Posted to QuarterlyHouse by Cara in Orlando, FL
I'm prone to not being able to turn my brain off when a lot is going
on- last night was the first night that house-related stuff kept me
thinking. I'm slightly stressed about the budget, but not too bad, and
Jason is not concerned at all. Here's the usual updates... Also, Jason
informed me that he read the journal and even though he is actually
doing the project, he didn't much understand it... Something about
scrambling his brain. Sorry about that. I'll do my best to be a bit
more explanatory. The thing is, this journal is half for you and half
for me... so the me parts tend to be pretty stream of consciousness.
When I spoke to the state wetland guy the other day, he was more than
willing to sit down and have a pre-app meeting with us. Hell, he even
offered to fill out the ghastly application packet! Ok, just kidding,
that's a total lie. Truth is, he had about as much personality as,
well, a cypress stump, and with his busy important state environment
wetland enforcer job does not have time to meet with us until at least
Feb. 6th. Lovely. Keep in mind that it took me precisely 5 days to even
get him on the phone- apparently he is too busy to answer voice mails
as well. We also had been trying to get ahold of Sheldon, the county
guy, to see if he had reviewed our lovely and very intensive site
proposal AND THREE YEAR MAINTENANCE PLAN. He hemmed and hawed
(amazingly, I got in contact with him at 4:30 pm on a Friday) and said
what we were doing was unique and he wasn't sure. I pressed him for a
timeline and will be calling on Tuesday after he runs our ideas by his
boss. So by Saturday morning, Jason and I had worked ourselves up into
a slight government environmental guy feeding frenzy. We called Steve,
the environmental consultant, to ask some questions. Our main beefs are:
we have to jump through all these hoops for less than 10,000 sf of
impact?!?! What about the developers that are flattening everything in
site? I bet THEY didn't get jerked around.
- How can it possibly
be sooooo crazy to propose on-site mitigation and preservation? It's
like we are the first people ever to do this!
- What the hell is a
UMAM score and why can't we see ours? Yes, I know it's a complicated
formula, but we are pretty educated people, and frankly, the lack of
transparency makes me more than a little suspicious.
- How can it
possibly be that two mitigation banks, both alike in dignity (grin), in
the same basin etc. etc. a) can have such different prices and b) not
both be eligible for us to use. And isn't it funny that the one the
state is pushing for is the expensive one. Furthermore, Jason has
talked to the mitigation broker, and she says that she has sold many a
credit to Wedgefield residents.
I was really expecting to lose
it with Steve, because I feel like he has not really been lobbying on
our behalf. But, he answered all of my questions appropriately and
suggested a meeting of all parties at the site. I will call to do this
tomorrow. The whole thing is so ridiculous. State and county shouldn't
even be allowed to have dual jurisdiction to begin with! Honestly, I
think this part will be the hardest part of anything. No wonder
pre-cleared lots sell for so much more. Whew.
Friday was a day for making phone calls and running around. Jason and I
are splitting the burden and each taking parts that we will be
"experts" in. So far, I have talked to subs about or researched:
foundation, walls, trusses, drywall, windows, septic, plumbing.
currently has: generator, propane, cabinetry, designer responsibility,
framing, clearing and filling, and something that's slipping my mind at
the moment. Most of the subs have been very responsive. One word to the
wise- if you are talking to a sub and want to get referrals, don't ask
if they can reccomend anyone, because they will say no. Instead, ask if
there is anyone they work with on a regular basis. My foundation guy
gave me plumbing, electric, and a bank reference, just because I asked!
At any rate, we are getting plenty of pallpark estimates- we have been
too high or on the money with our initial guesses, but the budget is
still high IMO.
I researched windows almost all day yesterday,
and wasn’t able to find out too much… It’s all greek to me, really.
Plus, I don’t have window sizes yet, and even if I did, you can only
find MANUFACTURERS online, not distributors. I do have a few company
names that have come up frequently: Marvin, Harvey, Jeld-Wen, Kolbe,
and Alside among others. Don’t forget, we have to have up to Florida
code windows. If I just had my window list I could at least fax it our,
but I guess I won’t get that till construction docs are done.
Purchases: most importantly, pics pending, soon. For now I will have to
link them to shutterfly, but soon this journal will be moving to the
owner-builder site, and they will have the capability for me to upload
pictures directly. YAY! Our purchase of the week is a vanity set for
the powder room bath. Includes Vanity w/ doors and drawers, sink,
faucet, and mirror… Home Depot, original price $299… Drumroll…. Our
price $99 on clearance plus 10% with coupon. Yay! It’s very nice, easy
to install, etc. I see storage at our current house quickly becoming an
issue if we keep this up ? On the other hand, if we can realize 10-60%
savings on EVERYTHING we purchase, I can be a bit less worried about
the budget. We also looked at countertops. Primarily, our 3 choices
are: granite tile (self installed, least expensive option, also least
visually appealing), granite slab (most expensive, most visually
appealing), or Silestone/Zodiaq (mid-range price, pretty appealing). It
actually turned out to be less for Silestone than we thought. Also, we
are thinking about removing one side of our peninsula which would then
make it an eat-in-kitchen. This would also be huge for cabinetry and
countertop costs, since that area alone makes up a good portion of the
counter, between the bar top and countertop. So I’m pretty sold on
removing those features as a trade-off for silestone. We’ll probably
also do Silestone in our bath. I really thought I wouldn’t like it, but
it’s only slightly less visually appealing than granite, and it comes
with a warranty. And, it’s less expensive. Oh, the best part: they were
running a 10% off sale on one of the color groups. That’s easily $500.
We learned from the guy that you need to do an install within 60 days
of purchase, so we will just keep our eyes open when we get close to
that point. Note to self, and others: go to HD and Lowe’s ALL THE TIME
and check the websites, because sales are HUGE in terms of savings on
this expensive stuff. At HD, we also saw some faucets like the ones we
purchased from Costco- for twice the price! It’s a good thing I love
shopping and am a good bargain shopper. Jason usually hates shopping…
But he LOVES shopping at HD or Costco, so problem solved ?
Whew, that’s a lot of information! To do this week:
get bids on plumbing, septic, drywall, elec., clear/fill, framing
Hire a surveyor.
Set a meeting date w/ evil wetland people.
Send in state DEP app