The importance of a good house plan

Here are my thoughts on the importance of having a good house plan and choosing a good designer/architect.

Save money by planning ahead of time (not by skimping on the plan)

First, I cannot stress enough the importance of a good house plan. In addition to the practical matter of designing a house you want to live in, there is also the matter of building a house that you want to live in. Before the foundation, before the framing, comes the plan. If the people building your house are having to go off an inadequate plan, your house will likely end up inadequate.

A good house plan makes everyone life easier. Furthermore, even though it may cost more up front, in the long run a good plan should actually end up saving more money. In other words, a house plan is a wise investment that will give you great returns in saved construction costs… as opposed to skimping on the plan and trying it ‘fly by night’ where you potentially run into costly overruns and major changes while you are actually building,

How to find a designer?

I hope to write more on this in the future, but I can recommend a few first steps:

  • talk to friends and home owners in your area, see how their experiences were
  • if you are building timber frame, ask your builder for a recommendation!

The 2nd tip is particularly important in timber frame, as the intricacies of timber frame layout will dictate much more corroboration between your plan designer and your timber frame builder (as opposed to conventional construction, where the two can sometimes be quite separate). If your designer has worked with your builder before (and they enjoyed the experience) then they will be more comfortable with each and already know the ins-and-outs this time around.

How did we find our designer?

We are big fans of Cook Timberframe in Seymour Missouri. They are an excellent timber frame builder and if you are near Missouri and are interested in timber frame construction, you owe it to yourself to check out some of the nice projects they have done.

In addition to being amazing craftsmen and nice folks, they also recommended Steve Rehagen of Imperial Design. At Cook’s recommendation I gave Steve a call. I enjoyed the conservation and I also learned a lot.

After that initial conversation I asked Steve to send some past sample work and he went above and beyond here, sending me a variety of plans so I could gauge his work. I forwarded these plans on to my longtime friend and quite capable architect, John Odom. John was also impressed with the work.

Steve and I talked over my goals for the plan and he sent me an estimate. I found the estimate to be quite reasonable and we continued from there. Since then, Steve has helped us improve the plan and he has been quick to implement changes. Overal I have been very impressed with his work at each stage of the process.

Steve is something of a perfectionist (not a bad quality in a designer!) and is still in the process of perfecting his website, however, here is his contact info if you would like to talk to him about designing your dream plan 🙂

Steve Rehagen
Imperial Design
steve.rehagen AT

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