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Building a house… August 24, 2008

Posted by Raul in dream house, random thoughts.
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To those of you who are friends of mine from off the blogosphere and/or based in Mexico, this may not come as a surprise, but I don’t think I have ever discussed this on my blog. I bought a plot of land in Mexico, in my parents’ hometown, a couple of years back. I haven’t really paid much attention to it simply because I live in Vancouver and heck, why would I care unless I *really* planned to move back?

Well, in recent weeks, the whole business of “building a house” has crept up on me again, due to several friends. First, Darren shared with us a walk through of his and Julie’s house (a 3-D online view, pretty awesome if I say so myself). Second, my very good friend LdG (with whom I had dinner a couple of weeks ago) and I have been talking about building a house (she is an architect, and a very good one at that!). Third, last night I had the pleasure of hanging out with my Mom’s best friend’s son and their family, and he has built a dream house, with an in-house gym, a separate apartment for his Mom-in-law and a painting studio (as his Mom-in-law is a painter).

I didn’t get to see the separate apartment, but the whole idea is outstanding. I also like Darren and Julie’s idea of having a building exclusively for their offices, but I’m not 100% sold on the fact that the office building is fully separate from the house. I recognize that this allows for separation of work and living space, but still.

In my case, I want a one-level house (multiple levels might be ok, but only if the levels are separated by one or two steps) with a separate office space, but that is connected to the main house (a corridor or something). With said office space, I want a meeting room AND a lecture room (as I probably will want to hold small workshops there).

Why two rooms instead of only having one that doubles, you might ask? Well, I firmly believe that you need a separate room to hold meetings with clients. Say that, for example, I want to teach a small workshop and my Mom, or any of my brothers, need to meet with a client. I am not going to interrupt my workshop on account of them having to have a meeting, right? That’s why I want them both separate.

I also want to design a small visitors’ parking space, separate from our garage. This would allow for clients to visit directly my (home) office and not have to park outside. The plot isn’t really all that big, but I saw what my friend did with 500 square metres, so I think I can do much more with 1,250 square metres. I’ll let you know if I actually manage to pack everything I want there!

Props to Darren for introducing me to Google Sketch (I haven’t installed yet but will do so when I get back to Vancouver). And of course, I also got some ideas from my dream house in Vancouver, the one I could not buy no matter how much I wanted to.

Go into the Flickr photo so that you can see my note on connecting the house and the studio.
My dream house

My dream house’s studio (on 18th and Columbia)
My dream house's studio

Another really important point is that I want my house to be as green as possible. I have some understanding of the green building literature, and if I wanted to, I could be certified as a LEED Accredited Professional, but given that my research is more on the larger scale, urban/spatial environmental policy, I am not really all THAT interested in doing that. But still, I would be happy if I could find a Mexican architect who is knowledgeable in green building codes and practices, as I might entrust him/her with building my dream house.

For those of you interested, the Canadian Green Building Council has lots of resources on green buildings. One thing you can be assured of, regardless, is that my house will have recycled water and water-saving options, as well as energy-saving options. That, I can do without being LEED certified.

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