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Posted to FlagholeRoad by Louise in Franklin, NH on 10/25/2007

There are so many things over the last four years that I've said I need to make note of so I can help someone else not make that mistake. One of the benefits of taking so long is that we've made some changes to the layout because we've realized it is more logical a different way. I'm tired now, so specifics are not coming to mind immediately. I've been pawing through old photos trying to find out which ones I have in electronic format so that I can upload them here. I was really good about documenting all the steps along the way - building the road, logging the land, using a sawmill to turn all the red oak trees into floorboards (which still have not been installed, they are very well acclimated). We've done almost everything ourselves except for the 69 sticks of dynamite to blast ledge for our 15' deep hole (30' x 60') and also the drilling of the well (480' deep and only 6 gallons/minute). We used ICF (insulated concrete form) from a company called RediForm (my cousin in Montana has used it twice now) and it was great as I (Louise, the girl) was able to help build all the exterior walls. We did it for the 12' basement walls, 9' first floor and for a 4' knee wall on the second floor.

I noticed on a New Hampshire forum that someone was asking about financing. We ended up going with a local bank, Franklin Savings Bank, as many banks did not want to deal with the owner-builder situation. Luckily, my husband has been a carpenter since he was 15 and worked for his grandfather, who was a general contractor - so he's got a lot of variety in his experience. We got a great rate (for 2004) of 4.5% but it is only fixed for five years, so we have got to get a move on with finishing the house so that we can refinance soon. We went way over budget (as I'm sure many do). Partially because of supply prices escalating so much with the war in Iraq and also after Hurricane Katrina (plywood was $12/sheet when we budgeted our project and $25/sheet when we bought it). My husband saw a special shower head on HGTV, where light comes down thru the water (Ondine ELS) and he just had to have it; so that was an additional $1,800 (at wholesale price) and we still have not installed it, as the master bathroom is low priority.

Stupidly, we added kids to the mixture in 2005 (my clock was ticking at age 39) and that really changed the picture (my ability to help out on the house and our ability to remain in the RV for another winter). Last year we had our second and final child and in another couple of years I'll be able to help do the finishing touches on the landscape (which is what I went to school for). After the holidays, maybe, I'll have more time to comb my memory for helpful details. Oh yes, I forgot to mention in the first entry... getting the DES (dept of environmental services) permit.. we had to raise our ROW as it went through two streams. Luckily someone gave us a heads-up on the permit being necessary and we got approval, but the hoops that might have to be jumped through must be considered before tackling such a large project.

Photos

Walls up but stucco not on yet... how long will this take?
Getting the gables up without a wind while on top of a mountain was quite a challenge!
Now the outside is almost done... just a deck to be installed. Now for the inside! July, 2005.



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Posted to FlagholeRoad by Louise in Franklin, NH on 10/24/2007

I've wanted to journal this project from its start, but did not know where or how. We have friends building in Wilton, NH who are using this website - and that's what finally got me motivated to start making some notes and entering some photos. It will be five years this December since we sold the house in Pembroke and bought 47 acres on the side of a mountain in Franklin, NH. We started widening and improving the half mile right of way road in June, 2004 and got our building permit and financing in October, 2004. We were very glad that we did our homework which is my biggest recommendation to anyone.

We found out that we would not get a building permit unless the fire department could access our property, and therefore had to widen our right of way from 20' to 50' and since it went through the city forest, it meant getting approval from the city council. We started this process before buying the land as we wanted to be sure it would be approved. We also had the financially-daunting task of getting power in more than half a mile. We looked at solar or wind, but the banks would not finance an off-grid project (my mom was really upset that this is how the system works in this day and age!). Instead, we forked over $25,000 for power, but that did not happen until February, 2005 - and needless to say we ran on a generator for a long while...

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