So I try to keep this as REAL LIFE and RELEVANT as possible. I want to tell you about a revelation I had on Monday. Around 2 pm, I received a call from our contractor in Philadelphia about whether or not we wanted to include a dishwasher and a disposal in each kitchen for the duplex we are working on. Now, I thought we had determined that we DID want to include this like three weeks ago, so I was confused at the question. I was then told the plumber was a bit irritated because our plans did not make this evident. I was totally caught off guard because I was looking at the plans and to me it was evident! But given that feedback, I started to dig a little deeper and realize where there might be some confusion. I want to talk to you about that AND about the various iterations we have produced of this layout. I also want to start this by saying our GC is a saint (knock on wood) and has helped us navigate each one of these layout overhauls along the way. Let’s talk about it.
So, as we do, let’s talk Real Estate, let’s talk THE EVOLUTION OF OUR FLOORPLAN…
Quick recap of this project; we totally gutted a single family home and are turning it into a duplex! The original plan was…
Unit 1: 2 bed, 1 bath, with backyard patio
Unit 2: 3 bed, 2 bath, but a much bigger unit
Here is where we stand today;
Unit 1: 1 bed, 1 bath, with backyard patio – lost a bedroom here!
Unit 2: 2 bed, 2 bath with an office- andddd we lost another bedroom here!
HOW DID WE GET HERE?
10ish iterations of the layout later….I am going to say the biggest contributor to this back and forth was not hiring an in person architect on this project. If we had, they might have been able to tell us off the bat that what we had wanted to build was just not going to work. I want to quickly walk through how each of the iterations changed so that you may be able to (a) call me out where you think I went wrong, and (b) learn from my trial and error so you do not delay your own projects!
- I draw up some initial sketches in PPT(it was seriously just a variation of squares to get an idea of what we were looking for) and submit it to a virtual architect (let’s call him VA going forward)
- VA sends me some sketches 5 days later that he drew up in an online application of his. His floorplans look way more legit than my PPT.
- I immediately sent the VA some revisions on sizing, kitchen and bathroom layouts.
- VA sent me the final sketch, and I forward this to the GC.
- I decide we MUST have a closet in the 2nd floor unit to put a washer / dryer, so I try and add that into the VA’s detailed sketch. I then forward the revised layout to our GC.
- I realize we never drew out the specifications for the bedroom closets, so we add those in and submit another revision to the GC.
- The framing begins and we realize our measurements we were all working off of were off… so much so that we cannot have two bedrooms in the 1st floor unit – it just would not be right to have a room that small. So, I rush down to Philadelphia, and legitimately draw out a brand new layout with the GC while the framing crew is at the property. Adios to the first of our bedroom losses. After we draw this out in person, I tried to quickly update the “formal” floor plans so that we have the new layout on record but then it looked messy, so instead of trying to edit over the VA’s formal sketches, I decide to teach myself how to use Lucidchart and redraw the sketches from scratch to include my edits. This was all rushed and done between the hours of 4am-9am because the framers needed to get started and we had a wedding to attend! As I type this I want to state that this is NOT a bragging moment about “working so hard”, rather this is to give you a true glimpse into the lack of glamour behind a house flip. It is not necessarily like you see on the TV shows guys! Once these are done, I send them over to our GC for his own record!
- Now the framing is complete, and our GC is doing a walkthrough only to realize one of the bedrooms on the 3rd floor is not actually big enough to be a bedroom… We could tear this all out and start over but it really wouldn’t make sense from a time and cost perspective to do this. This 3rd bedroom now becomes an office. Bye bye bye to another bedroom. To compensate for this, we turn this unit into a 2 bed, 2 bath – both being master suites, oh and there is an office too – small win!?
- Now I NEED to see all of these changes for myself so I trek down to Philadelphia to see the layout in front of my own eyes. Turns out, I HATE that laundry closet that I just HAD to have earlier on. It cuts way too much into the 2nd unit’s living space. I ask to knock it down immediately.
- This leads me to version #10 and where this story started… my phone call on Monday. Now the plumber is saying that he did not know that we wanted a dishwasher and disposal based on the layouts. Here is where I see the confusion… we have two versions of the layout in what I call our “Project Packet”; (1) the first page is a very broad overview of the entire floor plan where we have rooms outlined with dimensions but you do not see the smaller items i.e. a dishwasher, or a sink, (2) is a very detailed version of the floorplan that goes room by room and lays out the exact dimensions of the countertops, appliances, etc. This is in the back of the packet. Apparently the plumber was working off of the broad overview (first page of the packet)…I quickly make sure to overhaul the “broad overview” section to avoid any and all confusion!
So I guess we are technically at 11ish versions, now?
ANYWAY, WHAT WERE SOME LESSONS LEARNED?
- NEVER HAVE A GENERAL OVERVIEW OF THE FLOORPLAN LIKE I DID. I don’t think it is that helpful and the more you can do to mitigate confusion – the better!
- If I had hired an in person architect I would not have had these issues. I worked with a virtual architect who only allotted me a certain number of revisions. This is DEFINITELY a downfall of using a virtual architect. While I think projects can still be done with virtual architects, I think next time I will try and work with one who allows unlimited revisions AND who is open to Facetime or pictures to see the insides of the home.
NOW, on the flip side to all of this, if I had hired an in person architect I would have never learned about these issues, and honestly for that I am grateful!
Has anyone else on here experienced something similar? Any tips? We are always open to new suggestions!
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