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January 2023: Building a Home

Keen B
last month

Wow! 2023...Looking forward to seeing the fresh changes to all our rising homes this brand new year! Whether you are in the planning, executing or just-plain-dreaming-about-it stages of building, this is the thread for you, where we share the joys and challenges of such a rewarding endeavor. We are a kindly group (who loves pictures!)--all welcome!


Comments (199)

  • Laurel C
    13 days ago

    Literally the only time I've had a trip since we started our build, and it's the week our fixed glass is supposed to be installed. Figures. Porch was poured last week, it's so nice to see things coming together.



  • K M
    13 days ago

    Progress pics. Also dealing with snow while framing. Lost 2 days due to the snow/rain already and looks like tomorrow is another bust🥺 of course this is the first snow of the season in MA just after they started framing. I noticed our builders have a fire pit out front as well.

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  • cwcf185
    13 days ago

    @KM Here's one of my framing in the snow photos from last February with about 8" of snow.

    And one of the campfires.


  • cwcf185
    13 days ago

    Okay- the snow photo didn't upload. (Houzz hates when I post with my phone)


  • Rick Walls
    13 days ago

    Rain here in Maryland slowing progress, glad we are not getting the snow though.



    Windows and doors delivered today.









  • theotherjaye
    13 days ago

    We got our sectional, rug and dining room table today. I moved four carloads of stuff while Art worked on the network stuff. We have our walkthrough tomorrow. It is all gorgeous:






    Not sure if we’ll put a rug in the dning room or not. We have a bunch of rugs - think we’ll take them over over the weekend and figure out who wants to live where. We have no rugs down in this house, because it is wall to wall tan shag. (I can’t wait to get out of this rental!)

  • chispa
    13 days ago
    last modified: 13 days ago

    @Blair, we moved in a year ago. Probably noticed a couple of nail pops after a few months. Need to go around and look/count so we can have the builder come and fix. I probably have 6 - 10 pops in the whole house. Also have a couple of drywall holes to fix due to thermostats being moved. We are in FL and we mostly run the AC, so we don't get the big winter to summer fluctuations in temperature and humidity. Our outside walls are also block construction, so less movement of those outside walls.

  • cwcf185
    13 days ago

    Is anyone else missing photos of Janet and Walter? And Sally, plus the cats?

  • Kyla McSweeney
    12 days ago

    @cwcf185 Wow! I am hoping we don't get that much snow during our framining, but it is possible. We were supposed to get a few inches last night and it ended up being all rain which just stopped, so hopefully they are back at it today. I don't love snow during the best of times, now I really dislike it. Of course, I have lived in New England my whole life, so I have to live with it

  • Laurie Park
    12 days ago

    What materias were used for the main bath shower?

  • C Smith
    12 days ago
    last modified: 12 days ago

    Laurel C Love what you've got going on so far. I checked out your project idea book and we have a super similar interior concept going. Looking forward to see how this comes along!

  • PRO
    Jeffrey R. Grenz, General Contractor
    11 days ago

    @Joy M


    Why my relationship with traditional hinge stops ended.



  • Laurel C
    11 days ago

    @C Smith - we certainly do! So looking forward to finally living in this house. It's been far too long waiting and agonizing over everything!


  • C Smith
    11 days ago

    @Laurel C Totally feel you on that! How long has this project been going on for ya? We just took 5 months to frame and had to replace our entire build crew who kept messing it up. But have a new team, so we are finally moving faster. OYE!

  • Laurel C
    10 days ago

    @C Smith It's been a bit of an ordeal, we've had the land and been working with an architect since July of 2020, but things with the architect didn't work out (he couldn't design a house that we could afford to build) so we scaled things back, moved the location to a spot we had wanted to build a guest house eventually(with the plan to build the "forever house" at the top of the hill in several years when the construction market drops off again), and worked with a design/builder that's also a trained architect. We broke ground/did preliminary grading/got our septic pad installed in Autumn of 2021, and poured the foundation in Spring of 2022. Expecting to be in by the end of May, whether the house is complete or not. The lease on our rental house is up and we won't be renewing. Our builder is wonderful, but it's just him and 2 other guys, so things take a while.








  • Rick Walls
    10 days ago
    last modified: 10 days ago

    After two weeks, the framing is done. Starting to look like a house now!






  • MSO_JEO MJ
    10 days ago

    Hi all!

    A couple of videos from today. The trim carpenter has been working

    https://youtu.be/RyoRqN_Pcag

    https://youtu.be/8VOa1R_uAj8

    Next major items are running electricity into the house, getting gas line installed and hooked up, and septic system installation. Of course there’s also finishing the cabinets and installing tile and flooring (and painting haha)

  • cathie2029
    9 days ago

    @T_Wag thanks for that info. I think I just had sticker shock, we already spent 60K out of pocket, now the 18k for tile, then another 15K for flooring and then theres still the appliances.... I feel like for what we're paying for the house, we shouldnt have to pay 100K out of pocket. His allowances are laughable. Oh well we're in too deep now, can't turn back.

  • MSO_JEO MJ
    9 days ago

    Cathie2029 - I think the total we’ve paid out of pocket so far is almost $74,000. That includes the first draw and things we’ve purchased on our own. We still have the cash we put up for contingencies- about $44,000 (and we will spend a lot of that due to cost increases) and some cash in a dedicated savings account “just in case”.

  • cathie2029
    9 days ago

    @MSO_JEO MJ thanks for that. I feel a little bit better. I guess thats the norm with a custom build. 😩 On the brightside, one gets everything they like.


    Anyone else want to share how much over they are?😁

  • C Smith
    9 days ago

    @cathie22029 We are likely going to be about $50k-$80k over I imagine depending on a few things (after our $100k contingency) thanks to unplanned supply/labor increase (ain’t inflation fun?!) Our driveway, snowplowing, and our excavation will be what screws us in this build. Ah well. Building in our area is still cheaper than buying, so onward we press.

    Re budget: We did our budget ourselves for each line item and have a flat rate management cost with our builder. He doesn’t set any particular line items and we source/pick everything ourselves and manage all the draws and also pay the subs directly ourselves. He just sends us the invoices. I love working this way, I get direct insight into everything before and after. It’s a ton more work for me, but also more control and more affordable. He did help us with our budget initially though and he worked with us in our planning process to value engineer our build during the drafting phase.

  • 2rickies
    9 days ago

    Great to see everyone's progress photos!

    @MSO_JEO MJ enjoyed your videos!

  • K H
    9 days ago
    last modified: 9 days ago

    We were 50k over. Because our builder forgot major line items in the budget and allowances were laughable. Our interior door budget was 2500. You cant even buy raw doors with that!! We didnt know any better as first time building a home. We also had a similar agreement as @c smith were we paid everything and had sub contractors sign lien waviers etc… We also paid out over 100k cash during our build.

  • Keen B
    Original Author
    8 days ago

    I would tag everyone, but there's so many newcomers! So pleased to see so much development and growth. LOVE the pictures.


    Dh and I have been at the house working hard the last week--owner building is fun, but no simple feat. Thank goodness we don't have to also deal with SNOW Lol... I'd have posted pics along the way, but for some reason, Houzz no longer plays "nice" with my phone. So here's a photo dump.


    Second Primary (that is an oxymoron, isn't it!) Vanity is wood and black granite--not ready yet. Wallpaper gold and white. Glass doors in progress.



    3rd bathroom (Ignore the mess--son has been living on site while working.) Wallpaper will pull it together.


    Painted my sitting room SW "Intimate white" a super pale pink that looks nearly white.



    But biggest project...the kitchen cabinets. I already did the drawer boxes months ago, DH built the cabinet boxes this week and hung the drawers...I'm in the middle of working on staining the face frames. I already posted pics of my door staining for lower cabs! But here they are again, so you can imagine.



  • az1980
    8 days ago

    @Keen B Beautiful cupboard doors. Do you mind sharing the wood, stain, and varnish info. Exactly the look we want and have not been able to achieve.

  • Keen B
    Original Author
    7 days ago

    @az1980 Thank you. I had to experiment to reach that look, but I've also worked with refinishing/finishing wood for a while now.


    The wood is rustic knotty alder. The stain is a recipe I had to concoct to tone down the red tannins, a mixture of dyes and stains. I'm sorry, but I cannot give you the exact recipe because I doctored it in a big vat until I was happy. The top coat is an oil based poly in a satin finish. Alder is touchy about regular stains and absorbs in an ugly, blotchy way. To counter this, most woodworkers use a wood conditioner and dyes rather than regular stain since stain is made of tiny flecks of color that will collect in wood grain. My conditioner is actually a gel stain in "natural". Then after that soaks in, but before that dries, I lay on the first layer of dye mix of green and light brown, very watered down. Come back for another layer. The wood looks olive green when I'm finished. I sand off the green "bleed" (which is the stuff that the wood will ooze out as it dries,) then add several layers of the top oil coat. The oil pulls a ton of red tannins--- green and red equal brown. So I SPRAY on first oil coat to make sure it is too thin to soak the wood, other wise the wood ends up looking like dark cherry. I wish I could give you a simpler method---I sure would have liked to just buy a can of color X, LOL, but not with Alder.


    If you want an easier route to that look, look into purchasing wormy, reclaimed chestnut cabinets. So gorgeous! But costs five times more. Let me know what you end up getting.

  • az1980
    7 days ago

    @Keen B wow! That is not a process for the faint of heart. No wonder we are having such a time finding just the right stain. The beauty of your cabinets is worth the effort.

  • theotherjaye
    6 days ago

    We’re in! It’s a mess, but it’s all here and we are in love!








  • Keen B
    Original Author
    6 days ago

    @theotherjaye I love your home--your lights, your counters, your doors...windows, all of it fabulous. When I get the new thread up for Feb, please repost there! Start the month off right.

  • Keen B
    Original Author
    6 days ago

    NEW THREAD ALERT: February is already here...Go one over!


    FEB Home building thread



  • chispa
    6 days ago

    @cathie2029, we've been in our new house one year. We were around 40% over our builders original budget "guess"! Some were things our builder priced too low or missed and others were things we added during construction (like hiring a company for light and sound home automation). Our contract was cost plus, so we just kept writing those checks!

  • Joy M
    5 days ago

    @Keen B thank you for keeping the monthly threads going. I wasn't able to get the link below to work though. (or find the new thread).

  • TDinNC
    5 days ago

    @joy @Keen B same here…link broken and can’t find thread. I love this group!

  • Blair
    5 days ago

    Ditto. Can’t find the new month

  • Blair
    5 days ago

    Keen, sorry. Still not working….. WTF? This new update sucks

  • Keen B
    Original Author
    5 days ago
    last modified: 5 days ago

    @Blair Not sure what's going on. I can no longwr post from my phone at all. It lets me type, but then disappears when I hit enter or paragraph. But I am not suing my phone.


    When I logged out and returned, and tried it, it worked, but I will link again.

  • Keen B
    Original Author
    5 days ago
    last modified: 5 days ago

    ONCE MORE (Then I will try erasing the new thread and creating another.)


    https://www.houzz.com/discussions/6344213/february-2023-building-a-home#n=2

  • T_Wag
    5 days ago

    @Keen B latest link not working🥴

    i am posting this on my phone though

    Keen B thanked T_Wag
  • Keen B
    Original Author
    5 days ago
    last modified: 5 days ago

    It is working for me. But I updated the link again. Try it again...


    https://www.houzz.com/discussions/6344213/february-2023-building-a-home#n=2

  • jlbishop
    5 days ago

    @Blair your master bath is beautiful! Would you mind sharing what tile you used on the floor and wall behind the tub?

  • Blair
    5 days ago

    Adex Neri white and not sure of the floor. Just know it’s polished carrera. Thank you!

  • cathie2029
    5 days ago

    @chispa do you have a link to your house pics and your pool. i was looking up pool threads and saw your post. we are planning for a pool and that 100k price tag 😟 you mentioned... wow we might end up with a 10x10 wading pool 🤣

  • Sofia
    5 days ago

    @theotherjaye, @Joy M, @Jeffrey R. Grenz, General Contractor A belated, but heartfelt, thanks for the assist with door stops! DH was also looking to avoid hinge stops (probably for the same reasons). I was looking at floor-mounted stops, but our GC kept asking if I was sure I wanted him to drill holes in the tile floors. Then I started thinking that they might be a little tougher to clean around (our robot vacuum wouldn't like them for sure!). Went online and found some of the springy ones that mount to the baseboards -- going with those.

  • chispa
    4 days ago
    last modified: 4 days ago

    @cathie2029, I haven't posted that many pics ... I try to keep a low profile on the web! That 100K for the pool was the fixed price quote from Dec 2020 and they dug the hole in July 2021. The price included all labor, material, equipment and heater for pool and spa. We did some pricey extras like in-floor cleaner and 2 fire/water bowls, so you can save around $12K without those. Unfortunately prices have continued to go up in my area, so we would probably have to pay even more for the same pool today ... and this is FL, which used to be much cheaper for construction compared to most other states.


  • Joy M
    4 days ago

    @chispa @cathie2029 100K for a pool sadly probably isn't that far off. In 2004 I had 50K in an in-ground pool, heater, and pool cage. That was in SW Florida.

  • cwcf185
    4 days ago

    @chispa I can't imagine it without the fire & water bowls- I'm sure you can't either! They're stunning!

  • chispa
    4 days ago

    @cwcf185, they might be stunning if we ever see them working! lol Still not finished and we moved in a year ago. 😒 They finally got the correct propane burner parts installed this January, so gas line connection needs to be finished and the waterfalls need to be programmed into the pool controls/timers

    Pool company is one of the slower and least responsive subs of the whole build. My builder stays on top of them, but pool company had a lot of their employees quit during covid. At least the pool has been usable since March 2022.

  • cathie2029
    4 days ago

    @chispa wow thats effin nice! thanks for posting! We just got quoted for a basic 10x30 gunite 4foot deep foot lounge pool with concrete edges (not the pretty stone you have) for 80K, for all the basics, no hot tub or anything fancy... looks like a childrens wading pool it is 🤣

  • chispa
    4 days ago
    last modified: 4 days ago

    @cathie2029, the "stone" was not included in the pool! The cement pavers and matching coping were purchased separately. Installation of coping was included in labor for pool. Rest of pavers were part of the patio & driveway paver material & installation line items in the budget.

    Wow, looks like prices have gotten worse. Can you wait to build the pool? Although it might be a wash, price wise, because you end up destroying and fixing existing landscaping, etc. and prices might stay high for quite a while longer and time is passing and you aren't enjoying a pool.

    Truthfully, ours is just an expensive, but pretty water feature! Love the pool lights at night and have them on a timer. We aren't into swimming and none of our 3 dogs want to use it either 😄. It will just get used a few times per year when we have family parties and visiting guests. For selling down the road, buyers would expect a pool and all my competition would have one.