Why Build?


Now that we’ve sold our beloved but impractical old house, it’s time to think about what’s coming next. We’ve decided to build a house instead of buying one for a few different reasons. Matt may have different ones, but for me, these are the big ones: accessibility, sustainability, versatility, individuality.

Accessibility: One of the frustrating things about multiple sclerosis is that there’s no way to predict what my experience with this disease will be. So far, I’m in great shape. No problems with mobility or anything like that. But since we don’t know what’s coming, we want to plan a house with some basic accommodations: first floor master bedroom, wider doorways, wall-mounted sink, etc. It will be great to settle into a place that we know we can stay, no matter what comes next.

Sustainability: We’ve been in a big and somewhat drafty house for a decade, and we’re ready to tighten things up. The plan is to build a very small, very tight, very efficient house. It’ll be pleasant to live in, more affordable to maintain, which is nice for us. And I think it will be a better architectural citizen of the world. I like the idea of living in only the amount of space we really need. Nothing extra.

Versatility: Following that train of thought, we’re looking for a space that will work in many different ways. I feel like we don’t need a big room for each purpose: big office, big bedrooms, big kitchen, etc. I’d like a house that will work in many different ways, depending on our evolving needs as a family. I’d like a house like a swiss army knife. Compact, changeable, handy.

Individuality: One of the things I like about old houses is that they’re surprising. They’re quirky. They’re not just a series of boxes stacked up next to one another. You’re not completely sure what will be behind each door. Even in our house, where we’ve lived all this time, I like the idea that things are slightly unexpected. I hope we can have something like that again.

Moving is definitely not something we would have imagined doing a year ago. Building a house is not something we would have imagined doing ever. But building seems to be the best way to get everything that we’re looking for. Now that we’re here, I’m excited. Feels like the start of a great adventure.

7 thoughts on “Why Build?

  1. 36″ wide doorways are a must (along with 36″ wide clearances on all aisles, etc.). Lever door handles thru-out the house and some way to automatically open/shut the house main entrance door that will be a wheelchair’s primary access point (i have just started researching for the best ones). I would also opt to wire the new house for “smart house” control (everything controlled by a remote or smart phone- heat, lights,TV, stereo, garage door opener, ceiling fans, door locks, window opening & closing…). Good luck! Building a perfect house is a lot of fun.

  2. I’m in the same boat. Considering building a home and have “not bad” MS. Thank you for the food for thought about planning for the worst while hoping for the best! 🙂

  3. We did a huge remodel of our home for accessibility and my blog shares pictures (Garage-HouseRemodel category). I have a short post titled Accessibility Recommendations, but I’ve been working on a post with a looong list of considerations when building. Maybe I should hurry it up for you?

  4. Congratulations on selling the house and good luck with your homebuilding plans! Having been through this process essentially twice now I’d be happy to chat with you if you have any questions. I don’t know about the accessibility piece but the other parts of the process are familiar turf. Saw you & John crossing the street the other day, you looked so happy and in the moment!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s