Wow, it feels like it has been ages since I’ve posted here. Actually, it has been. Almost a year.
Well, I haven’t exactly been resting on my laurels. When I last posted, we were about 2 weeks from moving in to our house, Holly was going through surgery and I was at my wits end with work, manging the project and having a wife in really bad shape. Keeping this site up wasn’t exactly a top priority.
Since then, Holly has gotten better (almost back to 100%) & we’ve been enjoying our house. It has really been awesome and we regularly look around and can’t believe that it is ours.
I’ve been wanting to do a post summarizing everything that we learned through the project. It turns out, when I started writing it, that we learned a lot. 41 pages to be exact. So rather than putting it into a single post or a bunch of posts, I’ve done something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time, write an ebook.
Building Castles is the entire story of remodel project. How we picked a contractor, an architect, how we financed it, how we picked things out, how we kept everything on track so that we were able to move in early and almost on budget.
Check out the site. If you are working on designing your house, I think that you will get a lot out of it.
With Holly in the hospital for the next week or so, I’m left being dude with job, mom, dad, supportive husband and home project manager. Unfortunately, my bandwidth doesn’t allow me to be much of a blogger, so sadly, something has to give and that something is going to be this site. For the next few weeks or so, my postings will be sporadic at best. Since they’ve been pretty sporadic thus far, I’m afraid that means more or less a total shut down. I’ll continue to take a bunch of photos and probably finish what I started at some point mid-summer.
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I hate the idea of spending a bunch of money on landscaping and I’m appalled by how much it costs to put a bunch of grass, stone & plants in your yard. It is amazing to me. Yet, when faced with weekends of schleping away in the hot sun doing something that I really don’t know how to do, that price tag becomes a bit more palatable.
We made the decision recently to hire Don Hall to do our landscaping. Don is a classic, old school kind of guy who has been doing really nice work in the Bay Area forever. The picture to the right is his back yard. Don lives up the street from us and Holly and I have really gotten to like him and his family a lot.
While I don’t think that our yard will be a master piece like his, I do think that he will make a really good looking yard that the kids can play football in. He is also doing a lot of stone work for us and tying it all in to the overall fit of the house. I know that it will look great.
I’ve kind of been debating on whether or not to write this post. I don’t want to come across as some rich jerk that screwed up. Nor do I want this to be interpreted as a ‘woe is me, we have no money’ (especially by our friends and family) type of post. Since one of my goals with this blog was to help people out in doing similar projects, I opted to write. First off, especially for family & friends, we aren’t broke or destitute. Yet.
What we are finding, though, is that here at the end of the project there are a ton of things that we need to purchase for the house that were not included in the original bid. I’d say that these purchases fall into two categories. First are things for the house that are needed that weren’t included in the bid. This would be, in our case, lighting, knobs & pulls, and landscaping. The second category are things that we want for the house, but aren’t necessarily required to build it. Furniture, alarm and other asides fall into this boat. You see where I’m going with this, don’t you?
Thus far, we’ve been able to put most of our purchases on our loan. It’s like playing with the houses money. You know when you have a pocket full of chips and it is really simple to keep playing. The problem that we have is that we’ve left the casino and are trying to buy a couple of t-shirts and the store doesn’t take chips. They want cash (or at least a check), so we are back to the casino to cash in our chips. What is really amazing, is how few of these shops take credit cards, too. So much for free airline ticket.
If you’re working on a project like this, take this as a word of caution. As you get down to the end, be prepared for unplanned for expenses to rear their ugly heads.
“The waiting is the hardest part” – Tom Petty – The Waiting
Dude, he wasn’t kidding. I feel like a kid during the first week December when he knows Santa is bringing a new bike. I knew that the finish work took a long time, but the thing that I didn’t realize was how invisible it is to the naked eye. Holly assures me that there is always a crew at the house, but when I go by, it seems like minimal progress has been made.
I have pictures to upload at some point, but have been kind of lazy. The yard is torn up now and being prepped for landscaping. Stone started to go on the outside of the house. We had some real problems with our stone. The exact stone that we wanted wasn’t available, so rather than waiting a couple of weeks, we acquiesced and picked something close. Painting is done on the interior, but a ton of touch-ups need to be made. For example, there was a lot of over spray in our laundry room, so that whole room will need a new coat of paint. I suppose that now that major painting is finished, tile can go in the back splash and flooring can begin. If you’ve been a long time reader of this blog, you know that I have no idea what I’m talking about. If I were to build a house, it would fall down immediately.
I’ll try to get pictures soon.
Up there with “You may kiss the bride” & “Congratulations, it’s a boy / girl”, “Go ahead and give the apartment complex your 30 day notice” has to be one of the greatest phrases ever uttered to us.
It is like the 8th month of pregnancy has arrived. We know that something cool is coming in a month, we don’t know the exact date and we probably aren’t as ready for it as we think that we are. Never the less, we are really excited.
As everyone has told us, the last month, all of the detail work, will seem to take the longest. I don’t know if it is necessarily taking longer or if it is simply the anticipation of being able to see a light at the end of the tunnel. We are so close, but when I look into a big empty room, it is hard to tell if 30 days is a pipe dream or not. There is still so much to do and now the clock is ticking.
Craig has said that we can sleep in his guest room if we aren’t done.
The San Francisco Chronicle did an excellent article this weekend about house bloggers and featured yours truly.
Sadly, we were out of town for the weekend and I wasn’t able to get a post put in place for new visitors, sorry.
The whole experience was pretty cool and the people at the Chronicle were awesome to work with.