Thursday, May 24, 2012


And they are framing....

YIPPEE!!!  YAY!!! YAHOO!!!  We were doing a little happy dance this past week as they began framing.  Gosh that part of the work goes quickly, with some real and significantly noticeable progress each day.  In less than a week, they have the bottom floor frame, and are working on the floor joists and sub-floor today, with the intention of beginning the framing of the top floor tomorrow. Did I say yippee?!?

There have been several deliveries of building materials (and the invoices that go with them).  Here's the Canuck beside one pile.

 In the master bedroom, we've designed a bump out area that I plan to use as a reading, sitting, listening-to-the-rain, comfy spot.  I have to find the right chair and ottoman (and I'm on a mission for that this weekend), but the framers are getting it ready.

And to add a bit of a complication for the contractors, a Killdeer bird has decided to lay her eggs right in the middle of the driveway in the front of the garage. Our builders and the delivery guys are trying to work around her to save the nest, and give the eggs time to hatch (my dad has even marked the spot with a red flag so we all know where it is) but she better hurry up and crack those things.  :)   Here is she is, in all her nest-guarding glory, and in the background is the view across the road from the front of the new house.  We have peaceful, beautiful views from both sides.  Love that!

The framing part of construction is by far the most exciting thus far.  It's great to see the rooms and areas taking shape.  I'm already figuring out furniture placement!

Monday, May 21, 2012


The last post provided a bit of information about the exterior of the house, so today's post will focus on the inside and the three porches. 

As I mentioned, the interior living space is about 3,450 sq ft over the two floors. There's four bedrooms (two up and two down), a playroom (for grandkids!), an office (for me!) and three bathrooms. The upstairs great room and downstairs family room both have open floor plans to the kitchen eating area up and a bar/small kitchen area downstairs, and there is a separate dining room upstairs also. The house will sport a mud room and a utility room off the three-car garage and there will be two fireplaces, one gas FP upstairs and a wood-burning FP down.

Here are the floor plans for both levels:

I have to admit, it's still exciting for me every time I open up the plans to look at them. A lot of thought and care went into planning each floor's layout.  Every wall, closet, room, light fixture, and doorway has been contemplated, critiqued, and analyzed.  Every nook and cranny thought about, and decided upon. What this means is that we STILL will not have the perfect house.  :)  I have no doubt that as much planning and thought that went into the process, we still will likely get the house completed and wish we'd done something different--made this doorway bigger, put a can light here, added some storage there.  But that's ok, it'll be close enough to perfect for us.  And that's all that matters.

We've opted for larger than average windows, but not so big that we'll be fighting the sun all the time.  The houses faces east with the setting west sun at night in the back.  Just like the house we currently live in.  As we have learned with our current house, direct heat of the sun all day, and the setting evening sun doesn't work as well for a deck with no roof or covering. Our current deck was getting so hot on a beautifully sunny day that it was too hot to walk on or to sit out and eat on in the evenings. We've added a pergola to the current deck which has made a significant difference, but in the new house, I was adamant that the porch all be roofed.  There is a smaller porch at the front entrance of the house and a two-level deck/porch in the back.  We will be able to access the top floor porch, overlooking our woods and pond, from the main level great room area, and the downstairs deck via the family room area.  And the porches are fairly big, approximately 16 x 20.  I wanted big ol' porches we can live on, eat on, entertain on, and be incredily comfy on. 

I think the porches are going to one of my favorite parts of the house. I've already purchased a porch swing for the upstairs porch, and a small antique table to use for cozy breakfasts.  I'm envisioning many happy house with the Canuck, and with our family and friends on those porches.

So now you have a glimpse of the inside....more details to come.  Thank you for stopping by and reading about our house.

Monday, May 14, 2012


I wanted to provide a bit of information about the house itself.   We search various sources online for blueprints, especially plans that would accommodate  a walk out basement.  Knowing the lower floor would be part of the overall floor plan and not simply a "basement," we focused on houses with the main floor at about 1750-1850 sq foot.  Our current house is about 1730 on the main floor so we knew that would be about right. Especially given that it would be just the two of us living in it most of the time.  We didn't want a house that was too big, but also not too small.

Between us, we have five grown children and already have six grandchildren, with every expectation (and hope!) that number will grow.  :)   So, we wanted a house big enough to accommodate our family when we  all get together and plenty of room for other out-of-town friends and family visitors.  So, 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms seemed about right.

We found a plan that was fairly close to what we wanted, then I started fiddling with it.... tweaking, re-arranging and expanding wall, and drafting our own tailored plan. After looking over and contemplating it for months, tweaking it a bit more, reading everything I could find on floor plans, we finally came up with a plan we felt was perfect for us. We took my drawings to a draftsman who provided some additional good advice which led to a bit more tweaking, and then the final blueprints.

We ended up at around 1910 sq ft for the main floor and after removing Glen's fish room (he's keeps/breeds African Cichlids!) and a storage room downstairs, there's another 1500 sq ft downstairs.  A bigger house than what we planned, but exactly what we want.  :)

Here is the exterior.  From the road in the front, it'll look like a one-story house, but from the side and back and with the slope of the hill, you can see the lower, 2nd floor.  As you can see below, it looks much bigger from the back.  The garage extends in the front, and the two-level covered porches extend in the back (and overlook the woods and pond!).

We decided to go with vinyl siding and stone exterior.  I actually prefer vinyl siding to brick for this type of house. There were other, more expensive choices for siding, but vinyl siding works well and suits us just fine.  We'll be using a quality siding .044 thickness, in a dark gray color, with white trim and windows, and Owens Corning dimensional shingles.  (More info to come on hunting down the best deal on building materials.)

As you can tell from the side view, it's not a simple rectangular ranch, but has a garage extending forward in the front, and the two-level back deck/porch extends in the back of the house.

I love the exterior, the floor plan....well just everything about this house.   We feel very blessed and lucky to be able to build a new home, expecially one that is exactly what we want.   More to come including info on the floor plans, and details of the interior.

Friday, May 11, 2012


Well, they dug and they dug. Then after making a big ol' divot in the side our little hill, the contractors started pouring the footers and constructing the foundation/basement walls. This was exciting stuff because we could finally envision the footprint of the house--the layout of the rooms and the wonderful view we're going to have from both levels of the back porches. :)

Here's a shot of a finished footer:

And here are a couple shots of the construction of foundation and basement walls:

The spring here in Ohio has been unseasonable warm and dry. Yes, we've had some rain here and there that slowed the process a bit occasionally, but there have been plenty of days between rain to dry things out and keep progress going. There was one thing, though, that couldn't keep going one day...

Yep, a stuck truck. But have no fear, the next day they got that sucker out of there and carried on. Our constructions guys are great. They are good at what they do, they are personable and friendly, and they are reliable. They are there when they say they are going to be there. All around good guys.

Although we bid out every part of the building process--excavation, concrete flat work, basement/foundation work, framing, roofing, utilities etc.), we chose just one contractor to do all of the main jobs for this first part of construction. His bids were reasonable, his reputation was solid, and our meetings went very well. While we could have saved some money by piecing out some parts of the initial construction (i.e. the concrete flat work or the roofing), we decided it was better to go with one contractor who we had great confidence in, and who we knew would stay focused on our job. In addition, all of the construction is guaranteed by just one contractor. If there is a problem, he will cover it and we don't have to worry that one contractor would place blame on another contractor, etc. An example: suppose a window isn't level so won't close properly. The framer could say that it was the Foundation that put the wall out of square. And the Foundation contractor could respond that no, it's definitely the framer's work that caused the problem.

By having one contractor do the initial excavation, foundation, concrete, framing and roofing, there is just one person to go to should there be any problems. That was comforting and made good sense to us. While I'm all about saving money in the building of this house, that doesn't mean we'll give up quality, safety, or good warranty to do so. It's much more important to have a well-built, beautifully constructed house by a contractor we can depend on.

I've been busy building items for the house (lighting, plumbing features, accessories, etc) which I'll be sharing with you soon. But first, I need to catch you up on the building. More photos and info coming....stay tuned.