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October 2020 Building a Home

shead
last year

Wow, it feels like September flew by! Happy October, y’all :) Wishing you a month filled with pumpkin spice and lots of progress!




Comments (501)

  • K H
    last year

    Anyone have a good brand for electric fireplaces? We opted to not put in a chimney because of energy efficiency. But I think I want to put in a nice mantle with stone around it and builtins to add to our living room. Our 4400 sq ft of conditioned space is about the same cost as our 900 sq ft double wide so we are feeling pretty good about our energy efficiency.

    @Kat I looked at it wrong we were $117/sq ft appraised that does not include the land. I also tried to save money at every turn, it is so hard and such a blow when you end up over anyway but I guess it could have been way worse if we hadn't even tried :)

  • Brandie May
    last year

    @K H I am looking at Dimplex and European Home brands for electric fireplace options. I want to see them on display but that may not be possible 🤷‍♀️

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  • nhb22
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Popping in and out here. Someone mentioned their French doors. Below is the cost of ours.

    All wood stainable pine (no cladding and less expensive) French doors (before tax)

    Sierra Pacific brand

    Single - $1900 each

    Doubles - $3810 each

    Doors will be protected with porches. The plan is to stain doors to try and get a good match for the mahogany front door. Has anyone stained a pine door dark?

    The look I am going for!


    "The green is Zip board. It is the sheathing. Kind of an all in one product."

    doc5md - - I did not know that. Cool!

  • J D
    last year
    last modified: last year

    @M R Just wanted to say - what a stunning view!

  • peacehope68
    last year

    Hi Everyone. I posted this question on the Building a Home board, but thought I would ask it here too in case you have any thoughts or suggestions:


    "We are building a new home and have the choice of underground or overhead power running to our house. My first thought was to do underground power, however it's going to cost us around $3,000. If we do overhead power, that is basically a free hook up. I'm wondering if it is worth paying the $3,000 for underground. We do live in Florida where hurricanes can knock down trees and take out power, so that is why underground was my first thought. However, the more I think about it, all of the power lines along the roads in our neighborhood are overhead and those are most likely to be taken down during a hurricane leaving us without power anyway. I'm wondering if the $3,000 would be better spent toward purchasing a whole home generator. Thoughts?"

  • nhb22
    last year
    last modified: last year

    We looked atthese at one time.

    And here is a good Houzz article about the Dimplex

  • shead
    Original Author
    last year

    Re: Budget, we haven’t had a hard and fast budget since we are mostly self-paying for the house due to proceeds made on our house we sold a couple of years ago plus our insurance money from the house that was destroyed by the storm in January so I haven’t kept a firm grasp on our overages. Since we are nearing completion, I have tried to work through those today and I think we should be fairly on target unless my builder hits me hard for some of the “we will worry about it later” things.


    Our cabinets were finished on Monday and all the hardware is installed. I really like how it’s all turned out :) Now, I just have to decide on the backsplash! (Pardon the position of the sconces-the painters pulled them down like that to paint the crown.) There are still three pendants to be installed over the island and counters go in next Thursday...woohoo!




    The warm brass hardware really sets off the cabinet colors!








  • SBDRH
    last year

    @shead cabinets look amazing!


    Our build will end up about 11% over budget, it appears. The bulk of that is due to the extensive landscaping and erosion control we decided to take on. Factoring that out of the equation puts us right around 3.5% over budget.

  • snowcountry
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Am I the only one at about $500/sq-ft including land? It is a modest house, nothing special. What am I doing wrong?

  • shead
    Original Author
    last year

    We are at $130-135 a square foot but that's not including the land and not including a driveway or septic system since those were existing from the previous house. Land price here is negligible because it's on a family farm.


    Our price includes a full basement (unfinished) and a large carport (no upstairs garage but two bays in the basement) plus about 925 sf of front and back porch.

  • snowcountry
    last year

    I don't have any of those. I did splurge on windows. Those buggers were expensive.

  • snowcountry
    last year

    Where do you buy garage doors?

  • snowcountry
    last year

    One more question. My garage ceiling is a bit low at at 8'. There is. ribbon window 8' wide 2' high. Would you install it flush with the ceiling at 8' or lower at 7'? Would installing it flush with ceiling make it feel roomier/higher?

  • Keepthefaith MIGirl
    last year

    @snowcountry try https://www.chiohd.com/ to design a door - can upload your pic if you want. But will need to use their search feature for distributor.


    SO much to catch up on! LOVE those cabinets and your kitchen! So much space in there and so pretty.

  • Tanya Shelly
    last year
    last modified: last year

    @snowcountry You are not alone. We couldn't come close to these prices. We are in your price range not including land.

  • shead
    Original Author
    last year

    Just out of curiosity, @snowcountry and @Tanya Shelly, are you in a high COLA? Is the majority of your costs construction costs or land costs? I’m in rural KY where an acre is about $2500 :/ That’s why land our land cost is negligible.

  • N Kay
    last year

    @snowcountry I'm up there too depending on how I crunch the numbers. We finished the basement but at builders grade and we had a preexisting foundation we built on so that saved some.


    I don't have a tight handle on exactly where we are on the budget but I expect over $50K over. Probably more like 100K. We added the basement once the job was underway and I have been over on every single thing I've picked. EVERYTHING!

  • Tanya Shelly
    last year

    @shead Yes, we are in a high COLA and our property is bayfront. We are fortunate that we bought an entry-level property that skyrocketed in value in the past two years. Of course, that means the house we are building went up a lot also. Most lots in our area are 5,000 sq.ft. or less and are near impossible to even buy since the builders all have an in with the realtors. Everyone wants out of the city and our particular town has in-person classes so demand is through the roof. It's crazy!

  • snowcountry
    last year

    @N Kay I am hoping I am not more than 100K over. I should know soon enough. I spent all that money and agonized so much and my kitchen people let me down big time. I wonder if I am trying too hard. Rather discouraged at the moment. They were supposed to keep the wood grains vertically. For some reason they did horizontally which made it way more rustic than works for the space. No time to redo. I need to move in for Thanksgiving. I hope I don't notice it.

  • SBDRH
    last year

    We are lakefront with a dock, but the lake is in a fairly rural area exactly an hour from my office. Our all-in budget (excluding the dock but including the lot, septic, well, etc) will be $220 per square foot.

  • nhb22
    last year
    last modified: last year

    "Am I the only one at about $500/sq-ft including the land?"

    YIKES!!! After seeing what everyone is quoting, I thought we were high at $250 a sq ft. (NOT including land.) That's based on our estimate from the builder. Will turn out to be more because of the current higher cost of everything.

    peacehope68 - Building in an older neighborhood, we have a choice of underground or overhead. From the pole to the house is only about 40', so we picked underground. I think I would pick underground no matter what!

  • Alicia
    last year

    I think were at about $170/sq ft. I’m not exactly sure how far over we are but we added heat pumps and that was $10k, we were under on counters and over on appliances, over on floors but that number I don’t know. I’m guessing around $15k total. Hopefully not too much of a surprise when the time comes... I should probably get an update

    @peacehope68 I think I’d save the $3k and do the overhead for the same reason you mentioned- if lines go down in the neighborhood you’ll likely be out anyway.

    It does look cleaner to have it underground though.

  • M R
    last year

    We got super lucky with our power lines- we were told it would be $10,000 to do underground initially but once they came to our farm, they saw they would have “about $10,000” in tree work to do overhead so we ended up getting underground for free. Having said that, I was willing to spend the $10,000!! I didn’t want it to obstruct our views at all. If you are in a neighborhood and/or views are not a primary attraction of your build, I would go for overhead.

  • Buzz Solo in northeast MI
    last year

    It isn't much yet but yesterday DH and I started gluing and screwing down the OSB subfloor. 4.5 sheets so far.


  • a.something
    last year

    I wrote this earlier and came back to finish. I read the budget comments and now I’m more stressed than happy. BUT anyways here’s what I was going to say 😂 ... I’m a happy camper over here! Our architect got back with us with the fourth draft. I’m proposing a change in placement of the master bedroom door, moving it to the end of the hallway. I know, seeing doors in a hallway isn’t ideal but... if we move the door, the pantry gains so much space (it grows from 5x8 to 5x12!). Also, I think I want to extend the kitchen to the pantry, eliminating the hallway between the two. The kitchen would then be 19 x 12 (currently 15 x 12). It wouldn’t really gain in cabinet space, but the big plus is that it would enable us to rotate the island in the other direction. I attached the plans, then the ones I made with the changes I’m thinking about.

    What I’m trying to really dig into is to figure out what the options are for kitchen layout. We are also very much wall people (as you can see from the plans) and he kept the kitchen open on one side. Thinking about adding a wall and if so, how much of an opening on that wall. Any thoughts or comments appreciated!!

  • a.something
    last year

    I forgot to add.. on the plans I drew out to show the changes I’m thinking about, I added the wall between the kitchen and hallway to the dining room WITH cabinets. I’m thinking if we have the wall it would make it way to tight for cabinets on the wall. The island OR an antique table (still debating that) will be about 3 ft wide, 6 ft long I’m thinking..

  • K H
    last year

    @M R beautiful views and I love the tree you planted. Those boys look really excited! I don’t remember if you ever shared what your house front looks like. I know several have shared their elevation and even a glimpse of interior plans. But I cant remember if you are building a farmhouse styled house?

  • Sherryl
    last year

    Shead - your kitchen cabinets are gorgeous!

  • N Kay
    last year

    @snowcountry will your cabinet style allow you to change out the fronts to get the right grain direction? If it does and it is documented that you had ordered horizontal, hold their feet to the fire. Get it fixed but do it after you are in And through the holiday.


    after typing that it occurred to me all your end panels are probably wrong too! Ugh!!

  • Lynn Heins
    last year

    Regarding budget, we're about 10% over. Mostly because one thing lead to another in our basement, which we planned to leave unfinished. Might as well frame up basement walls. Might as well drywall the basement. Might as well mud, tape and prime the basement. Let's finish a bathroom while we're at it. None of that was planned in the original budget so here we are. We paid cash for about 75% of the build and borrowed the last 25%. Fingers crossed for no more surprises!


    @shead, stunning cabinets! Can't wait to see them with counters!


    As for powerlines, my vote is to pay the money and run them under ground! Our home is 1,200 feet away from the road, and it was $9,000 to run under ground. But so worth it!

  • Lynn Heins
    last year

    I'm going to post this photo once more. See the low point at the drywall sanding phase? That's where we're at and this graph couldn't be more accurate. Add the fact that I'm living in a camper with 3 kids, a dog and a man and it's rained non stop for the past week... I've pretty much hit my limit. My job sent me back to working from home and our school sent kids back home for remote learning. I'm packing up this weekend and taking my kids to live with my parents. I'll come visit the husband. 🤣


  • Kat
    last year

    @snowcountry If we include our land we will be over $250 (and this is for a tiny lot) and if we include the cabinets, lighting and plumbing that I know already are over the preliminary budget numbers we'd be closer to $280. I have no idea where the firm price is going to come in at once engineering and all the other selection prices are actually back, like windows, doors, tile, flooring etc..


    Our home is a bit larger, and some items like our pool on a larger home actually make the cost per square foot number go down instead of up.


    So if by modest you mean smaller in size as well then some items will make your cost per square foot especially when including the cost of land.


    If I build a 1500 square foot house on my land or a 4000 square foot house the cost of land is the same, but per square foot it's going to go up on the smaller home. Same as the pool and all our outside landscaping/driveways etc. The number on a smaller home would be a higher cost per square foot then spreading it out over a larger home.

  • Kat
    last year
    last modified: last year

    @Lynn Heins that is a spot on flow chart. Currently I'm in that first low of the bids/contract time....I remember from our last build, the low around the mudding/sanding phase. Fun times! I'm glad you got so much of your basement done. That must feel great.

    @shead your cabinets are beautiful !! The hardware looks great on your cabinets. How high are your kitchen ceilings? 9' or 10'? Also, which sink did you go with?

  • Kat
    last year
    last modified: last year

    @a I understand liking walls as I love pretty traditional spaces, but I think just like with open concept you have to make sure it's practical for your sized rooms and layout of home.

    Our current house had 4 closed walls for the kitchen, but then we ended up opening one of them up a bit and I just love the light and effect it has had on the space.

    In our new build we will have a few formal more closed in spaces and our larger open space at the back between kitchen and family room where we can spread out a bit more but still be together while cooking and truthfully so I can enjoy the beauty of the kitchen. Today we pay a huge chunk to make kitchens beautiful, so I want to enjoy it. My kitchen here always makes me smile, well when it's clean..haha.

    Opening up spaces even a bit can allow for more people and better flow in some areas.

    I'm having trouble reading the dimensions on your plan, but I believe you'd need a kitchen at least 14' wide to have cabinets on both sides and an island and they would be tight aisles.

    What we did in our renovation here is we did shallower cabinets on the wall on one side of our island and use it mostly as a hutch for storing and displaying nicer china pieces, some passed down from my grandparents. We have 2 stools at the island that has an overhang and a 3' wide walk way. Having stools in such a tight space is not recommended, but it works completely fine and hasn't been an issue because it's not a main walkway.

    On the other side we have close to 4' between the island and our cooktop and it's the main walkway and we find it plenty big enough.

    In our new home we are planning for about 56" on all sides mostly because the layout requires it.

    I like your idea of moving your master door and extending your kitchen, but I like his idea of leaving the kitchen open on that one side and having the two access points on that wall to the dining room and then you could do smaller ones off the main foyer if you wanted to the living and dining. I think you will find this serves a family with children much better.

    How big of a window will you have over your sink? If you close in the walls, remember there is no where for light to come in and dark spaces can be depressing, especially on gloomy rainy days.

    You seem to be drawing those foyer doors into the rooms very small. What size are you thinking for the openings?

  • Brandie May
    last year

    @a Extending the pantry and moving the MBR door are great, I would leave the kitchen with two openings especially if you are wanting seating all the way around the island. I doubt you will need the extra wall cabinets since you are expanding the pantry. I would also allow for 42"-48" around all sides of the island. I found graph paper really helpful when trying to draw out my changes.

  • K H
    last year
    last modified: last year

    @a that makes complete sense to gain pantry space and it still looks like a pretty hall. Our door opens up to our bedroom in the hall and it made getting furniture into the space much easier then a 90 degree turn!

  • Kat
    last year

    If you did Hardi Siding did you choose flat or cedarmill? Why?


    We have cedarmill now and it's fine from a distance, but does look kind of fake up close in my opinion.


    Some people say the cedarmill catches more dirt in the grooves, but then I've also read flat shows more dings and smudges and the seams show more?


    We are thinking a white in paint.


  • shead
    Original Author
    last year

    @Kat, we used Hardie flat board and batten. We didn’t like the cedar mill as much up close.

  • nhb22
    last year
    last modified: last year

    a - I agree with everyone else on the changes. And our bedroom opens up at the end of a 7' hall that connects the great room to the bedroom. Our laundry is on one side of the hall, and a walk-in linen closet is on the other.

    @shead - I am in love with your kitchen! I hope mine turns out to be half as pretty. Can't wait to see it finished.

    Kat - We are using the HB ARTISAN LAP SIDING in smooth.

    @Lynn Heins - Thanks for posting that graph again. I redid to reflect our own building process. Have printed it out for DH who is constantly asking the builder "what's next!" The red arrow is where we are currently in our build at 3 months. LOL We are going to have an extensive LOW.



  • K H
    last year
    last modified: last year

    @ a search for u shaped kitchens on houzz or google
    Be sure to have a big window in the kitchen if you are closing it off


  • Buzz Solo in northeast MI
    last year

    Budget? We're supposed to have a budget? Just winging it over here in northeast Michigan!! ;-)

  • a.something
    last year

    Thank you SO much everyone! The comments help me expand how I’m thinking about whatever problem i’m working through. Thank you!! I’ll update soon!

  • snowcountry
    last year
    last modified: last year

    @N Kay The direction is wrong only on the two side panels. It is noted in the plan. They can be isolated to switch out. I will have to redo the countertops if I switch them out at a later date. I may do that and eat the cost.

    There are too many heart breaks. Not sure how happy I will be moved in.

  • Rebecca Delo
    last year

    My last update for October: Our windows were delivered this morning!! I really dig our GC’s tendency to “under promise and over deliver.” We didn’t think we’d see the windows installed until after Thanksgiving.


    We met the electrical crew this morning, too. I marked where I wanted some floor outlets, answered a few questions and then got out of the way.

  • Keepthefaith MIGirl
    last year

    @rebecca Yay windows! Hoping ours are next week. The plant reopened Tues and started shipping again. Electrical done, HVAC started, plumbing ongoing. Next week should be windows, grading and dig out for septic, and deck kit installed. Seeing all the water and mud inside my house bothers me. I'm very ready for windows! DH started his work in basement! Permits granted in an hour lol! As a surprise I'm hoping to separate and clean these antlers, spray the chandy black and craft him a gift for the office for Christmas.

  • Buzz Solo in northeast MI
    last year
    last modified: last year

    @a - I can't tell what the dimensions in your kitchen are but if you can swing the changes toward your idea I like it. You could see if you could get narrower cabinets on that wall to help, I know some you can get only 21 inches deep. Otherwise you could do a wall of shelves or something, but you'd lose counter space, of course. My kitchen is smaller but I'm having a minimum of 3'8" between, the minimum recommended distance for wheelchairs. I saw how my dad struggled for 13 years in a wheelchair in an older house not built for it and I decided I'd rather not take chances because you never know. I'm still getting a decent side island.


    @Rebecca Delo, aren't windows wonderful? We were lucky in that the way our house is built the windows were in last year. Now it's a matter of DH and I putting the garage doors in so we can really close the place off this winter and use one of those bullet style heaters so we can finally continue working all winter. (or at least part of it, we could use a break sometime!)


    @Keepthefaith MIGirl, I love you're going to paint your chandelier. DH had this idea a couple of months ago that I was handy and creative enough to find some old fixture somewhere and make a brilliant (and cheap I suspect is his real thinking!) looking chandelier for our dining room. I'm willing to give it a try but I made NO promises! lol

  • Sherryl
    last year

    Have any of you experienced your contractor substituting building materials from what is in the contract? Our room is almost complete, and we were concerned because they looked thin to us. Sure enough, we found a wrapper, and they are installing an Owens-Corning product, rather than Elk/GAF Timberline. I sent an email. I texted our wonderful sales person, whom we love, and he stays involved, and he said the Owens Corning has a longer warranty. I can’t believe we were at least not notified of this substitution. The Texas Association of Builders contract, sure enough, allows for substitution of comparable materials when the other was not available or would cause unreasonable delay.

  • M R
    last year

    @K H yes I think I’ve shared it here before, but that photo is actually of our back elevation. We are building a farmhouse style. Here’s the front...

    And here’s the back....we‘ve made a few changes to the exterior. We’ll have a patio and landscaping back here too, I just didn’t have time to play around with my app to add those things.


  • Alicia
    last year

    Happy November everyone, seems like this thread was JUST started!

  • shead
    Original Author
    last year

    Link to November Thread:


    https://www.houzz.com/discussions/6021744/november-2020-building-a-home


    Hoping to pass the baton by the end of this month :)