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  • Writer's picturemaxvasher

Design Build Part 2: Finding Design Space

When I began designing our home, my wife and I were living at my family's bed and breakfast. I was the only one in my family left in New Mexico at the time. My mother ran the place quite successfully for over a decade. While there she entertained the likes of Goldie Hawn, Kirstie Alley and Wes Study. It was a grand piece of property and in fact the current owners let the film industry use the place as a location home for a drug lord in the hit show "Breaking Bad". I was away at graduate school when her seventh husband committed suicide by blowing his brains all over the front entrance gate of the family inn with a hunting rifle. My mother was understandably distraught and immediately moved away from New Mexico planning to let the bank have the house. Obviously, I couldn't let the bank have our family home. So, rather than leaving the house abandoned, I decided to move in, rent rooms to pay bills, and commute to graduate school and the tattoo shop to make ends meet hoping that I could get the house sold sometime in the near future. It was not exactly how I planned to finish grad school, but things don't always go as planned. Maybe that's why I emphasize doing as much planning as possible now. Anyway, after graduating and working for Bart Prince and taking care of over 3 acres and 5000 square feet of bed and breakfast for years the family house still had not sold. Then, Jennifer and I found a piece of property that we loved and we bought it. I wanted to design and build and so did she. I would take care of our family house as long as it took to design and build our home and then I was going to have to let the b-n-b go if that's what fate had in store. But then serendipity struck. Miraculously, they day we closed on our property there was an offer for the b-n-b. It sold within days. I was thrilled. Jennifer was a bit worried because we intended to live there until our house was completed. However, I was relieved because maintaining the b-n-b during design and construction would have been tremendously distracting to say the least. I immediately found a little 450 square foot casita to rent less than a mile from our new property. It was perfect and it was to be our new home and studio for about a year and a half until we could move into our house. My drafting table took up most of the living room space and Jennifer's art studio took up most of the kitchen. The place was hilariously small and it was the most delightful situation I could have hoped for. At the time, Jennifer was working on a series of work focussing on the use of pharmaceuticals. She had to mask up because of the volume of pills. Her work was strung up all over the casita and surrounded me while I spent my time in Autocad and at the drafting table building models. Over the next year and a half we would begin designing and building our first forever home and a life and life style we had always dreamed possible. We were on the cusp of designing our lives and failure was not an option.

It's kind of funny writing about this now. I intended for this post to focus on the importance of planning and designing before construction. Seems instead that I've drifted into a story of how I got to the design and build process without discussing the design and build process itself. Well, maybe it will just take longer to do these posts than I anticipated. No sense in leaving the juicy details out I guess. Not to worry, I still want to talk about the importance of design prior to construction, so that will be the topic for the next post.

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