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House Plans: A House In The Philippines

This is another installment of the series on designing and building a house in the Philippines. An index to all of the posts in this series can be found here: House Build Philippines: Index.

We also built a concrete hollow block perimeter fence. The index to all of the posts in that series can be found here: Perimeter Fence Philippines: Index

 

Gearing Up Again

House designer's equipmentThe design of our hollow block wall was linked to the design of our house. We used the same architect for both sets of plans. As I explained in the series of posts I made on building our concrete wall, we parted ways with the architect once the concrete hollow block wall was up.

and the lot filled and rolled level, we were ready to turn to building the house.

We had to find our own contractor. That was harder than you might think. There is no “Angie’s List” here. Few contractors even advertise on the web. We literally had to choose between two guys that didn’t reply to emails and two guys who showed up. One of those guys came to us because he had built a house for one of my wife’s school friends.

We chose the contractor who had built my wife’s friend’s house. We drew up a contract. Since we had plenty of experience with purchasing material from being our own buyer during the wall construction, we did the same with the house. 

The House Plans

The actual house plans for our Philippines house.We have a 768sqm lot. We wanted a house that would sit in the middle of the lot and not have a roof easy to climb onto from the wall. Large windows to catch breezes and long roof overhangs for shade were musts.

We wanted three bedrooms and two full baths. Since we had a back patio for entertaining, we wanted a “powder room” (toilet and sink) there. The cats would have their own little Pet Room. My wife wanted a big walk-in closet in the Master bedroom. We wanted a small utility room just off the kitchen with a door to the outside while a carport and a laundry area were also planned.

360ยบ View 

Here’s a gallery of photos that show what the house would have looked like if we built it as drawn.

 

Changes Made To The House Plans

We were surprised at how different things looked on paper versus how they felt when the house started to be laid out on the lot. As a result, we changed a number of things as we went forward with the house build. 

Before We Began

  • We cut the double sliding doors to the patio from the Master bedroom because of our concern they wouldn’t be secure.
  • We cut the double doors for the main entry as well for the same reasons.
  • The Pet Room was removed because it ate up too much of the master bedroom.
  • We cut the Utility room from off the kitchen to make more room for the shower area in the guest bathroom. The bath was too small. The kitchen doorway that led to the Utility room ate up our kitchen cabinet space as well.

After We Began

  • After seeing how narrow the living room would be once the wall footers were in place, we moved the front wall and the Master bedroom wall toward the front of the house. The contractor knocked down the partially-built front wall for this. This also added costs for us to have 
  • We scrapped the walk-in closet because it would have made the Master bedroom area smaller. We replaced the walk-in with three floor-to-ceiling wardrobes along the side wall.

Electrical Plans

Lighting And Outlets

We redesigned all of the lighting plans and actually drew another lighting plan for the electrician ourselves.

The architect had convinced us to install dropped, false ceilings know as coves and add “up lighting” to them that would shine on the real ceiling, giving ambient light rather than direct light. These ceilings and softer lighting are very popular here.

We took a hard look at them with the contractor, though, and decided that not only would the false ceilings make the rooms feel smaller, the up-lighting bulbs would be a pain to replace and the ledges a chore to keep clean and bug-free.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a copy of that drawing to share but the lighting was greatly reduced.

We used can lights extensively, fitted with 7-watt (40-watt equiv.) warm white Firefly LED bulbs.

For example, we replaced the 10 T5 tube lights called for in the cove lighting design and the 6 cans in the living room with 10 can lights and three 4-watt LED directional lights. With sets of three or four on different light switches, we can control how bright the room is. By the way, our large windows mean that we hardly ever turn the lights on in the daytime.

The outlets marked PLO mean Post Light Outlet. Wet only kept three of those up front. We decided it wouldn’t make sense to make it easier for anyone to climb the wall at the back of the house by lighting their way.

Auxiliary Electrical

The auxiliary electrical portion of the house plans is probably the one I laugh at the most now that the house has been built.

I look at it and wonder, “What the heck were we thinking?!”

While most of the outlets and waterproof outlets insdoe and outside the house remain, we reduced out ceiling fans to just one in the living room.

We thought it would be really nice and ‘tropical” to have outdoor ceiling fans on both patios. When we calculated the cost of 11 ceiling fans, we began to think that regular desk fans plugged into wall outlets would be just fine. And they have been.

Another problem with the ceiling fans was my mother-in-law’s and wife’s fear that the fans would fall off of the bedroom ceilings in the middle of the night and kill us. So we have one ceiling fan in the living room and everything has worked out okay.

Another major change was the placement of the panel board. Without the Utility room, we had to relocate the panel. Either the electrician or the contractor informed us that the panel couldn’t have been in the Utility room anyway as the fire code demands it be visible to fire personnel who might enter the house in an emergency. 

We wound up putting the panel board to the right of the front door where we also mounted out CCTV monitor. It sort of makes it look like a mini-command center. 

Electrical Hardware

The panelboard enclosure, the breakers, and all of the switches and outlets inside and outside, except for the GFCIs, were high-quality Schneider Electric products. The GFCIs in the kitchens and bathrooms were Meiji.

We bought Philips can lights and sealed shower lighting. Everything else was locally-available fixtures.

I must say that the locally-available self-contained LED lights for the living room and our bedroom have performed perfectly. In the living room, we have three directional lights that are pointed at the “TV wall”.

In the master bedroom, we have two fixed spotlights over our bureaus.

Plumbing

Supply

Plumbing supply portion of the house plans remained pretty much the same. Having worked in real estate building maintenance, I wanted plenty of shutoffs to be able to isolate areas of the house without needing to shut the main down. 

We’re able to isolate each of the three bathrooms without affecting the supply to the kitchen and vice-versa. We also have hose bibs to serve the front and rear of the house.

I wanted to run the supply around the house to keep it from under the floor in the main part of the house. The house we lived in while this one was being built had a leak somewhere within the run from the meter at the front of the house and the shower at the back of the house and there was no way to find it without ripping up the entire floor. I did NOT want that. However, the run across the floor in this house was able to be done without using too many fittings so at least leaks at joints won’t be a problem.

Sanitary/Gutter

The sanitary plumbing scheme in the house plans remained the same from the architect’s drawing with the exception of some of the placements within the bathrooms. The Master bath sink and toilet are different; my wife added a shower to the patio powder room.

The roof runoff/gutter scheme changed in that the end of the run is now near the septic tank and into a long concrete channel covered with metal grating carries the water out to a dry well just outside of our wall.

 

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