After much deliberation, we have finally picked out house plans! The one that we chose is a Ross Chapin design called the Morgan Hill, and it is exactly what we were looking for as far as a modest, efficient layout, and it is a design that will work perfectly on the building site. The house will eventually be sitting on a bit of an angle to take advantage of the views, but we still wanted the entrance to be facing the driveway as you approach it, which was a surprisingly difficult thing to accommodate.
It's a somewhat traditional design while still being interesting and "West Coasty". Other features that sold us on it include lots of windows along what will be the south and west sides to take advantage of passive solar heating, and the two main floors are within our goal of 1500 square feet (1490 square feet, to be exact). It comes with plans for an optional basement (which would give us an extra 800 square feet or so and space for cold storage), but we haven't decided whether we will put that in or not, as there is a large boulder on the building site that would have to be dealt with (unless we build slightly in front of it, but then we'd be encroaching on garden space!).
If you'd like to take a peek at some interior photos of it, as well as the floor plan, click here. Several of these houses have been built in a development in Washington state, and there are photos of them here (the first 8 photos are of the Morgan Hill design), where you can also see a virtual tour listed on the right hand side (it's the "H" plan). The original Ross Chapin plans have an office on the main floor, which we will be turning into the master bedroom (this is what they did in the Cottage Company houses).
I love that the main floor plan is so open, while still having a few spaces for things like a piano and a dining hutch (something most of the other small, open plan houses didn't have).
Now that we know what we're going to be building, we can set about collecting various bits and pieces from places like demo sales and Craigslist. We almost got several dozen sheets of drywall off of Freecycle the other day, but someone else beat us to it. It will be fun to see how much we can reuse and recycle while building the house of our dreams.
To see my daughter's vision of life on our new little farmstead, click here.