No Pressure…

The past week just flew by while we were on Vancouver Island!  Stress levels were high, but fortunately even the things that seemed catastrophic at the time turned out okay in the end.  Y’know; small details like our lawyer informing us that a few hundred thousand dollars of our cash had apparently vanished into thin air.

*takes some deep calming breaths*

It turned out our money was in a different trust account than they usually use and everything was actually fine and dandy, but I nearly had a brain aneurysm in the few hours that elapsed between receiving the email saying “Hey, we don’t have your money” and the phone call saying “It’s okay, we do have your money after all”.

Once the land purchase closed (hooray, we’re landowners!) we met with our project manager and subcontractors a couple of times for coordination, but our only real responsibility was to supply the layout for the house.

No problem, right?

You’d think that somebody who’d spent 12 years as a designer would be thrilled by the chance to design her own house.  But did I mention I totally sucked at that career?  Yes; yes I did.  (Mention it, I mean.  Well, and I sucked at it.)

But I tackled the job anyway.

For the past 18 years I’ve delighted in cursing the idiocy of the unknown person who designed our current house; but it’s a whole different story when I’m the idiot designing the house I’m planning to live in for the foreseeable future.  Suddenly design flaws aren’t nearly so entertaining.

I tossed and turned at night, my brain buzzing.  The crisis-point occurred around midnight the day before the plan was due, when I sprang out of bed with the sudden realization that I hadn’t included a guest room on the main floor!

Cue the trumpets of the apocalypse!

It’s amazing how the relative importance of things gets blown out of proportion when you’re sleep-deprived.  Hands shaking, I fired up my CAD program and pushed walls around until I finally achieved a guest room around 1:30 AM, then crept back to bed secure in the knowledge that I had averted disaster.  Probably.



The floor plans are with the builder now, but I have a squirmy sensation in my stomach every time I think about them.  I’ve undoubtedly forgotten some critical thing that will haunt my nights and make me slap myself in the forehead every day for the next 20 years or so.

But I’ve still got a few days before the final sign-off to figure out what I’ve done wrong and fix it.

No pressure…

Have you ever designed your own house?  How did it go?  (Or is it better for me not to know?)

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30 thoughts on “No Pressure…

    • That’s so cool! I don’t know if I’d necessarily trust the sea lions the way he does, but it’s neat to see him interact with them.

      And when we were on the Island a couple of weeks ago, we saw whales just off the coast at Qualicum Beach! We were standing there on the shore, watching the big backs hump up out of the water, and big tail fins flip up… so amazing! I can hardly wait to move out there permanently!


  1. “a few hundred thousand dollars…..” – and here I go into an, “I’m gonna rip his fingers off mood” in Paris when some snidy little pickpocket lifted 20 Euros off me just as I was running for a train. Then of course making the train by 5 seconds and having to negotiate 12 cars to reach my seat brought to the surface an untold amount of frustration.

    It’s when we look back on these things and laugh or learn the lesson (like get to the station earlier), that we can actually appreciate the circumstance which tested us. The pressure moments make us realize how small we are in the world of events and we can laugh at the insignificance of it all.

    It also helps improve my sense of humor, oddly enough.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m impressed that it improves your sense of humour! I’d be in “I’m gonna rip his fingers off” mode, too, but I don’t know that I’d be able to laugh about it later. 😉

      We did the same thing when we were on our way home from the coast – rushed into the airport, made the luggage cutoff time with bare minutes to spare, and made it through security with just enough time to wolf down half a sandwich before they called our flight. I’m normally an early bird, so that kind of last-minute stuff drives up my blood pressure. Yesterday we listed our Calgary house so today there’s more rushing around with last-minute stuff… *breathes deeply*

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I sort-of designed my house. How do you sort of design a house, you ask? You decide to purchase a new home, one not yet built on a city lot that had a derelict house that was taken down. The developer hands you a design plan he picked out to build on the lot. He gives it to you for approval. It shows an eat-in kitchen and a living room and a half bath on the main floor, and two bedrooms and a full bathroom upstairs, and a basement only half submerged. I noted the scale of the plans and measured up all my furniture to see how it would fit in the house.

    It didn’t fit, and my furniture is small in scale and there aren’t that many pieces of furniture. The drawing they had of the table in the kitchen turned out to be one foot wide by 3 feet long and showed 6 chairs around it. It turned out that I would be leaving my no frills 2 BR apartment and paying more to live in a space that had far less living space. I had just read a book on living in small spaces and they said, “eliminate all hallways.” This place was filled with hallways on every floor. I realized that if I just turned the orientation of the stairways around by 180 degrees, I would lose all the halls. I showed the idea to the developer and he agreed it was a better plan. We would need to add a support beam across the center of the main floor to make up for the loss of load bearing walls, but there would be far fewer studs, less sheetrock, and less labor needed to tape, mud, sand and paint fewer walls. They took my idea back to the architectural firm they got the original plan from and they loved my ideas. They worked up proper plans since I know nothing of board feet and heating ducts and joists and electrical runs. I got to re-design what should have been a master bedroom into a reasonable artist studio with skylights and windows facing North and East.

    I ended up with a goog kitchen large enough for two cooks to work without killing each other that is open to the dining and living room. The bedrooms became almost 4 feet larger on one side, and my basement had a sweet sewing/laundry studio, and a private bedroom and a 3/4 bath, all with decent light from the larger windows. The dufus men in charge of the project forgot to build me a linen closet as shown in the plans, and when I called them on it, they said they thought I’d want space for a wastebasket. They probably never had to look for a place to store bed linens and towels in their lives. They put in a cabinet and I was fine with that- and there is plenty of space for the wastebasket.

    Only one thing has been a pain. The area designated as the place for the furnace and hot water heater and washer/dryer stack was so tiny that when the city wanted to swap out the water meter, I had to hire a plumber to move my washer/dryer because there was no way a normal sized human could enter, much less work in the enclosure. When the hot water heater needed to be replaced, I was forced to get an electric heater because the venting system used previously was no longer up to city code. I also looked into tankless heaters, but the plumber dissuaded me from that too, since I’d have to tear up all the finished walls between where the gas comes into the house and where the unit would be installed in order to run the gas lines.

    Best of luck with the plans and stay on top of the idiot males involved with building your house who see no need for storage.

    Liked by 1 person

    • LOL! Hubby and I feel like some kind of demented opera chorus with only one line: “More storage! More storage!” A simple linen closet doesn’t seem too much to ask.

      And wow, you must have a real gift for space-planning – it sounds like your house is absolutely wonderful! But a kitchen table 3′ x 1′ with six chairs?!? If an architectural firm drew that up, they should have their license revoked. Or maybe they should hire you to design their floor plans. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Never designed a house. It sounds like a final exam in a really tough subject to me! Gah. May you have considered everything necessary – and enough of the things that are unnecessary but lovely – to make you love your house 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I designed three. We didn’t build any of them because my wife could not decide between the two story, ranch, or split level. I finally put a foot down and we bought an existing two story before I had to draw something more exotic. I wish you the best of luck, with few problems.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Crikey! Mislaying that amount of money probably added to your sleepless nights, Diane, even though it was found again. I have sleepless nights when I lose a fiver.
    As for your design, I hope you haven’t forgotten stairs, and windows and things. I’d probably forget them, if I were designing…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. It would be a challenge. I like high counters and lots of pull out drawers, neither of which I have in the current house. I like bedrooms with enough room for all of the furniture and still have room to walk around.( at least 14×14) Big closets are a must. It seems every house I have owned has small closets.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Not me. Remodeled a couple but never serious stuff. My oldest and her hubby did but I think they started from a basic plan. Turned out OK. One flaw – not enough depth to the nook for the laundry – machines too big. Cant put a door on it.
    Do post sketches once it is “final”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s an excellent point – alcoholic beverages have definitely proved helpful in the process. And I suspect the lawyer was pretty certain that adding “Ha-ha” would have pushed me over the edge. I was just a teeny bit wild-eyed at the time…

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Okay, this will be brief:

    No, we have not designed our own home. Nor will we ever. We are still married. By never trying to design our own home, we will stay that way.

    Further, deponent sayeth not. Just sayin’… 🙂


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