Deep Dive: If I Could Start Over...

...what would I have done differently? I tend to ask myself this futile question entirely too often, even though doing so amounts to an admission of regret, and I've always thought regrets were the most self-destructive of emotions. But given my current dire circumstances, I find it increasingly difficult to resist the dark side...

Starting Over With the Current Plan

Foundation adjustments. Presently, the foundation is off-angle, as I've detailed previously, so I'd have made sure it was oriented correctly. I'd also have separated the levels by greater vertical distances—perhaps five feet instead of four—so that the deck wouldn't tower over the ravine. And, I'd have pushed the whole house further down into the ravine by maybe 10-20 feet.

Smaller footprint. Now that I see all of the interior spaces in the flesh, I believe I could have shaved a fair amount off of the total square footage of the house. I like small homes—now more than ever, having lived in a one-room cabin for over two years—and some spaces seem larger than necessary. Specifically, the office, kitchen and laundry could all stand to be smaller, and the front porch is more than twice as large as need be. And while the generous garage will certainly come in handy, I could have lived with a smaller one.

Before:

After:

Reorganized spaces. As I've wrestled with the organization of certain spaces, such as Kitty Central, if starting over I'd have done things differently. Kitty Central might have been on the second level, next to the office, and the foyer would then be a fraction of its current size.

Shallower steps. As it is now, the height of the steps between the levels is a bit rough on the knee. I'd have gone with shallower steps, perhaps six instead of eight inches.

Flat roof. Although I'd previously rejected a flat roof as too difficult and/or costly to build, in retrospect I believe I might have been able to pull it off. Also, there might have been only two roof sections instead of three, with the upper roof covering both the garage and studio/office levels.

Wall framing style. In an effort to maximize interior space, I invested a tremendous amount of work in framing the walls along the perimeter, cutting stud widths individually to exactly conform to the foundation's variations. I now realize it was a wasted effort; instead, I should have standardized on more generous framing dimensions, which would have been far easier to construct, and provided more room for insulation as well. I'd have lost some floor space, but not enough to have mattered.

Starting Over Completely

If I were to rewind my life all the way back to the very beginning of this adventure, I might have built a very different home. And I'll admit that a growing part of me wishes I'd gone this route.

Occasionally I've regretted attempting to build my own home. But this is rare, and I hate myself for ever thinking it. Perhaps I might have found a different property and was able to build my home for much less, thereby avoiding my current dilemma, or I might have sold that commercial property to someone else who closed on it promptly.

All futile "woulda coulda shoulda" thoughts. It is what it is.

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