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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This isn't exactly the right forum to ask this question but you guys are just like me (dedicated theater) so I figured who better to ask!


My wife and I are raising two young children in a cramped 1400 ft2 ranch house. 1400 ft2 isn't that small for four people but it's hard to get away in a house of this size, especially with the crappy 30% basement 70% crawl space, and I'd like more room for a gym, workshop etc. In the basement I added a playroom for the kids and my dedicated, 11.5x17 theater. I have nowhere else to go. I have a 2 car attached garage that limits space for me to get work done (would love an extended 3-car).


We are thinking of selling this place that we've lived in for 7 happy years and building a new house. The problem we're having is, do we stick to a ranch or go to a 2-story? I know all the pros and cons of each so we don't need to discuss that here. What I'm asking for is, if you had to do it over again (or not) which would you choose and why? Here's why I'm leaning toward the ranch again:


Much larger basement and easy access to things above and below the main living area. This was huge for updating my 1987 ranch so I could easily run recessed lighting, a whole house audio system; you name it. With the new house it won't be as important but will make some things easier down the road. Around here, property taxes are pretty bad. My $150,000 house has almost $4,000 in property taxes. The good news is, the square footage in a finished basement doesn't count against your property taxes. I would be looking for a ~2500 ft2 ranch with a full basement. After finishing the basement, and leaving a few hundred ft2 unfinished, I would have a 4500+ ft2 house and only be paying property taxes on a house of 2500 ft2. It does cost more to build a ranch, which would mitigate the property tax savings somewhat.


Let's hear it! Which would you choose and why? Any other suggestions for a first-time home builder?
 

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If you think this will be your last home, you might want to factor in age related mobility issues as a point in the rambler column. As for access in a two story house for wiring just have them run a conduit from basement to attic, then you can access the second floor from above.
 

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You're from Columbus, OH. Wouldn't you feel more comfortable in a dirt cave with no running water?


Go Blue!
 

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Or stack closets vertically, on a two story, to allow for retrofitting an elevator...



The bigger basement with the ranch, would likely allow for a more spacious home theater.



Bungalows make little sense around here, due to expensive real estate. May, or may not, be a factor

in your area.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC  /t/1522156/new-home-advice-from-the-experts#post_24471924

If you think this will be your last home, you might want to factor in age related mobility issues as a point in the rambler column. As for access in a two story house for wiring just have them run a conduit from basement to attic, then you can access the second floor from above.

This pretty much sums up my mind set. My floor plan is pretty much set and I am in the early stages of having the construction drawings complete. I plan to live in this house forever. It has one straight staircase to the basement that can be outfitted with one of those chairs that goes up and down if stairs become too difficult. I have also included wider hallways and doors in several key spots. I don't have children yet, but when I do, I don't want to have to run up and down stairs to check on them(current home has the master on main) and I don't want to have to use stairs everyday either if a master was upstairs For me it was a no-brainer. I am going with a ranch style home with a full basement.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crash11  /t/1522156/new-home-advice-from-the-experts#post_24471975


You're from Columbus, OH. Wouldn't you feel more comfortable in a dirt cave with no running water?


Go Blue!

Actually that was the plan, but once the kids came my wife made me come out and get some fresh air.


Anyone else mind chiming in? Maybe some guys in the 2-story camp why you went that way? Anything is greatly appreciated!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mazeroth  /t/1522156/new-home-advice-from-the-experts#post_24476636


Actually that was the plan, but once the kids came my wife made me come out and get some fresh air.


Anyone else mind chiming in? Maybe some guys in the 2-story camp why you went that way? Anything is greatly appreciated!

I'm in the 2-story camp. We went this way cause we wanted a traditional colonial style bricked house. We love it and plan on staying there forever, unless someone came to me and wanted to buy it penny for penny what I have into it, then I would sell in a heartbeat and build a ranch. no questions asked. I would do a large sprawling ranch with a basement that I wouldn't even bother thinking about finishing. I would have a dedicated room off the main living space on the opposite of the bedrooms and thats it.


My wife agrees with this too if it ever happened, which it prob wouldn't cause I think we would move down closer to Disney before we ever built a new home. We like to travel way too much.


but if we did it again, it would be a ranch no doubt with no plans to finish the basement.


jim
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimim  /t/1522156/new-home-advice-from-the-experts#post_24476682


I'm in the 2-story camp. We went this way cause we wanted a traditional colonial style bricked house. We love it and plan on staying there forever, unless someone came to me and wanted to buy it penny for penny what I have into it, then I would sell in a heartbeat and build a ranch. no questions asked. I would do a large sprawling ranch with a basement that I wouldn't even bother thinking about finishing. I would have a dedicated room off the main living space on the opposite of the bedrooms and thats it.


My wife agrees with this too if it ever happened, which it prob wouldn't cause I think we would move down closer to Disney before we ever built a new home. We like to travel way too much.


but if we did it again, it would be a ranch no doubt with no plans to finish the basement.


jim

Why is that? Just use it for storage?
 

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Cause of steps. I would just make sure we have the living space second ever need on the first floor. Our whole point for building a ranch if we did the second time around was to avoid all steps. So finishing the basement would defeat that purpose in our eyes. Ya it would just be for storage. Just to keep things easy for us in old age.
 

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We went the two-story plus a basement route primarily to meet the minimum square footage requirements in our subdivision. We would have liked a one-story instead but we really didn't need the extra space, and it's cheaper to go up rather than out.


That said, now that we have that space, it's really nice. We quickly found uses for the two extra rooms. One is a playroom and the other I use as a home office. We also added another small laundry room (just big enough for a washer and dryer) on the second floor, and that has been one of the best features in our house. With two small kids we generate more dirty laundry than I would have thought possible. I like the fact that our two-story doesn't have many hallways (only one very short one) compared to the rancher we lived in before. I suppose we swapped stairs for hallways.


If I had it do over again, I may very well have skipped the basement and put my theater on the second floor. We have a huge unfinished attic space that would have made a great theater, and it would have saved us quite a bit on the cost of the basement. Next, as Tedd mentioned above, I wish we had a better location to retrofit an elevator because three flights of stairs will be even worse on my knees as I get older.


I am extremely glad that we put our master bedroom, my 4 y.o.'s room, and the nursery on the first floor. We looked at quite a few houses with the master and/or all the other rooms on the second floor, and that would be tough when you get older. I also like having my young children on the first floor where they are easier to get out in the event of a fire. When they get old enough to get out themselves, we're moving them to the second floor or the basement



So, while a huge sprawling rancher would be nice, I think I like a two-story where the "extra" rooms are on the second floor. The extra space is nice, but it's also out of the way when you're not using it.
 

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I love our 2 story. since we don't have basements in Florida having the extra space going up is great. the two-story feels a bit more grand in my opinion. and lets the kiddos have more of a space of their own.
 
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