(See our finished project here. But it was a journey that started with a house built in 1957.)
Finding the right family home felt almost impossible. We started looking last May and let's just say we kissed a lot of frogs. Looking for houses on-line reminds me of dating -- everyone presents themselves in the best possible light, flaws fully airbrushed. If your mind works like ours, you can't help but picture yourself in that master bedroom, or your table in that backyard. Then when you meet in person, reality is often a little deflating. We're usually tempted to "make it work" because of irrationally premature emotional investment, but eventually come to our senses. Patience is something we're trying to cultivate.
Homebuying is also a competitive sport these days. A few times houses sold before we could even get a chance to see them. One place actually expected us to make an offer as a condition of even seeing the inside of the house ... that is insane. So at times it felt like we would never find the right home for our family and our project. But it turns out good things DO come to those who wait.
The future Net Zero Nest is a one-story 1,950 sf ranch with original everything, including windows, doors, and a fantastic pink bathroom with a chandelier. Because we are targeting net zero energy, we had a fairly specific wish list. We wanted:
- South or West roof surfaces with good solar potential
- A raised foundation for easy plumbing and HVAC work
- Less than 2,000 sf of living space
- One story, so we can eventually grow old here
- A layout that accommodates passive heating and cooling principles
- A detached home office for a cup of coffee commute
In a remodel situation, you have to work within the constraints of your existing structure and site. We didn't get a detached office either, but we plan to create a multi-use office/den/guest bedroom with a separate entrance instead. What's important is we found our soul mate, and it comes with a two car garage!