Saturday, December 29, 2007

School's Out

Until the end of January anyway. So I get to spend lots of quality time in WV. I'll get lots of updates up once I'm out there.

Watched some of "The Incredibles" last month - I know I'm getting too into MCM when I watch a movie like that and all I'm noticing is the great design...

And sometime this weekend this blog will get its 15,000 visitor.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Ice storm coming

Was out at the house for just a few hours this afternoon to receive our dining room table delivery and let the Sears guy in to (finally) fix our fridge, which is now up and running (apparently I fried the circuit panel when I plugged in the broken plug). So while I was there I finished putting up the deck posts, and I staged the installation of the top rail:

I should have ordered the cedar top rail in 12' lengths so that the seams would all fall on the posts; surprise, surprise - I didn't figure that out until after the wood came. So I'll cut these to size and use the scrap for the trim pieces around the windows/doors. And I'll put in another (sigh) order for cedar...

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Filler Post

This is the detail of our roof flashing, which I should have posted when I detailed the building out of the eave and the work by the roofers. Hard to tell from the pics exactly how everything comes together there, but this shows it from the technical side...

Monday, December 03, 2007

Shirley, New York

I grew up here (this pic's from before my time - "Bathing Beauty Sweepstakes," reads the sign on the podium). A repeat visitor to this blog lives here. Do we know each other?

Sunday, December 02, 2007


I love those eBay commercials where the woman comes out of nowhere and catches the auction item for a touchdown. Well that's me!

I swooped in and got these six Krueger armshell chairs for $202.50. (Krueger was an Eames competitor.) I have to say that after giving my dilemma a little thought, I've become very comfortable with the idea of owning the kinds of pieces we like even if they are not the originals - the whole idea was good design mass-produced at an affordable price, right? Well, that's what these are.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Hidden costs

Well, as you can see not really "hidden." But these are the kinds of things that I didn't really even think about when I was doing our rough budget. None of the quotes I got from contractors included things like a propane tank ($2000), or the cost of excavating the trench for the gas line (900). And that's not even counting the $2k it cost to fill the thing with gas! (Now you can rent them, and they are free - you pay a surcharge in $/gallon. But then you have to keep it above ground, and the last thing we wanted was a huge propane tank to be the first thing we see when we come up the driveway.) Part of the reason it's a surprise cost is that it was a change; we had originally planned on using all electric. But gas made more sense for a lot of reasons that I didn't appreciate when we started making plans. (And of course we'll have to change that 220 outlet in the kitchen to accommodate our gas range...)

Now those are certainly identifiable costs if you do your research and are diligent about anticipating and calculating these items. I didn't do such a great job. So here are some items that I don't think I included in my initial budget (roughly outlined over at the budget page, which I've been updating a little lately):

Drilling the well: $11k (and we'll still probably need to add a filtration system);

Roof flashing: $3,275 (I knew this was a cost, but I thought it was going to be lower than this);

Cedar trim and cement board: over $3k (again, a cost I knew was out there but didn't know the amount);

Deck: going to have cost well over $12k by the time we're finished (5k in ipe, nearly 1k in ipe clips and fasteners, almost 1k in cedar, 2k for cable rail, 1k for pressure treated framing lumber, 1k for the labor I hired to help frame it). Now this probably would have cost twice as much if I hadn't done it myself.

Again, as you can see these are all pretty predicable costs. You can get estimates for all these things beforehand, or even roughly ballpark them. I think the biggest cost overrun I've had has really stemmed from not knowing what my materials were going to cost (and because Res4 calls for - and we've been using - top quality materials, it turns out they're pretty expensive). That's a function of being my own GC and doing DIY work and not having experience with pricing these items. I would expect that a real GC, particularly one experienced with prefab or even Res4 construction, would be much more adept at accurately predicting what this would have cost at the outset. At the end of the day I should be pretty close to our predicted cost because I'll have saved a lot of money on the basement, but we'll see just how close as these other costs continue to add up. My budget page, when all is said and done, should be a pretty exhaustive detailing of just what kind of costs you can expect to encounter when you do this kind of thing, and so at the very least you can use it as a starting point when evaluating bids from contractors or trying to gauge your own budget.