Choosing the Design


We met with Alan a few times to go over the Guiding Principles and more details from our wish list. Things like a Not So Big House philosophy, an open floor plan with everything on the ground floor, large window seat with view of the woods, library with built-in shelves, etc.

Alan took all of this in and asked for a mix tape of music that we felt would capture how we wanted to feel in the house. We burned the following to CD:

Grant House Playlist, for Alan Abrams

  1. “Solsbury Hill”, Peter Gabriel
  2. “This Woman’s Work”, Kate Bush
  3. “Star Dust”, Nat “King” Cole
  4. “Miles from Nowhere”, Cat Stevens
  5. “Like an Old Fashioned Waltz”, Sandy Denny
  6. “Love’s Recovery”, Indigo Girls
  7. “Let Me Be Your Pirate”, Nena
  8. “The Kind Of Love You Never Recover From”, Christine Lavin
  9. “The Pony Man”, Gordon Lightfoot
  10. “Splendor in the Grass”, Pink Martini
  11. “Falling Slowly”, The Swell Season
  12. “Red & Blazing”, Abigail Washburn
  13. “The Joyful Kilmarnock Blues”, The Proclaimers
  14. “Lodestar”, Sarah Harmer
  15. “Moonlight Bay”, Leon Redbone

After a few preliminary drafts, Alan produced this intriguing layout:

Floor plan and exterior elevations of the original diamond design for the house

Unfortunately, when the estimate came back from Klockner & Co., it was way over budget. Putting everything on the ground floor isn’t nearly as economical as stacking levels. Because of the Universal Design principle, we needed all the main living spaces to be on the ground floor. But we decided to move the kids’ bedrooms and the mechanicals upstairs, which eventually led to the final design:

Final ground and second-level floor plans for our home in Derwood

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