I have gone through this exercise several times!
I always ended up either building to my own specifications and getting exactly what I want (probably more expensive nowadays), or else I have bought and done huge alterations to bring the house to have everything I want, and where I want it.
My main concern is always the kitchen and in my current house, that was the first thing I did - rip it out and get a lovely new one built, as I am in there a lot!
Then I started on the en suite which is now beautiful....they were the main things I did this time.
The last two houses I /we bought, were all similar - did massive renovation even bigger than what I did this time.
I have also built 4 times and these were always lovely though generally fraught with problems! But I was happy in the end each time.
IF, (and it is a huge IF!!!) I ever had the funds, I would LOVE to design and build my own home so that it was exactly what I need! However, my situation has never allowed for this option so I have been content to buy an older home on both occasions when I have done so. I made rather enormous changes to the house I live in now, and though there will always be something else I would like to do, I am happy here.Living in North Queensland where we have so much sunshine, it was a no-brainer to have very good solar panels and inverter system installed. I would have done this much earlier if I had been in a financial position to do so, but I have already saved so much actual cash when I compare bills from the same billing periods, that I am more than happy with the system which I chose!!! I never even think about how much my power bill is going to be anymore!! I insulated and air-conditioned this property almost as soon as I moved in as our weather can be horrendous in summer! It has been a super place to bring up my son from 1988 to 2008 when he moved to Melbourne.We are situated halfway between a very good primary school and a wonderful high school, but we are not close enough to be bothered by the opening and closing hours when every man and his dog are in transit!!!
Like Jonaj and Rice, I have always watched and gathered ideas from Grand Designs.I used to sit down at 6 pm each Thursday with a lovely cup of tea and just enjoy every moment.It is so good that it is now shown at easier viewing times!! So, though I have never been able to build to my own specs, I can still happily get ideas of things to do with the home I live in!
I am really happy to find out that many others also enjoy Grand Designs. As you make note, Miro, it is fascinating to see how people solve their problems in so many interesting ways. There is a great sense of adventure with many of the episodes I have seen over the years!
We had an architect draw up a house plan, but the house was going to cost far more then we could afford, so my father paid him off, & we looked around at display homes. We found a 3 bedroom Stirling home we both liked, then we had an un-suite, extra bedroom, extra linen cupboard, & excavation work done, for only $10000, so we were very happy with the outcome. That was in '78, & we're still in that house. (Stirling Homes was bought out, soon after our house was finished.)
My dad and new stepfamily did a similar thing in the late 70's and they also are still very content in that lovely home. I honestly would not enjoy having to move again as this house is definitely my home and has many delightful memories attached to it! It is so much more than a roof over my head.It is my life!!!
Design your own home sounds like great fun, but then you risk making a mess of it as most of us are not professionals, not to mention it definitely costs a lot of money. I think it's better to buy something you like and renovate it to suit your needs.