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The Anatomy of a New Home Build - Part 1

Allied has had a busy Spring and now that Summer is here, our outdoor building season is in full swing. It was a cold, wet spring - almost like we didn't have one and we skipped right to Summer.  That made scheduling difficult - not just for us but for our subcontractors as well. At the present moment we are executing a significant phase of a deep energy retrofit on a client's home in Northfield.  Working in conjunction with Efficiency Vermont, we designed an overhaul of the energy envelope of this home in an effort to move it eventually toward being powered by heat pumps and solar.  This project will be the subject of a future series of blog posts later this year. 

The Design/Build Process

Meanwhile, we finalized a custom home design with clients on their new home in Calais, Vermont. We began working with this family of four back in the Fall of 2018 through our Design Services Agreement. This process is the beginning of the integrated approach of a design/build firm like ours. We began with a list of wants and must haves, as well as some pictures of homes that the couple particularly liked. They had already found a piece of land and we did a site visit prior to purchasing the land to assess it for any site issues as well as to dig a few test pits to finish the septic plan and asses for any hidden ledge under the soil. With that homework done, the clients purchased the land during the winter while we continued to design the home. 

Reworking the Floorplan

The floor plan we originally came up with lent itself better to a more contemporary design but initial models didn't match the couple's aesthetic. We re-worked the rooflines and some of the interior spaces to create a more traditional Vermont Farmhouse Vernacular with multiple gable roof lines, intersecting ells, and porches and bump outs.  Traditional roof lines don't work as well with modern desires for open floor plans and the specific spaces that serve those goals, so it took some creative approaches to spatial layout so the proportions of the home did not end up out of whack. We ended up with a modern interpretation of that Vermont Farmhouse Vernacular with a two-story core that has an attached ell, a single story connecting mudroom to an attached garage. We complemented the center mass with a single story level master suite, front dining room bump-out to take advantage of the spectacular view, and a screen porch off the kitchen that will serve as an outdoor eating space and allow for excellent cross ventilation.  The final design is attractive, functional, and met the client's aesthetics and wish list.

Follow Our Progress on This Home Build

In the coming weeks and months our blog will follow this home build and give you an insight into the different stages of a build, as well as some of the challenges and solutions developed throughout the process. Custom builds are never as easy as stamping a home on to a piece of land and we will discuss the individual challenges of the site, the design and the process of putting the two together. We invite you to follow along and send us questions along the way. We also hope this blog helps you plan and understand the process if you decide to build your dream home next year, or in the future. 

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