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  1. Jacq

    My dad & step mom live in a community (specific floor plans to pick from) and had the option of a second floor, and went with it. The first floor has the master, but also a bedroom. It is definitely used for snoring / someone is sick nights. The upstairs has 2 bedrooms, a full bath & sitting area. They deliberately got enough bedrooms for me, my sister & brother to stay, and feel comfortable. Because I live out of state I stay more often. I know they have talked about maybe downsizing in the next 3,5,10 years.
    My mom got a 1 story with 3 bedrooms when she moved to Florida. I have 3 bedrooms, as was encouraged for resale. It sometimes seems silly to have guest rooms for such occasional visitors. I’m still at a stage where my friends and I stay up late catching up, it’s nice to just go to bed, not go to a hotel. For some people the savings on space or property tax assessed by square footage is enough to cover the rare guest at a hotel.
    I am sure you will settle on a fair compromise eventually.

    • Mrs. Groovy

      Thanks for discussing these perspectives. We’re at the point where we’re having fewer out of state guests because most of our family has already relocated from NY to NC.

      It seems we’ve agreed on a 3-bedroom, 1-story home, like your mom. We’re used to having a den and the extra 120 square feet won’t make much of a dent in our taxes or utilities. Also, the only hotel we’ve noticed nearby is a Days Inn that is not very appealing looking from the outside. It can get tricky, for sure.

      • Jacq

        Some of that is to convince myself for my ideal future tiny house. 🙂
        And I think the plan is for everyone to do RVs or Tents when you guys have your Annual Groovy Fest, right? 🙂

          • Jacq

            Yes! I’ve loved the idea of a tiny home since I found out it was ‘a thing’. Growing up we had a summer cabin that is ~1000 sq feet. For 5 weeks it housed 4-5 of us (dad had to work, but would come up for a least 1 week & weekends) comfortably. Seeing the tiny house shows and people using renewable, sustainable materials, plus the idea of having a smaller space to heat/cool, furnish, etc sounds wonderful. Lower cost for square footage (lower property tax for the house), and being able to then put more $ towards land, or making it mobile so if the job changes, if all my friends or family move somewhere, I don’t have to sell a house, I can just move the house! I have had people comment if I get a tiny house I’d need to get a truck to haul it. Ha! You can (a) rent a truck or (b) hire someone to move it, if you’re truly moving it infrequently, which would be my ideal.
            I’m even ok with a non-mobile tiny house like Claudia & Garrett have now.
            My friends and family tell me & would gladly tell anyone who asks, I have way too much stuff and need a MAJOR pare down before I’d be ready to move tiny. I have been trying in small ways to notice what I don’t use/ need, and add it to the donation pile, and to not bring in new items.
            It’s a stretch goal, but it’s my new “big” savings goal. I’m set on maxing Roth, 401k, HSA. Now to save up for a tiny house & whatever comes up between now & then. 🙂

            • Mrs. Groovy

              What part of the country would you want to be in if you lived in a permanent smaller house? Claudia and Garrett visited a city in TX called Spur that is billing itself as the first tiny home town. If I remember correctly, the maximum square footage is in the 700s, which is not at all a tiny home. In NY that’s like a large one bedroom apartment!

              That’s a great goal to max out all 3 if you have access to them, especially an HSA. I’ve been reminding folks with an HSA that if you think you might use the money in the future to cover past medical expenses, make sure you start keeping electronic copies of bills and those EOBs (Explanation of Benefits) because paper fades.

  2. Alicia

    Mrs. Groovy, I’m sure you and Mr. Groovy look much younger than your age. I used to get comments about how young I looked, but lately I’ve noticed there is less of those and more patients asking if the other nurses and residents are old enough to know what they are doing. Guess it happens to the best of us. Enjoy your new house. I have enjoyed reading about it.

    • Mrs. Groovy

      Thanks, Alicia. I know you’re an honest person so I’m going to choose to believe you on that first sentence.
      We’ll have many more twists and turns on the road to our new house.

  3. Lol omg, you ended with a photo of trash hahahaha. You know they said building a house is one sure fire way to start a disagreement with your spouse. I remember watching HGTV and that was the thing everyone said they said to be careful with when buying a fixer or new plot. It’s easy to understand though. It’s such a big decision and you got two people who love each other but might not see eye to eye.

    I only can advise to be worried about stairs with children and seniors around. Jared has fallen down the stairs so many times since we moved into our third floor townhouse. Thank God it’s carpeted or else I’ll be out one husband. And I even argued for non carpeted stairs when we were house shopping….carpet totally saved lives of countless phones dropped.

    • Mrs. Groovy

      That’s scary, Lily! Thankfully, Jared hasn’t been hurt!

      We’ve got wood stairs now. I don’t want to ‘put the whammy’ (Mr. G’s expression) on us but we’ve had no issues with them. But anyway, the current incarnation of the Groovy Ranch floor plan is one level. And the loft is out.

  4. Louise

    I looked at the pictures of the “farmhouses” you posted, (which I also like), and tried to summarize: You like a sense of spaciousness with an upstairs front window, pointed roof, vertical windows with lots of open space around them, not brickwork, pillars, and a big porch on more than one side. I agree with the architect, that the outside can be changed more quickly than the inside.
    You don’t have slopes to do a walk-out basement in back, do you?
    Also, as a strange comment, one rarely looks at one’s own house. You spend more time looking out the windows at the neighbor’s (or fields or trees).

    • Mrs. Groovy

      That’s very astute of you, Louise. Thanks for taking the time to review the photos.

      No, there are no slopes for a walk-out basement. Basements are not big in these parts of North Carolina. It could have something to do with the damp soil and drainage. I’ve noticed an issue with this on the walking path we take in the park. Even though the park is new, the path does not drain properly. After a rainfall, the soil surrounding it builds up with water and the water pools on the path until it’s evaporated.

    • Mrs. Groovy

      Thanks, Gary. We’re learning to think as a team. I just need to remind myself — we made it through us both working from home together; we made it (so far) through blogging together. We CAN make it through building a home together.

  5. I think you should post the two prospective floor plans in a vote-post. You can show both options, list what you love about each of them, and have us give you any additional feedback in the comments.

    We might be able to give you additional positives about one option or the other that you didn’t think of, which could help you in your decision process. The decision would still, ultimately, be up to you, but you would have the combined knowledge of an entire community behind you to work out any final hesitations.

    • Mrs. Groovy

      MissSaraBee! I appreciate the suggestion but my head would be spinning like a top if this were put to a vote. The designer already threw us for a loop! I don’t think I could handle that many opinions. I don’t think Mr. Groovy could handle me handling that many opinions.

  6. Eesh, that’s quite a back and forth.

    Don’t forget that a one-story house is also easier to heat and cool. I’m not sure where you live, but here in Arizona I shudder at two-story houses. Yes, I think they look nicer, but all that extra air to fill with cool or heat… No thanks!

    • Mrs. Groovy

      Eesh is a good word for it, Abigail. You’re so right about considering heating and cooling. We’re fortunate to be in NC, where electricity has been much cheaper than when we lived in NY. It can depend on the county you live in. The one we’re moving to supplies electricity through a coop. We still have to find out if gas is available or if we need propane.

  7. Why not build a one story with a lofted ceilings? You’d get that exterior look you both love without an actual second story. And I want to reiterate the comments you’ve received regarding adaptive reuse. As someone in the building industry, I’ve heard way too many stories of couples who built their “dream house” and then when a health issue made it so they couldn’t manage the stairs, they had to move. It’s way cheaper to plan for those things up front (even if you never have to use them), and then you have the peace of mind that your dream home can be just that for as long as YOU choose.

    • Mrs. Groovy

      Your point is well taken, Angela. Thank you. We’re leaning towards a simple loft area for the second story, without a full second floor of rooms. We wouldn’t need to use the loft if a time should come that we’re unable to access it. Also, if we decide to stay in the home forever and need more downstairs space, we could add on a room (or two, or an accessory building). That’s the beauty of living on unrestricted acreage.

    • Mrs. Groovy

      It could be a forever home but we’re thinking it might not be. Down the road, if Mr. Groovy’s parents or sister and her husband should leave NC, we’d have less of a reason to stay. Especially if we’re doing any extended travel.

      Thanks for having faith in us!

  8. I have always heard building was the most stressful thing you could do as a couple. Coming out of a total remodel was no picnic either and we both gave each other some figurative black eyes. I agree that stairs suck and as a healthcare provider in a medical rehab teaching people how to walk and talk again, I was always a big fan. Of one story living but then we “rightsized” to a condo. One on the SECOND floor and no elevator. I constantly scan the market for the first floor units and hope to pick up one on a market downturn and then we can rent the upstairs one.

    Your accounts and the fight o meter reminds me of rock ‘em sock ‘em robots my brothers used to play! I can’t wait to see which way the decision will go 😉

    • Mrs. Groovy

      Haven’t heard those words in a long time — rock ’em sock ’em robots! Thanks for the memory.

      We lived in a 3rd story walk-up condo for a short time when we first relocated. The 2nd story unit was available too but the 3rd was the top floor, and we didn’t want to hear anyone above us.

      I remember when my parents moved from NY to FL. Those first story end units were prime!

  9. Hey Mrs. Groovy,

    I live in a one-story house and really like it, though it’s hard to argue with the efficiency of two stories. I’d definitely think that, for a two-story design, the top floor would be better for lesser-used amenities, like guest space. Still useful, but less cleaning, maintenance, and stair-climbing.

    • Mrs. Groovy

      That’s absolutely what we’re thinking, Miguel, especially if we go with a simple upstairs loft. We won’t have a full floor of rooms. Thanks for your input.

  10. Mr. & Mrs. FMM have yet to go through the home buying / building process yet in our lives, but I know for fact we will have similar fights that you guys have been having!

    There is ALOT of compromise that goes into living with another person because both individuals have a set idea in their head of how they want their living situation to look like. Especially when it comes to building a potential “forever” home! I commend you both for being up front and honest with how this process is going for you, and it definitely is a help to people like me who have yet to run into this scenario in my life yet!

    I look forward to future updates!

    • Mrs. Groovy

      Our current home is in a subdivision. If we were building here, we’d be restricted to the models the builder is constructing. We’d still have many decisions to make but the choices would be limited.

      The house we’re building now is only restricted by zoning ordinances. We can basically build anything we want and the choices are endless. Hence….indecision.

  11. Can you post a picture of a 2 story farmhouse that you like? I’m not familiar with this and can’t really picture it.

    Our old house had the master on the main and 2 bedrooms upstairs. It worked well for us because we slept in the same bedroom. We rarely went upstairs and that space wasn’t used much. Oh, we rented out the room to friends for a while. That worked out well because we had more separation.

    I like the idea of designing the interior first. Listen to the pro.

  12. I agree with that last paragraph and was going to say, “focus on the inside and layout of the rooms more than the outside. They can make the outside look like anything you want. Anything…” We saw a stucco house that had been designed too look like a craftsman style. It was brilliant! Fit the HOA requirements but didn’t look like boring old stucco. 🙂

    Hell, we just changed the location of my study this past weekend. It went from upstairs over the garage to downstairs, back of the garage and “dining area” adjacent. Of course, that shifted the garage up towards the front of the house by about 4′ and we’re already approving interior elevations and electrical switches and layouts. Oops…

    I said, “well, our designer’s going to hate us. Don’t send it Friday afternoon, let her have a relaxing weekend, and send it Monday morning or Sunday night, lol.” Mrs. SSC said, “No she won’t. It’s her job to design the house how we want it, and if we want to make this change, we need to make it.”

    So it’s changed. The original intent was to shave off about 200 sq ft saving us about $26k, but that didn’t pan out. However, I do love the location of the study WAY better now.

    Long point being, don’t be surprised if changes keep coming and you vacillate between ideas further along into the process. 🙂
    Mr. SSC recently posted…Our 2017 Spending: What a Dumpster Fire!My Profile

    • Mrs. Groovy

      Never mind long. That’s some winding road you guys are on. I’m taking a second to catch my breath here if this is what we should expect! But better to have an oops now, rather than later. I agree it’s important to go with what you want. I’d rather spend a little more to get it right than have regrets. Thanks for reminding us to keep that in mind.

      Leave it to Mrs. SSC to say “It’s her job!” I think I’ve found a kindred spirit.

      So your house is coming in at $130 a foot then? That’s pretty darn good.

      • Oh, God no…. I mean yes, all finished areas inside are $130/sq ft, but that doesn’t count garage ($40/sq ft extra) and patio/deck ($80/sq ft extra) and then all the other supplementals… It will probably be closer to $150/160 sq ft when we get the final bill. 🙁 Oh and evidently the designer agreed that she liked it better in the back as well, lol.
        Mr. SSC recently posted…Our 2017 Spending: What a Dumpster Fire!My Profile

  13. I like two-story homes for when we are younger and able to manage, plus kids have separate areas to hang with friends, etc. When we get older, I definitely plan to live in one story or rent an apartment.

    Plus, just a note to tip it toward Mrs. Groovy – you’re calling it a Ranch. Most “ranch style” homes in my area are one story.

    • Mrs. Groovy

      I know, right? Groovy Ranch is a bit of a misnomer (Mr. G can correct me if that’s the wrong usage. He’s the wordsmith. And yes, I’m trying to build his ego back up.)

      We’ve been referring to it as Groovy Ranch from the beginning since it’s as close to The Ponderosa as we’re going to get (and I hope you know the Ponderosa reference). We’re in the middle of farm country. There’s a former NFL star a mile or two down the road from us with 1,000+ acres who provides food for the county’s nonprofit food banks, and then some.

      • A friend of mine is a fisheries biologist and has helped manage the many ponds on Mr. Brown’s farm for years. As a result of the connection I’ve had the chance to fish several of the ponds myself. It is a beautiful place.

        • Mrs. Groovy

          That is so cool Brian! So you know exactly what I’m talking about. But I had no idea about the ponds. Mr. G’s sister and mom volunteered on the farm last year picking sweet potatoes and said it was a great experience. I don’t think they saw the ponds, but it’s quite a spread Mr. Brown has there.

  14. I’ve never liked the idea of designing my home around reselling. If you don’t want an extra room or floor or whatever then don’t get one just for some anonymous future buyer. Screw them – this is the Groovy Farm! I’m a sucker for the Norman Rockwell Americana vibe and in my head that’s kinda how I’m picturing your land/farm – can’t wait to see it!

    And not at all related to his post, but I’m loving the groovy artwork (s/o to the talking head in the Talking Trash videos as well).

  15. You guys are awesome. Seriously, even if you don’t feel that way at all. You’re admitting your faults and working your way through building your forever home. Even if it’s hard. While I may not have commented, I have been reading. Keep going, keep being honest with yourselves and each other.

    • Mrs. Groovy

      Thanks, Emily. I still feel like crap. In case you can’t tell, I’m not an easy person to live with. I soooo much wanted to see Mr. G build his dream home.

      When we first relocated to Charlotte we bought 2 acres in a nearby town called Waxhaw. Mr. G drew up a magnificent design we brought to a designer and builder. We put down a deposit and were set to build. Then, the builder told us he misjudged a calculation with the trusses and the starting price point was going to be maybe $25-30K higher. We were already stretched to our limit so we didn’t go forward and sold the land.

      That’s always been in the back of my mind when we started on this new building venture.

  16. I think what I like about two story homes, personally, is the separation of sleeping areas from the main living area. It always felt weird to me to be in a house that had the bedrooms next to the living room, for example.

    That being said, I’ve got bad knees and I’m sure it’s just a matter of time (maybe 30-40 years, but still) before I decide a two story was the wrong choice. 🙂

    Sounds like that fight-o-meter got a workout on this decision hahaha
    Dave @ Married with Money recently posted…I Broke My Own Rule – We’re All InMy Profile

    • Mrs. Groovy

      The Fight-O-Meter took one look at us and said “You two duke it out. I’m not getting involved in this one.

      We have separate sleeping quarters now on the second story and it works well. We have no issue with stairs but that can change (in less than 30 or 40 years for us).

    • Mrs. Groovy

      Thanks, Brad. That’s good to hear and it’s great that you know what you want. We thought we did, LOL.

      The way we’re leaning now is towards having an open loft space as a second level. That would give Mr. Groovy a separate place to hunker down and write and it won’t be so much added space that it would make cleaning an ordeal.

  17. Oh wow! OK so the one story has two bedrooms and the two story has 3 right? In case I missed that, I think an extra bedroom is always a good idea. I think that also gives you. more privacy in the downstairs bedroom. But I totally get your having issues with deciding. Look at it this way, whatever you go with I’m sure you’re going to be happy. I finally decided on a future place and put myself out of my misery of thinking I might choose wrong. Of course in my case I can just move. lol!
    [email protected] and the Beach recently posted…My Wheel of LifeMy Profile

    • Mrs. Groovy

      The two story we’re thinking about now has an open loft above the main floor.

      You hit upon my fear — thinking that I might choose wrong. Looking at diagrams and trying to envision actual 3D space, I feel as if I’m bound to overlook something huge. I’ve dug up the floor plan of our current home so that I can at least make comparisons in my mind like — OK the master bedroom in our current home is around the same size and shape as the living room of X floor plan we’re looking at.

      Good luck with your move. Is it coming up soon?

  18. I feel for you, Groovy’s! We are moved in and there are still decisions… What kind of window coverings – let alone the color. What about the closets – storage areas or hanging areas… Ugh. Focusing on the interior and what you want most (and making a prioritized list – not just a list) is the best idea. If sleeping on the same floor matters MOST – then that should influence your decision heavily. The list of your priorities is incredibly important – but ranking it might take away some of that indecision. Good luck – thinking of you guys!
    [email protected] recently posted…Putting Health Before Wealth in 2018My Profile

    • Mrs. Groovy

      Congrats on being all moved in! I’ve been checking your site for new posts and figured you were busy with the process. I hope you are WARM now!

      I need to go back to your decision-making matrix, for real. Thanks for always pointing me in the right direction.

      • We are warm – but still have a frozen pipe to the washer…GRRR… We just accepted a purchase offer for our 8 unit apartment complex – kind of out of the blue (it wasn’t on the market). That took all my mental energy (deciding whether to sell or not!) We definitely used the decision-matrix for that. And I’ve been hanging out in the Facebook group for Younger Next Year. It’s fascinating the people who are there interacting! I’ll be back on the blog soon 😉

  19. Phew, what a post! Decisions, decisions, they seem so easy from the outside but we all know that they aren’t. I’m feeling for you both.

    Have you toured any new homes lately? Perhaps actually walking through some new ranches and two-story homes might help.

    And yes, you gotta do what both of you want. Good luck!

    • Mrs. Groovy

      Thanks, Amy. I thought about your suggestion of touring new homes. But most of the new homes being built here are even larger than our current home. I think that would confuse me even more. However, we did look at two homes under construction with one of the builders we’re considering. One takeaway I got was not to put an island in the middle of a small kitchen!

  20. Ouch, Mrs. G. The real stress of the process has begun! I like the direction you’re taking of deciding on where to FOCUS. There will be a thousand distractions along the way (what drawer handles should we choose?), don’t sweat the small stuff. Good luck with the process, and thanks for sharing in full transparency!

    • Mrs. Groovy

      Ouch indeed! I need to make “FOCUS” my new mantra. Thanks for your support. But I’m afraid you’ll find the office for the “World Headquarters of Freedom Is Groovy” a wee bit small when you visit our new home. We’re not going to have nearly as much space as The Great House.

    • Mrs. Groovy

      Thanks for understanding the challenges, Tom. We knew it would be hard but we had no idea we’d get stumped before we even left the gate! I hope it goes smoother from here. And I hope you’re enjoying your home as much as we’ve enjoyed ours.

  21. Wow… this is like a baseball game where the lead has changed 6 times and is now in extra innings. You can’t turn it off, you’ll even sit through commercial breaks to see who wins.

    You’re up on the Fight-O-Meter Mrs. Groovy, but he has the meat of the lineup coming up to bat next inning 🙂

    • Mrs. Groovy

      Thanks for making it sound more exciting than it is, AF! Our problem is we had no idea we were on different teams. Now that Mr. Groovy got us on the same team, he’ll lead us to victory.