Calm, Forward, Straight

Calm, Forward, Straight

Monday, February 4, 2019

Horse Before House Part 4
Second floor + all the decisions

I anticipated the process of building a house would tax my ability + desire + patience for decision making, but the reality surpassed my wildest imaginings. I had also failed to envision the amount of push-back I would receive when my decisions didn't fit it with the ideas + schedules + budgets of others.

Not sure if this is par for the course with single-woman construction clients everywhere, or just here on my island - where unattached women are often cause for fear and suspicion. How can she live without a man - the horror! She cuts her own grass! Operates machinery! (And the ever popular - She might be after my man!!!) I've been challenging the world view of some of the less open-minded folks around here for a while lol. I wish I were kidding.

It started with how to site the house on the lot. My plan was to face the house into the property, at an angle. With covered porches, this would take advantage of passive solar. It would also square the house to the cardinal compass points. The winds that tend to be harshest in hurricanes and winter storms - NE, NW and SW - will hit the house at the corners rather than the walls directly. While I have yet to find research online to back this up (that isn't full of physics equations beyond my comprehension), after living on the property for eight years, through multiple storms, I believe this will mitigate the effect of wind somewhat.

As to the view - while it might be conventional to orient your house to the street - the thought of pointing the front porch at my neighbor's house, and the comings and goings of their parking area, didn't thrill me. I prefer to look out onto the garden, Val's paddock and the woods. It's amazing how much effort was expended explaining and justifying these choices - to the builder, the surveyors, the piling guy, etc...  #becauseisaidso




One of the pitfalls of having to say grace over so many decisions in such a short time, even with months of research prior to building, is getting overwhelmed and saying whatever - f*ck it - I can't deal. Especially when you're not sharing the responsibility of the decision making with a partner.

Balance that with the stress of knowing that many choices are time sensitive and can't be taken back which = bad choices will surely cost $$$ in the future - let's just say there was a maximum amount of pressure. Most of the selections for building materials were based on long term value. Architectural shingles, premium windows, Smart Lap siding, Duration paint. I bought into the theory that quality materials on the front end will payoff in the long term. Fingers crossed. I'll dissect interior choices in a future post. Meanwhile enjoy more construction p*rn 😎


Starting the porch roof and upstairs floor joists

The beginning of much ladder climbing - the only way to access the house for months

Setting out 2x4s to mark the interior walls


The view! Itty bitty Val in the grazing pen...


Looking down from the future stairway

Wrapping around!


Upstairs walls - it's starting to get exciting 😍

25 comments:

  1. If I had a dollar for every time some contractor told me to "have my husband call", I'd have been able to pay for my house 3 times over. Nothing like being a single woman building her own house, we must be the scariest creatures on earth given how the rest of the world responds:) Hang in there and stay strong. Your house looks AWESOME!!!

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    1. It takes enough energy just moving around the world living your life without having to - politely but firmly - rearrange other people's sexist assumptions and behaviors. Am I right?!

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  2. Oh man I think I’d be totally overwhelmed to the point of near paralysis by that pressure of decision making... good for you for sticking to your guns! It all looks so good!

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    1. Paralysis by analysis was an ever present danger lol...

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  3. All I can say is wow...its not like you wen tin all willy nilly with no idea what you wanted. You had a plan. A well thought out and researched plan. Just do what the client says to! Ugh. Gorgeous start to the house though!!

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  4. Oohhh, your point about the winds hitting the corners and not the full face of the house sounds so logical. Love it! It's really looking like a home from the final photos, too. Super cool to see it all coming together.

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    1. I really wanted to include some (google) proof for my theory, but the physics for poets class I had in college didn't provide the tools to interpret what I found lol. Glad it makes sense to you too - I would think up in the mountains where you are, that the ability to shed wind is also important.

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  5. Re: single woman doing "men's jobs" and challenging less open-minded points of view (which you get a double whammy of what with southern culture + island culture) = why you're my hero and why I admire you so so much!

    Re: siting the house so that the corners face the brunt of hurricane-force winds: I have scientific proof for you. My grandfather (an engineer) sited the house I grew up in in this fashion. The house NEVER sustained damage from the winds. We would board up the glass windows to protect from flying branches/debris, and during one storm one board got ripped off, but the house itself has never sustained physical damage from storms. Not even with Maria. Same goes for the smaller wood cottage where my grandfather lived on the property: he designed and sited that house too. :D

    That last photo with the light behind the house is GOLD. You have SO many frame-worthy photos of this project, but that one is stunning!!!



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    1. ❤️ Thank you ❤️

      That is awesome about your grandfather!!! I thought it made sense. I was picturing how a sail catches the wind or doesn't + tacking. My one friend who has captained offshore fishing boats his whole life agreed with the siting when he visited.

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  6. Whatever happened to the saying “the client is always right!” The decision making is hard but with all your research I’m sure you made the perfect well informed decisions. My one unmarried daughter gets the same crap all the time from service people. She just sticks by her guns and they generally cave but not without some under breath muttering I’m sure. Love the pictures and how it’s shaping up. You’re definitely right about getting all the better products in the beginning. You’re going to be there a very long time and inferior cheaper products won’t hold up.πŸ‘πŸ»

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  7. We are in the process of choosing a contractor for our own remodel, and your experience is one of the reasons we put it off for so damn long. But WOW it's looking really amazing!!! Can't wait to see it finished!

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    1. I was super thankful that I insisted on a contract vs cost plus. That and choosing a contractor who is in good shape wrt cash flow, so their problems don't become yours.

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  8. Love the step by step and photos. I’m eager to see the next phases!

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    1. Getting the pictures together and composing the posts is a nice way to put the whole experience to rest. :D

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  9. The world is so fucking backwards when it comes to viewing women as a whole. There should be a service where you can like hire someone (or get a friend) who is really good at sticking their foot down and saying know. Give them a packet of your desires and reasoning and when you get fatigued just send them in to play defense lol

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    1. I am excellent at saying no - probably too good lol. The problem is, when you are at the beginning of a 12 month long relationship with a builder, it's better to ration out the nopes, and pick your battles. It's a finesse type of situation - which was hard for me because I'm blunt. The power is in the builder's hands pretty much the whole time until you get to the end - when releasing the final money comes around.

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  10. When I was in the process of getting barn estimates I eliminated a bunch for not respecting me. When we made the the choice I said to the contractor that all decisions had to run through me and if they (he and Ed) made a decision I didn’t agree with it was going to be changed. He agreed and I give him credit- he followed that to a ‘T’.

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  11. I can't even pick toothpaste so I cannot imagine making for many decisions.

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    1. Well - there is an unnecessarily large number of toothpaste options - that's a fact. ;D

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  12. I have always wondered why so many houses face the "street" side, even out in the country or where there is plenty of room. So smart decision! I can't even imagine all the decisions, I did a full remodel on my house and that was hard enough! It is looking good!

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  13. I had no problem aiming the backside of my house to my neighbors lol...

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