Custom Home – Month 13: Let There Be Light (Sort Of…)

This month started with the installation of all of our electrical wiring. The electricians were amazing to work it – we did a thorough walkthrough before they started and then went to the house every day during the week that they were there to fine tune some of the choices.

Once electrical was complete, we required a building inspection for our framing before we could proceed to insulation and drywall. We were hoping that could all be done this month but it didn’t… There were some issues with our trusses (which is not uncommon), which has delayed our getting our permits and, in turn, delayed the start of drywall.

So… all we have to show in terms of construction advancement for the month of May is this white electrical panel and the yards and yards of wiring running through our framing…

I don’t know why I’m so excited about this but I really like that my electrical panel is white!!!

While the house sat empty for the rest of the month, I used the time to write some of our intentions and prophecies on our framing. I’ve seen this online with other builds and I love the idea of leaving our mark on this house. It’s unlikely that anyone except us will ever see it but I’m still glad to know it’s there.

Fingers crossed for a much more positive update with Month 14’s review…

Custom Home: Month 9 – Taking Shape

January was one of those months where workers were at the land almost every day but yet it always looked the same… until, one day, it just all came together…

The trusses came up this month and man were we nervous… When we were designing the house, we really wanted to have a high roof pitch but didn’t want to spend extra on the upgrade. So we took the maximum of what was offered and just hoped that a 6:12 pitch would have the effect that we envisioned for our exterior – and IT DID! The pitch is not super high – which I don’t think would have gone well with the style of the house anyway – but it is distinct enough so that the roof doesn’t look flat…

View from our kitchen when the trusses were just about done!

Finishing the roof was next on the list. We kept it simple with black shingles and love how it came out.

Next up for the house is the installation of windows and doors. We were hoping to have those in by the end of January but they were delayed and install is now projected for some time during the month of February.

From a design perspective, we met with our millwork designer to start planning out our cabinetry. She patiently listened to all of our wish list and took detailed notes. She is now working on drawing it all out in order to provide us with a quote. I removed several upper cabinets from our plans and replaced them with shelves thinking we might save some money that way but, as we quickly learned, there isn’t much difference in cost between doing a cabinet or a floating shelf…so, needless to say, there will be lots of upgrades where the millwork is concerned.

If I had one piece of “budget” advice to give, I would strongly recommend using the time between when you finalize your floor plans (and have a good idea of sizes and layouts) and when you receive the permits (there is usually a 6-10 week period there) to actually meet with the millwork people and get a ballpark of what your dream layouts would cost so that you can then account for that in the budget from the onset… Had we had the benefit of that knowledge, we would likely have cut down on certain upgrades that we did to our windows, doors and a few other things that we have already committed to. Anyhow, we already know that we aren’t going to be able to get all the millwork that we want right away but, with time, we’ll finish those areas (such as the mudroom and pantry) that are not going to be upgraded in the initial build.

Month 10 should have the house completely sealed up with windows and exterior doors. Not sure what comes after that but, regardless, each day is one day closer to seeing this project come to fruition.

She looks like a house!

Custom Home: Months 7 and 8 – Turning our Vision into Reality with a Strong Foundation and Lots of 2x4s…

Ok so, somehow, November turned into December and now the year is over… 2020 gave us plenty of blessings but it was by no means a great year (no year wherein a pandemic essentially paralyzes the entire world could ever be classified as a great year…). I think I speak for everyone when I say “bring on 2021!!!”.

November:

We started the month by meeting with our builder’s interior designers. Our builder provides the services of an independent designer as part of their package – they are there to ensure we keep on track timeline wise and they can offer suggestions and design advise, if needed (we’re pretty set in our ways and know what we want but it’s still nice there is someone there to bounce off ideas, if needed).

Mid-month, we met with the plumbing suppliers to choose our fixtures. Another good thing with working with a builder’s suppliers – they have your plans, know your budget and know your builder! So after visiting the store a few times to try to nail down what we wanted, we set up an appointment with a representative and he walked us through each room and helped us make our selections. We ended up with a broad range of choices – from black plumbing fixtures in boys’ bathrooms, gold in the powder room and chrome in the ensuite!!!

Dreaming of using this bridge faucet at our kitchen sink…

As for the our land – the foundation was completed!!! We can now see our elevation and how high our house will sit on the lot (the engineered pad we placed to secure against any water issues meant that the house is going to sit higher than we expected but we love it!).

December:

Our house has taken shape!!! The carpenters worked hard in December and almost managed to finish framing the entire place! Unfortunately, they ran out of time before the holidays and weren’t able to install the trusses as they had hoped but we can now walk through the main floor and see each room division, window sizes, etc…

Paolo and I visited a tile outlet (Eurotile) and purchased some tile for the house that we wanted to save on. Outlets are great for savings but it means you have to take possession of the tile right away – so we both carried about 800lbs of tile from the store, to the basement in our rental and will later bring it back upstairs and deliver it to the lot when the time comes… Totally worth it since we saved, on average, at least 40% on the tile.

We also met with the designers again to go over our wish list for the millwork. We already knew that we weren’t going to fit everything into our budget, so we’ve decided to focus our resources on the kitchen and, hopefully, the bathrooms. The rest, such as the pantry and mudroom, will be projects that Paolo and I will take on in the future.

All in all, November and December were definitely the biggest months thus far in terms of progress. Our government has instituted another lockdown for the holidays and into the third week of January, so I’m not sure how much we will advance next month or whether it will cause delays in the end but, for now, we’ll just take our time walking the property and admiring what is already there…

While we didn’t get to “wake up” in our home for Christmas this year, we did visit the house on the 25th with Theo – he got to keep his pjs on and see his future room! Hopefully, this time next year, we’ll be wrapping up our first holiday season in the CasaCres forever home 🙂