Dream House

I am in the fortunate position of being able to afford to build myself a new house (well...perhaps myself and the bank). Having been to several 3rd world countries and knowing that there are lots of people in the world who don't even have housing, I felt a few pangs of guilt about this. I had a decision to make: rehab the old or build new. The cost to rehab my old house was going to be substantial. It was October of 2009. My husband had passed away in August from liver cancer. I was in the depths of grief and sorrow. I needed a project. I decided that if I had to plunk down a lot of money anyway, it was better to build new. I also decided that if I was going to build new, I was going to build green. My new house will be both beautiful and "green". I will share the journey and the adventure with you.

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Foundation Begins!

      After a 9 month hiatus from having a house on itself, the ground was broken to begin a new house on December 20, 2010. The next day, in the midst of my busy schedule at work,  Jamey called to tell me that the house would sit up higher than they originally planned because of the lay of the land, and the fact that they had hit some bedrock on the southern side of the house. "Did I mind having a driveway that would slope up?" he asked. Actually, I did mind and I wasn't completely understanding the things he was trying to describe to me over the phone. So, I ran down there on my lunch break, and trudged through the snow to view what was happening. It was exciting but stressful! Finally the house building process was actually beginning! The foundation was all laid out and they had this enormous machine pouring gravel into the foundation: they were pouring the footings. Guys in overalls and thick jackets were busy doing their work--a very masculine atmosphere, I might add. I wondered why they couldn't just dig deeper or move the house forward but there were various reasons why it couldn't be done. I made the fastest decision on the house up to that point when I decided to forego the zero entry garage. With a zero entry garage, there is no step up into the house from the garage door entry. It is flat. This is a great option for handicap accessibility, which I wanted not only for myself when I am old and gray, but for anyone visiting who would need that option. I highly recommend it if you can do it. However, in order to do it, they raise up the garage floor about 18" so that it is even with the entry way. I decided to lower the garage floor to the conventional height, so that the driveway would not have to be as steep; it will still slope up where it used to be flat, but it won't be quite as high as it would have been with a zero entry. 
     I have decided that I have been living out the concepts of "Who Moved the Cheese?", a book about adapting to change. I was totally not ready to have the elevation of the house change, but it did, and I have had to adapt to it. I am hoping that there is some cosmic purpose to it, like saving me from a flood in the distant future. The other change I had to adapt to was the location of my property line. For 20 years, I thought my property line was the bottom of a swell in the land between my neighbor and I. In fact, I always assumed they had less footage on the water than my property. Chas, the architect, had insisted that I get a survey of the land and have stakes placed on the property line before the building would begin.  Lo and behold, it turned out that my old house was built right on the property line, not 10 feet away like I thought. Aaaargh! For whatever reason (mostly because change is hard), I had a hard time acceptting that. I tried calling the county to get them to grandfather me in, since the old house had been there so long, but they said I had little chance of success even if I did appeal it. So I learned to accept it. It turns out that my neighbor and I have exactly the same amount of footage on the water...I was taking care of part of his yard for all of those years!. Fortunately, a recent change in our town's zoning law stipulates that the house only has to be 7 feet off of the propery line. That was important to me since on the opposite side of my house I abutt up against a wooded lot line and don't have much wiggle room to get around the house. I will have to do some landscaping to create a path around the house on its wooded side. Anyway, after quite a few blog posts, there are finally pictures of the new house going up!

The infamous sloped driveway I posted about!

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