Urban planning community

+ Reply to thread
Results 1 to 25 of 25

Thread: House Hunting Based on Design/Layout

  1. #1
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
    Registered
    Feb 2004
    Location
    on my 15 minute break
    Posts
    18,170

    House Hunting Based on Design/Layout

    Location and price are probably the number one and number two big considerations for most folks where house hunting is concerned. This thread, however, is devoted to that third category: house/yard layout considerations - Planit said recently in the ‘porch culture’ thread that his next house was required to have a front porch and that’s the sort of thing we’re talking about. A friend of mine landed his dream job and he and his wife limited their housing search to that half-timber Tudor revival style! (they actually found a pretty cool house too)

    When Mrs. Maister and I were looking for a house her criteria included 1) the house HAD to have a dining room (most newer homes around here don’t) and; 2) HAD to have a prominent fireplace. My one layout criteria was the yard HAD to have a good location for a vegetable garden.

    What about you? Anyone have any different sort of criteria when they’ve been house hunting? Need five bedrooms? Has to be a walk-out? Must have a 660 square-foot pole barn out back for auto shop?
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  2. #2
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Where the weak are killed and eaten.
    Posts
    6,247
    Small footprint, close to public transit and work. Don't want to be stuck with a one hour commute.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  3. #3
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
    Registered
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    9,029
    Blog entries
    2
    While my wife and I are in the midst of a re-finance on our place now, we harkended back to when we first bought the house in 2005 and began discussing what we should have done (not that we're in over our head right now or anything...).
    Our house purchase was based upon, at the advice of my father, selling the house later. We were too concerned with re-sale value and the features that sustain it. Don't get me wrong, we love our house and plan on staying for a while, but as we were discussing the older homes we looked at originally in 2005, we realized that there were some features that we value now, which we don't have.

    Next time:
    - I do value a good front porch.
    - I'd like to have a WOOD fireplace as well.
    - Mature landscaping is a must for us too.

    My wife likes some of the interior features to be better, but agrees with most of the outside stuff I listed above. Oh well, next time. The good part about my newer house is that I can customize some of this stuff right now and design the yard the way I want it.
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
    -Peart

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Mud Princess's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Upstate
    Posts
    4,872
    I bought my first house when I was young and single. Location and price were probably my only criteria at that time... I couldn't afford to be picky.

    When we were house-hunting in 2001, our requirements other than location and price were 1) a garage; 2) at least 3 bedrooms, so we could use one as an office and one as a guest bedroom; and 3) a 2nd bathroom. Our preference was for an older home with character -- we're just not "new house" people -- although that didn't narrow it down much. The house that we ended up buying, our current home, was custom-built back in 1941. It has a lot of neat features that I love, but it certainly wouldn't be the house for everyone.

    That "660-ft pole barn out back for an auto shop" would probably on hubbie's list for our next house. His two project cars take up the entire garage, and there's no room for our everyday vehicles.

  5. #5
    Us city folks...

    When we moved in 2007, we wanted an elevator (after 15 years in a fourth floor walkup we were ready), an underground parking space, southern exposure, and a room big enough for a small grand piano.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Veloise's avatar
    Registered
    May 2004
    Location
    Grand Rapids, Michigan (Detroit ex-pat since 2004)
    Posts
    4,792
    • Max headroom for basement access
    • Basement
    • Storage space (I should shoot a pic of the bicycle dungeon)
    • Easy access for PA system storage and loading
    • Driveway
    • Any exposure but northern (I've lived in too many places with dreary lighting)
    • Easily-resolvable remodeling issues
    • Front porch
    • Small (1000 sf is plenty)
    • "Cute"

    When flat-hunting, I always checked the door swing configurations. If I couldn't get my bike in, I walked.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2001
    Location
    South Milwaukee
    Posts
    8,935
    Gotta be older with character. I prefer colonials. Must have a formal dining room for sunday brunch. This is not optional. The sunroom is optional.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Plus PlannerGirl's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Va
    Posts
    4,604
    If I had my say
    1) no HOA I hate the damn things *Yes not design based per se but not something I am willing to give up*
    2) garden tub, yup I use the hell out of mine, no jets but deep and wide
    3)big airy bright kitchen
    4) not a townhome, ours is nice but I hate having folks so close and pretty well guarantees an HOA
    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." Ben Franklin

    Remember this motto to live by: "Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming 'WOO- HOO what a ride!'"

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Mud Princess's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Upstate
    Posts
    4,872
    Quote Originally posted by Veloise View post
    • Storage space (I should shoot a pic of the bicycle dungeon)
    Hey, I just found a new name for our basement!

  10. #10
    When we were home-shopping, a few things were important to us:

    Architectural integrity (no vinyl, no cheap replacement windows, no 're-muddling')
    'Presence' on the street
    Small front yard/large rear yard
    Logical room arrangements

    We were fortunate to find and buy a house that three and a half of the four listed above.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
    Registered
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Jamestown, New York
    Posts
    1,698
    When I bought my current home, my criteria were:
    • price - no use looking at homes I couldn't afford!
    • location - cheap Jamestown electric
    • off street parking at minimum, garage preferred
    • yard - the bigger the better
    • a bathroom on every floor
    • low maintenance exterior

    I got most of that except the bathroom on every floor ... but there's only the sewing room upstairs.

    My next house is likely to be new, probably a modular of my own design because I have a very specific site in mind for it since I already own the land. However, I probably won't build there until I'm ready to retire (only 6.7 years to go!) because it's about 35 miles away from my job.

    This house will have a small footprint, probably between 900 and 1100 square feet on the main floor, although I will tuck a bedroom and family room in the mostly finished basement. It will be passive solar, so it has to be sited correctly. There will be a covered, screened porch off the east side of the house over-looking a woodsy ravine, and the basement family room will have glass doors opening to a patio that also overlooks the same ravine. A wood burning fireplace is a must as is an attached 2 car garage.

    I may or may not add a loft. I love cathedral ceilings, and since my location is in the snow belt south of Buffalo, NY, I'll need a steep roof to shed snow. Those considerations would lend themselves to a saltbox or rustic-style, both of which I like.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian cch's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Machesney Park, IL
    Posts
    1,437
    I had to have a house where we could see the tv from the dining table . Also, 3 bedrooms, at least 1 3/4 baths, a window above the kitchen sink (I hate staring at a wall when I'm at the sink), and a fireplace. At the time, I also insisted on an attached garage, but that doesn't matter to me so much with my next house. I had just never had one before, and felt like it would be so nice to have.

    We ended up with a 5 year old (at the time) 1300 sq ft snout-garage cookie cutter ranch. My next home will be older, with more character, for sure. I really hate my house.
    Last edited by mendelman; 06 Apr 2009 at 4:09 PM. Reason: edited for clarity - A sink above the sink?

  13. #13
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
    Registered
    May 2003
    Location
    Staff meeting
    Posts
    8,370
    Important for us:
    • A full and separate dining room - well is needn't be completely separate from the living room, but the area needs to be at least 10'x12' or so. If no actual dining room/area, then a family room would suffice - Basically, we need/want three main public rooms - kitchen, dining, and living.
    • Attached garage, at least one car. We have this now, but you have to go outside to go into the house.
    • smallish front yard
    • Two story to maximize yard area - though the ranch we're in now is pretty nice.
    • Low maintenance yard - if there are fancy flower beds consuming yard, they will be converted back to lawn.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    The ends can justify the means.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian CJC's avatar
    Registered
    Feb 2007
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    1,689
    We've started casually looking for a place, with plans to buy in the next two years (timing depends partly on when we find a place we like, when we feel the local market has burned through the majority of the downside, and when we feel the government incentives are best/not likely to get better).

    Her must-haves:

    For a condo, can't be higher than third floor without an elevator. (Doesn't matter if we get an SFH, obviously)
    Hardwood/Tile floors everywhere - no carpet.

    My must-haves:

    At least 9' ceilings.

    Our must-haves include only certain neighborhoods (those neighborhoods are either walking distance to our jobs or have very good transit to our jobs), a nice-sized kitchen with gas cooktop (oven doesn't matter as much, but will probably be gas too), and not too large of a master bedroom (unless prices come down so much that we can afford a huuuuuge place. If we're only going to get around 1000 square feet, we don't want any more than 300 sqft used up for the master bedroom/closets/bathroom).
    Two wrongs don't necessarily make a right, but three lefts do.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Jen's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2001
    Location
    MI
    Posts
    1,460
    There is a vacant wooded ravine property on the block that we would love to grab and build exactly what Linda D describes.

    but we were looking for location when we landed here 13 ya. The unimproved road flanked by cherry/apple orchards leading to a very shady lakeside neighborhood to the small house at the end of the dirt road.

    The house itself, didnt matter much. Garage, 2 baths, room to expand...

  16. #16
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Where the weak are killed and eaten.
    Posts
    6,247
    Quote Originally posted by Veloise View post
    • Easy access for PA system storage and loading
    I have a strange picture in my mind of Veloise driving around GR barking out strange warnings just to get a reastion out of people (a la Blues Brothers)

    "Citizens, put on your tin-foil hats the microwaves are comencing to start"

    "Anyone who would like to give me a birthday present please come out now"

    "I am not wearing any pants, please go to the coney island for me, I am hungry"
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  17. #17
    Cyburbian Veloise's avatar
    Registered
    May 2004
    Location
    Grand Rapids, Michigan (Detroit ex-pat since 2004)
    Posts
    4,792
    Quote Originally posted by DetroitPlanner View post
    I have a strange picture in my mind of Veloise driving around GR barking out strange warnings just to get a reastion out of people (a la Blues Brothers)

    "Citizens, put on your tin-foil hats the microwaves are comencing to start"

    "Anyone who would like to give me a birthday present please come out now"

    "I am not wearing any pants, please go to the coney island for me, I am hungry"
    Har de har. Just look for a square dance caller in Michigan (google or equivalent) and all will become clear.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
    Registered
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Someplace between yesterday and tomorrow.
    Posts
    12,757
    When the wife and I were looking, we made the following lists.

    Requirement List:
    • Must have been constructed before World War I (they don’t build them like that anymore)
    • In same historic district/neighborhood
    • Needs to have a decent size yard (We have a dog and want a good size family)
    • Needs to have tall ceilings. (Hey, we like height)
    • Must be a fixer-upper (I find home renovation and restoration therapeutic)
    • Must be two stories with a full basement
    • Must have private off-street parking
    • Must have two bathrooms, or at least a powder room on the first floor.
    • Must have a minimum of 3 bedrooms
    • Must have some historical charm and character

    Preferred List:
    • Hardwood floors
    • Built in cabinets
    • Ornate wood work
    • Pocket Doors
    • One or more fireplaces
    • Two car garage
    • Exterior basement access
    • Large attic with finishing capabilities
    • Stained glass windows

    We lucked out when we found our current house because it had all the requirements and preferred items! The only thing is our one stained glass window is actually a front basement window. We are looking at options for a few more though. Even if the historic preservation commission says no, we can still put it up on the inside of a mirror.

    Best part of the house is other than a few minor issues, we can live in it and restore it very slowly. The wife wants a new kitchen sooner than later.
    Invest in the things today, that provide the returns tomorrow.

  19. #19
    Cyburbian Veloise's avatar
    Registered
    May 2004
    Location
    Grand Rapids, Michigan (Detroit ex-pat since 2004)
    Posts
    4,792

    House design candy store

    http://www.houseoftheweek.com/

    Something for everyone in here!

  20. #20
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2001
    Location
    South Milwaukee
    Posts
    8,935
    I agree with PG - NO HOA! How odd is it that we promote this crap yet shun it?

    I've said this before-- My first house was built in 1953 and the HOA articles prohibidet from selling to Mexicans, Ricans, and Negros.

    My title insurance upheld the document "except for those parts invalidated my the Free Housing Act"

  21. #21
    Cyburbian Plus Salmissra's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    4,095
    When we went house hunting, we had several requirements:
    • large back yard (dogs need space to romp)
    • kitchen separate from the living room
    • minimum 3 bedrooms
    • at least two full baths
    • mature landscaping/older neighborhood
    • attached 2 car garage
    • doesn't need a lot of fixing up (minor/cosmetic only)
    We got all of our list, plus a few extras that we love! We've been in the house 3 years, and have done some minor work (remove wallpaper, painting, new kitchen floor, etc), and have several items still on the must-do-soon list. However, with the economy the way it is, and layoffs possible, we aren't doing any of it.
    "We do not need any other Tutankhamun's tomb with all its treasures. We need context. We need understanding. We need knowledge of historical events to tie them together. We don't know much. Of course we know a lot, but it is context that's missing, not treasures." - Werner Herzog, in Archaeology, March/April 2011

  22. #22
    Cyburbian Emeritus Bear Up North's avatar
    Registered
    May 2003
    Location
    Northwestern Ohio
    Posts
    9,327

    Henry County & Swanton

    Back in the mid-1980s, this Bear and a former wife purchased a house in very rural Henry County, about 35 miles from CBD Toledo. Our requirements.....

    Price
    Road with little to no traffic (our house in Toledo was on a main street)
    Big garage
    Acreage
    Boonies (so nude swimming in backyard pool no issue)
    Near or adjacent to State Forest
    Fireplace
    Big kitchen
    Family room
    More than one bathroom
    Big closets

    Our house met all of those requirements. I loved the house, the location.
    _____

    Along comes Katie.....

    She does not like living in the boonies, so we sell the house and move to Swanton. Our requirements (or, rather, "her" requirements ).....

    Front porch
    In town
    Close to schools
    Hardwood floors (actually "discovered" by ripping up carpet)
    Small yard

    I liked the big anti-Cyburbian monster barn-style 2-story garage.
    _____

    Oh well.

    Bear
    Occupy Cyburbia!

  23. #23
    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
    Registered
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Wishing I were in Asia somewhere!
    Posts
    9,861
    Blog entries
    5
    I think it will be some time before I own a house again. If I do get around to being a homeowner again I think I would choose something older and smaller something like Veloise owns. I don't like big houses and prefer something with a bit of history.
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

  24. #24
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
    Registered
    Sep 1999
    Location
    400 miles from Orlando
    Posts
    13,779
    When I bought my house in central FL, the musts were:

    3 br, 2 bath (small size not a problem)
    older home, preferably a ranch
    no neighbors behind me (got a place on a pond with nobody across)
    room for the kid to play
    screened porch out back (got a huge one, big enough for a ping-pong table, plus table and chairs)
    kid's room near mine (he was 4, I wanted him close in case of emergency)

    wanna's:

    garage/carport (got a single-car carport)
    family room (got that)
    newer kitchen (nope)
    plenty of storage (got that)
    fireplace (got that)
    fenced yard (had to do that myself)

    For a small home, I got pretty much what I wanted, plus almost 1/2 acre close to work, back patio with basketball hoop for the kid, older neighborhood.

  25. #25
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2001
    Location
    South Milwaukee
    Posts
    8,935
    Bear. My first house, we found hard wood floors the same way. It was a GREAT day of ripping up pink shag carpeting.

+ Reply to thread

More at Cyburbia

  1. Replies: 79
    Last post: 21 May 2009, 6:28 PM
  2. Replies: 4
    Last post: 23 Jan 2009, 6:25 PM
  3. House Hunting Horrors
    Friday Afternoon Club
    Replies: 8
    Last post: 19 Feb 2008, 5:47 AM
  4. Dan's house hunting adventures
    Friday Afternoon Club
    Replies: 59
    Last post: 01 Sep 2004, 5:24 PM
  5. House Hunting Part 1.
    Friday Afternoon Club
    Replies: 17
    Last post: 01 Jul 2002, 10:56 AM