A Slow Process
As with many two-income families seeking to create a home, the thought of building a new house was fraught with financial concerns for the Johnstons. They had a budget of $160,000 in 1995.
Given the limitation of the existing footprint, the house could only grow by building a second story, which would increase the size to between 1,500 sq. ft. and 2,000 sq. ft. The project progressed through sporadic bursts of design activity, regulatory approvals, bidding, and so on during a three-and-a-half-year process of design and permitting and, of course, the unavoidable increase in construction costs over time. Throughout all the ups and downs of the approval process, the owners remained steadfast in their resolve to build the house, and they ended up with a $200,000 price tag for an 1,800-sq.-ft. house that had two-and-a-half bedrooms and one-and-three-quarter baths.
What made containing the budgetary creep even more challenging was the homeowners’ desire for high-quality, durable, and aesthetically expressive materials and features. They chose wood siding (not vinyl), wood flooring (not carpet), a wood-burning fireplace (not gas), high ceilings, and some crafty windowscaping using high-quality windows. The final product is a combination of open space and careful detailing built within extraordinary limits, a beacon of hope for average housing consumers who think that they can’t afford a custom home.
stock doors, nice finish. These doors are straight out of the catalog, mass-produced for economy, but they are made with vertical-grain solid-pine panels and coated with clear urethane to give them a visually rewarding appearance. a carpenterly detail. Set at the joint between the posts and the roof over the master bedroom walk-out porch, this careful combination of stock pieces turns a potentially awkward joint into an interesting design feature.