I've Been Thinking

Build Me a House
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  • Dear Sir,

    Please design and build me a nice house. I need a new one because the one I am living in is not quite right. There are some things about it that my family does not like. I am not sure what is actually wrong but I would recognise a better one if I saw it and I have seen some wonderful houses.

    I should also like you to know that I have had some experience in building similar structures. Last year I made a tree house for my children and I was told that, while the idea was good, the accident that resulted in the whole thing falling out of the tree and the resulting court case was not really my fault. I have also used a screwdriver and a hammer so I believe that I am well qualified to comment on modern building construction techniques.

    At some stage I will be purchasing the block of land on which the house is to be built. Please try and make the plans flexible enough so that I can chose the location without worrying about the size or shape of the block. I rather like the views that you can get out in the mountains, but I also like fishing so I might get a block by the river.

    The house should have between three and six bedrooms. Please ensure the plans are such that bedrooms can be easily added or removed. I might require that the house be a single storey construction, on the other hand I have always liked having an upstairs and a basement. The total number of rooms in the house is not critical but there must be enough so that we have plenty of space. A kitchen would seem like a useful thing to have but they are so difficult to keep clean, so my wife tells me. I would like to hear what you think about the idea of not having one.

    Keep in mind that the house I ultimately choose must cost less than the one in which I am now living. Make sure, however, that you correct all the deficiencies that exist in my current house (the sun shines through the wrong windows, I do not like my neighbour's dog and the walls do not have nearly enough insulation.). Also, please take care that modern design practices and the latest materials are used in the construction.

    To ensure that you are building the best house for our family, make sure that you contact each of my children and my in-laws and ask them what sort of house they need. Certainly my mother-in-law will have very strong feelings about how the house ought to be designed since she visits with us at least once a year. If anyone disagrees with any of the instructions I have given you in this specification, as the architect, it is your responsibility to resolve these issues. Make sure that you weigh all these considerations carefully and make the right decision. However I retain the right to change any of the plans without consulting you.

    Please do not bother me with small details, as we are only in the planning stage. Your job is to develop the overall plans for the new house. Get the big picture. It is not appropriate at this time to be choosing the colour of the carpet. However, keep in mind that my wife likes blue. The cost estimates you make should also be accurate as I will be holding you to them.

    Also, do not worry at this time about acquiring resources to build the house. Your first priority is to work with me on the concepts and the design and to ensure that all our requirements are met. It is your responsibility to develop appropriate plans and specifications. I reserve the right to make the decision to proceed, in my own time. However, once I accept the design, I will expect you to have the house built within 48 hours.

    I understand that there might be some local council requirements and conditions to be meet. I assume that these do not really apply to me as I am just building an ordinary house so we can probably forget about the council people until we have finished. By the way, did I mention that I am interested in amateur radio? This means that you must include a ten metre high antenna tower that should be located as close to the house as possible so that the antenna leads are short. I will also require a study in which to keep the radios and things.

    Although you are designing this house specifically for me, keep in mind that sooner or later I will have to sell it. It should have appeal to potential buyers. Please make sure that before you finalise the plans, there is a consensus of the population in my area that they like the design.

    You are advised to go and look at the house my neighbour had constructed last year. We like it a great deal. It has many features that we would like to have in our new home, particularly the 25 metre swimming pool. He has also got full central heating, air-conditioning, slate tiles in the kitchen, built-in robes in all bedrooms, a sunken living room, a bar and a two car garage. With care I believe that you can design these into the house without impacting the construction cost. But do not let me influence your thoughts too much, I expect you to be quite creative and, after all, you are the expert.

    You must be thrilled to be working on such an interesting project. To be able to use new kinds of construction techniques and to be given such freedom in your designs is something that does not happen very often. Contact me as soon as possible with your design ideas. I am enthusiastic about seeing what you can come up with.

    Yours etc etc

    Bernard Robertson-Dunn, May 2010

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