With the excavation work completed, it was now time to lay out the exact position of the house. The original idea was to position the house for the great room to have maximum exposure to the big water view of the lake, with a view with Smith Mountain in the background. We also wanted the house positioning to allow for similar views from the screened porch to be built off the dining area and kitchen. The original house placement was staked out with these features in mind.
When we double-checked this placement against local code, we realized an adjustment would be needed. The code requires that we be no closer than 12 feet to the property line. We were pushing the house close to the property line in order to maximize the water view. However, the code is not a measurement from the corner (closest point to the property line) of the house but from the closest house feature.
Our design calls for an 8-foot-wide covered porch around about 70 percent of the house. There will be an overhang roof on the porch to help protect the logs. It is that overhang that can be no closer than 12 feet to the property line. So the first change was to shift the house by about 11 feet to keep within code compliance. Essentially, this made no difference in the view, so it was no big deal.
Our builder and excavator presented a different issue that we had not thought about. Our attention had been primarily on the lake side of the house. We had designed the house with half the walk-out level (positioned away from the lake) as a garage. If we left the house foundation as we currently had it staked out, it was going to make for difficult maneuvering cars into the garage. (It would not have been impossible, but it would likely have been uncomfortable.) This is the type of issue that should be thought through carefully; once a decision is made, it is very hard or impossible to change at a later date.
Making entry and exit from our garage a bit easier in our retirement years won out. We decided to rotate the house counterclockwise by about 6 to 8 feet. It doesn’t sound like much, but it did impact the view. The great room view did not change much, but the view from the screened porch was going to be more of a large cove than big open water. Still, this was a quiet, peaceful view with nature all around, so it was an acceptable compromise.
What we didn’t realize came as a big bonus later on in the building process. But we’ll tell you about that when we get there.
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