The Evolution of Our Dream House’s Architecture, from Land Studies to Renderings

Serifos Dream Houses

Oh Joy! and Clever are teaming up to show you what it’s really like to build a house from the ground up.

I’m back to begin sharing all the juicy design details of the process of building our dream house! When buying a house, you’re often thinking about your top needs and searching for homes with those criteria when house-hunting. Since we have the ability to customize and design our house based on my family’s needs, we had to think about our needs in the same way, but then figure out how to design those needs from scratch.
Back in 2014, we had just purchased our land and were ready to start designing the house. I was very pregnant with our second baby at that time, so much of our thinking was based on our future family of four and what we wanted in our forever home. Here are some of the main things that McShane Murnane of Project M+ asked us to consider and think about before we went into the design:

A. Size How many bedrooms, how many bathrooms, what general square footage?

B. Function What would be our most important rooms in the house? Do we need both a formal and nonformal dining area? Formal and nonformal living room? How do the indoor and outdoor coexist? Do we plan to entertain? Project M+ would design the house to maximize natural light and air flow, and had to think about how that would all affect the layout of the home.

C. Site Conditions What can we build based on our land? Building on a hill versus building on completely flat land means you need to work with the hill and have limitations on what areas can be flat or not. This was not something we were expected to know how to design around—it would be the architect’s job—but knowing our priorities helped them to work with the land to meet our needs.

D. Style and Inspirations We hired Project M+ for their aesthetic and style, so we already knew we were on the same page. But for them, it’s always helpful to get more images or ideas. They also had us fill out a questionnaire that asked a lot of these questions above.

Here were a few inspiration images we provided to show some of the details we were looking for, which included: a four-bedroom house, large windows and doors to allow lots of indoor-outdoor flow, a midcentury and Danish modern–inspired house, and a flat outdoor area where our kids could play and we could entertain.



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