Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The last four weeks

Since we sold our place at the end of April (and made up our mind we were going to give this a shot) we've been looking for a site on which to build. Our only real requirements were: not too much more than a two hour drive and a natural setting with privacy. We brainstormed about the relative benefits and disadvantages of the many mountains, lakes, beaches and forests close to DC, but in the end - after staying at Jennifer Watson's spectacular Luminhaus - we came to believe that people interested in modern prefab are going to come for the house. So that's our focus. I've been to Harpers Ferry, the Shenandoah Valley, Berkeley Springs, Cumberland, Falling Waters, you name it. We've pretty much settled on being in the Potomac Highlands of West Virginia for a couple of reasons: beautiful, unspoiled and sparsely populated mountains, relatively close to DC, a new highway (Corridor H) being built that will soon make it even easier to get there, and no building codes! Just pay your permit fee and build away.

We've looked at sites with spectacular views and some set in the midst of dense woods, land with water access and streams on the property, land close to "attractions," etc. We've decided that unrestricted land is the way to go (no restrictive covenants, no HOAs, no one to worry about offending or giving us a hard time) and have put a premium on size (as a buffer for privacy and to accommodate the possibility of building another rental/vacation home on the property down the road). We've found some good prospects in Hardy County, WV, and we'll update as we firm up a site.

Monday, May 29, 2006

A bit about money

In surfing as much as I have over the sites of folks who've begun similar projects, one thing I know I want out of such a resource is some context regarding a project's budget. So we're going to be frank about what things cost and how things are shaking out. We've got a rough budget of about $350K. That might change depending on lots of different variables (interest rates, what sort of rental income we might get on the house, etc.), but either way we'll let you know what things cost.

The Project

Sarah and I are smitten with modern prefab architecture. We (Sarah, really) first discovered such a thing even existed when a few years ago we began exploring affordable construction options for a maybe vacation home in the Adirondacks, where Sarah's parents have a place (and are running out of room for the extended family). We recently sold an apartment I owned before we were married and had been renting, and now have a bit of money to put toward a weekend place that we can also rent out some. We're in DC and West Virginia seems to be our best bet. This blog will be our diary.