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  • Writer's pictureLily Dittschlag & Dennis Dittschlag


Updated: Sep 5, 2020

Finally, after months of waiting, we are reaching a point where we are expecting the building permit to be issued any day now. This means construction is about to start and we cannot wait to see the first progress being made.

It also means that we are getting into a more exciting phase of converting concepts, plans and agreements from paper to reality. We are so excited that we wanted to share our current house plans and explain some of the main ideas and features of our future home.

So without further ado, let's take a look around...

The Basics

Let's start with some background why our house looks the way it does.

Our lot has 25 ft street frontage to the north and is 125 ft deep. This narrow and deep lot is a pretty standard lot size in our favorite neighborhood. To the left / east, the neighboring house is really close to ours, so the plans do not have any windows on that side. Instead, the allowable window area is maximized on the other sides of the building.

In order to fit a house with our desired square footage of 2700 - 3000 sq ft on such a property, we will have a total of three floors: a basement, a main living floor and bedrooms on the top floor.

The Front of the House

Whoomp, there it is!

Some of the main features that will be consistent around the whole exterior of the house are large windows with dark grey frames and an all brick facade. The design is dominated by straight lines, minimal mix of materials and clean architectural details.

We like the look of brick for its strength and timeless style. The actual brick will have a dark red base tone, with grey and blue undertones and some color variety in between the individual stones to provide a dynamic appearance. A classic grey grout will complete this look.

Our builder has lovingly entitled this design as "Modern Manor".

The front of the house will be facing the street to the north, so it has a built-in garage and a slightly elevated entryway. A second car can be parked in the driveway.

The entryway has the front door slightly set back from the front of the house with an overhang for weather protection. The predominant wind and weather direction comes from the west, which is the right side of the image above, so the entry will be nicely protected.

The raised entryway also means we can have a basement with above-grade windows and better ceiling height. This will help make it feel less like a basement and more like a normal living space.

The first floor window above the garage will be for our main living room area and the top floor windows belong to a secondary bedroom and bathroom.

A small front yard to the left of the driveway will complete the front of the house viewed from the sidewalk and the street.

For those interested in the overall dimensions, please check out the simplified elevation drawing below.

The Side View

We may not have a rendering of the side views of the house, but there are still a couple of interesting things to point out on the elevation drawing.

What you are looking at here is the side view from the west, where the front of the house is on the left side of the picture and rear is on the right.

The first thing to note is the door leading into the side of the house. This is not so much to access the basement living space but rather to have back access to the garage without having to open the garage door all the time. We feel this will be especially handy in the winter to clear the snow without having the white stuff blow into the garage and the cold air wearing on the insulation between the garage and the living spaces.

On the main floor, we decided to reposition and resize the three windows for optimal light and space usage. The whole main level will be a connected open floor living area from front to back:

  • The right window will be opposite to the kitchen and is positioned such that there is afternoon sun exposure, enough usable wall space and we won't be looking directly at the neighbor's house.

  • The middle window was resized to have less height and sit higher on the wall. This provides for better privacy as the neighbors won't see onto our dinner table and we won't stare back at them or their roof. Yet, the window still gives us the natural light throughout the space and the shape and position allow us to put a piece of furniture underneath the window.

  • The left window is enlarged to maximize the later afternoon and evening sun and moved as far to the front of the house as possible - again for best wall use (fireplace and TV?) and to still have enough light even if the neighbors were to build a house the size of ours.

The top windows are for two equal-sized bedrooms.

This side of the house will serve as the main avenue around the house from front to back. The area between our house and the neighbor is essentially a 7-8 ft paved driveway with equal use between us and protected with easements on both properties.

As stated above, the other side of the house on the east will not have any windows and will be close to our neighbors on that side, so we're omitting the elevation review from this session.

Party in the Back

On the back side of the house things get really fun. This side will be facing south, so there will be plenty of sun exposure during the day.

The top windows are larger than those in the front as these are for the master bedroom and en suite bathroom.

On the main living area, we will have a glass front that is designed to create a large opening on nice days by having double bi-fold patio doors! This will really connect the indoor and outdoor spaces. The deck will cover the width of the window front for a seamless transition, with an open railing to have a clear view into the backyard.

Downstairs, we will have a lockable door into the basement and a full size window for extra daylight in the basement living space. Having the walkout to the basement will allow us to have multiple access points to the basement and to create a separate living space that we can actually rent out in the beginning (we will get to that in a later post).

In the backyard we plan on having a shed and a rain garden. We will define a plan for these once we get closer to finishing construction on the house.

Where our backyard ends, our neighbor's backyard starts to the south, so we essentially have the two backyards facing each other, which is excellent for added greenery, quiet space and privacy. Our neighbors on the east already have a nice wooden fence in place that we will be happy to work with on our side (thank you, no extra work needed here). To the west side neighbor, we will have our shed and then determine later how best to design access ways, landscaping and privacy screens.

For completeness, here are the dimensions on the rear elevation drawing:

Features not visible

The roof is not visible on the rendering or drawings here, but it does hold at least two features worth mentioning:

  1. The roof will be slightly sloped from west to east for water run off instead of having a flat roof. The actual roofing material will be metal for better longevity and less maintenance. On our current house, we are having to repair shingles in patches every year after the spring storms have come through, and we do that together with our immediate neighbor. Also, the regular shingles used in most residential construction do require full replacement after some time and we just don't want to deal with this in our new house.

  2. There will a a skylight in the middle of the house on the east side right above the staircase for additional daylight in this area. This will be best visible when we go through the floor plans (teaser for a later blog...)

So, that's the plan of our house. By looking at the home's elegant exterior, you cannot tell that it is an energy efficient Passive House. It goes to show that you don't have to sacrifice style for comfort.

Just going through the process of writing this post and looking at the house plans again has made us even more excited now. We're definitely thrilled to get started and making our dream home a reality!

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