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Posted to Homestead by Mike & Carolyn in Smithville, MO on 9/8/2010

We have spent a year in the guest house. Two adults and two children plus all their stuff in 850 sq ft. It hasn't been as bad as we thought it would be. The space is livable. The only issue we are encountering is that we have too much clothing. We switch out between winter and summer clothing, but still overflow the closet space. We've come to the conclusion that we need to thin things out and there will be a garage sale.

We sold our old house in February. We miss the space and the neighborhood, but not the house. We are enjoying the low utility bills that are coming with the new place. Energy-efficient windows, lap siding (with 5/8" underlayment), and foam insulation. We are all electric and have a ton of lights... inside and out. Our monthly bill is under $100. This link has pictures of  the house we sold.

We have been working on finalizing the plan for the house, but I am stuck. I cannot decide if I want the second-floor bonus room to be a loft overlooking the family room or a room that is farther away from the family room and would be able to be closed off. Only one of the items to get finalized. We are also finding that even with the low, low interest rates, there are loan issues. Local lenders do not want to do a construction loan unless I hire a builder. We are still looking and saving; working on paying at least 50% cash in hopes it will change the position of the lenders. We hope to get things going soon.

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Posted to Homestead by Mike & Carolyn in Smithville, MO on 6/12/2009

We passed the occupancy the second time, but didn't spend the first night here until June 1st. We're still moving, and tossing stuff from the old house so I can get it ready to sell. We’re planning a ‘we moved’ bonfire for friends and family to come by and see the new, much smaller, place. And to get rid of that last pit of construction debris.

The dogs are enjoying the space. They've learned not to mess with the big boys. The horses in the pasture next door have chased them around a few times. They have not discovered the three to the east, or have not shown interest if they know they are there. They have a much better fence and I’m not sure that the dogs would make it in. And if they did, I’m certain they wouldn’t make it out as quickly when the horse is chasing them down. We will be adding a fence after the old house sells. They discovered the cows across the street this week too. Have not barked at them much, just looked at them funny. Plus, they found a super-sized snapping turtle to play with. Just like a female, Ashes couldn’t leave it alone… until it made her yelp.

We're still unpacking and working on the things-to-do list. The next thing we must get done is the storage cabinets for the bathroom. We are getting by, but girls have 'stuff' and we have a houseful of girls... who need a place for their stuff!

Pictures WILL be taken and posted. With all there is to do, it’s pretty far down the list. But they are coming… I also need to locate a good, and reasonably priced, satellite internet provider. Tried the wireless thing, but hate the speed, or lack thereof. Need to get satellite TV too. And… and… and…

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Posted to Homestead by Mike & Carolyn in Smithville, MO on 4/25/2009

Two months with no entry. I'd like to say it's because we've been so busy working on the house. I can say that work is part of the story. I have been busy working, I accepted what I call a part-time job, maybe temporary would be a better word than part time, because it's full-time plus hours. I started February 1st, and it only runs through the middle of June. Just a few more weeks and it will be over, can’t wait. It’s for that division of the Treasury that no one likes come mid-April. I can report that it’s interesting. It’s been hard, given that I still have my real job (that only has part-time hours required) as a Realtor. It’s picking up, but as many of you know, real estate is not too profitable these days.

The job has taken me away from the daily, well, weekly changes (they have not been daily changes for some time now), but there are changes. The list is getting shorter and we had our occupancy walk-thru. We didn't pass… but we had it! And there are only two things that needed fixed. We fixed them both and have the second try on Tuesday.

We will have the occupancy by Tuesday afternoon and can start moving in on Wednesday... and a quick check of the national weather forecast shows... 6 days of rain. I'm not surprised. I've accepted that sometimes that's just the way it goes. It can’t rain forever... can it!?

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Posted to Homestead by Mike & Carolyn in Smithville, MO on 2/21/2009 1:08:14 PM

I feel like we have to write something down or nothing will be accomplished.  Still slow going but we have crossed off a few more items on the list. 

AND there was another auction today!  I only stopped by to look... Tons of things I wanted, just sticking to the budget (I didn't even register for a number... I'm telling ya, that a hard thing for me!).  I had to be at work at noon so I left a list with my brother with items and bid limits.  Sinks and faucets all went for more than I wanted. My brother picked up 750 sq ft of 3/4 inch prefinished cherry flooring at $2.25 a sq ft.  He has several rental properties and just closed on a new one that he's fixing up... it will have great looking floors!  One missed item was a pallet of car siding... I need this for the main house for the underside of all the covered decks.  They had 5,040 LF... about 420 sq ft in cedar. Selling it all as on lot so that knocked several of the bidders out right away.  It went for $1.70 a sq ft... just under $800 by the time you add in the auction up charge.  A GREAT Deal considering it runs 60 cents a linear foot from the millwork and lumber companies.  Hopefully they will have it again.  Still waiting to see about some tile, it's nothing I can't live without.

This week Mike got the sound system installed and the ladder to the loft.  He also cut all the quarter round but the baby had issues with the nail gun so he couldn't get it nailed in.  The missing doors and cabinets finally came in so we'll get them in next week.  Well, that’s the plan anyway.


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Posted to Homestead by Mike & Carolyn in Smithville, MO on 2/17/2009 1:08:52 AM

Finally... the floors are finished and we have pictures to prove it. Last weeks progress did not get all the way through the shortened list but the doors have all been re-hung and door handles installed. This week the quarter round will be installed and possibly the cabinet toe kicks.  I think the only items that are holding up the occupancy are the address to be installed and the rain barrels.  Mike's set his mind firm that we are NOT moving in until everything is complete... not started -- but COMPLETE.


Entryway with cabinets, bench, and coat hooks.
Corner of living room.
View toward kitchen 'area.'
Dark... but not as dark as all the pictures appear.
Side Stairs.
Bathroom vanity and sink.
Drive with stamped patio and retaining walls.
Another view of the drive.

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Posted to Homestead by Mike & Carolyn in Smithville, MO on 2/7/2009 1:33:02 PM

Wow, a month without an entry.  You might think we have been so busy finishing up the details that we have not had time to journal... you'd be wrong.  Mike has been working on the floors, which are finally complete. He just finished the final coat of sealant this week.  The toilet is in and the grinder pump is working. Oh the joys of indoor plumbing. 

We also had the exterior retaining walls completed.  Which look fantastic but ended up costing more than we anticipated.  And we found someone to build the ladder to the loft.  Hope to have it installed within a week.

We are still paying cash for everything as we go along, but I have to be honest, the money ran out long ago.  About the time our progress slowed down to a snail's pace. I took a night job with the government to fund the final details. The list is below and I'm certain there are things we've forgotten.

Next Wednesday and Thursday should be productive. The plan is to:
- get all the doors re-hung upstairs
- Install the furnace room door downstairs
- Install the toe kicks under the kitchen and hall cabinets
- Install the quarter round
- Install the closet organizers

I've also been working on the possibility of purchasing our neighbors house and land.  He has had it on the market for a long time and recently reduced it drastically.  I would like to split off the back part of the land and then resell the house, but I've come to the realization that it probably won’t happen right now.  The timing is just not right. We still have our house that we are currently living in to sell.  Besides, we have a tough time keeping up with the 12 acres we have... tossing more on top may just be the straw that breaks our backs! If it’s still available after we get our house sold and some money freed up than we’ll look at it again. Otherwise… we’re good with what we GOT!

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Posted to Homestead by Mike & Carolyn in Smithville, MO on 1/8/2009

Yes, I've been neglecting you and I'm sorry. It's been over a month since I've written an update. It's not that there is nothing to share; we have actually been making progress. There have simply been some other things going on that took time, energy and emotions. There was simply nothing left and thus... no updates.

We are almost complete. Yes, I've said this before, but we are closer this time. On the ever-growing list of things left to do, we completed the following:
- Kitchen cabinet doors are hung (level with no gaps between them)
- Hallway cabinet doors are hung (level with no gaps between them)
- Cabinet knobs are installed on all kitchen and hallway cabinets
- Floors are sanded and stained
- Some of the doorknobs are installed
- Screens are installed 
- Rock retaining walls are completed
- Drive and walkway are completed
- Some of the yard around the house is graded
- I'll have to check the list to see if anything else can be marked off....

Next we need to
1. Apply the finish coats to the hardwoods
2. Install the toilet!
3. Rehang the doors
4. Install the remaining doorknobs
5. Hang a mirror in the bathroom
6. Get a ladder for access to the loft... this loft access is a pain!

And pictures will come as time allows.

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Posted to Homestead by Mike & Carolyn in Smithville, MO on 1/8/2009

What's left? 

  1. Still need to finish the cabinet installation.  Kitchen cabinets need the drawer fronts installed but we need to decide on pulls first (don't's the way they are made). Hall needs final cabinets installed and doors put on. It's about 1/2 way done.  Done
  2. Wood floors need plugs completed, sanded, stained and several coats of sealant applied. Done
  3. Interior Doors to the rooms need to be re-hung after floors are finished
  4. Closet systems need to be installed... I guess just in our room since the kids seem to just toss their stuff on the floor, why spend the money on an organized closet
  5. Kitchen range needs to be brought up from basement and installed in kitchen.  Done
  6. House numbers need to be installed (can't get an occupancy here without them)
  7. Refrigerator needed
  8. Garage needs to be cleaned out
  9. Door to furnace room needs to be installed
  10. Storm door needs to be installed
  11. Seal some drafts I found around the base of the front door (I hate drafts!)
  12. Garage Door Opener... need them, not sure if they will make it this year
  13. Basement door needs wood overlay installed, another thing that wont get done until spring
  14. Additional rock wall work - talked to the guy today (11/7) to get on his list. Not sure when they will be done. He'll just show up when he gets to me.  Done
  15. Bathroom storage cabinets….still have not worked on this... Build Boxes for Bathroom storage cabinets
  16. Order doors for missing kitchen, hall and bathroom cabinets.   Done
  17. Install missing cabinets and doors
  18. Bathroom Mirror... keep forgetting this.
  19. Darn ladder to the loft!  -- Being made now!!!!
  20. Alarm system Done
  21. Sound system
  22. Landscaping… not till next year
  23. Toe kicks under kitchen and hall cabinets
  24. Quarter round… everywhere
  25. Complete retaining wall. Done
  26. Rain Barrels

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Posted to Homestead by Mike & Carolyn in Smithville, MO on 11/29/2008 1:03:53 PM

I received a written offer on the new place (about a week ago).  I said I would look at any offer but honestly didn't think we would get one.  If it was 'big enough' I guess I would sell and move on to another project.  It is nice to have options.

The offer was for $325,000.  I said we would think about it and get back to them but there truly wasn't much thinking to do. $325K is not big enough.  The land is worth $180,000 to $210,000 and then you have the guest house already built and the large barn (with silo... for anyone that needs a silo.)  Plus we are zoned agricultural, which makes our taxes next to nothing, $32 this year... something hard to find and have all the modern conveniences such a sewer, gas, cable TV and only 10 minutes to Target.

No, we didn't pay that much for the land... but it doesn't matter what we paid.  It matters what it's worth. I get the benefit of being in the right place at the right time to get a good deal... not the guy buying it from me.  I'm estimating that the total value after the main house is built to be around $850K which will give us $300K in equity, not the $60K being offered now.  I can wait a few years for $300,000.

Friends of ours think we're crazy.  They said take the money and run. Who knows if our current home will sell?  Which is true, it may take a while for it to sell but it will. And NO we don't have it on the market yet... there is no way I can live in a house and have it 'show ready' every day. Not with kids and dogs.  The house is on 1/2 acre in the city surrounded by acres of trees (7 on one side and 23 behind).  Deer and turkey in the back yard.  It will sell. Good schools, great community and close to everything.  Besides… if it doesn’t sell I can rent it for the income for a year and still come out ahead. 

All we have to do now is get the floors done so we can get our occupancy permit and get moved in! At the pace we’re going I figure we might be ready for the spring real estate market.

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Posted to Homestead by Mike & Carolyn in Smithville, MO on 11/14/2008 2:15:01 PM

Our neighbor to the west on 6.5 acres just sold their home and moved to Florida.  It sold for $289,625, which I have mixed feeling about.  Yes, it's a horrible real estate market right now and they needed/wanted to sell so they did it after attempting to sell for $350,000 with no success. It's a smaller, older home and if it wasn't on land would probably only sell for about $140K and their land would sell for about 15K per acre. Which leaves 50K for the large barn with concrete floor, heat and plumbing and the pond put in a few years back.

Our neighbor to the east just bought his 8 acres a little over two years ago and built a nice new home. Which he too has been trying to sell for the past 6 months or so.  He started just under $500K and is now at $485K. (which is still... just under $500K)  He bought the land about three months before we did for $139K. He is also the son of one of the area's larger builders and works for the building company and is a Realtor -- meaning he saved on the construction of the home and will save on the commission when selling.

The neighbor to the east called last night to say that he has someone interested in buying his home but they want to buy our place too..."Are we interested in selling?" 

We're not even done building yet!  Never thought about selling it. I told him that we plan on building another home on the property since all we have there now is our garage (guest house).  He said he wondered about that since it was so small and off to the side. We talked about it and left it that we would look at any offer they wanted to make... and they should make a serious offer with a seriously large price.

We haven’t heard anything back.

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Posted to Homestead by Mike & Carolyn in Smithville, MO on 11/7/2008 3:29:23 PM

The electrician finished up... almost. He still has to come back to hook up the hot water tank and fix one light that we needed a slope kit for.  Just in time to, the temperature dipped into the 30's and will be staying cold for a while.

Plumber was working today (Friday 11/7) and should have everything in.  It's the small things in life I'm beginning to appreciate... like the joy of indoor plumbing!

What's left? 

  1. Still need to finish the cabinet installation.  Kitchen cabinets need the drawer fronts installed but we need to decide on pulls first (don't ask... it's the way they are made). Hall needs final cabinets installed and doors put on. It's about 1/2 way done.
  2.  Wood floors need plugs completed, sanded, stained and several coats of sealant applied.
  3.  Interior Doors to the rooms need to be re-hung after floors are finished
  4.  Closet systems need to be installed... I guess just in our room since the kids seem to just toss their stuff on the floor, why spend the money on an organized closet
  5. Kitchen range needs to be brought up from basement and installed in kitchen.
  6. House numbers need to be installed (cant get an occupancy here without them)
  7.  Refrigerator needed
  8.  Garage needs to be cleaned out
  9.  Door to furnace room needs to be installed
  10. Storm door needs to be installed
  11. Seal some drafts I found around the base of the front door
    (I hate drafts!)
  12. Garage Door Opener... need them, not sure if they will make it this year
  13. Basement door needs wood overlay installed, another thing that wont get done until spring
  14.  Additional rock wall work - talked to the guy today (11/7) to get on his list. Not sure when they will be done. He'll just show up when he gets to me.
  15.  Bathroom storage cabinets….still have not worked on this...
  16. Bathroom Mirror... keep forgetting this.
  17.  Darn ladder to the loft!
  18.  Alarm system
  19.  Sound system
  20. Landscaping… not till next year

I thought the list was a lot shorter than that…

and I’m probably forgetting 10 or 20 things… ugh!

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Posted to Homestead by Mike & Carolyn in Smithville, MO on 11/7/2008 3:17:23 PM

It's a small thing but something I think is important and anyone building their own home should remember to do. 

On the lighting... remember to specify which switch you want to do what.  Not just where it's located but if you have multiple light switches SPECIFY in what order you want them in the pack.  (two packs, three pack, four packs etc...)

One may think that it is common sense and the switch closest to a fixture would be for that fixture but what makes sense to you probably doesn’t mean squat to the electrician... they're not living there and flipping the switches daily.  Some really don't care and will do what is easiest for them if you don't tell them otherwise.

Think about...write it down and put it on the boxes because your probably not going to be there when the switches go in, or you'll be distracted by something else and will not want to mess with it. 

We also added a second switch to the kids loft area. There is a switch in the loft but it is only accessible by ladder and figured that this would be a light they left on frequently so instead of use hauling it up the ladder we can turn the light off from the main floor.

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Posted to Homestead by Mike & Carolyn in Smithville, MO on 11/1/2008 7:04:53 PM



Newly installed countertop
Painting done
Bathroom with paint and lights
Emmry's room with paint and lights... yes, that's the right color.
Part of the kitchen with some cabinets and lights
Entry hall before cabinets installed
Summer in the loft entry... Summer picked blue for her room (ladder is still being made)
Living room light/fan
The Twins... we call them dumb and dumber but that's not their real names

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Posted to Homestead by Mike & Carolyn in Smithville, MO on 11/1/2008 1:34:09 PM

Have not been keeping up as we check the items off the list. The place is shaping up and starting to look livable. We had a busy week with the following being completed:

  • Painting Complete - the painter is done.  I'm not saying that there won’t be some additional painting required.  Specifically on areas we manage to mess up, but we will be doing it as the work hired by the painter is done. It ended up costing $100 more than the bid for extra paint. I had three colors with two of them requiring additional coats. Final total for painting was $1,500 (and that included him purchasing the paint... and no I don't consider it something we could have done and saved the money on.  By the time we bought the paint and caulk, then rented the sprayer and did the work we would have spent at least $500-$700 -- it's worth the money.  Besides, we would still be caulking and not gotten to the painting part yet.)

  • Kitchen Cabinets Installed- All but two and I don't know if I ordered the wrong size, the larger trim caused a change or what but we are two short and have not decided what to do about it yet. Honestly have not had time to think about it yet with all that happened this week.  We are still working on installing the doors and the cabinets in the entry storage area... have not purchased the pulls/knobs yet. 
  • Kitchen Countertop is in - Granite and under mount sink was installed on Halloween.  Looks great! Total for installation was $600.
  • Electrical almost done - Electrician was able to come a day early and lite up the house.  All the interior fixtures we had there are hung. Still need the one for above the dining table and the sconces in the loft hung. Most of the interior plugs are in and two of the exterior fixtures are hung.  They are coming back to finish up next week. And to work out the bugs with a few items that are not working.

What's Next...

  • We hope to have all the cabinets in and doors hung this week.
  • Plumber is supposed to drop the water heater by this week.
  • All electrical should be completed by the end of the week.
  • Alarm and sound system in
  • Floors - we need to finish up with the plugs, filling gaps and cracks, sanding, staining and sealing.
  • Final Plumbing -- Once we have at least one coat of sealant on the floors the plumber will install the final plumbing fixtures.
  • And a TON of final items... door knobs, cabinet pulls, address hung, pantry shelf braces installed, stove carried up from garage, refrigerator purchased, trash hauled off and everything cleaned!

Pictures to come... really, I have tons, just have to get them posted.


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Posted to Homestead by Mike & Carolyn in Smithville, MO on 10/18/2008 12:44:32 PM

Been away for a while and I wish it was because I was busy on the house...but it's not.  Instead I came down with the crud. Usually it's the kids that get sick but this time it was me and it knocked me down.  Mike managed to get some stuff done before he too got sick... he finally couldn't take it (got an ear infection and the pain finally drove him to the doctor).

The trim is complete (hired that out) door and trim materials bill was $1,375.  Trim installation bill was $695.  They did a great job -- only had 9 doors to install, used 5" base in the common areas and smaller base in the loft and closets. We used 3 1/2" in casing on doors and around the windows (8 windows plus the opening to the loft and loft storage closet). And decided on 16" shelves in the pantry, 6 of them wrapped along the walls for tons of storage.

One thing I think everyone overlooks is laying out the pantry.  Decide ahead of time how deep you want your shelves and how many of them. And don’t forget to consider what you use the pantry for when deciding on the spacing between shelves.  It would bug the heck out of me if the stuff wont fit on the shelve or if I have a ton of wasted space between the shelves... think about it, do it right the first time.

All 26 cabinets are together and ready for installation, they came as knock down 'do-it-yourself' cabinets. Mike got them together in two days.  Doors still need to be installed but will wait until cabinets are installed before adding more weight to them.  They are maple cabinets... not exactly what I wanted but we got the cabinets for the kitchen, entry hall storage and storage above the computer desk for $700 so I couldn't pass them up.  And if they bug me too much I could have the doors darkened.

We are now waiting on painting to be completed.  Then the cabinets will go in and electrical will be completed. Asked the plumber for a final estimate so we know how much to expect but have not heard back.  Won’t be long if we don't run out of money... which is a real possibility.

To Do
1. Finish Interior Paint
2. Install Cabinets (including doors)
3. Install Bathroom Cabinets (there are two that wont make it in before we complete the home)
4. Install Closet Shelving
5. Final Electrical
6. Stain and Seal Hardwoods
7. Install Granite Countertops
8. Final Plumbing
9. Finish sound system installation
10. Finish Alarm Installation
11. Purchase and install ladder to loft
12. Landscape (this wont happen until Spring)
13. Install rain Barrels (wont happen until Spring)

Will work on getting some pictures up.

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Posted to Homestead by Mike & Carolyn in Smithville, MO on 9/26/2008 2:24:46 PM

We finally got the drive in front of the house and the walkway to the front door in.  Excited to see it completed, not to thrilled for the bill to arrive. We ended up pouring 65 feet for the cars in front of the lower level garage doors.  This takes it 1/2 way up a small hill and helps to control the water, which always ended up in front of the garage doors.  There is a stamped circular patio and walkway that still needs to be stained, which I was promised will be done before the bill arrives.  Pictures to come.

Trim goes in tomorrow, Saturday 9/27! Painting next week!

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Posted to Homestead by Mike & Carolyn in Smithville, MO on 9/20/2008 8:52:48 PM

Mike finished up the hard wood installation tonight.  We had enough to do the loft and about 15 boards left over.  That includes the bad boards that we were only going to use is we had too.  We spent another $117 on supplies which I think takes us to around $1,100. I will have to add it up. 

Over the next week the trim will be completed and we will be filling and cracks and knot holes plus adding the peg and screw details to the ends. Painter is already lined up to be in after the trim and we have the cabinets, which are pre-finished, so we will install them after paint is complete. 

We also had the gutters installed and work got underway on the driveway and sidewalk.  Driveway should be complete by end of day Monday.  Gutters wont technically be complete until we pick up the rain barrels and since the granite countertops are on the trailer I'm not sure when that will be.  I still need to get the bathroom linen closet and storage cabinets made... running low on funds and they may end up being added later or being an off the shelf item.  We've been so busy with the floors that I haven’t even gotten estimates.  Maybe next week.


Living Room - looking down from loft
Kitchen - Looking down from loft
Loft...finished now - taken with just a few rows of flooring left
Bedroom and Glue Station
Another view of kitchen and living room
Stamped circular part of drive
View of start of drive from above
Frames for front step and walk
Front Walk and what will be a planting bed
Gutters and Air Conditioner...Gutter color matches perfectly!
And for Friends/Family…Summer had her first Gymnastics meet today, She took second in two events (yes there were more than 2 competitors... there were 4) and 4th in two. She got home and said, "What do I have to do to get first place? Tell me, I'll do it! I want the trophy!"

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Posted to Homestead by Mike & Carolyn in Smithville, MO on 9/17/2008 1:15:15 PM

Granite bought at auction for $900, 6 pieces plus back splash Sinkhole pre cut and finished. 2 pieces have bull nosed fronts and sides, two are corner pieces with bull nose in corner for easy connection, and two have bull nose front unfinished sides. - Estimate for installation is $300. Frames used to transport cost me $50 to build...some people were simply strapping them to the side of their trucks but I didn’t want o risk it.


Transporting the Granite with frames I built
Bought at auction and they didn't have names but I think it is Green Galaxy
Hardwood installation - we have all but the 2nd bedroom, bath and loft completed to date
Start of hardwood installation - End of day one under Hardwood hassles post

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Posted to Homestead by Mike & Carolyn in Smithville, MO on 9/16/2008 2:49:04 PM

What a fun day!  We have in the past gone to a building supply auction that comes to the area once a year.  The location they used has not been available so they have not been coming for the past few years but They’re Back!  They started again last spring but I was working and it's honestly best if I stay away from the auction. 

They had a small auction on Saturday, about 1/3 of the size they typically sell over the normal two day event.  It's all building supplies ranging from door hardware, windows, siding, sinks, kitchen cabinets and flooring.

It was raining so the turnout was low too.  I could not believe the deals.  I was tempted to buy more than I did but remembered moving the tile last time...we got 18" filled travertine for 25 cents a sq foot. Down side is that you have the buy the quantities they are selling.  So we used the 400 sq ft in our kitchen and bath rooms plus for the kitchen, bathrooms and fireplace of a rental we had.  At that price it was a steal.  This year it went for 50 cents a foot.  I left the building to deal with the baby when they were selling most of the flooring but saw ceramic tile sell for 50 cents a sq ft and some of the wood (3/4 inch solid pre finish) sell between one and two dollars a sq ft...Which was why it was so hard to NOT BUY IT.  teak flooring....that would look fabulous on the ceiling of my covered porches...$1.80 a sq problem is that my porches are not built yet.  There were some things that they would not go any lower on and did not the 4x4 tumbled marble tiles.  They looked great.

Other deals for the day included shower units with multiple jets, steam and radio (I thought they looked like space ships) but they went between $800 and $3000, Kitchen Cabinets...I was so tempted $2000 was the low with one not selling and $4500 was the highest (29 cabinet kitchen) all very nice with self closing drawers. And the granite countertops....for 4 countertops plus two corner pieces and backsplashes went between $900 and 1650. Glass vessel sinks sold for under $50 each, decorative vanities with tops, sink and faucets went for under $500 each with most being around $250. It was a great place to pick up faucets for $25 to $50. One piece toilets $100 to $140 and outside materials such as lap siding, trex decking and some fencing were a steal.  I didn't listen to it all but the trex went for $6 each and were 16' long. 

I picked up some glass tiles for the backspaces and batch rooms for $2.50 a sq ft and could select in 50 sf ft increments. Two stone sinks for $100 and one that I need to resale.  It’s a sink carved in a granite rock, outside is natural and inside is polished.  It was in a lot and is super heavy, just not what we need. Craig list here it comes. We got a few faucets, a garbage disposer ($45 for 1/2 horse power) a glass vessel sink, Anderson Storm Door for $80, and granite countertops for $900. I only need about 1/2 of the granite so I'll sell the remaining pieces.

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Posted to Homestead by Mike & Carolyn in Smithville, MO on 9/16/2008 1:44:59 PM

We have been working on the floors as we can at night. We now have the master bedroom complete plus the living room and kitchen.  Rooms remaining are the bathroom, 2nd bedroom and loft.  We are doing the loft last because were not certain well have enough wood.  If not, it will be vinyl.  It's just a place for the kids to play and is only accessible by ladder so not many people taller than 5' will be up there.

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Posted to Homestead by Mike & Carolyn in Smithville, MO on 9/12/2008 1:32:48 PM

Hardwood needs to be in before trim so we’ve working franticly working away. I was going to have it installed (we already have the wood) but most of the companies will only install their own product…something about their warranty. The bids I did get where high. And only had installed our type of wood before and knew what he was talking about.  His bid….$3,825…figures to $4.50 per foot for installation, stain and seal.  Not horrible but more than we budgeted. We asked for $3,000 cash but we’re met with a response of “My price is my price.” So off we went to install the floor.


Day One

8:30 – Mike drops one kid at school while I gather everything required for the long day with the baby

9:00 – feed the baby

9:30 – Mike at job site to see what we need

9:30 – I pick up nail gun at rental shop

10:00 – and $137.50 poorer (or gun rental and cleats) we meet at home depot for supplies, Caulk Line (only because we can’t find ours), Paper (to protect floors after installed), Tape, Glue and trowel…yes glue…we are installing wide plank floors (it’s recommended that for any planks over 4 inches to use glue and nails/staples so you don’t get popping or squeaking when walked across and it helps to reduce cupping) Dropped another $80 here

11:00 – back at home for things I forgot

11:30 – back at job site – prepping area

12:00 – Feed the baby

1:00 – back to home improvement store for a new Shop Vac, nails for the nail gun (for boars that require face nailing) and something else that was important at the time but I’ve forgotten about now….down another $95

1:30 – back at the site and ready to work…it’s been 4 hours and we have 3…yes 3 boards in………………….it’s going to be a VERY long day.

4:00 – kid home from school and time to feed the baby – we’ve gotten about 3’ done in the living room and about 2’ done in the entry hall. 

5:15 – off to grab dinner and drop the kiddo at gymnastics.

6:15 – back with dinner for Mike….I’m sick of being in the car and I sick of listing to Hannah Montana, it was actually 10 minutes after I dropped off the 6 year old that I realized I’m still listing to this and the kid is no longer in the car…It’s been a long day.

7:30 – back out to pick the kid up from Gymnastics

8:00 – feed the baby…the poor girl, she actually got used to the pops of the nail gun and the sound of the air compressor and managed to get a nap in.

8:30 – back to see progress Mike has made and clean up.


SO at the end of the day…we managed to get about 3’ into the living room (the largest room) and all but three boards in the entry installed.  The process of having to back butter each board with glue is truly slowing the processes down. And we were working on the part that required the most cuts.   We spent….$37.50 to rent the nail gun and based on what we got done today will need to rent it for about 5 more days….$37.50 x 5 = $187.50 and that’s a guess. We also only have two days a week that we can work on the house all day.  The other days we could only work in the evenings.  If we rent it will take three more weeks to get the floors done.


So we spent the next 4 days looking for a nail gun to buy. Checked the local hardware stores…not much to pick from. Options are manual ones or way too expensive ones. Checked Craig’s List – they have three listed. First one I call, listed for $100…”Sold it Yesterday”, Story of my life. Second one, listed for $180 non negotiable – no response from the seller and the ad was gone the next day, guess they sold it. Third one, listed at $360 (can buy for $425 new…not much of a discount) He decided to keep it.  So we search the city again. Find one, but it can’t be picked up until 10:30.


Day Two

10:30 - Mike runs out to get it, baby in tow, say by-by to another $375

11:00 – I’m off to work

12:00 – Mike stops by my work to leave me the baby and eat lunch before getting to work on the floors.

1:00 – Installation Continues

4:00 – Kid home from school, I’m sure she’s a big help with the installation.

6:15 – I stop by to see how things are going on the floor – Progress has been made, Entry is done and 4 more feet completed in the living room

7:00 – Take the kids home (the home with wash room facilities and food) to get dinner and feed the baby.  Also had to grab another adapter for the lights.

8:00 – back at job site, Mike breaks for dinner and is back to work.

8:20 ish - One more board is installed and the nail gun jams.


Boy is it jammed. He works and works on it but can not figure it out, can see it but knows there is a nail stuck in it.  It’s almost 9pm now and I suggest stopping for the day and taking the gun home to clear the jam.  We get home, I get the kids to bed and Mike works on the gun…oh, there is no manual…not even a parts diagram.  Mike manages to get ‘part’ of the nail out.  Okay, where is the other half?  And the gun still does not work.


2 ½ hours latter I know now how to take apart and reassemble the nail gun.  We had to take the entire gun apart to get to the jam, and it was really jammed. Two nails stuck in the exit path. Sent a note to the manufacturer for a manual and asked that they call for help.  They called the next day to tell us how to get it out…which was to take the gun apart. The nice tool technician said that the gun is under warranty and we can get a new one if we want…not a bad idea. Probably will after were done.


Day Three

8:30 – leave to drop the kiddo at school, Mike leave for the job site

9:15 – at the site, start installing boards

11:00 – Hardware run for more glue, feed the baby and grab some lunch - $96 down, not counting lunch.

4:15 – Kiddo home from school

5:15 – its Thursday so we do the gymnastic running around again. I’m back and forth to the job between 5:15 and 6:30 with food. Mike’s making progress.

7:30 – Nail gun jams!  I think it may be union and has a quitting time. He works on it for a little while and manages to clear the jam.

8:00 – pick up time from gymnastics and I head home to get the kids homework done and off to bed.

9:00 – Mike home, sooner than I thought and I’m hesitant to ask if we still own a nail gun… He said he stopped when he got to the heat registers so he could do the measuring and cutting with more light available.  And we need more glue


We got a lot done today, all but 4 feet of the living room and kitchen, all but about a foot of the master bedroom (including the closet). We work on it again Saturday evening with the goal of finishing the master bedroom and starting in the second bedroom. We’d finish the living room but there is a big stack of wood in the area left and we really don’t want to have to move it twice…it’s getting smaller as we install the other rooms.


Budget wise…or not so wise…We’re in the neighborhood of $785 and will need at least two more pails of glue so we’ll be just over $900 once installation is done. Hope is that trim can be in next week.

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Posted to Homestead by Mike & Carolyn in Smithville, MO on 8/26/2008 2:37:16 PM

I truly believe in good karma.  What I put out there comes back around…I’m convinced.  I've been convinced since I gave my dinner to a cold and hungry man on the corner one December night many years ago. Back then I could have lost a few pounds anyway and he certainly shouldn’t be any thinner.  A few days later the ‘way too expensive’ tool chest I bought for my husband for Christmas ended up being FREE. No kidding, free. (I fed him a few more time after that just for good measure!)  Now just a few days after I rescue a rather large and very hungry animal (some sort of prairie dog looking thing) that was trapped in an egress window well at one of the new homes I’m trying to sell, I get an excellent deal on painting! Not free, but a good deal nonetheless. The couple I was showing the house to told me to just leave the thing in there to die. Not thinking twice about it I said, “ I can’t do that, it’s not good karma.”


Now that the drywall is done we are working on getting painting lined up. (As well as finishing up the trim order, getting the hardwood floor installation bids, juggling gutter bid issues, working on the concrete layout and price and a few other items) We painted the exterior ourselves, well…most of it.  There is still a small part of trim that needs to be finished and the plan is to have it on THIS Thursday.  The plan was to paint the interior to save money. The only part that worried me was the enameled trim.  Mistakes really show up in it and I’d like it done right.


I stopped by a few new house sites to recruit painters on the side. I was very surprised with one crew.  They stayed loyal to their employer and would not take a side job. They simply gave me their boss’s number and said they only work through him. I’m guessing they have been tested before and it didn’t turn out well. So I called the boss.


Boss Painter drove out for the estimate. Since I am only getting estimates to feel better about how much we will be saving doing the work ourselves I ask for the prices over the phone telling them they don’t have to drive out. I truly felt awful when after he said he was close and wanted to see it then got lost twice, spending 30 extra minutes searching for it. First calling to say, “Now what street was I suppose to turn left on?” Then a second call with, “I’ve driven up and down 108th street 10 times and can’t find your address.” that’s because it on 138th street.


After he got there and looked around he called back with the figures. What follows is the conversation, one of the strangest I’ve had with a sub.

Painter - “Well I’m here and looked around.  Looks like a pretty simple job. I measured everything out and I can do it for $3.50 per square foot (floor plan footage). That includes everything being caulked and primed, ceiling painted, color coat on walls and enamel on doors and trim plus clean up.”

Me –      “Okay, what does that figure out to as a total?”

Painter – “Well, we really don’t want to turn anything down right now.  Tell you what, I’ll do it for $3.25 a foot, now $3.20 a foot.”

Me –      “Let me get a calculator, I’d like to see what that figure out to as a total.”

Painter – “You know, that will come to about $2,900 but I want to keep busy. I’ll do it for a flat $2,200.”

Me –      “Okay, let me talk to my husband about it and I’ll get back with you. I also need to talk to a friend of mine whose brother is a painter to see if he’s going to want to do it.”


He went from $2,975 to $2,200 in the mater of 3 minutes and I NEVER asked for a discount. He has the best price of everyone I talked to, with prices ranging from $4,800 to $2,350 but it’s still more that I want to pay for painting.  One of the first rules of negotiating is to wait for the other party to respond.  If you’re doing all the talking and dropping than you’re negotiating with yourself. 


A few days went by and he called back to see if we had made a decision.  What a concept a sub that actually follows up!  He does want the business!!! I told him we were still thinking about it, and we were. I was still waiting on a bid from my friend’s brother, which didn’t work out.  He lives about 45 minutes away and with the price of gas he’d have to charge me for it. He at least told me he charges $2.50 per square foot for side business. That would calculate to $2,125. Pretty darn close to where we were at but still a lot higher than the price of paint and free labor to apply it.


While we thought his price was fair we still planed on tackling the painting ourselves, at least the walls and ceiling. I called the Painter Boss back to see what he would charge to just spray the enamel. We had actually planed on doing the primer and ceilings this Thursday, even borrowed the scaffolding of the drywall guy, just have to deliver it to him by Saturday morning.  The painter said he’d have to work up a price and get back with me. A few hours later he called back and the second strangest conversation took place.


Painter – “I’d really like to help you guys out so I talked to my wife about it and can work out a lower price with you. What had you wanted to pay?”

Me, with my chin on the floor…I get to set the price??
“Well…stalling for time…I feel bad even saying it…Stalling for time as I thought of a figure and stared at my husband with wide eyes desperately wanting help on a figure….You were at $2,200 and we just don’t have it right now. All we could really afford, and would pay cash, is around $1,000, possibly $1,200.” (and I should have never said $1,200… I was just so shocked and felt like awful with such a low number.  I knew what everyone was charging.)

Painter – “I think we can get this done. We talked about it and I don’t know why but I want to do this for you. And I can if we can be around $1,400 and I can do it over a few days so I can do it my self and have less overhead in it.”

Me –      “It sounds like we may be able to do this.  I will need to talk to my husband about it but will call you back in the morning.”


I couldn’t believe it.  Something must be going on and he NEEDS the money.  We are getting the entire inside done by a professional painter at $1.60 per foot. Plus he is painting the loft area (only about 150 sq ft and will be all one color) and priming the 36’ x 28’ foot garage. Paint and Supplies would have cost me around $500 plus the cost to rent a sprayer is $100 per day. Now I don’t have to lift a figure other than to write the check. 


I called back to agree to his price…but we would need to schedule the completion date two weeks out so we would have the full amount.  He doesn’t need to know we have the money now and paid $1,600 five years ago to get out living, dining and kitchen painted.

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Posted to Homestead by Mike & Carolyn in Smithville, MO on 8/22/2008 1:13:16 PM

At least I'm having fun with it. I need to get the doors and trim on site so I called around for pricing from several of the local companies.  Again, several companies never called back, something that used to surprise me but I've learned is a norm. And and much as they complain about how slow it is, how much everything cost these day etc, etc, one would think they would not want to pass up any business.

After talking with several to get a feel for prices on doors I went with McCray who offered the lowest prices. Plus they include delivery and will do your take offs for you. But DO NOT rely on their figures, they are the ones selling you the stuff and of coarse they will round up.... way up!

So, I meet the salesman one site, kids in tow. It's fun to meet with them when the kids are there. I think it gives them more of the idea that I shouldn't be taken seriously or that I'm really not paying attention. Both of which are not he case. We met, talk about what I want. I decide on the bigger casing for the doors and windows and the larger base. Smaller base will be used in the kids play area. I would have loved to use the wood doors but at $300+ per door I had to opt for the hollow core painted doors in the Cheyenne style. Said to the salesman before I left "Make the quantities tight, I don't want you to have to do a pickup. And the door to the furnace room should be a flat faced door on the cheaper end".  The salesman said he'd have a trim carpenter he knew give me a call for a quote for installation. His friend called later that day. Said "they talked about what I needed and he could do it for .95 cents a square foot". Good God! He must do really good work! The highest I'd be quoted be for him was .75 cents a foot and the best is .60 cents.

The next day the McCray door/trim quote arrives. A quick scan down the list and I had to laugh. $22 for adhesive...why?  5 rosettes for the railing to the basement at $7.50 each. There's  $37 I can use some place else. 280 feet of base trim... in an 850 square foot space.  What does he think I'm doing with this stuff?  And the door to the furnace room...listed in the same decorative style at the same cost as the other doors...$88 does not equal "cheaper end" to me.

I call him to confirm that I got the fax and played the ‘stupid’ card just for fun.
”Could you walk me through this list so I understand each line item before we order?”  I thanked him and said I’d review it in more detail before ordering. About 30 minutes later I called back to revised the numbers for the trim quantities; I think he picked up that I was paying attention when the order went down by $400 (that’s 20% my ‘small’ order.) I reduced the tall base from 280LF to 175LF, actually increased the small base, letting him know the increase is to cover the closets, panty and laundry closet. (There is no need to put the taller decorative base in those rooms; it's more than twice the price!)  Decreased the number of door shims (we only have 8 doors), increasing the amount of base shoe by 3 times. We have all hardwood floors, a point I guess he missed. Decreased by 1/2 the quality of window trim and casing and knocked off the 'junk' we didn't need. Don’t rely on the fact that ‘they will take it back’ as an excuse to be lazy. Why order it if it’s not needed and risk it disappearing, getting broken or walked on…then they ‘can’t take it back’.

Point's your money and when acting as your own general it's YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to make the orders right.

Oh, and that door that I wanted to be on the cheaper end. The last quote sent went from $88 to $219. I did change it to require a threshold but it's now quoted as a steel door, not what I asked for or need. I'm getting another quote from a different company today and am confident that it will be lower. I’ll give the first guy the opportunity to beat it.

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Posted to Homestead by Mike & Carolyn in Smithville, MO on 8/22/2008 12:10:45 PM

... the drywall is done. And it looks great! If you had not read the posts below, drywall took so long because I was waiting out the sub, trying to get a better price, and saving money to pay for it when we did get it done. We had the insulation completed the first part of January…so it took us 8 months (7 ½) to get to the next step…drywall. The space feels a touch smaller now that the walls are done but still livable. And the main electric line did get finished too. We are one step closer to completion.  Pictures to come.

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Posted to Homestead by Mike & Carolyn in Smithville, MO on 8/14/2008

What a day, first off I was sick. It was either something I ate or possibly the thought of having to dig up that conduit, but either way it delayed us from starting our fun day until about 9:30 am. Next, the infant care we use was full and could not take the baby so she went with us. It's twice as hard to get things done with the kids in tow.

We managed to dig up the conduit and find the spot that we thought was causing the issues. We bought a part the day before at the tune of 48 bucks that would create a better curve so the electric cable could go through. So we're standing there looking at the conduit and I suggest calling the line man to see if there is a better way of doing this. There has to be a better way! The office says that they will call the installer and have him come by. I asked for a call back to give us an estimated time when they would be by. It's about 10:40ish now.

We wait, and wait and wait. Finally at 11 I'm tired of waiting and call back to see what the ETA is.  They say that he can come by at 12 or 1 depending on when we take lunch.  Since I really didn’t want to think about food given my stomach issues I requested ASAP...which would be noon. And honestly I was thinking... how about now.  But he was probably on lunch. So we waited, measured for the door order, waited, recounted all the electric outlets, switches and fixtures to complete the electrical, waited, talked to the dry wall guy working on mudding and tapping, waited, played games on the cell phone and waited some more. Oh and it started raining during this wait... not a ton of rain but water none the less.

KCP&L truck pulled up at 12:20ish and took a look at what we had. Took all of 10 minutes for him to pull out the temporary power, instruct us to dig about another foot closer to the transformer (he's union and not digging) and suggest that we cut out the section with the hard bend and he would replace it with more flex pipe from the back of his truck.  Great idea!  this means we didn't need the $48 part we bought and NO they wont take it back. It only took about 5 minutes to cut out the section and replace it with the flex pipe.  Strange, it took us about 3 hours to do this the first time.

He quickly ran the line...BUT it got stuck in the same spot again.  We waited to fill the dirt back in. I wasn't about to have to dig this out again. We could see the pipe move where it was hitting so we just pulled it over a bit while he pushed on the line and it when through. BUT it got hung up again at the reducer at the house.  He pushed and pushed but it would not come through. We suggested taking the conduit apart at the meter box but he thought he could have another truck come out with a fish line to pull it through. Nice guy, told us he would take care of it that afternoon.  SO we filled the hole in and left. We have not checked back yet to verify that it got connected. We just know that the electric installer was just as fed up with it as we were and wanted to get it done so he didn't have to come back again.  He did mention that he digs trenches and installs conduit on the side (hint, hint).

Next steps -
1.) Complete take offs for trim to order doors/trim (Mon 8/18)
2.) Finish drywall ?? should be next week
3.) Install wood floors
4.) Install doors and trim
5.) Install Driveway/walks 
6.) Paint trim
7.) Paint walls
8.) Install cabinets
9.) Finish Electric/Alarm/Sound
10.) Finish plumbing

And I guess the list should include a few other important items like - finish trim painting, install gutters, fix barn roof, fix play set, order pluming fixtures and pick paint colors.

So much to do in so little time.

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Posted to Homestead by Mike & Carolyn in Smithville, MO on 8/13/2008 12:47:39 PM

I called the electric company yesterday to find out what the hold up was on hooking up the main power.  They talked around it but it basically came down to us being lost in the shuffle with the recent buy out of Aquilla by KCP&L.  Well, they 'ran right out' after I called to run the line. Seriously, they did. That same afternoon they were there. But as it goes... they could not run the line.  There seems to be a 'blockage' just a few feet out from the transformer.  SO...we have to dig it up and remove the 'blockage'. And while were doing this we need to call them so the can come out and unlock the transformer so the pull string can come though.

The 'blockage' is buried so we (Mike and I) will be digging up the conduit, some three feet down, and removing the 'blockage', which we know to be the transition from the 2.5-inch conduit the electric company installed and the 3-inch conduit that we installed. There is a hard turn in the pipe where the reducer is and the wire cannot make the bend.... so we get to do it again. And it must be because we did not have enough fun doing it the first time. It was not a fun day, not fun at all! Tomorrow is the only day we have to get it done and with our luck it will rain!

Can't wait!  I get to play in the MUD!
(Pretty sure there will not be any pictures of this fun event but at least we have water now so I can wash some of the mud off)

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Posted to Homestead by Mike & Carolyn in Smithville, MO on 8/12/2008 2:58:19 PM

The HVAC guy finally made it out to move the dryer vent and extra heat duct.  They do a good job but waiting for them is nerve racking.

Mike and I spent way too long framing around the dryer vent so the drywall could be installed. They are scheduled for Wednesday so we had to get it done. So there we were in the heat...98 after 5 pm, kids in tow, working on the framing. Not something we wanted to do.

The kids were fine, for a while.  Then it was too hot for them so I put them in the car with the air on.  That worked for a while.  Then the baby started fussing again. Our older daughter was holding her and could not get out of the car with her so she kept opening and closing the door until we noticed.  When I went to see what was going on I found them freezing.  It had to be in the sixties in there.  The baby was crying and Summer kept saying... it's cold, it's cold.  I asked way she didn’t turn the air off and she said she didn't think she could.  So they went from way too hot, to way too cold. After they warmed up they both fell asleep. And I don't want to think about how much it cost to keep the car running with the air on cost me.

We finished up around 8:30 pm and headed home. Or we thought we were finished.  On the way home I remembered that another wall was needed around the new heat duct to the loft…one more thing to do before Wednesday.  Mike spent Tuesday night getting it done...working in the dark so we won’t hold up drywall installation. Surprised there wasn't any accidents with smashed fingers.  Or smashed drywall team when they didn't show up on Wednesday!

So much for schedules!  Wednesday came and went with the only activity being the dumpster being delivered. Well, not the only activity, Mike did start filling the dumpster with trash left by the framers and roofers.  The drywall crew that was suppose to be there did not show, "tired up finishing another job". Same story on Thursday and Friday.

They did make it on Saturday. By this time the 20 yard dumpster for drywall clean up was filled to overflowing with our trash. Guess they should have showed up on time! They were about 3/4 done on Saturday and there wasn’t much drywall scraps yet. We could not get by on Sunday...had Summer's 6th birthday party. On Monday they were finished hanging. A new dumpster had been delivered (8 yard this time) and we filled it with the scrap and a little bit of wood scrap we had left.

Overall the drywall looked good. There were a few places I pointed out that I wanted done better. Trim better around a window so the wood trim could be installed properly and trim a few spots at the base where there were bumps behind the rock. They said they'd take care of it. Taping should have started today (Tuesday) but I have not been by to check yet. 

We are still waiting on the power to be switched from temporary to permanent.  Been waiting since July 18th. The last I heard from them was when they called to tell me what the billing was going to look like.  they wanted to explain that they were adding Guest to the bill so we new it was from the guest house (we'll have two meters on the property when complete). And you know they want to make certain that the billing is complete. I called to see what was taking so long and was given the run around.  I think that the order got lost when Aquilla was purchased by KCP&L and my construction contact was 'transferred' to a new position. They said that they would get out to us just a fast as they could...whatever that means. I'd prefer a date and time.  The ceilings cannot be sprayed until the final power is in because the compressor will trip the temporary one.

Some things done, and while we wait on others I'm ordering the interior trim and doors.

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Posted to Homestead by Mike & Carolyn in Smithville, MO on 7/29/2008 8:59:14 PM

Here they are... several pictures of inside and out.

  1. East/Garage door Side - Working on getting the drive in.  There will be a circular stamped area in front of the right retaining wall and the walkway to the front will go off the left side. I found a new concrete contractor with better pricing so it looks like we will not have to do that e-bay auction after all. He is 75 cents per square foot lower.
  2. South Side - Sidewalk will come from the drive along this side to front door. We still have some trim paint to complete on this side. 
  3. West/Porch Side - Side Walk will come in front of the covered porch to the door.  We still have some trim to paint on this side.
  4. West/Porch second view
  5. North Side - Heat Pump Compressor will be on this side. We plan on screening with landscaping.
  6. View looking East from Kitchen and Living Room Windows
  7. View looking South from Master Bedroom Window
  8. View looking West from 2nd Bedroom Window
  9. Garage before Drywall - cleared out to get ready for drywall
  10. Storage Area - 12x12 area in the front holding all the 'stuff' waiting on drywall installation
  11. Main living area, looking toward living room
  12. Main living area looking toward kitchen - there is a corner pantry and closet for the stacked washer/dryer
  13. Entry hall - we took out the closet to create a space for the computer desk and there will be cabinets with a mud bench along the long wall
  14. Attic space that will be our daughters play area - the area does not count as square footage because it is only accessible by ladder
  15. Attic - 2nd view
  16. Master Bedroom
  17. 2nd Bedroom
  18. Cash Crop - Some of the contractors have asked about what type of 'Farm' used to be here.  I guess the crop that is now growing has a 'street value'.  It's growing wild and it grows fast. Just one more thing we have to take care of.  And I didn't even know what it was... just another weed to me.


1. East Side/Garage Side
2. South Side
3. West Side/Porch
4. West/Porch side - second view
5. North Side
6. View looking East
7. View looking South
8. View looking West
9. Garage
10. Storage Area
11. Living Room
12. Kicthen Area
13. Computer area
14. Attic Space
15. Attic Space - Second View
16. Master Bedroom
17. 2nd Bedroom
18. Cash Crop

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Posted to Homestead by Mike & Carolyn in Smithville, MO on 7/27/2008 2:50:26 PM

Waiting on the HVAC guy to get his work done.  Mike worked on the list and got everything done by Thursday so drywall could start BUT the HVAC contractor still needs to complete his work so we are waiting. All he needs to do is fix the dryer vent that was put in the wrong place. Which they put there even after I told them it could not go there. They must of thought I was just a silly girl and couldn’t possibly know what I was talking about...guess what, I am a silly girl and the vent can't go there! And they need to run another airline to the loft, which is a change that we decided on after the finished running the ducts.  We waited 3 days for him to call us back the first time to tell us he would be here within the week. We waited all week... well tell Wednesday night... before I called to get a day and time he would get the work done. (No response) And I'm still waiting to here back from him since he did not show up.  Called him again on Friday to see how much longer we'd be waiting... no call back. Even 'accidentally' called him at 1:00 AM, it was honestly an accident, I have to get up at 1 with the baby and have an alarm set on my phone, I noticed the next day that I called him so I must have hit another button, as I frantically beat on the phone to shut off the oh so annoying 1 am alarm (can you tell I'm a little tired) that redialed the last number. Log indicated that the call only lasted 22 seconds so I'm guessing I didn't reach him. You would hope that you would not need it but it wouldn’t hurt to have a clause in the contracts with subs regarding an acceptable timeline for them to RETURN CALLS.  They haven’t been paid yet either so I don’t get it.

I also talked to another concrete company to compare pricing but have not heard back, but that one has only been since Friday.

So we're waiting...

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Posted to Homestead by Mike & Carolyn in Smithville, MO on 7/22/2008 4:59:55 PM

And the never-ending story of how to balance everything continues. Work, Family, The House Build, The Budget!  It seems that the budget never wins.

Things are still going SLOW... silly me, thought it would be a little easier after the baby arrived. Being that I couldn't do much in the last months of the pregnancy, and I tried, who would think that painting would be an impossible task... well fellas, try it 9 months pregnant on a 90 degree day.  And if you have read the other posts… I didn’t know it at the time, but I was pregnant when I fell off the roof. Everything turned out fine. Except the house is not completely painted yet. Can’t believe that she’s 8-weeks old (on Friday) and not much has happened.  The times that we have attempted to work with her at the site it has been too hot for her, or the bugs have been out, or she just wants us to entertain her… she’s so high maintenance.  (Kidding of course… she’s 8 weeks old!)  But it has made it difficult to accomplish much.  Maybe after the HVAC is complete she’ll be happier on the site. Until then, it’s daycare for the workdays!

On to drywall. We have been waiting a LONG time for this.  Shopping for estimates. Trying to get the best deal, if there was one to be had.  And saving our pennies to pay for the job. Well, we committed, or is that should be committed, probably both. We hired a contractor that was not the lowest price, but very close in price to the others.  The reason we went with this contractor over the others was the list of things he gave us to do BEFORE he could install the drywall. Now why would we hire someone that gave us work to do before we could pay him to do his work?  Everything he listed was things that needed to be done before the drywall could go in and NOT ONE of the other 6 or so contractors mentioned one of them when giving me their bid.  Would they have done the things for me… installed a hose bib in the garage so they have access to water… don’t think so.  The list was not too long and some of the items I added through changes.  Regardless the list is almost complete and we will have drywall up in the next week or so. After which we are hoping to make so quick progress. We also got the concrete guy to come out and give us an estimate and after I sell my firstborn on eBay we will be able to afford a concrete drive.  We'll keep you updated on the progress or possibly the auction number so you can bid.

Items from the drywall guys list to complete included;
- Fir out both sides of ridge beams for a better look (3 total)
- Complete Electrical main line hook up
- Complete main water hook up with hose bib for water access
- Move lighting in loft, add cable and 2 electric outlets in loft
- Add heat/cool duct to loft
- Fix dryer vent
- Add wood cover to wire chase so drywall can be attached
- Remove blocking from south wall
- Clean up all the ‘clutter’ so guys can work
- Cover vents to keep drywall junk out
- Rent dumpster (for site and drywall clean up)

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Posted to Homestead by Mike & Carolyn in Smithville, MO on 7/1/2008

Have been busy completing a family project and not been able to provide updates.  Our new addition, a new daughter, Emmry Rose arrived May 30th, happy and healthy at 8 pounds and 21 1/4 inches long. Emmry has a head full of dark hair and beautiful blue eyes. She’s a picture of peace… when she’s sleeping.  Honestly we are all doing great; adjusting to the demands of a new baby was a lot easier this time. Or as Mike would put it... the demands of another girl!  Poor guy, it's him and the dog in house full of girls. With our luck if we try again for a boy we'll end up with twin girls. (Which I'm okay with!) 

We have gotten a few things done over the past month.  The water line is now in and the conduit for the main electric line is in. Waiting in the electric company to put in their part for final electric. The sewer line has also been installed.  It's taken us longer than normal but we are almost done.  Then comes the BIG project, the main house. We will be doing some additional planning before it starts, incorporating all we have learned on the guest house build.

Next we will be adding the concrete drive.  That is if I can get the concrete guy to give me an estimate.  Found a good guy at great rates but he's so stinking busy that we can't get him out.  We are also waiting on the insurance company.  There was roof damage to the house from the May 2nd storm so we went forward with a claim, which covered the house, and barn roof repairs plus the swing set replacement.  If nothing else it all keeps me busy... have extra time since the market is slow and some of you folks have been using 'other' Realtors! (Shame on you!)  Anyone need a referral to a Realtor... happy to help!


Emmry at two weeks Picture of peace... when sleeping!
Who says they don't have personality this young!

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Posted to Homestead by Mike & Carolyn in Smithville, MO on 5/3/2008

You may have read, heard, or saw on TV the storm damage done in the Midwest.  We feel lucky, but do have some new issues to deal with.

We live in Gladstone which experienced a small tornado in the early hours (2am) of May 2nd. We were only three blocks from the main damage and only had a broken storm window, one section of fence damaged and some trees down.  Just blocks away, full homes and businesses were lost. Our kids' school had the roof taken off and most of the windows knocked out from flying debris. School was cancelled for Friday and Monday and will resume on Tuesday at a nearby church until the repairs are made. They have school year round, so we were gald to hear an alternate location was found.

By the build site in Smithville, MO there was a second tornado, which took out a neighborhood about 12 blocks away. One of my co-workers lost his home there.  The city closed down access to the area and since we have not changed our IDs to the new address, they would not let us in to check on the build site.  We had to drive further north (about 20 minutes) to check on the new house, which appears to have come through with no damage.  We are having both homes inspected before dismissing insurance claims. It's amazing but no one was seriously hurt.

The swing set and barn did not do as well.  The new monster-sized swing set did not make it.  It is a crumpled pile now. The barn has a few twisted roof panels that will need to be replaced and a missing sheet of metal siding.  The port-a-potty was about 12 acres away.  The company got a call from the home owner asking them to come get it.

There was a ton of rain with the storm so we are waiting for things to dry out again. Still need the sewer and water hooked up... it will happen, given enough time & money.  I am running low on the latter...


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Posted to Homestead by Mike & Carolyn in Smithville, MO on 4/26/2008 8:29:47 AM

Yes, we're complaining about the weather again.  It turned cold again, dipping in to the upper 30's last night and too cold to get what we need done complete.  I have the next week off and wanted to complete the exterior trim paint so I could work on the gutters.  Unless it warms up, that won’t happen. We did get 1/2 of the grass cut for the first time this year.  Still cutting the full 12 acres... and yes, it was cold cutting the grass. Also received the bill on the sewer hook up. More than I wanted to pay, $5,700. The only other option we have is septic, which will cost more for a good septic system.  We are currently a family of three but growing... with one more coming within a month and more in the next few years. Plus we will probably have the guesthouse occupied with parents.  With the number of people, we're going with the sewer system, despite the cost.

The estimate they gave me for the water hookup was $800, but they increased it to $1,800 after additional measuring and estimates from staff.  I said no to that and am working on a better price. Some friends own Jones Steel and may be able to help with the trenching and backfilling at a better rate and we may attempt to lay the plumbing main line and hire someone to do the hook up to the meter and house. 

But, until it gets warmer and stops raining (we got another three inches last week), we're not doing much of anything.  As soon as we make some progress pictures will be posted.

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Posted to Homestead by Mike & Carolyn in Smithville, MO on 4/18/2008

We ran the wires for the sound system today.  I personally didn't think we needed a sound system.  After all this is a guest house and only 850 square feet.  "Just set a radio in the middle and turn it on!"  But Mike wanted it and he hasn't wanted much so... we have a sound system. And it's expanding!  That drywall better get up before it grows more.  Started as a three speaker system for main living area.  Grew to a five speaker system, then to be five speaker surround sound inside, and two outdoor speakers on the patio... then four outdoor speakers (two on each side).  Well, the wires are run and it's done. And it will sound great, and will be our entertainment for some time.  No more expanding -- becaze there is no mo money!

1. Main electric trench - to change temp. power to permanent power.
2. Wait on Aquila (electric company to install power line to house).
3. Water and sewer in.
4. Drywall installed.
5. Rob bank for next set of projects...

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Posted to Homestead by Mike & Carolyn in Smithville, MO on 4/17/2008

We’ll, we managed to find a break in the weather that was long enough to allow the ground (mud) to dry out some so the drywall could be delivered.  And there was no extra time.  Ordered on Monday with the forecast calling for rain early Thursday.  They could not deliver until Thursday but we would be the first drop. Forecast was updated for rain to be delayed until late morning Thursday.  They called to say there were at the site at 8:30, dropped the sheets (up and down) and it was raining by 9:30. Making it a muddy mess again.  At least we made the delivery and can get the installation going, going after the water, sewer and electric is hooked up.  We thought it would be a good idea to go ahead and have the main water hooked up and pipes checked before we installed the drywall, just in case there's a leak.  The plumber says there won't be.  I'm not taking his word for it.  We'll see.

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Posted to Homestead by Mike & Carolyn in Smithville, MO on 4/16/2008

We have been putting off the big expense of the sewer line and grinder pump installation and the not so big expense of the main water line.  Now, we are at the point that we can not wait any longer. Called to place the order for the installation.  They (they being the county planning and zoning department) required us to pay for the water meter before they would issue a building permit so the meter has been paid for since January, 2007 and in place since last year sometime. Then, we are responsible for running the water line from the meter to the house.  I didn’t want to have to run the heat through the winter so we have been waiting to put the main water line in and always planned on doing it with the sewer line -- saving the cost of a second company to come out and run the line.  So, the sewer company that we are required to use (which still bugs me, I'm certain I could get it done for less) is working on the cost figures for the main water line (around $800 and its over 800 feet long, I just hope we have good water pressure) the sewer hook up (with 'Y' for future expansion to main house) and grinder pump (this is required due to the small private sewer plant we are hooked to).  I'll get the bill next week, which has to be paid before they do the work. I'm estimating it to be around $6,000. Any more and we'll be waiting again.  After the bill is paid they said they could complete the work within 14 days. We're making progress again.

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Posted to Homestead by Mike & Carolyn in Smithville, MO on 4/11/2008

We have not made much progress due to the weather.  It's been horrible.  If we're not fighting super cold temperatures than it's snowing!  Now it's April and it's still in the 30's and 40' and RAINING! We're located in the Midwest (northern Missouri) and yes we're the ones that decided to live here and are fully aware of the seasons, but this year has been ridiculous. We're ready for a break from it all!  Well... actually, we did take a break from it for a while.  We spent part of February in Florida. Boy, you guys down there have it rough.  All that warm weather and sunshine, can't imagine how you get anything done. We went to the builder show in Orlando and while there had to hit all the attractions: Disney, Universal, Sea World and of our favorite, Discovery Cove.  What a great time! It was nice to feel the warmth of the sun again. Temperatures were in the 80's when we were there, 75 the day we left, arriving home to a balmy 5 degree's and, you guessed it, snow!  Maybe we’ll retire to Florida.  Even the 5-year old has had enough. I'll never forget a few days before we left the questions from the backseat on the way to school: "Mommy, is there snow in Florida?"  I replied, "no".  Which was meet with a booming, "GOOD!"

The builder show was great.  Tons of vendors with far too many products to see. Great place for ideas.  Next year's show will be in Las Vegas and we've already decided to go back. Figured there is not as many attractions and since we don't have any money left we shouldn't have a problem staying out of the casino (we'll see).

We have been waiting on the weather to break for what seems like FOREVER now.  All we have managed to get completed is the insulation.  They came back and finished, touching up the areas I wasn't impressed with.  I've had four to five drywall estimates done with several of them coming in around 5k. Which I think is too high. Since we are not on a timeline I am waiting them out. Construction is slowing down in the area and subs need the work, which to me means prices should be coming down.  I had an installation crew come out and give me a list of board sizes I need and estimate for installation labor.  This was considerably less than the quotes received.  $1,200 for installation, the materials added to just under $1,200. This is the route we are going to go.  I am going to re-measure and estimate the number of boards needed, the installed figures seem high to me and I want to ensure I am only purchasing materials for my project -- not any others they are working on. Now, if only we could get a break from this rain and cold. The cold is not the bigger issue.  We are on acreage, and to get the delivery of the drywall we need the ground to dry out so the truck won't sink. I'm keeping my figures crossed for next week.  Sorry to anyone out there that needs the rain... we'd just like a short break from it, possibly 6 months or so... Hope to have more to update everyone on soon.  I can report that the new baby will be here before the guest house is done.  No name yet.

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Posted to Homestead by Mike & Carolyn in Smithville, MO on 1/7/2008

The foam insulation is going in. The extreme cold weather we had held them back a bit; we do not have heat hooked up yet, and they needed the temperature to be 40 or higher for a few days. We went with the spray-in open-cell foam. Hope to recover the additional cost through the energy savings. I think the crew got a little tired, frustrated or overcome by the fumes toward the end. It took them three days to spray our small space. The living area is only 850 sq. ft. but the full basement ceiling had to be insulated and the basement down walls. Plus, the entire ceiling on the main level is vaulted, so they had to do it too.

We have one cold wall on the stairway from the basement We installed drywall on one side so the other could be sprayed -- they forgot to spay it. I think they just wanted to get out of there and overlooked it. They said they would be back next week to spray the wall and cut down some areas of overspray that will need to be drywalled. They will also be touching up some areas on the basement ceiling. The joists are 10" and the foam is supposed to be an average of 5" to get the R-value required. They got a little sloppy and 1/2 of the joist has 10" in it and the other 1/2 has about 3". Not too happy with this and expect it to be corrected.

Other than the few areas to fix, we are insulated and even without heat, it's warmer inside. Warmer than the 20 degrees outside anyway. Pictures to come.

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Posted to Homestead by Mike & Carolyn in Smithville, MO on 12/19/2007

They called to let us know that the wood flooring arrived, 19 days, not the 7 weeks that we expected. Now, where do we store it? 

We asked to leave it at the dealer till the new year and they agreed, it was already paid for, so while it sits there we can clear out a spot in our jam-packed garage. We cannot keep it at the new house because we have not insulated or had drywall installed and they don't want it in the way.

At least it's here and we won't have to wait on it when we need it.

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Posted to Homestead by Mike & Carolyn in Smithville, MO on 12/3/2007

I just noticed that I never added that we got the electric roughed in. Below is the list of what was roughed in.  Electrician complained that we had more exterior lighting than he puts in some 400k homes.  I simply responded that it’s a whole lot easier to do it now than it is to add it later when you ‘wished you would have done it’.

  • 12 interior fixtures
  • 6 can lights
  • 6 cable outlets (with direct runs)
  • 1 phone
  • A ton of switches
  • A ton of outlets (1 think 40 or so, will need to count)
    Most of the basement lines will be in metal conduit
  • Dryer line
  • Stove line
  • 200 amp service
  • 3 exterior coach lights (wall mounted)
  • 6 exterior down lights (in the corners of the eves)
  • 3 exterior outlets
  • 2 exterior fixtures
  • 30 amp line for grinder pump system
  • Low voltage for garage door opener (buttons and reverse eyes)
  • 2 door bells
  • 3 smoke detectors
  • Line to the furnace
  • Line to water heater

I’ve picked up most of the fixtures but still have a few to get.  Will post pictures as we put them in.

On the alarm, we went with a basic system with sensors on the doors and windows plus motion on the main level.

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Posted to Homestead by Mike & Carolyn in Smithville, MO on 12/1/2007

It may be a little early, but we ordered the wood flooring today. The only reason we ordered it now was, well two reasons: first, they said it could take up to 6 to 7 weeks for it to come in (but sometimes only two weeks) and second, we had the money to pay for it now. Got 1,100 sq. ft. of flooring and supplies for $1,300. We decided to go with wide plank rustic floors. I have always wanted this look, but had a hard time convincing Mike of it. After looking at several pictures and seeing some he really liked, plus reading many reviews from others that have gone this way, he decided it would work.

I would have loved to have some of our barn siding pulled off, refinished, and used for flooring. It's aged and looks wonderful, but the cost to mill it is way out of my budget. (The barn was re-sided with metal over the old barn boards so the barn would still have sides if we removed some.) Instead we went with new wood that is 7" wide in tongue-and-grooved planks 6 to 8 feet long. We liked the 9-foot boards too but opted to save the $500 cost difference and go with the smaller size. We'll leave them rustic with a medium to dark stain. We were a little worried about them clashing with the kitchen cabinets, which are maple with straight lines and a more modern look, but we figured unless you're cooking outside over an open fire, kitchens are modern and can have elements that look that way even in a country cottage. I guess we'll see, because it's on the way. Now, if we could only get the insulation and drywall done before the flooring gets here, everything would be perfect! Anyone have $10 grand we could borrow?


Unstained floor.

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Posted to Homestead by Mike & Carolyn in Smithville, MO on 12/1/2007

We went back and forth on if we would have the metal accent on the garage, but thought it would tie into the house (if the house ever gets built). The bids from the local roofers were far too high for our budget, so after talking with others on the site we decided to order it and do it ourselves -- we're handy. After several bids, we found that ordering through Sutherlands was the best price. Most other companies were adding on $500 plus for crating and shipping. Sutherlands purchased through a company that had a local distribution center, so no shipping costs.

We wanted to buy straight from the Metal Sales Manufacturing Company but they said they can't sell to the public. Regardless, the roof cost came in at $1,200 and while the area is not that large, it is a standing seam roof, heavy gauge and all the panels were factory cut to our dimensions. So all that was left was the installation... but we didn’t want to install until the painting about the roof was done, so we waited and waited and waited and now... IT'S COLD and there is still no roof installed. The weather here is hard to figure, some days it's 50 and the next is 30. I finally gave in and called around to the local roofers again but found that they didn’t want to mess with it. A. It was too small of a job (they apparently have too much work or money), or B. They don't do standing seam installs.

I did find one good company that will be installing the roof next Tuesday/Wednesday for $500. All in all, it's a lot less than the bids we got up front, but I sure could use that 500 bucks someplace else. And the time we saved by hiring out the roof can be spent finishing the trim paint so gutters can go on. I'll post pictures once the roof is on.

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Posted to Homestead by Mike & Carolyn in Smithville, MO on 11/28/2007

What's next -- EXTERIOR:
- Metal roof
- Caulk area under covered porch
- Finish trim paint
- Paint doors
- Gutters
- Main electrical hookup
- Sewer and water hooked up
- Install walkway to front porch
- Driveway (pad in front of garage -- if money is available)
- Light fixtures
- Landscaping (Spring, 2008)

What's next -- INTERIOR:
- Insulation
- Drywall
- Interior base coat Paint
- Doors and trim work
- Flooring
- Cabinets
- Final paint coat
- Light fixtures
- Plumbing fixtures

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Posted to Homestead by Mike & Carolyn in Smithville, MO on 11/28/2007

Inside we still have lots to do, but we are making progress on the exterior. The stone veneer is up. Needed about 250 sq. ft. of stone one the foundation and two columns (which I forgot to take pictures of). We did several bids with the prices being $3,200 and up, we decided we would tackle it ourselves. We bought the stone through Lowe's (who gave us a 10% discount -- just said we wouldn't buy it unless they did, so they did). Come to find out, the stone supplier was local (which is why they probably gave us the discount). The total for the stone and all supplies ran $1,500, which was more in line with our budget.

As the weather got colder and the stone was not getting put up, I got some bids from local workers (not the companies but the guys actually doing the work -- I just stopped by job sites in new homes communities). You should note that some simple Spanish helps in the communication. I found a couple of guys that would do it all for $1,000. All included, installing some substrate and trim, installing felt and lath and all stonework. We were now up to $2,500 but it got done and looks great. They even changed things I did not like and did not charge extra. They also created corners when I ran out, I'd use them again. Oh, and I forgot to mention, they started the job on Thanksgiving at 8 AM.  It's the day they picked, not me. And since it was cold, only 38 degrees they had to tent the house and heat the space. They just got the prep work done in the cold and came back on Sunday to put up the stone. They got most of it done, finishing things up on Monday. 

Pictures are attached, but I will need to add some of the details and the columns, just forgot to take them.


East side stone.
South side.
Before redo.

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Posted to Homestead by Mike & Carolyn in Smithville, MO on 11/10/2007

The house is small, painting should be no big deal. So why is it taking so long? We decided to do the painting ourselves to save some money and while it is being done with a good paint and two good coats, it is taking awhile to complete. 

First came the caulking... and caulking... and caulking. Yes, it is an important step and CANNOT be skipped, but I had NO IDEA how much caulking would be needed, and we still have the covered porch area to caulk.

Then came painting. Since the place is SO small, we opted to not rent a sprayer as "it should not take that long to get done." Famous last words. We started with the body, which actually went quickly, and then I was put on bed rest for a week. And it had to be our last week of good weather. It was a beautiful week, sunny days, temperatures in the 60's and 70's and no progress as I was stuck in bed and my husband works nights and sleeps during the daylight hours of the day. After the doc gave me the all clear it seemed we had rain, extreme cold, or on the few nice days, I had to work. SO, the trim part of the painting is STILL underway. We have the east side done, part of the west side (which is the largest side), a very small part of the north side and a very small part of the south side. OH, and that sprayer decision -- for the trim I would suggest renting one. You will get done A LOT faster.  Regardless, it will get done.

Painting so far has run (with the cost of brushes, tape, etc.) just over $250.


East side.

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Posted to Homestead by Mike & Carolyn in Smithville, MO on 10/19/2007

At times it seems we are getting nowhere fast. To help motivate us, I like to go through all the little things we have done that are adding up to the big picture. With some seeming unimportant or something that could have waited, but to me and Summer, the Swing Set was a big deal and will get done before the house does.

We have completed the following "little things": driveway grading, foundation dug, footings installed, plumbing ground rough completed, passed inspection, foundation walls up, drain tile and waterproof system completed, framing completed (with windows and doors installed), installed two retaining walls, backfilled, had the garage doors installed, finished the garage doors, had the HVAC installed, set the electrical boxes, gotten far too many electrical bids, finalized the cost to run the sewer line and water lines, talked with installer about sewer/water installation, had the water meter set, put up a mailbox (we'll work on straightening it up), caulked the house, (well most of it before I fell off the roof -- I'm fine), decided on an exterior color and bought the paint, installed locks on the doors, ordered rock for the third retaining wall, ordered the wall too, but they have not shown up, paid all the construction bills, mowed the 12 acres of grass/hay every two weeks, leveled a 40'x40' area for the play set, designed the play set, ordered lumber and built most of the play set, ordered 28 TONS of pea gravel for play set and planting beds, spread about 14-ton of pea gravel around the play set, watched Summer play on the play set --once! Plus, Mike did a fantastic job cleaning up sawdust and building debris inside. 

Things we still have to do: finish the play set (install straight slide, fire pole, monkey bars, bridge, rope ladder), spread 14 tons of pea gravel, paint exterior, have gutters installed, complete electrical, fir down around HVAC, pass inspection, complete water and sewer hookup, insulation, drywall, install doors and trim, prime/paint, install flooring, install kitchen and bath cabinets, install plumbing fixtures, install light fixtures, possibly if funds allow--have driveway poured, CLEAN, pass occupancy inspection.

At least the list left to do is shorter than the done list. And I'm certain there are SEVERAL things missing from the to do list.


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Posted to Homestead by Mike & Carolyn in Smithville, MO on 10/19/2007

We now have garage doors, which had held us up for a while. It seems they stopped making the T-111 4" on-center siding that they are made from. Have them now and they are up, and after several mornings of work, stained. I hired a painter to stain and seal them but he failed to show up, and after I did it I know why, he underbid the work. Quoted me $300 to do both doors. It took me 24 hours over several days to get them done. Granted, I'm no professional painter, but I'm pretty sure $300 was going to be a great deal. Well, it's done and instead of $300 it was only $65 for the stain and spar varnish (my labor was free).

Other things that we have accomplished include the HVAC. Set the unit after the doors went up, so we could lock it up, Was able to get a two-ton electric heat pump and air conditioner installed at $3,200. Would have liked to get it for less, but it's a good price for a Lenexa system installed. Most other companies wanted $800 to $1,000 more for the same job.

We need to now finalize the electrical, which is a sore subject for me. We started the work ourselves and thought about doing the entire job, just getting someone to set the main box and run the main line to the transformer. But, we really don't know what we're doing and I'd really rather not do it wrong and have the place go up in smoke or have the light dim when the dishwasher kicks on. So I am back to getting bids. I have two clients who are electricians, so I may be able to get good bids on the side. One client gave me a per square foot charge to do it and another client keeps telling me he is going to get me a bid but it's been weeks and he just keeps putting me off. I've given up on him. Regardless, we will be adding to the budget -- which is going up daily.

Next steps: panting, installing the metal roof, and ordering the exterior stone. I hoped to have the exterior painted weeks ago, but that did not happen, and will not happen this weekend since I'm working, and will hopefully sell a house (to pay for the electrical work). I'm a Realtor and things have slowed down. The metal roof comes in on Wednesday -- finally! And it will be in, has to be in NOW.


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Posted to Homestead by Mike & Carolyn in Smithville, MO on 9/9/2007

Hello again,

Not a ton new, other than I have made it a point to add something to the journal. We have been making some progress with the details but hit a bump that really slowed us down. We are putting carriage-style garage doors on and no one had the material we needed, so it had to be ordered and the mills that supplied it could not get it either. It took about 45 days to just get the wood and then the doors had to be made. Since we didn't have garage doors we had no way to secure the property and did not feel comfortable installing the HVAC or electrical.. We did not want to have to replace anything that "disappeared."

The doors are now in, so we should be moving forward at a faster pace now, well I hope so anyway. Before the doors can be kept closed, they have to be stained and sealed so I have to select a color, no pressure, just to have the perfect color for stain and paint done NOW! And no time to check out colors with all that is going on with work and the build.

Things that we have been able to get done include the following:

  • Installed two retaining walls -- they turned out great!
  • Started the electrical installation of the boxes and mapped out a wiring plan.
  • Top rough plumbing done.
  • Installed the cedar shake shingles on the porch eaves. Still working on completing the area above the garage doors, need more shingles.
  • Decided on and ordered the roofing for above the garage door -- we're going with copper! (Which just adds a layer of complexity to the paint and stain selections).
  • Painted swatches of paint colors -- don't like any of them so we'll try again.
  • And most importantly: leveled an area and started installing the play set. It is so had to keep a five-year old entertained out here while we try to work. 

Once we get the electrical done we will be ready for our first inspection. Can’t wait! I’m ready to get the insulation and wall board in to make some major progress. Posting a few pictures now, but will get more soon.


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Posted to Homestead by Mike & Carolyn in Smithville, MO on 7/2/2007

Posting renderings of the home we hope to build. I used to say "someday," but it looks like someday is right around the corner. Right now we are working on the garage with an apartment above to live in while the BIG build is underway. The garage has been a learning experience, and we planned it this way so if there were costly mistakes they would be on a smaller scale.

One of the main things we have leaned is to plan and keep organized. It's hard to keep in front of the tasks at all times but we're getting there.


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Posted to Homestead by Mike & Carolyn in Smithville, MO on 6/19/2007

Not really a free roof, but a funny experience. We are ready for a roof and I have been finalizing estimates for two weeks or so while the framers finish up. Today I had a 10 o'clock meeting for a retaining wall estimate and to my surprise there was a team of roofers working away. They had the felt almost complete. I asked them who they worked for and let them know I did not know they were coming today. There was a language barrier but I got the name of the company from one of the workers shirts, or so I thought. I dialed the number, but it was disconnected. I called information and got the new number but the person in the office indicated that it wasn't their crew: "don't have anyone out that way today."

I went ahead and talked with the retaining wall guy and let the crew work away. When they got to a part of the roof that I had planned on installing metal, I stopped them and asked that they get down from the roof so we could figure this out. 

They pulled from the truck a wrinkled Mapquest page with a handwritten address and directions. The numbers were close to mine -- but no match, and the street was 30 blocks away. They were roofing the wrong house. What did they do, get lost and just drive around until they found something that looked ready to roof?

Anyway, I called the office back with the new address, the reply: "We've been wondering where that crew was." How can they stay in business?! So in the end, I got the felt installed for free, still need the roofing materials installed, the materials had not been delivered to the incorrect address or I probably would have let them keep working -- well, only if I liked the product they were installing.


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