Yes, it’s been a while. There has been lots of progress on the house, though! Almost all the interior framing is done, the roof is on, the windows are in, and the basement stairs are in. Wow!
Day to day, there isn’t too much to do besides gawk at the awesome progress, chat with the builders, and bring them baked goods. I like to stop by once or twice a week, but I know I slow them down so I try not to chat with them too much. The team consists of two primary builders (BR, TP), a younger helper (O), another fellow (TH) who is learning the ropes, and the project manager (BF).
BR is the main day-to-day contact, who often runs various decisions past me when I’m around. There have been changes from the architectural plans like whether the porch should be at the same level as the front door or set down one step. Or if the doorway to the garage should be moved over a few inches to match the doorway below.
BF is head of the project and gets us on task for the bigger decisions: shingle style, the plumbing fixtures, soffit material. We meet every 2 weeks to review next steps. He gets the bulk of the homemade goodies 😉 The rest of the team like to tease him about no longer being hands-on in the field; it’s a notable event when he puts on a tool belt. We review cost issues with him frequently, trying to balance quality and cost.
TP is a finish carpenter and is also doing much of house construction with BR. We tease him because he will make sure everything is at 1/32nd tolerance or spend half a day building shelving for their tools. I swear we’ve spent a decent chunk of labor cost on the support structures (shelving, a table, temp electrical panel) but I think it comes with the territory. He and BR care a lot about quality.
Cost overruns happen in construction and this project is no different. Some are beyond any of our control: material costs increase over time and especially with tariff threats. Some are due to changes for aesthetics or quality. And one annoying cost was due to underestimating the cost of fill.
OMG the fill. In order to minimize the slope of the driveway, I chose the location and height of the house to be pretty highly elevated. This meant that we dug very shallowly to place the house on the hillside, generating no extra fill. The driveway comes from the high side which means that the garage is about 10′ above the low side. Cue: fill. We have trucked in at least 50+ trailers of dirt or crushed concrete and we’re not done yet. There will be a sharp slope on the south side of the house which makes me nervous but we have some ideas to manage it. Per unit volume, fill isn’t that expensive: $6-8 / cubic yard. But when you need thousands of cubic yards it’s no laughing matter. Who knew I’d be working extra shifts to pay for dirt.
Besides those painful moments on our wallet, we are enjoying the process. We love hanging out in the house as it’s being built. We’ve been out there at night and on weekends just chilling and imagining our future.
Next month should be pretty amazing with the arches being poured and the deck being started. I’ll keep up with more frequent posts about the process. If you have any questions feel free to ask me 🙂