housework: good (and gooder!) news

Been vaguely busy on the house the past several days. Lots going on! Here's the latest stink:

  • Met with the builder and architect to discuss the bid and path forward: The long and short of it: We're building a house! Our evil plan to design toward a spec house and then add gewgaws later worked wonderfully. Instead of being in a position of deciding what to cut from the house, we're in the much more pleasant position of deciding what to upgrade. Trust me: That's a much better place to be! What we need to do now:
    • Sign a contract with the builder (one will be forthcoming soon after some budget adjustments).
    • Start working on getting permits (the architects will take the lead on this...).
    • Get a construction loan (preferably a single-close loan).
    • Refine the plans a wee bit.
    • Start building!
  • Deciding what to upgrade:
    • Because the non-storefront window bid came in higher than expected, we're going to price out storefront for the whole house. At the very least, we'll storefront the windows in the front of the living room and the door for the master.  
    • Instead of feeding air into the HVAC system and creating a positive pressure, we're going to price out an ERV, a neutral pressure ventilation system where air is removed as it is added. The builder has put one in before and says it runs about 2 grand (less than the 4 grand I was thinking...).
    • Putting in the cubist pooper! (O hell yeah!) Will need to put in a "false wall" for the tank. Builder has done one before, so here. we. go!
  • Need to refine the plans a wee bit: We need to revise the electrical plan to include the speakers and surround-sound system (and make the other changes we need). 
  • Landscaping: The landscaper has gone AWOL again, so if we don't hear from him soon, we're bailing on him. The builder says he can install landscaping at most likely a lower cost. 
  • The bids: I don't think it's typical, but we requested to see the detailed bids for certain categories (HVAC, appliances, plumbing, cabinets) to verify certain things and get more information to inform design and material decisions. In response, the builder gave us all the bids. This was cool since it's neat (for me) to see the breakdowns. What we learned looking at the detailed bids:
    • We wanted to gawk at the HVAC bid to confirm that the contractor picked up on the flex-duct-no-longer-than-8-feet rule. Can't quite tell if they if they picked up on this... We did learn that the system is a Bryant system (not a Carrier) with 18 SEER and that the bid includes jumper ducts (awesome!).
    • We wanted to gawk at the appliance bid to verify that they had our cooktop (and to see why the darn thing was costing so much). The builder got two bids on the appliances, and he shared both with us. Half a year ago I visited with one of the bidders about the cooktop, and they did not want to talk to me about the cooktop (hence my suspicion on the bid). As it turns out, my suspicions were justified: Neither bid included the cooktop we wanted. Even worse, they substituted other stuff that was crazy high: $3,600 v. $1,500 for one bid and $2,200 v. $1,500 for the other. Looks like we'll have to order that top ourselves (if we can get it shipped to the U.S.; starting to wonder if that will be an issue...). Setting aside the cooktop, the $3,600 bidder had far better prices than the other, coming in $700 less (and they even included the garbage disposal!). In fact, we could get better prices online through Amazon than one of the bidders. So much for the builder discount... 
    • The garage door is not the one specified by the architects and has no windows. Will need to discuss...
    • The plumbing bidder (who is also the $3,600 appliance bidder) can get stuff less than I can online. Yay! Except for the tub (Boo!). They couldn't get the bathroom faucets, so they're not included in the bid.  
    • Solved the problem on the 23K v 30K (really 31K) cabinet bid. The builder didn't include the drawers in the living room in his spreadsheet. Stop a moment and do that math...  That's right: 8 grand for 12 (shallow) drawers in the living room (not including the shelves above). Holy buzzing bug butts! There's gold in them thar shelves!!!
  • LEGOhaus! I brought the LEGOhaus to the meeting, and it was a big hit (and a useful reference point as we talked about the house during the meeting). Camera phones were poppin', the architects were bopping', and the soup eaters were sopping'! The builder said he had been in the business for 16 years and had never had a client build their house out of LEGOs. Well, there you go. The architects were excited when we offered to leave the haus with them for a bit. They want to take some nice photos of it. 
  • Speaking of LEGOhaus: We went to the LEGOstore a couple weeks ago to get the windows I got hoobled out of as well as a number of other random pieces and LEGO versions of ourselves. Hey look! There we are! CELEBRATING!!!


  1. Wow on all fronts!

    You're not concerned about warranty issues/parts with your imported cooktop?

    What's the deal with your expensive drawers? I think our entire (custom) cabinet order was about $18k. The mudroom includes four drawers (two large, two small) for something like $500.

    Have I offered Steve to help you with the audio if you're interested in doing it yourself?

    What the heck are "storefronts"?

    And keep in mind that Amazon is going to start charging tax on July 1.

    1. big D!

      Not concerned about warranty issues/parts.

      No clue about the drawers... But holy cow! It's a little bizarre that the bidder didn't point out the craziness of that, especially because it was going to kill the job for them. Maybe we'll use milk crates instead...

      What kind of beer does Steve drink?

      "Storefronts" are those beefy aluminum-framed windows you see at stores (typically at the front!). We're spec'd for residential aluminum, but the price came back high enough to where we might just go with storefront (storefront = swanker). All thermally broken, of course...

      That's a drag about the Amazon...