Building a house is a full-time job, even when you hire an architect and a builder, and even when they are both as excellent as ours are. (Quick shout out to Thom Wagner, our architect, and Ken Konopka and his team at Tri-County Builders who were all terrific to work with.) Now that we have finished this enormous project, and are living in our new house, we can laugh about the fact that what we built is not at all what we thought we wanted at the start.
Since we were going to have a vineyard we thought we should have a Tuscan style manor or better yet, a French country farm house. The realities of our budget set in quickly once we found out what the cost of a Mediterranean style roof was. Why not switch to a mass-produced, rubberized but eco-friendly version? Nope, still pretty dang expensive. Ditto for slate. Ditto for fake slate. And thank goodness Thom did a quick calculation on the cost of building his original design for us because the entire second floor disappeared in that instant along with any chance of charming and quirky shed roofs, etc. But what were we thinking anyway? We didn’t need or want a house that big.
We ended up with exactly what we wanted: a single story ‘rancher’ with three bedrooms, and a big kitchen/great room, a big mudroom, and an office that looks out over the vineyard. The roof? It’s asphalt combined with some sections that are corrugated metal to match the barn. Saving money on the roof let us splurge on beautiful doors and a real stone fireplace and fancier bathrooms, and a private patio for the master bedroom. The house looks like it belongs with a vineyard – a vineyard in New Jersey, and that’s ok. It’s where we live.