You walk into a large, bright kitchen with a wooden floor. Mind you the floor is not quite level anymore after providing support for a family with five children, all boys, who worked on their father’s farm and tramped in and out, over a century ago. And then there was the newlywed couple who came upon the house when the market was just right to buy it at a low price, but could not afford to renovate. Yet the atmosphere is just right, precisely because there has been so much life, so much labor and so much love in this home.
Well-intentioned Uncle Lee uses every opportunity to convince you to build a new house. His arguments are solid, as solid as newly assembled frame, “and you’d be surprised”, says he, “it would not necessarily cost you that much more for the peace of mind a reliable building might provide”. You are not convinced.
True, building from scratch can be exciting. After all, you’ll get exactly what you want, down to every detail of every corner. It is a bit like planting a minuscule seed and watching in awe as it evolves into a strong, stately tree, but the tree is doing all the work, you are merely an observer. Designing and building a house requires effort from your entire being; it is both exhilarating and exhausting, just like I suspect it might be for the tree, assuming it has awareness of the process.
So, should you build or buy? Should you buy new or opt for the century-old farmhouse? Are you the sort of person who sees a room in a friend’s house and immediately knows how you would give it new life? Does this sort of creative “ha-ha!” make you soar? Then perhaps you are also the type of person who likes to start with more than a blueprint. You need first-hand experience with a space in order to allow it to evolve in the direction of your vision.
You see, the difficulty is not so much identifying whether to build or buy, but rather figuring out whether you are a builder or a buyer. Either way, you must start with a blueprint; the blueprint of you. Do not consider the final project only; consider your lifestyle and creative style. What sort of time and energy are you able to put in this effort? Enough to start from scratch? When do you feel that sensation of being so in tune with your vision that you could soar through it effortlessly? When you talk about building from scratch or when you walk through an existing house?
Ha! Yes. These core feelings will lead you to the very core of your project.