Designing My Own House

I've been practicing designing a house. Well, mostly, drawing floor plans. It would be in the Bay Area in California if it ever gets built. Drawing out floor plans helps me put my ideas in order. The floor plans seem to take second place to the rules, though. There is one set of rules. There are many floor plans that will satisfy them. I don't know the dimensions or slope of the final lot, so no floor plans I come up with now can be final. So, I'm writing down the rules here so I can remember them when it comes time to draw up the real design.

It turns out that house construction costs $300 per square foot in the Bay Area. Add to that the cost of land and propery taxes, and we're looking at $2,400,000 to build this, with $30,000 in property taxes per year. I don't have anywhere near that kind of cash, so this is an entirely pointless exercise.

More updates: I joined Microsoft and bought a house in Redmond, Washington. My hard requirements were that it be close to work (under 30 minute commute), big enough for us and guests (5+ rooms people could sleep in), and no balconies my son could climb off of and fall to his death (he demonstrates this to be a real issue daily). Justine had additional requirements: modern construction (1985+), very little street noise, and over 2700 square feet. Our first week we saw everything on the market under $1 million within a 30 minute commute, and nothing satisified the requirements. The second week we got one match so we bought it.

The new house was under construction, so I was able to eliminate the two-story open spaces. But I couldn't do anything about the 10' ceilings, wooden walls, wood shingle siding, washer/dryer not against an outside wall, no basement, and a water temple / jacuzzi attached to the master bedroom. Plus Seattle has its own set of required architectural features that I don't know yet if I like (granite countertops, hardwood floors in the kitchen, crown molding along the ceilings and doors, ...). Crown molding ... now, if that was hollow and could be snapped on and off, you could run all the wiring through that, and you wouldn't have to tear apart the walls to get to the wiring. But no, it's just decorative.

Non-custom houses are built to please everyone all of the time. Is this the best approach? Would it be better to divide people into four or five groups, and build houses targeting one of those groups? The builder said they used to wallpaper houses, but invariably whoever bought it wanted different wallpaper. Maybe he's right, maybe house buyers can't be divided into groups. But it seems unlikely.

Common Californian architectural features that I want to avoid:

Required features:

Optional rules:

Possible how-to's:

Here's the current most favored floorplan:

Justine wanted me to keep a record of progress on the designs. So, here it is, earliest to latest.

This design is pretty far off the beaten path. There are many features (RASTRA, flat fenced-in roof, subbasements, round rooms) that almost never appear alone, let alone in combination. The only way I'll find a house like this is if I have it built myself.