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Posted by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 12/8/2018 10:57:41 AM

are all that is left to do on the house.  Trim on the edge of the flooring as it meets the stairwell on three floors, putting on the Bona Traffic sealer on the last two landings, installing low voltage path lighting along the the stone steps from the front of the house up and around to the main entry.  And install connections onto the coax and Cat 5 cables throughout the house. That’s really about it, I think.  An absolutely great feeling to have, and at the same time I see it’ll be a transition to a new life.  

For the past almost six years, Sandra and I having been working on major house projects, first on the Barrel Race, then on Mutton Bustin’ and finally on this, The Last Rodeo with no breaks in between.  Although I formally retired three years ago, I haven’t truly been retired as we have been working 8-12 hours a day, seven days a week for these past six years on the projects.

I certainly beleive in the owner-builder philosophy.  It is a fantastic thing to become, a source of great pride and accomplishment and a source of great monetary savings.  But for those that are on this site and are deciding whether they want to become one, it is important to decide early on just how much you wish to take on.  Do you want to be a GC only?, do you want to save more by doing more of the project yourself?  The decision should not be taken lightly.  The time you have, the skillset you have, the tenacity you have to work on a project until its completion all should be considered.

Our original plan was to start this project back in 2012, while I was still working.  I traveled 5 days a week, but figured working the weekends, we could get this started and moving.  In some ways it was fortunate that the other two projects intervened.  They were small enough that I could get them done working on weekends.  We ultimately found out this project was not and being retired when we started it was a key to getting it finished in the 2 1/2 years it has taken unless we wanted to be GCs only.  It was a huge project.

I consider myself to have a pretty good skillset, but we did have to use subs for the shell inside and out, as we had neither the time, nor the equipment to do it.  My original idea to run the ICFs myself quickly dropped off as I saw the scope of the project when the hole was excavated. It would have taken months for me to run a single floor and I had three floors of ICF.  Again, I hired out the exterior framing.  I know how to frame and I could have set the floor trusses roof trusses and subfloor, but setting the roof beams and trusses, especially when there was a 50 ft drop on one side and I’m in my 60’s was simply too much.  A crew was needed.  Let them do it all.   And sheetrock, unless it is maybe a single, small room - I don't ever consider doing it.  I’ve done plenty of the past 50 years, but gave up on all but the smallest jobs.  It is simply too time consuming when you are building an entire house.  Your time is better spent elsewhere. Plumbing electrical mechanical, flooring painting (painting it the easiest trade in my opinion and can save a bundle). 

The bottom line is, be honest with yourself.  We want to do it all, but know what time you can truly devote, know what skills you have.  Know that your spouse needs to be involved or she will feel neglected. Know that there are times when it feels to both of you, but especially to her, that you have no other life.  Those are the times to go back through the pictures to see just how far you have come.  Know that it can be an all-consuming job, the extent of which depends upon how much you choose to do yourself.  But even as just a GC, you need to stay on top of it.  Lining up the next subs, making sure they are ready to go, staying on top of the current ones to make sure they are progressing and doing it to plan.  You  have to be involved the entire way.

In doing so,the pain that you both will go through will be replaced with something that will last for years, that will be a source of pride and accomplishment and will shelter you for the future years.

Anyone who is on this site has started the process, a testament that you have a desire to take on a task.  It os only a decision now just how much or little you wish to take on.  That is up to you. Good luck!

Posted by Amanda in Mesa, AZ on 12/31/2018

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Well said Larry! Your home is looking awesome, I hope you are getting to enjoy it :)

There are some days I wish I lived in a condo/townhouse, but most of the days I feel proud of our accomplishments (but realize we still have lots to do!)
Posted by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 1/2/2019

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Thanks much! And yours is as well! It looks like you are totally finished. You hadn’t posted since early summer, so I was wondering how all it all was going.

We have been enjoying it immensely. Skiing right out the back door is ao nice.  No trip down the mountain and a shuttle to the lift.  Had a big group of family in for the holidays and was actually very comfortable.  The lower level for them gave everyone plenty of room.  Our first rental is early February and while we still don’t have the glass wall, we do have it on order and have a workaround for the rentals until the wall is in.


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