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k_brown73

July 2022, Building a Home

Keen B
last month

Building a home or just dreaming about it, welcome to the thread where we share our hopes, frustrations, plans and ideas. We vent about the woes, cheer on the successes and celebrate the journey as we go through the building process. We are a kindly group--all welcome--glad you are here!



Comments (596)

  • theotherjaye
    19 days ago

    I’m always amazed at how much we can get in our car (Volvo XC40). I think Ikea tries to size their boxes to fit into a standard sedan too.

  • Emily
    19 days ago

    @Buzz Solo in northeast MI, What a great idea with the towel rings behind the bathroom door! Very creative and could definitely work for @Naomi's setup.

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  • cwcf185
    19 days ago

    23 hours after I ordered them, build.com had my two light fixtures on my doorstep. Just in time for the electricians to get started. Woot! I still can't believe I missed that they weren't included on the order.

  • Naomi
    19 days ago

    @buzz Thank you for sharing all the pics of your bathroom setup. That definitely helps give some other ideas for my dilemma!

  • K_ Dub
    19 days ago

    @gerard g I feel your pain. We signed our construction loan in Aug 2021 and we’ve barely broken ground. I tend to jump on and off this thread because it can be a little hard to watch everyone’s progress when you’re in a holding pattern. For us it sounds like we’re only a few weeks out, but I’ve heard that before so not getting my hope up quite yet. Keep the faith buddy!

  • Naomi
    19 days ago

    Today is Friday. One week ago I got a tile quote. I emailed back questions and confirmations on Sunday. Zero update. I am so annoyed with this. I still haven’t selected a master bath floor because they won’t respond.

    I also think part of this is the “designer” and she is slow. Tuesday morning she said she was still going through my email. I organized it by room and had concise questions or “yes buy this.”

  • cwcf185
    19 days ago

    @K_ Dub

    @gerard g I can't imagine the frustration. Hang in there!

  • T_Wag
    19 days ago

    @K_ Dub

    maybe this will make you feel better….. signed a contract 8/2020 supposed to break ground in october. by 12/2020 the permits had still not been approved. than contractor got some higher $$$ projects and wanted out. it was not pretty….we parted ways - then he sends bill for some random hardware he purchased and $20grand in windows.

    He bought windows prior to permit being approved??? Pella wanted $200 a month to store windows so we put them in our neighbors shop. takes us 4 months to find a contractor but he cant start until late 2021, maybe or early 2022. Permits get approved in April 2021. only 9 months later, and they were only sent back for revisions once. we sign a fixed price contact august 2021. by march 2022 contractor says prices have gone up 18% and he really wants a cost plus we all agree that is the right thing to do in this enviroment. we finally break ground in april of 2022- we had to wait until road restrictions were lifted. Than we wait 8 weeks for the framers. Framers have started but have been off the job for 2 weeks while we wait for the steel supports that hold up the deck. they need to frame the deck before they can stand up the walls on the main floor.. We are on a very steep hillside- meanwhile my appliances are being delivered on tuesday. Oh, we have also been storing all the light fixtures!!! So we are nearly 3years in on what i call my pretend house!!! But we have made some progress and i hope we will be done by the end of the year And then there is house prices and interest rates to worry about when we are ready to sell, or should we sell now???? Sorry that was long!!! Does it make you feel better?😅

  • cwcf185
    19 days ago

    Tonight I sifted through two boxes of tile to find the five or six I need for two shower niches. The larger is 48"x14" and will use these two tiles (plus a couple inches from another). (Ignore the white pieces on the tiles - those are from the packaging.)


    The smaller shower niche will be the tile on the right with a couple extra inches from the tile on the left.


    I was able to get the electricians to hang one of my light fixtures before they left for the weekend. I've been anticipating this one since I ordered it on Black Friday.

    (Stock photo from the manufacturer, Bicycle Glass Lighting below)



  • Keen B
    Original Author
    18 days ago
    last modified: 18 days ago

    @K_ Dub and @T Wag and @gerard g Though we all are building different designs, different sizes and tastes, in different states, the one common theme among us are delays--products, labor, designs, etc.

    We found our land in the end of 2016. Broke ground May 2021, today still waiting on being fully dried in before A/C, etc.. Some of the pacing is due to other projects, but most of it was out of our hands..

    Hurricane Michael made counties rush to strengthen codes, so a few things on our plans went back to the drawing board repeatedly...which in the long run, I'm thankful for. Never want to see anything like Mexico Beach again...it was like a giant came through with a broom and swept it and surrounding forests completely away.

    Then SWP and environmental codes got us in a dither and Engineer did that disappearing act so many of us complain about here, no phone or email replies.

    DH and I had to jump thru a million hoops to land one of the few owner build loans available in state. (You must prove you have professional experience in excruciating detail.) But then, we finally had a closing date that disappeared when Covid made bank put that program on hold. We thought, well, we will have to use a builder so we can get a traditional loan. Worked with a guy who was willing to let us do much of the work ourselves, a compromise so we could get that traditional loan under his license. Sadly, he died tragically before that happened...some people might give up hope by then...

    Obviously, we figured it out, and are moving along, at a slower clip than most, but it will be finished eventually. And yes, it makes me antsy to see the speed at which some of the other houses here are whipping up, but I love watching everyone's joy, too.

  • MSO_JEO MJ
    18 days ago

    Thanks TWag - we bought this lot about a year and a half ago after looking for quite a while. I had some specific constraints that limited our search area. This one met nearly all of them so we went ahead and bought it. Most of the vacant land in my search area was either in a development with too many restrictions or it was above the price I was comfortable paying. This one is 5 acres but it’s a bit narrow. We had made an offer on a larger property near some friends of ours but the owner wanted too much for it (more than it was worth even in these crazy times).

    We got it in February 2021 and spent the next year getting construction settled.

    We talked with two builders initially- one is nearing retirement and only builds a couple of things a year. The other one gave us a bid that was too high and even when we asked him to revise it, the price was still too high. The third one lived across the street from us (in our previous house) and we have known him for about 5 years. He gave us a decent estimate but is much easier to work with that the second builder. His father also built our previous house. His initial bid was 100,000 less than the other builder.

    It’s all going well right now. Some people avoid working with friends, relatives, or neighbors but I’ve found that if you go into the agreement with the right mindset and right level of emotional maturity, things will go just fine.

  • MSO_JEO MJ
    18 days ago

    It has been interesting watching price fluctuations - our liber cost was $25,000 less than the initial amount the build her put in the budget (delays helped us out with that as lumber prices have come down quite a lot) but our windows were more expensive than planned. His HVAC costs and a few other things have gone up and eaten into that $25,000 savings but I feel ok about it as that is already in the budget. We have the bank’s required 10% set aside for overages but we also have about another 20% in an outside account for “emergencies”.

    We have also been buying stuff on our own when we can get it for a better price than the builder. Our range is in the garage of the house we are renting as are the ceiling fans and some light fixtures. We got a fireclay farmhouse sink from the woman who cuts my husband’s hair - she got it on sale from wayfair and it would not fit her cabinet. She sold it to us for what she paid and it was still almost half the price the builder would have paid. We also plan to buy all of our appliances rather than getting them through him. I don’t care a lot about brands matching, I care more about performance of each individual appliance anyway, so I don’t buy appliances in packages.

  • MSO_JEO MJ
    18 days ago

    Having said that about appliances - I did relent and agree to buy a 48” range that my husband picked out. He wanted it because it looks nice and for no other reason. It seems to be a decent range and has pretty good reviews so I let him win that one hahaha. We got the matching hood with it.

  • Naomi
    18 days ago

    So sorry Gerard! A lot of us have done one-time close loans where the rates are locked at the start of the build. Only annoying thing is that mine is an adjustable rate so I will be hoping rates drop or stabilize in 6 years.

  • jkent9024
    18 days ago

    We went out to the house this afternoon, and were excited to see how much progress was made this week--so excited that I forgot to take hardly any photos!

    We got our garage doors in, which I wasn't expecting, so our house is now secure and our appliances can be delivered...to this kitchen!



    @Naomi These are Pewter Green. The island is catching the natural light from north facing windows, while the back wall has very little light at the moment (our 16 ft. slider opening is still covered with a tarp). But all of the cabinets are the same color. I'm in love! 😍

    I also managed to take a couple of photos of our master bathroom. We got the 3" hexagon tile, and the proportions are much better than the 2" would have been. Our cabinets are SW Naval, and the shower walls/ceiling are a navy subway tile. It's such a relief when the reality matches the vision you had in your head for so long.




  • Naomi
    18 days ago

    Jkent - WOW!!!! Everything looks amazing. Love the pewter green!!! And that shower!! Are you bathroom floors marble or porcelain?

  • Naomi
    18 days ago

    This is a 60” or 72” vanity in my hall bath. I will have 2 pendant lights. I am trying to figure out what to do for a mirror size. A standard 24” will likely be too narrow, but I’m not sure I want to have the whole thing as a mirror.

    I picture in my mind having the two pendants on either side of the mirror and not overlapping with it.

    The mirror will have a black metal frame.

  • jkent9024
    18 days ago

    @Naomi the master bathroom floor is porcelain. Our main floor guest bathroom is a marble basket weave, but I didn't want to have to deal with constantly resealing our much larger master bath.

    In terms of mirror width, I've found 50% of the vanity to be a good rule of thumb when lights (whether sconces or pendants) are flanking the mirror. So if it's a 60" vanity, try a 30" wide mirror; 36" wide if it's a 72" vanity.

  • T_Wag
    18 days ago

    @jkent9024 gorgeous

  • gerard g
    18 days ago
    last modified: 18 days ago

    WHERE U BUILDING ? IM.IN VALDESE NC

  • di0spyr0s
    17 days ago

    Brought a bunch of paint samples out to the house today. I don’t think I can make a firm decision until the floors are in and finished, but at least I’ve ruled some things out already.

    Harvested 173 heads of garlic from the garden today. Also about half a ton of zucchini and a couple heads of broccoli. It’s nice to see it producing so well!

    Bonus pics of SoO (the cat. It’s pronounced “Sue.” he’s named after a Starcraft player.) meeting Jack (my in-laws goat) in the kitchen doorway this evening. And Walter and Janet worn out and sleeping in front of the porch 🥰

    Man I am so looking forward to living in this house!

  • Naomi
    17 days ago

    Oh those puppies!!!

  • Keen B
    Original Author
    17 days ago
    last modified: 17 days ago

    @jkent9024 So lovely. I have to admit, I am not on board with the green trend having suffered through the avocado and then the Kelly Green phases of parents and grandparents...but your kitchen is beautiful. I'm so glad your visions are being realized. I hope my own visions come out half as well.

    @di0spyr0s Who doesn't love an indoor goat.

  • ghatta
    17 days ago

    @jkent9024 LOVE the green! Green is a favorite color of ours. Didn’t use it in our house but our siding is bark. It trends green. We wanted something that would blend in our trees. It does that very well. If I ever decide to do another house, I am going to consider pewter green. So many beautiful houses being built right now!

  • Keen B
    Original Author
    17 days ago
    last modified: 17 days ago

    @gerard g I'm glad you are here and have found a community that is going through what you are going through. Obviously, you've had about enough of this building stress! I'm going to answer a few of your questions as best as I can...hope I don't poke the bear in you too much.

    • To tag people use the @ sign before our names; once you start typing our names, you should see a list, click on the right one. This doesn't always work for names that start with just one letter, so T Wag is hard to tag. T Wag would be easier to tag if name was written like T_Wag. I had to change the way I was listed for that reason. Tagging this way is also problematic from different devices.
    • To PM people--go into your own page, click on messages. Then direct the message to a particular person in the same way you can tag them here. The other way is to click on their names here and then click on message.
    • I feel blessed to have access to Houzz even if sometimes the platform is touchy. I have learned so much and have received so much free support, I will be forever grateful.
    • Many of us here do not get specific about where we are building for security reasons. Anyone anywhere in the world can read these posts. I am not in NC.
    • Yes, you are right. Sub-contractors go where the money is best. We've discussed that here before. But I honestly would do the same thing. Here's why it's happening more and more NOW. There is simply a shortage of workers, just like in pretty much every industry. It's worse in the construction industry. During the housing crisis of 2008-2012, tons of people lost work and got trained for other fields instead. When building finally picked back up, there weren't enough qualified people. It happened again in 2020 when everything shut down. Understand the lowest people on the construction totem pole typically start at $11-18 an hour in various parts of the country. As they build skills, they go up in price pretty quickly, but not to anything astronomical. But once minimum wage wars began due to worker shortages in ALL industries, these lowest level folks switched jobs, and followed the money. I mean if waiting tables or working the Target service desk paid more, why not? Even if they stayed in construction, they could ask for more money and the big building companies can pay these prices. It is very very tough for contractors to keep good people if they cannot compete financially. This is happening right now in all fields. My son who is in computers has gotten FOUR big raises this year because his company is afraid they will lose him to the competition. That number of raises is unheard of in years past. So everyone here is suffering the sort of delays you are experiencing. But again, if it were me, I would follow the money, too and leave the little guy waiting around. Construction is hot, difficult work. You have to make your money while your body still can. In this same way, supplies go to the highest bidder or to the biggest buyer. If I supplied wood, and only had a certain amount to dole out each month, I would make sure it goes to the guy who will bring me the most dependable orders...and who will pay me top dollar. It's not that big companies are greedy and trying to squash others, it is that they slowly but surely built up their reputation until they had a number of groups they depend on who also depend on them...
    • I am tempted to type only in all caps because I am a horrible typist. But in the chatroom community it equals yelling in our faces. Yell all you want, Gerard. We've all been ready to scream ourselves at some point, LOL.
    • You might want to go back to previous months threads. They are long and will take time, but you will find so many posts where people here have suffered what you are going through, even the annoying, whiny neighbors who put liens on properties because the build is taking too long. You will see funding/banking issues. Lost supplies, sub conflicts, the whole shebang.
    • Politics can get you "banned" from Houzz if posts get too contentious. This thread is for our building woes and joys and advice in those regards...however, I hear what you are saying (I think I do anyway) about investors coming into cities to flip houses. I saw a study once about a nearby city and how 40% of the sales in the last four years are from investors who do not even live in state and it is pushing out owners and renters due to price increases. Open Door and Zillow have been dinged for some of this behavior, too. But this has been going on for years and years. It has only become more noticeable during shut downs...but I am not sure it is affecting my build.
    • You might want to start thread asking the broader Houzz community for advice on how to navigate this financing issue you are going through and how to best limit the delays you have been suffering. There are professionals of all sorts on this site (even lawyers) out there willing to help. Most of us here are only homeowners...
  • T_Wag
    17 days ago

    @Keen B thanks for the tagging hint!

  • K_ Dub
    17 days ago

    @gerard g Ditto everything Keen B said. We’re building in the Midwest. Your situation is tough, I’m expecting a call from the bank any day now. In terms of subs, our son is a trim carpenter and helps us decide which subs to use so we don’t get taken advantage of. Building a custom home has its challenges but I still feel extremely blessed to have this opportunity.

    Keen B thanked K_ Dub
  • Naomi
    17 days ago

    As a side note, if you are using the Houzz app, it is awful. Tagging never works for me on here. At least the iOS app.

  • di0spyr0s
    17 days ago

    Ditto with the iOS app.

  • KT_B
    17 days ago

    I'm on Android. The only way I can get tagging to work on my phone is to press enter, type my message,and then go back to the first blank line and do the tag. Type anything after a tag and it will auto correct it away.

  • Keen B
    Original Author
    17 days ago

    Hey Y'all. I will start new August thread in morning. Holy COW. August.

  • Blair Courtney
    17 days ago

    Okay… need y’all help.. How much ( I realize that tile costs factor in) are you paying per sq ft for tile installation? No one seems to give me a clear answer. A friend said that her employer charges $9.99 per sq foot plus tile (of course). I’m in the Midwest & trying to to make this make sense. On a separate note, tomorrow is D Day . DH, myself, & the gc are having a meeting regarding their screw ups & how do we just get to the end of this? Going to be an interesting thread. Do you want me to start the August 2022 thread? Just let me know.

  • Blair Courtney
    17 days ago

    Oh just saw your comment @Keen B

  • Naomi
    17 days ago

    Hubby shocked me by wanting to go out to the house today. I forgot my phone in the car but they finished the living room beams and my pantry shelving!! I need to drive a check out to the builder and will head over again Tuesday. I’m really anxious to see the paint!

    Also, we have soooooooo much leftover brick. I asked the PM and he said no credits and they just “relocate it.” We’re talking like 3 pallets. I paid for this. What do I do with it all???? There is also a ton of mortar left. We joked we could build a dog house, but our dog is inside 24/7.

    I don’t know why there is so much? I did elect NOT to do a 3 foot base on 4 of my columns….but that doesn’t seem to account for it all.

  • Naomi
    17 days ago

    Blair - ours will not tell us what the labor rate is. They bundle the tile and labor, but I don’t think it is that high (TX) as some rooms have a total cost of $8/ft.

  • Emily
    17 days ago
    last modified: 17 days ago

    @Naomi We had a lot of leftovers as well. Not so much stone, but big piles of sand, topsoil, straw, plus tiles, pavers, trim boards, hardwood flooring, plywood, cabinet handles, a little siding, one full pack of shingles... Oh, and pallets, lots of those, which DH asked them to leave. He has been taking those apart, cleaning up the wood, and has built several tables for his big saws in the garage. Next he will be building a work bench. Most with all leftover "free" (but of course we paid for them) supplies..He is also planning to build a shed, which will use a lot of the things, even the roofing.

    We have $500 worth of porcelain pavers left (ridiculous), so now we feel that we have to use them to build a patio. Only downside is that we need another $800-900 of them to complete it!😂

    Could you build an outdoor bbq and/or use the bricks to build raised garden beds? It is ridiculous that they overestimated so badly, but I do suspect your columns had something to do with that. Still, I feel you!

  • Keen B
    Original Author
    17 days ago
    last modified: 17 days ago

    You can always donate useable supplies to Rehome. They take pretty much anything someone else could use to build to help fund Habitat for Humanity.

  • gerard g
    17 days ago

    TK U I GET SECURITY DON'T PUT LOCATION ETC" I CANT BELIEVE MORTGAGE COMP ALLOWED TO CHARGE ME AGAIN " I HAV TO DO ALL OVER WHEN HOUSE GETS DONE ! IM SICK IF WATCHING INTEREST RATES " BUT I CANT DO DAM THING REGARDS g

    Keen B thanked gerard g
  • Naomi
    17 days ago

    @Emily Ugh, I don't want to think what I wasted then with the columns....but I also die a little inside seeing all the brick waste with half bricks laying around everywhere. We have a nice bbq already, BUT that is an idea to do raised planters and hubby has always wanted a fire pit. The issue will be where to store it all :/ They said they'd move it "to the back" but we need to get sod down and stuff and haven't sorted out the fence line.


    @Keen B That is a great idea to keep in mind.


    @gerard g This all depends on the type of mortgage you have. I have a one-time close mortgage. Rate locked and closed at the start. If the build takes more than 1 year then I have to pay penalties because I am only paying interest on the draws right now. Builder has in the contract that he will finish within one year as that is also the rule of the HOA. If you do not have such a loan, then yes, you're likely having to close multiple times and subject to rate increases. Would highly recommend discussing this with your lender to explore options. Also, please do check your cap locks....it's a bit difficult reading things all in upper case :)

  • KT_B
    17 days ago

    @Naomi

    We are planning to line flowerbeds with extra brick. We may end up building a mailbox with it someday. Our guy said he could return any stacks that were still wrapped so we just have the one that was already opened.

  • KT_B
    17 days ago

    @Naomi also people are desperate to find brick right now so if you know any local building boards maybe advertise it?

  • Naomi
    17 days ago
    last modified: 17 days ago

    @KT_B That might work too! Especially if I can figure out mortar to make it multiple bricks high. I think they still have to use a little bit more to enclose the well head, but not that much LOL

    None of my brick was wrapped in anything, just bound with plastic straps. It looks like all the stacks are still in straps.


    Oooohhhh good call on builders too! I may put it out to my local neighborhood groups and see if they have anyone looking.

  • cwcf185
    17 days ago

    Each month I try to post how the month started and how it ended. July ended with my light fixtures being delivered, electricians getting started with installing outlets and light switches, and the tile installers doing the prep work for bathroom floors and master shower + tub. I'll be out of town the next two days - can't wait to see what the beginning of August looks like.

  • Naomi
    17 days ago

    My bathroom vanity is definitely 60”. The only 30” mirrors I find are 24” tall (standard mirror being flipped on its side).

    I can find 40” mirrors that are 30” tall.

    Do you think that width would be ok with the vanity and the pendant mirrors?

  • T_Wag
    17 days ago

    @Naomi maybe get some graph paper and draw it out. A 40” mirror would give you 10” on each side. it also depends how big your lights are

  • K H
    17 days ago

    @gerard g has posted individual threads asking specific questions. If memory serves me correctly he types in all caps because of difficulty seeing the print on the device.

    Keen B thanked K H
  • Keen B
    Original Author
    17 days ago

    @Naomi I have suggested this to someone else months ago. You can buy mirror glass at Lowes or HD and have it cut to size and you frame with regular picture frame from a frame shop or even frame from HD that you paint black. The mirror gets set on wall separately. I know you say you aren't crafty but it will solve size issues.

  • K H
    17 days ago

    I ordered all of our mirrors as custom mirror glass from Menards it was very affordable and it was surprisingly good quality.

  • Naomi
    17 days ago

    Thanks Keen! My builder will custom size mirrors, but I really want black metal and then champagne bronze and with rounded edges. So I think buying is my only option :/

    K H - thank you for sharing that!

    @gerard - This is off topic, but if you need larger font there are options on your phone/iPad/computer to be able to enlarge (my husband has to do this!).

    @t_wag - Fair point! I think my lights are around 10”, so I’d end up with a bit of overlap, but not horrible I suppose.

  • Keen B
    Original Author
    16 days ago

    AUGUST ALERT!!! (Sorry it took me so long today!) Here is the link to the August home building thread...


    August 2022--Building a Home