Building a house is like baking a wedding cake. In your minds eye, you have a picture of how you want that beautiful, special cake to look, and how it is to be displayed. Then the practical realities creep in; how big is the table it’s going to be displayed on, what else has to be displayed with the cake, how it is going to look and taste. Next you gather all your ingredients and tools, and you bake (build) the basic cake, cover it with frosting and fondant, add the flowers and flourishes, and voila, a joy to behold.
Pretty much all the previous posts have been stressing over the shape of the table the cake is going to be displayed on. That’s one the constant, and not all the pans (house floor plans) will make a cake that would fit on that table.
So, now that found the right pan, it’s time to gather the basic ingredients to make my cake. And while my tastes run to pure organic Madagascar vanilla, my budget puts me in the “what’s the best (and least expensive) substitute” column.
I’ve never had a home wherein I could add/paint/design the things I wanted. It was either a rental, or we moved into a previously owned home in which all the core elements (paint, light fixtures, appliances, flooring, window treatments, etc.) had been decided by somebody else. Those things, of course, can be changed but for us, buying a new house, and moving in pretty much took most of our funds, and the changes we made took time.
Not so with this one. And that’s the really fun part. This is where I go back to, when I’m frustrated with other aspects of this process. And I am grateful to my friends letting me talk about this, and providing honest feedback.
All my ramblings so far, have been about the table and the cake pan. Now it’s time to talk about the flour, eggs, milk and butter; the innards of the cake.
Energy efficiency: Todays manufactured homes are built with energy efficiency in mind. Included in the price are dual-paned windows, formaldehyde-free insulation, energy star appliances and energy efficient air-duct systems. On top of those basic items, Skyline offers an upgraded energy package for an extra $2,000. In the winter, my 1950s-built duplex, with single-paned windows, and 1950s insulation, costs me about $250 a month; in the summer, I’m paying about $70/month (which is running my old appliances, electronics and I rarely, if ever, turn on the heater). So I figure that in slightly under three years, the extra expense will pay for itself, and cut down my monthly bills. That’s a great upgrade. Maybe, one day, I could put solar panels on the roof, but that’s another discussion that’s a couple of years down the road.
Ceilings and Windows: With the previous plan I liked, I was going to pay extra for the raised ceilings, but with the plan I’m now getting, not only are the side walls up 8 feet, there are cathedral ceilings throughout, and the living room windows will look like this:
The window(s?) in the dining room will look like this, at least one on the view side. I haven’t made up my mind yet on whether I want the other wall to be all built in cabinets, or a smaller window with built-ins on either side.
I’d really like a front porch, but not sure it can happen. This front entrance is on Skyline’s smallest model. Eventually, I’d like the front yard to have a patio of some sort, and this type of an entrance/steps/door would fit right in. But this may be one of the really expensive ingredients I can’t afford.
My second choice is a beveled glass insert door. Skyline makes one comparable to this (without the fancy side windows). It’s nice.
So, for the time being, these are the structural parts of the house I’m hoping for. The front entrance is still in the works; the other two are locked in.