Building my Dream

Rick Prosser

Member
Messages
364
Location
Midlands of South Carolina
Well, it has been even longer - the time just flies by....Here are some updates. The house is complete. It was a long difficult project that required firing the builder and working as the builder to finish it out.
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I have also taken up blacksmithing
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Still doing woodworking and recently finished a Miter Saw station (all the drawer fronts were made from wood harvested, sawmilled, dried, shaped, and finished on the property)
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Ted Calver

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7,090
Location
Yorktown, Virginia
Rick, That miter saw station is beautiful, and the house and forge look fantastic. It's great to see you're still plugging along and doing your own thing. Thanks for stopping by with the update. Hope you can find the time to post some more pics of what you got going on. :thumb::thumb::thumb:
 

Bill Satko

Member
Messages
2,615
Location
The Methow
Beautiful job in making the grain pattern flow across the drawer fronts. Has to be the most impressive miter station I have ever seen. Loved the shots of your blacksmithing. Would like to see more of your setup in the future.
 

Darren Wright

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17,279
Location
Kansas City, Missouri
Good to see you back! You've been busy for sure. Love the kitchen drawer dividers, have those on my current project list. Stopping for wood for them today as matter of fact.

Sent from my SM-T710 using Tapatalk
 

Vaughn McMillan

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33,198
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ABQ NM
Rick, the house looks awesome. :clap: And add another wow to the pile of compliments on the miter saw station. Great work all around. Glad to see you drop by...don't be a stranger!
 

Rick Prosser

Member
Messages
364
Location
Midlands of South Carolina
I realize that there was quite a jump from my last update, and a lot of things happened. I will put together more details to let you know how things got to where they are, what went right/what did not go as planned, and fill in some of the blanks.
 

glenn bradley

Member
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9,897
Location
SoCal
The dream continues. glad to have the update. Sorry for your builder problem in what is all too common a problem today. The house and setting are just great. When you hit a snag, just remember there are plenty of us who are envious of your journey, challenges and all.
 

Rick Prosser

Member
Messages
364
Location
Midlands of South Carolina
Gap fill and wrap up?

OK - will try and fill in some gaps and wrap this one up...

The original plan from way back in the beginning was to build the shop, learn from fixing up the mobile home, build the house and be debt free-ish and close to self sustaining. (and keep up with too many hobbies along with everything else.):D
We paid to have the shop shell (pole building) built and I did most of the internal additions and electrical wiring. We were hoping to live temporarily in the shop while building the house - but that did not work out and we purchased a used fixer-upper trailer to live in while we did the prep work for building a house and completing a number of fixer up projects.
I learned a couple of things while building in the shop and fixing up the trailer. These are not new concepts, but sometimes it take experience to really understand.

1) there is limited time available.
2) Your health deteriorates if you work non stop.
3) I can only get so much done in a reasonable time.

We went from the idea of building a house ourselves as we had time and money, to getting a "dried in" shell to finish ourselves as we had time and money, to finally going the normal mortgage and builder route.
The reasons for the change:
1) Using just our time (keeping full time jobs) would push the completed house out to possibly past retirement age. (I learned a lot about how slow things go when building solo)
2) Paying someone to build a dried in shell for us to complete ourselves also had the time to finish issue, and banks did not want to loan if we were going to do the finish work.
3) Our jobs settled in and we felt confident that we could swing a mortgage without undue risk and get into our house in time to enjoy it before passing on...:(

So we met with multiple builders to review our floor plan that we had worked out with architect over a few years. We also indicated that we wanted to incorporate the wood that we had harvested from the property into the house, and that we did not want the "standard" level of quality during the build (and we understood there would be additional cost involved). We advised that we were living on the property in the trailer, and that we would be viewing the progress on a daily basis.
Most of the builders were clear that they were not comfortable with the situation of having us reviewing progress each day, being closely involved, wanting higher quality, and using wood we had prepared.

After a number of interviews we finally got two builder options and decided on one who seemed to understand and was willing to work with us. We started by clearing the area behind the trailer in 2015.
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The floor plan was to have a great room/kitchen/eating/office main area with cathedral ceiling where we mostly live, and a master bedroom/bath, a guest bedroom, and a library for the better half who let me build the dream shop.:thumb:

Also a garage that is at the same floor level as the house so no steps to deal with. (we wanted the design to be workable as we get older and probably have to deal with wheelchair access) Doors are all 36 in wide and layout supports walkers and wheelchairs.

The builder had some good ideas on modifications and adjustments on our plan that we agreed on, and the build started with an ETA of nine months.
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After the foundation was poured we started to run into the usual builder/contractor issues: delays, anger of being called out for shoddy work, unresponsiveness, etc.
While the builder understood what we wanted, he just sent the crews out with no idea of the changes or quality requirements. We constantly had to stop the crews to keep issues from happening -or to fix things that were done wrong. (like moving the front door over a few feet because they thought it should be...:doh:)

>>> will continue on next post.
 

Rick Prosser

Member
Messages
364
Location
Midlands of South Carolina
House build progress
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After dragging on and on for over a year, suddenly communication stopped. No return calls. After a month, we got a call from the builders office to set up a meeting.
The builders partner came out and apologized about the delays, but he was going to personally be sure things got finished up in time for our daughters wedding that was planned. (Outdoor wedding at our place).
Crew came out once, I think..., and then nothing was happening again.

As it turned out, the builder was in jail. We did not find this out until he came back to work and got thing going again. He promised to have the house finished before the wedding but.... did not happen.

We had the wedding, but the house was not ready. We had to use the trailer and shop for rest rooms and shelter. The weather worked out OK and the wedding itself was grand, but not like we had hoped. :(
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I was able to play my bagpipes for the wedding.:thumb::thumb:
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We finally gave up on the builder (should have been sooner :doh:) and had to organize things with the sub contractors to be sure they were all paid (they were not), line up getting the final things done, so we could get the go-ahead to move in.

We were able to get all the base boards, window trim, and door trim done with the wood (red oak) that we had harvested, sawed, dried, milled, dimensioned, and finished from our property!

Will post interior photos on next post.
 

Rick Prosser

Member
Messages
364
Location
Midlands of South Carolina
Interior photos
Trim boards in progress
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Library Bay Window with baseboard and window trim
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Kitchen (custom red oak cabinets that were not wood from property)
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Great Room Fireplace
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Guest Room baseboard and closet trim
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Library (one wall)
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And we traded the mobile home to the cabinet carpenter for this!
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We went for all hardwood oak floors - no carpet.
Tile in bathrooms.

One more post to finish up...
 

Rick Prosser

Member
Messages
364
Location
Midlands of South Carolina
So, I got my dream shop (paid for) and we have a new house with our special design (with a mortgage :( but should be able to pay it off in just a couple years.:thumb:)
That should set us up well for our original intent - to be close to debt free and have land and home to enjoy with minimal stress - and ability to spend time with the hobbies.
Things did not go as planned, and after my experience, I would suggest that anyone purchase an already built house and make improvements instead of building from scratch ...:doh:

Now that the house build is over - stress is lower, and even though I still have a long list of ToDo items, I am looking forward to getting more time at the sawmill, in the wood shop & blackmith shop, and just relaxing here at home watching the deer play in the front yard :eek:
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thru the multiple large windows of the great room with the fireplace keeping things nice and toasty.

It may not be perfect, but I will take it.;)
 

Brent Dowell

Administrator
Staff member
Messages
15,214
Location
Reno NV
Wow! What a journey, but it looks like it was all well worth it.

Were you playing the pipes? That looks awesome.
 

Darren Wright

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Staff member
Messages
17,279
Location
Kansas City, Missouri
Glad to see things worked out. I recall several of your posts on FB and have enjoyed seeing your progress.

I've mostly done things for myself and hired very few other trades to do work over the years. This past year, when we were looking to have the structural issues fixed on our place, it was a real eye opener to just how incompetent some trades folks are. At the same time I was watching other friends go through their remodels and it was like the people hired just didn't care about the quality of their work or if they even showed up the next day. One friend went through 4 different contractors trying to get their kitchen remodeled. They finally did get it completed, but they've postponed any further work just to get their sanity back.

The guy I finally hired to do my job was pretty good, but communication just seemed to lack as far as his timelines and why things were taking longer than quoted. Most of the delays had to do with other jobs he was trying to wrap up since he only got payments at agreed milestones, one of which was final payment, so I understand the aspect of that and keeping his guys paid. We're looking at doing an addition on the house and probably will hire him again for it, but I will subcontract a few things that aren't his forte.

So with all that done, what kind of projects do you have on the horizon in your shop?
 
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