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Posted to Luray-VA-1stTimeBuilder by Angela in Luray, VA on 10/4/2007

 . . . wins the race (but it sure takes a lot of patience.) I have made 17 copies of our plans and they are all out to subs waiting for bids except for one set. I made four more copies today, since I need to give two sets to the county with my building permit application. Good thing they're only about $8 per set. I am getting most of my sub names from the Virginia License look-up web page for contractors and tradesmen.

We know two or three people who just finished building in our area. Initially, they made a point to go out of their way to say how they could give us names for good and bad subs for every trade but when the rubber met the road and I got out my pen and paper, they suddenly forgot most of their subs. One person whom I see almost every day in my job kept promising to get his "notebook", but after gently "reminding" him over the course of a couple weeks, I just gave up.

I've found that contacts from the VA License site are better than going through the phone book. There are more listings and the people are more interested to bid on your project and work with you. You have to do a little web-work to find their phone numbers because the license site only lists their address, but it's worth it.  The best thing is that you can also see if their license is still current or expired and you can see if they have any formal complaints against them.

I am a little concerned that the little time that I do have to dedicate to the house (between being the business manager for our business, two kids and managing the current house) is being spent completely on finding, meeting with, and following up with subs so that I don't have any time to spend on my "spec sheet" or "features list". I am worried that many of the things that I know I want in the house will not be incorporated, because I just don't have the time to dedicated to writing them down and brainstorming about them. I am not even able to read any more of the books that I ordered that I didn't get to before this part of the project started.

The other concern that I have is the size of the house. We were originally shooting for 2,400-2,800 sq ft and we ended up with about 3,200 after trying to fit everything in that we wanted. That is one of the reasons that I am trying desperately to get bids now because we need to know if our budget will be enough to build the house. If not we will have to "drop back and punt".

Enyhoo, back to work...


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Posted to Luray-VA-1stTimeBuilder by Angela in Luray, VA on 8/30/2007

Our final plans were delivered yesterday! We have them at the copy service getting copies made to give to potential subcontractors for quotes. We are really looking forward to getting quotes and moving forward with the process. I am also in the process of filling out all the forms for our building permit, so we'll see how that goes.


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Posted to Luray-VA-1stTimeBuilder by Angela in Luray, VA on 5/30/2007

Well, we've radically changed the design since I last posted them. We did away with the two-story view in the kitchen and have added a turret that will extend from the family room on the first floor to the master bedroom on the second floor and up to a small lookout room above the bedroom, which we've always wanted.

We had originally developed the plans using the Punch! software, then we discovered that one of our customers is a retired architect. He has helped us tremendously, and has drawn and helped us modify 5 or 6 renditions of our plans so far. We just met with him earlier today and made a few final changes. I was beginning to wonder if we should just go back to the design books and pick a plan, since at times it just felt like the process was taking too long and never seemed like it would be finished. I am so glad we didn't, and feel like all the agonizing was well worth it. There was such a sense of overwhelming stress knowing that you're going to have to live in this house for the rest of your life. But now we have everything in the plan that we hoped for and more. I am really looking forward to seeing his elevations and the final plans. And I'm *really* looking forward to getting bids and moving beyond the design phase!


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Posted to Luray-VA-1stTimeBuilder by Angela in Luray, VA on 3/26/2007

We've been meeting with the architect and I've been compiling and contemplating everyone's comments on the design. Thank you so much! Although hindsight is 20/20 (I wish that we had a couple of builds under our belt before designing and building our live-in-it-until-we-die house), having you guys who have done this many times and those of you who are going through it now to give us direction is very, very much appreciated.

I am attempting to attach and upload images of the revised floor plans that incorporate input by those on this site, the architect and input from the many books that I've been reading. Although I am very anxious to finalize the plans and begin bidding out the work, there is so much research that I feel I need to do before I am ready to finalize the plans. In addition to The Owner-Builder Book, I've read Better Houses, Better Living and am in the process of reading Make Your House Do the Housework and have watched several of the DVDs that I've ordered from this site, all of which have been jam-packed with excellent information that I cannot imagine building a house without.

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Posted to Luray-VA-1stTimeBuilder by Angela in Luray, VA on 2/21/2007

I've tried three times to 'add photo' to my last journal entry but it's not working so . . .

I have posted the design pics on the General Forums page under Planning Phase titled "Here's our design - feedback appreciated" if you're interested in seeing them.

Thanks again for any feedback you might have time to give!


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Posted to Luray-VA-1stTimeBuilder by Angela in Luray, VA on 2/21/2007

We met with the first outside person *ever* on our house - it seems more 'real' now!  He was an engineer and owns Engineered Wood Components.  We showed him the plans (see below) and he is going to give us an estimate by the end of the week on providing us with 'sealed' engineering documents which we will apparently need for our permits as well as a price on the engineered floor joists and roof trusses.  He guesstimate was ~$22k for everything (sealed docs, floor joists and trusses - delivered) but we have been told that might be a little high for around here.  Any thoughts from others on that are greatly appreciated.  We will be getting other bids.

The footprint for the living space pictured below (excluding the length of the garage) is 51' across the front of the house and 36' deep.  We don't have our porch or decks pictured in the plans below (or included in the above figures.)

We are always appreciative of any input that you might have time to provide!


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Posted to Luray-VA-1stTimeBuilder by Angela in Luray, VA on 2/10/2007

This is how our story begins:

We purchased a 200-year-old historic farm house property on 23 acres in 1994. We subdivided the land and sold the house and about 13 acres in 2001. We are going to build on the 10 acres that we kept. We purchased a single-wide trailer to live in while the house is being built. The septic, electric and well were installed in 2001 when we moved into the trailer. Then housing property values and building material costs went through the roof and continued to rise over the next five years. We decided to wait out the boom.

Fast-forward to 2006: the real estate market starts to settle down and lumber prices start to decline to their pre-boom levels. We developed our design using Punch! software and are now looking for an engineer and designer to offer suggestions and refine the design. I am continuing to research and develop our project plan and financial spreadsheets.

Here's a photo from our site:

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