In this helpful nonfiction book, the author gives a first-person account of designing her dream home over 25 years and offers suggestions for readers creating a similar house for retirement. Although not an architect or engineer, the author claims that a life-long interest in houses and floor plans inspired her to design her own home.
Jan Jones Evans and her husband purchased property in 1986, knowing someday they would retire and build a house there. Throughout the years, she researched layout and design, foundation and utilities, building materials, lighting and electrical requirements, doors and windows, and more. Her experiences (both successful and unsuccessful) implementing these elements in her dream home, in addition to “green” ideas for low environmental impact and handicapped accessibility, are the basis for the 16 chapters.
Through personal anecdotes, advice to readers, and illustrations, the author hopes to guide readers when designing new houses of their own. Her advice ranges from common sense (“YOU CAN NEVER HAVE TOO MUCH STORAGE!”) to specialized knowledge (when planning windows, can natural light possibly “be a fire hazard if reflected to just the right place?”). Her other stated goal in writing the book is “to help pay off the mortgage on said dream home” by selling a copy of her engineering print building plans for $995, a pitch that comprises the final chapter.
Professional editing could improve the writing here. Sometimes anecdotes (such as adding too many jets in the bathtub) are repeated, occasional words are misspelled (i.e. “complements” instead of “compliments”) and many words are written unnecessarily in all capital letters. The most distracting errors, however, involve exclamation points used excessively and often incorrectly with declarative sentences. Exclamation points appear on most pages throughout the book, 33 of them in Chapter 1 alone.
Despite these stylistic concerns, the content could be valuable to readers in similar circumstances — those nearing retirement with the time, money, and interest in designing their own house.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.