Saturday, September 26, 2015

Framing: Video Walk-through

The framers have been working on the house all week. I haven't been out to the property for five days. The last time I saw it, they were just starting the basement. I thought it would be fun to videotape my reaction to the progress and my first walk through what is there.

The video is about five minutes long. Enjoy!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Backfill, geothermal and framing

There is a lot happening out at the house site. In my last post, the cement walls for the basement were poured. Since then, the cement forms have been removed, backfill has been put in, the tubing for the geothermal was laid, radon rock was spread in the basement, the cement walls have been waterproofed and drain tile was installed. 

We were told that the framing would start on Thursday and take about three weeks. To our surprise, Steve got a phone call this morning saying the framers were ready to start today. Turns out there was an error on another job they were doing and they were going to be delayed on that for a week or so. Bad for those folks; good for us. By my calculations, the framing should be done around October 12.

I have a lot of photos to share today. I'll post a note under each so you can understand what's going on. Thanks for reading!

Foundation for front porch

South field prior to geothermal install

Coils of geothermal tubing
Close up of geothermal tubing
You can see the black geothermal tubing poking up out of the ground in the center of the basement. The tubing is buried 8' underground and goes out to a field to the south of the house.
Lumber delivery!

First day of framing. You can see the backfill up to the outside wall.

Framing guys setting up. Another beautiful day!

Setting up framing in the area below the kitchen

Thanks again for reading! If you have any questions, feel free to leave them here.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Brace yourself. We have foundation walls!

While many of you were at your cabins or the State Fair over the weekend, the cement guys were out at our property Saturday, Sunday and Monday (Labor Day), sweating their a$$es off, preparing the forms for the poured cement foundation. Remember Saturday and Sunday? Hot. Humid. Really humid. If I ever say I'm tired from work, or that I worked really hard, slap me. These guys WORKED. HARD. Wow.

I have a series of photos from the preparation of the forms to what it looks like tonight, with cement just poured today. I'll put a note by each to try to describe what you're seeing. Things are moving quickly. Next week we'll have a number of crews out working on geothermal, waterproofing, drain tile and plumbing. And the excavators will probably start doing the backfill as well.

Here we go:

Footings set - forms starting on South side of house
Standing in the basement - rebar sticking up from the footings
Looking South (the rectangle of dirt is the garage floor)
Looking North
Piles of forms
About 1/2 of the forms up

The picture at the very top of this post is what the forms looked like today. Cement is in. We're thinking the forms will come off on Friday and there will be real, cement walls!

Friday, September 4, 2015

So, what's this thing gonna look like?

Many of you have asked for a picture of what the house will look like when it's complete. Below is the architect's drawing of the house (Bruce Eason, New South Classics). We purchased plans for the house you see below and subsequently made many alterations to get to the house we are now building, including expanding the kitchen, enlarging the upstairs bathroom and removal of the 3-season porch with fireplace in the back ($$$), among other things. We worked with the architect to make the changes and eventually come up with a layout unique to our needs and desires. The concept is the same: a two-story, white, modern farmhouse. We are using a ton of reclaimed barn and farmhouse materials on the inside of the house -- thanks to Steve and the hours and hours of planning and sweat equity he has put in. I can't wait to share photos of those things as they start to get incorporated! If you want to see the floor plans, click on the link below the picture and that will give you a pretty good idea of what it will be like. Caution: once you enter the website, you may be stuck there for hours drooling over some amazing homes!

Valley View Farmhouse

Addendum: Steve asked me to share this other drawing which more accurately represents what the front of our house will look like. 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Fancy Footwork

Today, it was mostly sunny and the temps topped out at 84 degrees with 78% humidity. As our local weather forecasters like to say, it was "oppressive." To beat the heat, the girls and I went swimming. We had to get one last outside swim in before school starts next week. I feel bad for the people working outside today, BUT it is better than January! And, you can't dig a hole when it's -40.

The concrete company was out today preparing the forms for the footings. These guys are no joke. Apparently, they dug out, by hand, 4" of dirt in all the areas where the footings will go. Tomorrow, there will be an inspection on the forms, and then they get to the actual work of laying gravel and cement for the footings. When Steve showed these pictures to me, I was amazed. I've never seen a house being built before. I had no idea how this worked, or the amount of planning and detail that goes into just getting the house into the ground ... in the right spot, with a solid foundation, waterproofing, and then all the other components that have yet to be brought into the house (water, electric, septic, heating and cooling, propane, etc.). Whew. I'm tired just thinking about it.

In other news:

Steve also met with a good friend of ours who does landscaping to talk about a retaining wall we'll need behind the house. We decided against a basement walkout -- mostly my doing because, growing up in the city, I'm convinced some weirdo is going to break in my house through the basement. But, also, we'll save a ton of money by not having a walkout, which would probably entail us getting a deck, which neither one of us is interested in.

Behind the house, the land is naturally graded to run away from the house, so were were going to have to do the retaining wall to accomplish having at least some of the backyard "flat" and usable. Originally, we thought we were going to have to do this huge wall that would run parallel to the house, about 50 feet out, almost the whole length of the house. Luckily, Steve and Steve (the landscaper) were able to come up with what I think is a better option: they'll build up the dirt around the doors that come out of the Great Room and create an elevated walk-out patio that has a retaining wall around it. There will be steps from the patio that go out into the yard. Not only will this give us more yard, but the patio will look fantastic. Bravo, guys!

Believe it or not, at this time next week, we expect to have the footings done and the cement walls poured for the basement. Things are flying right now, and we're thankful for that.

Thanks for reading. Enjoy the pics!

I like this next shot. It was taken from the garage, on the north side of the house, looking south, into the rest of the house.

 The next shot is looking the other way, from the far S/SE side to the far N/NW.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

There's a hole!

Monday was a super exciting day for us. The excavators came and started digging our foundation. Our soil is super sandy, so the excavator was able to work pretty quickly. Luckily, there weren't any surprises down there, other than confirming what we already suspected: very little topsoil. So we'll probably have to bring in some dirt for certain areas of the "yard."

Today is Wednesday, and last night a huge rain storm blew through our area. Luckily, the concrete company isn't coming out until Thursday to do footings, so that will give it a day to dry out a little.

Here are some pictures from the dig. Very exciting!!