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.

Sunday, July 17, 2011


   To my blog followers:  I apologize for the hiatus. It's summer! That means less time to get to the computer. The Neilsen Manor, as we fondly call it in our family, is coming along slowly but surely. The windows are nearly all installed now (except 2).  There were a couple of mishaps. Apparently, when the windows were being loaded in the lumbar yard to be shipped to my house, someone ran into the windows and several were broken. Back to the factory they went. Then they were installed. However, the builder found a couple of defects (something to do with the weather stripping) on a couple of the windows and is waiting for them to be fixed.  Progress in other areas of the house building has occurred too. What is labeled as the "rough in" for the electricity, plumbing and heating systems has been completed.
      It was so much fun to see the windows get in. For several months, the windows were covered with paper and now the light shines in and I can appreciate all the views. My favorite view is from the great room and from the master bedroom located on the floor above it. The master bedroom has a stair step ceiling coming up from either side. That, combined with the view, will be spectacular.
      I realized after visiting my sister and brother in law in Seattle, that the ability of a window to keep out the cold is a lot more important here in Wisconsin. The real test of the windows will be in the midst of winter with a cold, northeast wind blowing off of an icy Lake Winnebago. There are certainly a lot of choices for windows. I went with what the builder recommended. He is working with a new supplier. The windows  are from a company called Weather Shield. Their windows are made with Zo-e-shield glass. Mine is called Zo-e-shield 6. The difference between that and Zo-e-shield 5 is an extra pane of glass.

The following is a quote from their website.
"An extremely energy efficient insulated glass system is now available.  It was introduced at the National Home Builders show in Orlando in early 2007. All Energy Star requirements  are substantially exceeded by this new technology.   We have literature available and hands-on demonstrations available for anyone interested or as part of a Green-related meeting or presentation. Just give us a call to set up a demonstration in our showroom, or to schedule an off-premises presentation.
What is Zo-e-shield 5 Glass
Zo-e shield 5 is a combination of a new Low-E3 coating with EasyCare and an Argon/Krypton gas fill. The combination of these elements along with a warm-edge spacer system gives our customers one of the highest performing insulated glass systems on the market today. In addition, the outter glass is double strength, which is more rigid, and minimizes stress cracks as well as sound transmissivity. This technology is an exclusive for the Schield Family Companies (Visions, Peachtree, Vetters, Crestline, and Weather Shield).
The Benefits of Zo-e-shield Glass
  • Over 30% reduction in solar heat gain over standard Low-E
  • 33% estimated savings on cooling expenses
  • Blocks 95% of damaging UV rays
  • Special EasyCare coating on exterior keeps windows cleaner longer
  • In the winter, Zo-e-shield glass surfaces reflect heat back into a room
  • The addition of an Argon / Krypton gas mix improves the overall thermal efficiency of the glass
  • Flexible warm-edge spacer system
  • Creates an effective insulating barrier against heat flow
  • Reduces heat loss
  • Reduces thermal stress cracks
  • Reduces condensation that can cause mold and mildew
  • Reduced seal failures (fogged glass)
  • Thicker exterior glass for more durability, less flexing and distortion due to wind loads, fewer stress cracks,less noise transmissivity, and more overall window stability.
  • High performance Zo-e Shield 5 insulated glass includes Low-E cubed (triple coating)."
Other more common names in the window industry would be Anderson and Pella. Usually my builder has used Anderson, but Weather Shield has been promoting their new product heavily in our area and gave him a good deal. I talked with the window specialist at Omni Glass in Oshkosh, Connie, who has been in the business for a long time. She felt the new Weather Shield product was very comparable to the other more well known names. I will have to give you an update this winter.

Burning questions that I have been pondering: where to put the TV? Over the fireplace? Build shelving on either side of the fireplace and put it in there? Or keep the space open on either side and get a TV on a stand that is portable--that way I can have it change position if I need it too. The other burning question is where to place the half wall(s) between the kitchen and great room. There are 3 arched openings separating the kitchen and great room. The plan calls for 2 half walls/cabinets on either side of the central opening. Colleen's contention is that we will always run into the back of a couch with that set up. She is promoting putting the half wall in the center opening. Then the couch will lean up against it. I am still pondering that one. There are about a million and one decisions to make when building a house!
Lake side of the house

View from the dock

Sunflowers popping up and Miss sunshine, Anna

Sister, Gail and me

My mom, next to the fireplace (I couldn't get the picture to rotate!)