, (Thank God) and will use this experience to avoid similar mistakes in the future.
If you’ve read some of my other stories, you’ll know we plan to act as General Contractors for our home construction. If you have the time, patience and expertise, there is a lot of money that can be saved. In addition, no one will ever work harder or care more, than we do about our home.
Our house design is coming together nicely. We are using Sketchup to design all the details, which we’ll share with our HOA, before working with a local architect to draw up plans. The HOA will need the completed plans, but we want to check in to make sure we are heading in the right direction.
Jim has become really good on Sketchup. He has also spent a lot of time studying the latest building techniques. I’ve been taking an Interior Design Course through NY Institute of Art and Design, which has been a big help with the function and design of our home. You’ve seen our Sketchup Floorplan, now I want to share my initial Interior Design Sketch for our living, dining and partial kitchen.
We love our Mountain Modern design, which will feature beautiful Swan Range views from our Living, Dining, Kitchen and Master Bedroom. Once we decided that a Modern style was right for us, I looked for inspiration on Pinterest, Houzz and the Web.
As you can see from my initial Interior Design Sketch, furniture placement is a bit of a challenge because we have several focal points. We actually have three; Views, Fireplace and TV. Thanks to my Interior Design course, I understand the important of balance in a room design.
The first step is to find the middle of the room. Once I identified that point, I could decide where to place two of my focal points, the Fireplace and TV. I also considered the most important and third focal point, the mountain view. Now I knew where to place my major furniture grouping, the couch, chairs and tables. The balance lines, as well as Axis points helped determine where to place all these pieces.
After placing the major grouping, it was time to add Secondary furniture pieces. Secondary areas are for other activities we will enjoy in this room. You’ll see a lot of custom built-in wood features, which will match the kitchen cabinet wood. On the South facing wall, you’ll see a cushioned bench with drawers below for reading, flanked by book shelves for storing books and pottery. We also want a comfortable spot to work on a computer, store pencils, paper and a printer. A built-in floating desk on the East wall, that flows into the corner bookcase on the South wall, will have a view of the mountains to the East. Finally, I want the desk top to flow under the TV and have built-in cabinets below, including an open shelve for the cable box. The last built-in piece is under the North window, which will feature long narrow (12″ deep) built-in white cabinets with a continuous wood top. As you can see, we have a lot of storage space in this plan!
Finally, I used the Balance and Axis lines to position the dining table, chairs and lighting above. I also carried the Axis lines through to the lighting above the Kitchen Island in the sketch. You can see the full kitchen plan in the Sketchup Floor Plan above. Drawing a Floor Plan with your furniture arrangement is the first step in any design process. I’ll continue to look at fixtures, fabrics and furniture, but now I know the size and what pieces I’ll need in this room.
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