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Posted by Andrew in Penetanguishene, ON on 7/27/2008 8:46:55 PM

   Well, it would seem that I have a lot in common with William Shakespeare, neither of us have written much lately.

    I should take a step back and start from the beginning. My wife, Rita and I began the search about ten years ago for a place to retire eventually and to build our own home. We were looking for a place near the water, but not necessarily on the water. We have a sailboat and being near a marina was a priority. We wanted to be in a quieter area, away from any large cities, but we also didn't want to be too far away from most amenities, so it took some time.

   We eventually found what we were looking for and purchased a two acre lot in a "country residential" subdivision close to the small town of Penetanguishene, Ont. It was a serviced lot with a paved road, streetlights, and underground services (gas, hydro, phone, and cable). Everything else was up to us.

   Like most, we had started a file of all the things we wanted in a new home. So the decision to hire an architect was made a couple of years ago to bring the ideas together. The plans, like most home building projects took a little longer than we expected but we were happy with the final result

    The home is going to be a single story craftsman style house with a walk out basement on a sloping lot. It will have a two and a half-car garage with an attached workshop, (my dream) and a loft sewing room, (Rita's' dream). There will be a small in-law suite in the walkout area of the basement. Total area of the home will be in the neighborhood of 2,300 sq. ft. with an additional 2,100 sq. ft of usable area in the basement.

    We were late getting started this spring mostly due to a contractor who was dragging his heels when it came to giving us an estimate for his portion of the work. We are going with an ICF construction for all of the foundation and above ground walls, He was one of the few builders in this area who does ICF. When we finally pinned him down to a price, it was almost double what he had given us as an initial ballpark figure! Time to move on;  I'm glad we stuck to our principles and refused to allow any work to commence until we had final figures in writing.

   We reassessed the project and decided to break it down into smaller pieces and do all of the subcontracting ourselves rather than allow a builder to give us an "envelope" as was the original plan.

    Once the architect and the structural engineer had signed off on the plans, the Township's approval was almost immediate (I think they like to see the liability spread around) all those stamps on the drawings gave them a warm fuzzy feeling). Sometimes it pays to go the path of least resistance.

   To end this journal on a positive note, we now have a hole in the ground, and I've spent the last couple of days in it with the footings guy that we hired, building the forming for the concrete footings. We hope to be pouring concrete in the middle of this coming week.

   I'll keep you posted,




The beginning of a really big hole in the ground.
Forming for the footings begins.

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