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  1. I’m so glad to hear you’re 95% of the way there. Not long now before you share the ah-mazing plans you and your designer have diligently put together. I think in the long run you’ll be happy you spent a lot of time on this phase because it’s expensive to move walls. 🙂

    • Mr. Groovy

      Haha! You’re killing me, Claudia. Now I’m worried that after all this build-up, our blogging friends will find our house plans to be anything but “ah-mazing.” In all seriousness, though, we’re going for a boring design with interesting finishes. Will we be able to pull it off? The plot thickens.

  2. I know what you mean about the paradox of choice. Sometimes when there are many choices it’s hard to make a decision and that gets even harder when you have to sit down with your spouse and figure stuff out. Maybe you can just put the rest of your remodeling jobs on slips, stick them in a fishbowl, and you each draw an equal amount of slips. Whoever has the slip, gets the final choice on that project, no fights. Keep it GROOVY!

  3. Oh man, it’s crazy what little things pop up in layouts that bug you huh? We had similar issues specifically over the “drop zone”design. I’m glad we don’t have a fight meter because I’d be getting walloped, lol.
    On the plus side, the moving of our study from upstairs to downstairs saved us almost $15k by reducing the footprint, and the front porch is now way nicer for curb appeal and for just sitting in our rockers and watching the deer and road runners play. Oh and the kids, probably need to watch the kids too, lol.

    Sounds like you guys are cruising on your design and I can’t wait to see it when it comes together!
    Mr. SSC recently posted…I’m Getting Pulled up the Corporate Ladder…My Profile

    • Mr. Groovy

      Hey, Mr. SSC. I like that. Describing the foyer as the “drop zone” is perfect. You really need that space or cue to let you know it’s “Miller time,” so to speak. Glad Mrs. G stuck to her guns on the foyer.

  4. Decisions are weighted, and home decisions carry a lot of weight since they’ll follow you around for so long. Choose the wrong foyer you’ll be hearing about it as long as you live there. Chose the wrong car and it’s a few years, max.

    Best of luck you two groovy cats! Can’t wait to see how this turns out – it’s going to be amazing, no doubt.

  5. I was smart and let my wife design most of our house. My one regret is that we don’t have a dedicated home office in our living quarters because I never pictured working from home. So my office doubles as a guest bedroom.

    Since our father in law was our general contractor he also had some veto power over what we did because of cost and time. We wanted a foyer but never included it in the final plan because it would have driven the price higher than we wanted to borrow. So it helped make our decision easy too.
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    • Mr. Groovy

      Hey, Josh. I hear ya. Wives seem to have more a vested interest the design of a home, so it makes sense to defer to them as much as possible. And we also thought about a dedicated office space as well. The only problem we faced was that we wanted to keep the total house under 1,500 sq ft. That constraint left no room for a dedicated office.

    • Mr. Groovy

      Haha! Never thought of prizes for certain milestones. That’s a great idea. Although I’m hesitant to suggest it because I think I’m going to lose this competition. Sigh. Why did God make wives so smart?

  6. I love your arguments and reading about this process. We bought an already built house as we were not in the financial situation to build one, but I would be loved to get over this struggle you are experiencing now. Maybe later in life, never say never.

    Well, foyers… I only think of them as decompression chambers. You get into the house, get rid of your shoes and coats, thus they will not make a mess in the interior place (this is something desirable when you live in sandy/muddy locations ). Also, great insulators, but agree that don’t provide much from a design perspective.
    [HCF] recently posted…Memes ReloadedMy Profile

    • Mr. Groovy

      I love the notion of looking at foyers as “decompression chambers.” That’s exactly how our designer described them. And it makes sense. You need something when you first walk in to let the mind know you’re no longer in the rough-and-tumble world outside. Now you’re in your sanctuary. Thanks for stopping by, HCF. Always great hearing from you.

  7. I bought The Best House in Melbourne last year even though it didn’t have a foyer/hall at all…
    Yikes! Never thought I’d ever live in a house where the front door opens directly into the lounge room.
    But you know what? It works.
    But seeing as you’re building – then yeah. Play around with those plans! Your home is really important.

    • Mr. Groovy

      The house I grew up in had a front door that opened directly into the living room. Never even fathomed that that might be bad design. But once I started thinking about it (two weeks ago), I began to appreciate the homes I entered that did have a “decompression” area. Damn it! Why do wives always have a penchant for being right? And why does it take husbands so long to recognize this? Thanks for stopping by, Frogdancer. Always a pleasure hearing from you.

    • Mrs. Groovy

      I probably should toss a win back over to his side because now that we’re doing a 1-story, I’m giving up the powder room idea. We’ll have to recalculate but it may be 2/2 now.

    • Mr. Groovy

      I weep for my future. In one corner, the instincts of a woman. In the other corner, the survival instincts of a man. Make sure you stock up on the popcorn.

    • Mr. Groovy

      I have to admit, but Mrs. G is good to have around. Our designer actually made a lot of good suggestions too. It’s gonna be the best foyer ever designed for a 1,500 sq ft house!

  8. I’m pretty sure that too much choice is actually one of the major causes of unhappiness and stress in modern society. I’m only “pretty sure” because I think I “read it somewhere.” haha. But really, it’s excruciating sometimes. We have so much choice in every facet of our lives (which phone? iPhone 8, iPhoneX, is Apple really worth it? what about Android???) that it can be overwhelming and lead to second-guessing and turmoil. Anyway…sounds like ya’ll have worked out your house plans and I’m glad for that. Just keep hanging in there when it comes to kitchen counters and tile!! Good luck!

  9. Could be worse. Studies show beyond about four people coming to a truly universal decision is impossible. Then again unlike a decision at work you’ll get to hear about a bad choice every time someone steps into the foyer;)

    • Mr. Groovy

      So true, my friend. That’s why I always shudder whenever some politician wants to solve a problem by having a “blue ribbon” commission study it.

  10. Bahahaha! I remember Mr. Picky Pincher and I working our brains to death planning our kitchen. If it helps, you’ll forget all about the stress and head-butting once everything is built. I thought I WOULD NOT budge on keeping the paneling on our walls, but you forgive and forget. 🙂

    • Mr. Groovy

      Thanks, Mrs. PP. Even though Mrs. G drives me crazy, I’ve learned to trust her instincts. I think it all started the time we were remodeling our kitchen back in New York and I thought blue countertops would be just peachy. She has a knack for saving me from myself.

  11. I am so loving this. I’ve got $5 that says Mrs G’s up when the final round is over. Any takers?

    I love it even though you stole the “World Headquarters” moniker. Besides, World HQ Of Groovidom sounds SO much cooler than anything with “Manifesto” in it. What am I, a Unibomber? A Communist? A Google Employee?

    Whatever I am, I’ll never be as Groovy as the two of you. Just get the friggin’ house built before that Groovypalooza happens, I don’t want to sleep on the ground!

    • Mr. Groovy

      Haha! I have no doubt either that Mrs. G will be up when the final round is over. Never engage in combat with a fiery redhead. And, yes, we’ll have the Camp David of the Retirement Manifesto World Headquarters all set up in the World Headquarters of Groovydom way before Groovypaloosa.

  12. Pictures!

    After hearing all about this layout for weeks, I am absolutely dying to see these plans (and live vicariously through you and your home building project)!

    • Mr. Groovy

      They’re coming! They’re coming!! I just hope everyone’s prepared to be underwhelmed. After all, we’re just building 1,500 sq ft ranch in rural North Carolina.

    • Mr. Groovy

      Yeah, and pretty soon we’re going to get to that point where I say, “cut me, Mick” and “if you stop this fight I’m going to kill you.”

    • Mr. Groovy

      Excellent points, Dave. Our designer talked about the foyer being a decompression area, the transition from the hostile outdoors to the warmth of home. I think whatever we come up will serve this purpose admirably. Thanks for stopping by, my friend.

  13. Glad to hear your designer is back in the loop now. It sounds like this house building project is difficult enough without having to start over on parts. And I sympathize with you on having too many choices. I can hardly choose what to have for dinner much less worry about choices that I’m going to have to live with long term.
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    • Mr. Groovy

      Excellent point, Gary. I think choice fatigue and decision regret are a function of cost and options. Big cost + multiple options = a lot of choice fatigue and a lot of decision regret.

  14. I’ve never met a foyer that I like. It feels like such a design dead spot.
    Our old house had a tiny foyer and the stair is right there. I didn’t like it. Bad feng shui among other things.
    Our condo foyer is just a hallway where we pile our shoes and various tools.

    Can you share your design? I’d like to see it.

    • Mrs. Groovy

      It can be a dead spot, for sure.

      See my description below to Justin. Bad feng shui, exactly. If we’re going to the trouble of building, why start out with that?

    • Mr. Groovy

      I never even thought of foyers until Groovy Ranch came up. But will get past this hurdle soon. And, yes, we will post our design when all is said and done.

  15. I feel like foyers are such a waste of space. I wish ours didn’t exist or that it was about 20% larger so we could repurpose it to a useful room. We did a design on a dime thing and turned it into a video game room but it’s still a bit small for that. Now it’s a toy room for our 5 year old but it’s kind of separated from all the action in the house so it’s more of a toy (and shoe) storage room.

    With a <1500 sf space constraint I get the need to make every square foot count. I'd definitely minimize foyer space if I were designing a house from scratch! We actually worked on designing our own house before buying our current house 14 years ago. It was a frustrating process with a ton of iterations and we eventually settled on "good enough" and bought an existing house for a super cheap price.

    • Mrs. Groovy

      We now have a foyer but we don’t enter from the front of the house. Our garage and driveway is in the back and there is absolutely no parking out front because we’re on a semi-thoroughfare. Guests don’t even ring the front door bell. They enter through the back. In our new home, our driveway will go to both the front and back door.

      In the Groovy Ranch plan we have now, the foyer is small. It doesn’t even have a long wall like most foyers have. As you walk in, the great room is to the right and a bedroom door is to the left. Smack in front of you, in the original plan, are closet doors. I don’t like that. I’d like to have one spot to add a little table with flowers, or a ledge with a mirror, or a small piece of art work — not see closet doors as the first thing in front of my face. So that’s what we argued about.

      Mr. G moved the closet and turned that spot into a wall (which needs to be there because a bathroom is behind it.) The designer may even have some other foyer ideas. That’s why we’re using him, otherwise we could just find and use the stock plans for this layout.

      Edit: I’d be with you on buying a home if we could have found something small on 2 acres outside of a development in an area we could afford close to the family. That involved too many conditions but it would have been easier. Mr. G also prefers knowing what’s going on inside the walls, etc.

    • Mr. Groovy

      Haha! When I was growing up I cared about girls, sports, and alcohol. Now I care about foyers. Where o where did I go wrong? Thanks for stopping by, Justin. I think the phrase “good enough” is going to become in integral part of our build.

  16. I love this post! It’s actually the subject of a post I am working on! I listened to an old “Hidden Brain” podcast recently talking about how having “choices” makes us LESS happy. Our brains hate choice. It makes us unhappier and second guess ourselves constantly and this erodes happiness and leads to regret and wondering if we did the right thing…and on and on. With little choice, our lives are simpler and, in this case, is mo’betta.

    It’s one of the things I LOVE about Aldi. Not much choice. Time saved grocery shopping and time saved in angst over which ranch dressing to buy. Sounds like not a big deal but as Americans, one of the reasons, we may tend toward consumerism and thinking all that glitters is gold is the amount of choice.

    I know this is a hard journey that you’ve begun and I am not one bit envious…yowza….tons of choices are on the way, Groovy Friends. But I know you’ll figure out how to make it fun for all of us.

    • Mr. Groovy

      Awesome, BB. I love the way your mind works. I think human beings are best suited to “Goldilocks” choice. Not a little or a lot, just the right amount. Thanks for stopping by, BB. Looking forward to your post on the hidden cost of a lot of choices. Cheers.

  17. I feel like building a house is almost a part time job even if you never swing a hammer! It’s probably a good thing your retired. 🙂 Can you imagine doing all the planning plus 2×40 hour jobs?
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  18. You two are hilarious and gave me a smile to start my day. Mrs. Groovy is a smart woman. I’ve lived in two houses where the front door opened immediately to a staircase. No beautiful dramatic entryway there. Think of all the great hellos and hugs you’ll enjoy as you welcome loved ones to GroovyRanch for years to come.
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    • Mr. Groovy

      Thanks, Carol. I really appreciate your kind words. And you’re absolutely right about the importance of the foyer. Great hellos and hugs only become greater in the right setting. Hail feng shui!

      • And then that crowd of loved ones moves to the roomy kitchen to chat and catch up over snacks on the granite countertops, or to visit in the family room with plush furniture, or to the pavestone patio to enjoy the mild spring weather and the fragrant jasmine planted nearby.
        Scope creep! Best wishes as you plan it all out and stay in or near budget! Whatever you decide, it will be awesome because it’ll be your home. 😃

  19. Mr. G, Too much choice is crazy. It’s hard to buy toilet paper at Walmart without being overwhelmed with choices. That said, I will drag race you in my base model 4 cylinder Camry from 2009. Zero to 60 in about 5 minutes. Sorry about your AWOL designer. Home construction/improvement contractors work to a different standard. Why is it that they can just bail out, not show up, or worse yet show up and do crappy work. Sorry for rambling and the rant. Why is it I feel I can just let it all loose here? Tom
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    • Mr. Groovy

      LOL! Rants are also welcomed here, especially from you. And we jumped the gun about our AWOL designer. It seems Mrs. G screwed up his email address. We just had a nice conversation with him and we’re meeting with him next week. So all is good on the designer/contractor front as of now. Thanks for stopping by, my friend. It’s always great hearing from a fellow slow-as-sh%t Camry owner. Cheers.

    • Mr. Groovy

      “Like sands through an hour glass…”

      Oh, man, Mrs. Groovy fights me every step of the way. But I’ve come to love it and appreciate it. Because she’s usually right, God damn it!

      Haha! Just so you know, Mrs. Groovy is talking to our designer right now. She reached out to the fellow who recommended him for another possible designer, and this fellow said he would call the designer to see what was up. Turns out the designer never got our last two emails. We screwed up the email address. False alarm. We’re back in business.

      • It was weird but it doesn’t appear that we (and he means I) screwed up the email addresses. Possibly it was an issue with gmail. Once he provided another account he received a note I forwarded immediately. All is good!

  20. Nice! Congrats and I suppose foyers are importnt or they would not exists??? Designing a home is not fun for us either. We are still debating I’d we can afford to rebuild but have spent time and money on an architect.

    • Mr. Groovy

      Haha! Who knew foyers were so important? I certainly didn’t until we decided to build. But I guess they are. After all, they do set the tone the moment you walk in. And I hear ya about architects, DDD. They’re costly, but in many instances they’re worth it. Mrs. Groovy and I are especially torn about architects. My cousin happens to be a great architect. But he lives and practices in New York. And we would have loved to use his services, which would come highly discounted. But we think the build process will go smoother if we rely on local talent. Sometimes working with the “ol’ boy” network is your best option. Thanks for stopping by, my friend.

  21. Thank you for expanding my vocabulary! I definitely had to hit Google up for “flummoxed” haha but I always love building my vocab.

    Your “fight” chart is starting to resemble the McGregor v. Mayweather fight! You (McGregor) had an aggressive start and landed a good blow in the first round, but Mrs. Groovy’s (Mayweather) skill is proving dividends in the later rounds!

    In all seriousness now, it sounds like you guys are getting closer and closer to the end product:)

    • Mr. Groovy

      Apt description of our fight-o-meter, my friend. Mrs. Groovy is Mayweather. A much more accomplished pugilist than I. I hope Mrs. Groovy is as kind to me as Mayweather was to McGregor. No harm in letting me win a round once in a while.

  22. Barndominiums and missing designers? You just never know what you’ll find in these awesome updates. 🙂

    Sorry, you’re down in the Fight-O-Meter, Mr. G, but it sounds like it’s all for the best. 😉

    (Reading these is so fun!)

    • Mr. Groovy

      Hey, Amy. Yeah, the missing designer has thrown us for a loop. The guy definitely knew his stuff and we want to work with him. But he was previously so responsive and now we haven’t heard from in a week. Is he on vacation? Are we jumping to conclusions? Or is it simply a case that we did something that raised a red flag and he doesn’t want to work with us? The plot thickens.