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Posted by Cheryl in Ft. Collins, CO on 9/25/2009

Build a simple garage/carriage house with a small apartment above first (so I have a place to live) store my household goods, then get through the learning curve before I build my main house. The garage will be built using a modified slip-form technique for exterior walls, which would best be described as steel-reinforced concrete with a rock face. Light-gauge steel for joists, trusses and inner walls. 

Will do the well, plans, driveway, septic and garage on a pay-as-I-go budget so it will be tight, as I blew my saving on the land (really happy with the land though). I still have one more year to save big. I will sub out only what I really can't do myself. I will build with sustainable "green" choices where possible and keep things as simple and efficient as possible. Nothing fancy, but will still be very comfortable and will function very nicely as a guest house.

I have the basic design of the house and garage done, and have laid the site plan out using Google Earth sketch in order to provide info to my prospective draftsman/design engineer. I am only asking for a quote on the garage and the site plan. I got two contacts from ServiceMagic Pro for a draftsman/designer pro in my local area (CO) and they provide free quotes. One sounds extremely promising and has put quite a bit of effort in already, asking me pointed questions and even made a trip to the site. He has a structural engineer that he uses and can get the plan stamped. The other guy I am not even going to consider, as he is listed as having been in the business since 2009 and I don't want to be his first project. I would like to get at least one other quote though before I make my final decision. I have sent private messages to two contacts on this site asking for referrals.  

The slipform information I have is from a book I ordered on slip-form construction called Living Homes: Integrated Design & Construction" by Thomas J. Elpel.

Read this if you want to know more about the slip-form technique I like best: (I thought it was quite entertaining)

Please feel free to comment on smarter, more efficient, less expensive, environmentally friendly design and material to help me through this process, which I am really enjoying.


House site standing just to the west and looking to the east. There is a good 150' between boulders and that is where I want to build.

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