Initially the design had a wrap-around porch, across the entire front, back to the garage on one side and the master bedroom on the other. We liked the way the house looked with this porch. However, one of the first things we did was to have the plans reviewed by an architect. He praised the overall design, but advised us strongly to reduce the size of the porch. He pointed out that it would be a major cost element that frankly would not get that much use. So we cut back to one porch at the front door and a smaller one at the kitchen side door.
We included an option for a guest room next to the garage, with the idea that this could be eliminated if needed to reduce costs. We also included a partial basement, under the kitchen and dining room, for the wine cellar and utilities. We had a number of other features that we wanted, such as a geothermal heat pump, stucco outside walls and tile floors in all of the living areas, and were also hoping for a roofing material that at least looked like tile.
In 2008 we had an engineer make rough plans from the design, to solicit initial bids from builders in order to determine if we were close to our budget. We included the guest room option at this stage. We came up with a cost target based on our cash and investments, the estimated value of our current house and our combined incomes.
We had final plans drawn up in 2009, by the company that developed the original plan, after our initial bid from one builder. By that point we had decided we could not afford the guest room and left it out of the final plans.