Dried In

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Today, we officially reached the "dry-in" stage of construction. With walls, windows, doors, and shingles, we are now mostly protected from the elements.

And yes, those are pallets of bricks in the picture on the right -- our brick-mason starts tomorrow!

And for the first time, we can actually do dome parallel work on the house. Up until now, everything has been sequential (i.e. first they dig a hole, then they pour a basement, then they frame the house, then they put on a roof, etc.). Now as the brick-mason spends a few weeks getting our house all nice and wrapped, we can simultaneously start working on interior rough work -- hvac, plumbing, electric.

Yard (New House Top Ten)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

This is the first of ten in a series of the Top Ten things I am most looking forward to in our new House.

The Yard is listed as number one, because this is really the Straw.
All the other things listed in the Top Ten are grand luxuries that we are eagerly anticipating -- but ones we would likely be very tempted to live without if there wasn't an underlying motivational factor for us to move -- and that is the Yard.

Our current property is only 0.18 acres, giving us a back yard of less than 2800 square feet. But it's not really (or not entirely) the size that is the problem -- we certainly lived in homes with smaller. The entire back yard is graded downhill from the back of the house to the water retention pond that is about 40 feet from our back door. Now compound that with the fact that, up until a month ago, our Neighborhood covenents prohibited erecting fences on properties that are adjacent to the retention pond, and that means that the least safest place for our kids to play is right in our own backyard.

If you tripped over the threshold as you walked out the back door, you would likely end up tumbling all the way into the pond. How many people can say that their own back yard is the last place they would let their kids play unattended? I wonder, if the covenants had changed to allow this before we embarked on construction, would we still have done it?

Our new property is over half an acre. After we build our new house 40 feet off the road, our new back yard will be large enough that it could house our entire existing .18 acre property twice, with room to spare. And it is flat. All the way back. We'll actually be able to let the kids play outside -- maybe even (gasp) unsupervised.

Top 10 Features of the New House

Quite a few people have asked what our favorite feature, or what we're most looking forward to in our new house. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your point of view), I can't narrow it down to just one. We are, after all, building our dream house. Below is the top ten list of the Features I am most looking forward to in the new house. Each one of these will probably warrant its own blog post, so I'll update this list to link to each individual post as it is created.

  1. Yard

  2. Piano Room

  3. Kitchen and Pantry

  4. Garage

  5. Mud Room

  6. Master Closet Space

  7. Master Bath

  8. Foyer and Loft

  9. Front Porch

  10. Basement

The Great Frame Up

Saturday, October 9, 2010

They started our framing on Sept. 22 -- and officially finished yesterday, Oct 8. They originally estimated 6-7 working days -- it ended up being 10 working days, but they were spread across 16 real days. Still, not bad to go from bare concrete to fully framed in just over 2 weeks.

They had all the walls, internal and external, first and second floors, done in about 5 working days.

But then came the roof. Setting roof trusses took a day, then the roof sheathing, then they had to stick frame the covered porch roof.

And then yesterday, they completed their final "punch list". Monday, Benchmark Remodeling starts in with our window and door installations.

Classic Truss has done a fine job with the project -- from turning our design into engineered drawings, then a framing package, and assembling it all. My biggest frustrations with them have been a lack of communication. Sometimes, this lack of communication has caused a bit of stress, and leading me to believe there were big problems. For example, they needed 3 weeks lead time before they could be on site to start framing. When our foundation crew started work, I called Classic Truss to give them that 3 weeks notice, but no one ever returned my phone messages or email messages -- I bugged them for a week and half with no response, thinking the whole time that there was either some big problem, or they weren't going to be able to get me in their schedule, but then, I finally got ahold of the business manager who said, "oh, yeah, we got your first message over a week ago, and put you in our queue and have started the pre-assembly. We could probably be onsite early next week". Which was actually Earlier than I needed them -- but if I had just gotten a simple phone call, there would have been much less stress. These same kinds of incidents happened throughout the framing, when I would call either the business manager or crew supervisor because of some small issue I discovered, they would often take days to respond, leading me to catastrophize that they would refuse to fix it, but inevitably, they would already be taking care of the problem by the time they called back. In all, I am very happy with their work -- my only complaint is their lack of responsive communication.

"Special" Delivery

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

*my mobile phone rings*
Me: Hello, this is Eric.
Cindy: Hello, this is Cindy from Lowe's. I am calling about your delivery order.
Me: Yes?
Cindy: Yes, we have pulled your order and have scheduled to deliver your doors and windows to you tomorrow between noon and 2pm.
Me: That sounds good.
Cindy: Will you have someone available to accept the delivery?
Me: Um, well, probably not, can you just leave everything inside the garage?
Cindy: Well, we can place everything in the garage, but we would need to have someone there to let us in.
Me: Um, the garage doors are part of your delivery.
Cindy: Yes?
Me: So, there are no doors on the garage yet.
Cindy: Yes?
Me: So, you can just leave everything, including the doors, in the garage.
Cindy: But we would need someone there to let .... Oh, right.

At least the delivery actually made it to its destination.

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