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My diary: Building a new home

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    Thanks Clipper! [img]/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif[/img]

    It will be a one-story structure with 2256 sq ft of living space. The house will be located on almost 2 acres just barely southwest of Amarillo, TX.

    My husband and I hope to move into it sometime this spring. Our contractor also was in a hurry to get started before the weather turns bad for the winter.

    I should have some pictures of the house building process in a week or so.


      Originally posted by annabell123:

      It took 8 months to build and I subcontracted everything out myself...
      ...she even bought a herd of holsteins that live in her back yard and gets up before dawn to milk them! [img]/forum/images/smilies/tongue.gif[/img]
      moooooooooooooooooooooooo! [img]/forum/images/smilies/wink.gif[/img]

      clipper...i love the idea of a daylight basement! [img]/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif[/img]
      good luck!

      "Now the only healthy way to live, as I see it, is to learn to like all the little every day things."
      -Larry McMurtry
      "Now, the only healthy way to live life, as I see it, is to enjoy all the little everyday things, like a sip of whiskey in the evening, a soft bed, or a cool breeze on a hot day." -Gus McCrae, from Lonesome Dove, by Larry McMurtry



        Clipper, you are most fortunate with your builder. We were charged an extra $1800 for our special foundation, extra $250 for wider doors, extra $67 for a taller comode, to name a few. It was very frustrating.


          Originally posted by KDK:

          Clipper, you are most fortunate with your builder. We were charged an extra $1800 for our special foundation, extra $250 for wider doors, extra $67 for a taller comode, to name a few. It was very frustrating.
          Was your home built on a slab? My lot is/was actually level. The garage is "ground level" but the rest is dug out. They dropped the "foundation" nearly a foot to eliminate the step up. But since it wasn't a slab, they just had to dig a little deeper. I wonder if this accounts for the added cost you incurred. Was your home entirely custom? This might also account for the added costs.

          The picture I attached shows the completed foundation. The area on the left is the garage. You can see the drop-off more clearly.


            To those who have built and/or purchased homes, can you please post information regarding special funding/loans/rates available to people with disabilities? I've had a few people contact me privately about this and thought it would be good to discuss in this thread.


              I've attached a photo of the main floor to illustrate the staircase. We consulted with the lift contractor when the plans were being revised to ensure that the staircase was wide enough, had adequate space on the landing and to ensure that the plans called for adequate wall bracing. During framing, the contractor visited the house to provide specific instructions on proper wall bracing, which can be seen in the photo. This will avoid problems down the road.


                Clipper. Your house looks like its coming along nicely. One question and I hope it doesn't open a can of worms. Regarding the lift, how thick is the platform? I'm wondering if a recess in the floor at the foot of the steps would make sense. This would eliminate having to roll up over a bump.

                It would make require a little modification if you moved out and took the lift with you.


                  I'm not sure about the price differences but I've found stair lifts much slower and more of a pain to get on and off of than elevators. What made you decide on a stair lift?


                    We built a ranch 10 years ago in the Atlanta suburbs. It was a nightmare. If I hadn't driven out to the construction site almost every day w/my tape measure, who knows how much worse it would have been. We'd carefully measured and considered the dimensions of the garage and master bathroom for optimal function and safety. The builder didn't seem to give a crap about that, and were pretty naive and trusting--at first. We had to bust up the concrete foundation to move a toilet and sink, and then later move an entire wall between the MB and bedroom. And because he didn't follow the agreed upon dimensions of the garage, we couldn't park my car and Scott's van in the garage at the same time. [img]/forum/images/smilies/frown.gif[/img] [img]/forum/images/smilies/confused.gif[/img] [img]/forum/images/smilies/frown.gif[/img]

                    Measure, measure, measure--and then raise hell if it isn't exactly what you need.


                      weekender: Your suggestion is a good one, but I want to keep to a minimum the type of things that might require modification down the road. My parents have the same lift in their home, and the bump is minimal. The fact that I use a power chair also influenced my decision.

                      nate007: We first explored the cost of a residential elevator when we were looking at buying an existing two-story home. The elevators we priced start at about $28,000, whereas a lift costs about $15,000. Also, elevators are virtually impossible to remove and may not be appealing to a potential buyer. Lifts are more readily removed. So, my decision was based on the cost of the lift and resale value of the house.

                      Marcomo: You are so right! Excellent advice.


                        Our house has a full basement with a partial walkout. My goal was to ensure that my husband could exit the house from all levels without any barriers. We had the stairlift from our other house installed to the basement. I was told that the actual cost to pour the "step" in the foundation is about $800. This does eliminate the need for the 11" diference in elevation between garage and house.

                        I also had to measure regularly to make sure the specifications were followed. The supervisor kept "forgetting" our plan deviated from the norm, or did not understand the importance to us. He was not happy when I insisted that corections be made. Therein lies the reasoning of doubling or tripling the cost of changes to the plan, to correct their mistakes. I wished I would have had more time and energy to fight it.

                        I also tried to plan the house as if certain things would be there, so it can be easily added or modified. For instance, there is room for a work island in the kitchen, but I did not put one in, so my husband has more room to manuever. I can easily set up a table for additional serving space, as needed.

                        We had extra light switches to the fan, overhead light and outside light installed on the wall next to his bed, which has been helpful. He does not need a roll in shower, so we designed it as if it would have glass doors, but use a shower curtain instead. The sink can easily have a base cabinet added underneath. Hope this helps.


                          Thanks, KDK. Very good points. Since I'm some 3,000 miles away, my father is "supervising" the construction process. He goes down to the house daily and consults with the contractor and subs. He also takes tons of photos so that I can correct any errors that arise. Your advice, and Marcomo's is extremely helpful. We've made a few changes and additions so far during construction that will save us $$ in the long run:

                          - plumbed the basement for possible future modification, such as the addition of a bathroom

                          - wired the house for a security system

                          - added a central vac system

                          The builder has been really on top of things. He's done a lot already to improve the design of the house, at no additional cost. Also, the plumber had some good ideas for sinks and faucets. But before anything goes in, we agreed that I must first see pictures. I'm particularly paranoid about the bathrooms. Attached is an updated exterior shot, with the roof and windows in place. Thanks to everyone for the wonderful replies.


                            Lucky you! Dad's are very particular. I like the roof line and second floor windows.


                              Hey Clipper! Make sure the measurements of the height of the kitchen and bathroom counters are made taking into consideration after the floor tiles or whatever is applied. Also your height measurements for under the counter are good no matter what you're wearing on your feet. Or your different chairs, cushions, tires, etc.

                              The reason I bring this up is because when we reno'd our kitchen, we screwed this up. After all the work into the cupboards and counters, we couldn't put down the tile we wanted (too thick) and my knees hit the counter depending on what shoes I was wearing. We took measurements when I was in slippers or bare feet. DUH!!! [img]/forum/images/smilies/rolleyes.gif[/img] We could fix it but nah, not worth ripping it all apart again, and it's actually better now because my cushion is lower profile.

                              It's truly amazing how tiny things like the height of your chair, cushions, tires, shoes, (even tiles vs lino), can mean so much. Even when rolling up the ramp in my van, it's like one inch between getting up or not. Weird hey!

                              Anywho, just some thoughts to ponder, give yourself more room than you'll think you need just to be on the safe side. With us it's a matter of inches! [img]/forum/images/smilies/rolleyes.gif[/img]

                              Go Canucks Go!!!!!!


                                We built a house a few years ago. We did two things I would recommend for everyone.

                                1. Place the showerhead higher than standard. I use a hand-held showerhead anyway. Placing them higher means that anyone over 5'10" won't have to crouch to fit.

                                2. Wire the house for a computer network while the walls are open. We have a hub in the basement and at least one computer connection in every room. Out office has several. Even if you don't have a network now, it's much easier and cheaper to put the wiring in at this phase of the process.

                                The place looks great Clipper! Congrats!