Archive for January, 2012

“If you have built your castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them. ”

– Henry David Thoreau

Many of you know how I love quotes, always have.  I came across this quote in high school and loved it so much I asked Noel (then one of my best friends) to hand print it onto parchment and gave it to many friends as a graduation gift…  I kept one of those for myself, and we now have it on display, 20 years later.  Kind of funny.  So I thought this quote was a fitting intro to talk about our progress last week which was all about putting the foundation in place under what will be our dream!

What a mess! Between the red mud, leftover concrete, foundation forms, braces and misc construction debris, hard to believe this is progress!This is the front corner of the house looking toward where the front door will be, you can see the porch support columns, the garage is behind me in this photo

This week brought the a lot of progress on the foundation… The iron rebar was woven in place above the footings, the steel foundation forms put together and then on Friday the concrete was pumped into those forms from a giant boom truck.  The foundation has been poured and it looks great!  Though the lot is a mess, we had rain this week and the guys worked through a downpour pumping the concrete but got all the foundation work done.  The pit, as our builder Byron calls it, is a red muddy mess, but it’s great to see the walls in place.

Standing on the porch support column, looking over the front foundation wall into the house and basement
In this picture above, I am standing at what will be the front porch looking at where the front door will be (you can see the foundation jog inward).  I climbed up onto one of the porch support columns for this picture.  Standing there you got a sense for how much fill this lot will take as they have to back fill along the foundation walls and add quite a bit of fill to the front of the house.  We’re hoping we have enough from the excavation to not have to spend too much on fill.  We’ll know soon enough!
We looked at windows this weekend, one of the first major “choices” we have to make.  We’re looking at “clad windows” meaning wood windows, clad in aluminum and painted with durable finish you can select on the exterior side.  Wow, that is a big-ticket item… windows are very expensive!  But we have an idea what we want to go with and it’s within our budget.  We have to make that decision soon because the framers will need to know the exact openings for framing.

Up next in the week ahead will be taking the forms off the foundation, a ton heavy work using a crane.  Then foundation water proofing, installing the french drain and putting the systems in the floor of the house and garage for plumbing, water, electric, etc.  This will all be done so that we can back-fill and rough grade the lot, and get ready to pour the concrete floor.

Looking into the basement / ground floor of the house, you see the load-bearing footings here that mark the places where load-bearing walls will be built, this is standing in the master looking towards the kitchen at the far end and the garage beyond that

We should be on track to start framing in two weeks and then we’ll really start to see the house take shape.  The weather here the next four days looks warm and sunny so we’re hoping for a lot of progress this week.

Have a great week everyone!

Doug and Noel


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Hi all,

With the New Year came the first visible progress out at the lot on our home.  The first few weeks of the year brought the dropping of the trees for starters.  We had already roughed out the location of the house and the garage as well as the septic system.   We did our best to position the house to save as many of the big old oaks as we could and maximize the privacy afforded by the woods around us.  When arrived a few days after our long drive to North Carolina and met our builder out at the lot, it was certainly something to see with the building envelope cleared.

Here is our first view of the lot cleared of just enough trees for the house and rough driveway, more trees were left standing than we can keep but it allowed us to make decisions on where to place the house exactly based on which trees we felt were most important to keep

In the weeks that followed we have officially broke ground with the first shovels of dirt moved and the foundation excavated.

Two weeks ago the footings were dug and framed and then this past week the first concrete was poured into those forms along with the rebar.  It’s exciting to see the footprint of the house on the ground.  We wound up flipping the house on the lot from left to right to take advantage of putting the garage on the higher side of the lot so less fill was needed.

We’re on schedule at this point and the week ahead will bring the wall forms to the footings and we hope to pour the walls this upcoming Friday the 27th.

That’s all for this weekend, more next weekend.  Have a great and GO PATS!!


Forms are being built but not final in this picture from January 14th, we're facing the front of the house from the driveway in this photo

Footings were all poured on January 20th, here you can see the concrete… and for those who couldn’t believe I bought a pick-up, you can see the new Tacoma in the background… rope ladder I use to get in and out is hidden from view

Standing at front right corner of the house you can see the footprint outlined in concrete and rebar... a beautiful site!

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Picture of our building lot, looking down slope towards the lake, example of the size of the oak trees throughout the lot

Hello Family and Friends!

Welcome to our new home… or at least welcome to our blog about our adventure in building our new home!

As you all know by now, we have started out on a grand adventure and have moved to beautiful Raleigh, North Carolina.  While we are very excited about new lives here, we miss those we have moved further from.  We wanted to find a way to share in the exciting experience of building our dream home and thought what better way than blogging about it.  This will allow us to share the stories, the progress, and the pictures as we progress through the building experience this year.  We hope you enjoy the story as much as we look forward to the adventure itself.

Here is a view onto Falls Lake walking from the back of our lot to the edge of the lake, we live on one of the many "fingers" that make up the lake


The location

Some of you already know the story of how lucky we were to find an amazing piece of land on which to build our dream home.  We purchased nearly 4 acres in North Raleigh on Falls Lake, a 12,000 acre lake with lots of boating, state parks, hiking trails and fishing.  It’s an incredible spot.  We fell in love with the land as soon as we stepped foot on it and Noel and I looked at one another and both said “this is it!”  The lot is heavily wooded with lots of old growth oaks, some maples and some pines, and gently slopes towards the lake.  The entire lake is surrounded by a buffer zone that is owned and managed by the Army Corps of Engineers, this provides both protection of the watershed area and public access.  Our lot backs up to the Army Corps land and then a short walk later we’re lakeside!  Around the corner from us is a huge state park and a boat launch.  You can see some pictures of the lot here on the blog.


Here is a link to read more about the area if anyone is interested:



The house plan

In preparing to build our dream home we looked at dozens and dozens and dozens of house plans.  Online.  Books.  Magazines.  We studied, we debated, we discussed…  it was an intense process.  And then we found the one.  We both love the Craftsman style and wanted a timely interpretation of this style, one that was a hillside walk-out to take advantage of the topography of the land, and a design that would accommodate Doug’s new work at home arrangement, and allow for flexibility for us and our extended family in the years to come.  No easy set of requirements.  We settled on a design by Donald Gardner call Cedar Ridge.  We love the style, the lines and the Craftsman details.  You can see a color rendition of the design here on our blog.

Here is the original floor plan for the house we're building, we have modified it from the original but this will give you a good sense of the main floor

The timeline

We officially received all our permits on the same day of our closing on our home in Grafton, a good sign we thought!  The lot cleared started shortly after and we officially broke ground and moved dirt soon after the New Year.  Our hope is to be in the house around Noel’s birthday in early November so we can have Thanksgiving in our new home.

Thanks for reading our blog!  You should be able to sign up for email alerts when we post updates and we’re going to try and post updates about once every week to two weeks, depending on when we have new pictures and our schedules allowing!

Thanks to all our family and friends for your love and support, your help and encouragement.  We’re excited to be in North Carolina and to start work on our Craftsman dream home.

Doug, Noel, and Sarah

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