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Posted to RR-Homestead by Rachal in Janesville, CA on 10/26/2010

I can't believe I haven't posted since last February. 


I received my final inspection in March of 2010.

I got my demolition permit from the county to take out the ramada and double-wide manufactured home. I have to do that before I can refinance.

I want to refinance through the V.A. and found out that they consider my house a 'new home' so I have to have my general contractor fill out all sorts of paperwork to get the refinance. I didn't have a general contractor. So I will wait till the house is a year old and refinance it as an existing home. 

Meanwhile, I am broke and I don't mind, because my home is so wonderful to live in.  The whole-house fan that I installed instead of air conditioning worked like a dream this summer.

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Posted to RR-Homestead by Rachal in Janesville, CA on 2/1/2010

Tiled the countertops and put up the backsplash. I don't like it, but everyone says they love the way it looks. I got the tile on sale, so it was either that or laminate. 

I was hooking up my countertop range when I found out what happens when you touch the red and black wires on a hot 220-amp circuit. This is why I don't do electrical stuff.  If I screw up on drywall or tile, the drywall and tile won't KILL ME!!

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Posted to RR-Homestead by Rachal in Janesville, CA on 1/26/2010

We moved in this weekend, and the house is heaven. It is everything I imagined and more. We are warm and we have space to stretch. 

I cut off my old septic and attached the leach lines to the new septic. The inspector came out and gently pointed out that I needed solid, not perforated, pipe for the five feet leading to the D-box. So I spent an extra day hacking and slashing in the trenches to fix it. Didn't cost much to fix, but it was time consuming. 

Received and installed my wall and pantry cabinets today. The countertop tile will arrive this Friday. Can you guess what I'll be doing this weekend? It is difficult to feed a family of seven with only a microwave, so the kitchen is a priority to finish.


New wall cabinets. They are pretty easy to install.
Wall cabinets and unfinished bar.
Pantry cabinets. I'll install them tomorrow. The empty space is for a kitchen-desk area.

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Posted to RR-Homestead by Rachal in Janesville, CA on 1/22/2010

Today is our official move-in day. I will cut off my septic tank today, and switch the leach lines over to the new house. I still have a lot to do, but we are going to live in it. 

The snowstorms that have been hitting California have been playing havoc with our electricity. Outages lasting eight to ten hours have been occurring for the last three days. So we will move in our beds and our wood stove. These will be the priority, and we will spend the weekend getting the appliances moved over. 

It's going to be rough with no phone hookup, but I'm sure we can survive a weekend without our internet. Right?

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Posted to RR-Homestead by Rachal in Janesville, CA on 1/18/2010

I'm finished finishing the floors. I absolutely love the feel and look of the final product. Hopefully, the smell will fade quickly. Here are some pictures. Interior doors are next. 

Small note:


Living-room floor.
Living room to the hallway
Bedroom #1
Bedroom #2
Bedroom #3
Master bedroom

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Posted to RR-Homestead by Rachal in Janesville, CA on 1/9/2010

It's been a hard week. I gave my guys a deadline, and they totally blew it off. This resulted in a failed inspection. Corrections will be made over the weekend and we'll try again on Monday. I could go into details, but it sounds more like a soap opera that a construction job site.

I researched drum sanders and how to use them. I rented one yesterday and was pleasantly surprised when it worked beautifully. I read some accounts of people using drum sanders and they said it was a beast that would make you sore. When I fired that thing up, I was blown away at how easily and how quickly it got a 150 sq ft room done. So today I will work on the other 1,450 sq ft of flooring that needs to be done.

Here are some pictures. I have so much to do. Whenever I scratch one thing off the list, three more things pop up. One step forward, two steps backward.


I got the sink and faucet hooked up for the inspection, but I have to take it apart when the counter tiles show up next week.
This picture is of the front room from the dining room. Notice the drum sander waiting for me next to the front door.
Picture of the front room from the front door. The doors are on the left-hand side. The doors are waiting for me to finish the floors. Can you hear them? They are saying, "hurry up!"
Back porch needs rails.
Other back porch needs a deck!!
Front porch waiting on lights.

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Posted to RR-Homestead by Rachal in Janesville, CA on 12/19/2009

Here are some pictures of the project. 

The leach lines on the existing septic aren't where they are supposed to be.  They were supposed to be 7 ft and I was digging a third one to match.  The existing leach lines are only 5 foot.  I will have to get with our public health guy on Monday to find out how he wants to remedy the situation.  I was hoping to finish the leach line over the weekend and be calling for an inspection on Monday.  Oh well, at this point I'm getting good at delays.


Brand-new septic tank.
Newly-built front steps.
Douglas fir flooring... halfway done.
More flooring. Flooring done in kids room.
Jimmy is the fastest worker out of all.
Cool ceiling fan.

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Posted to RR-Homestead by Rachal in Janesville, CA on 12/18/2009

When I started my project I was completely aware that the route I was taking was a dangerous one.  Working without contracts and hiring by word of mouth comes with immediate cost saving benefits, but also carries the dangers of lawsuits and unscrupulous workers. 

I hired a gentleman, through word of mouth, to dig my water, septic, and electric.  He agreed to do the job for $800.  After digging the septic tank and water line he decided that the digging of the one leach line and the electric trench was worth another $400.  I agree with him, but it is not my fault he underbid the job in the first place.  I am upset that he is blackmailing me for the other $400.  I have to get the trenching done this week, and he knows that I know that to get someone else in to do the job will take time and money.

So I will smile and agree.  His work is quality.  Then I will never let him on my property again. 

Other than that, I am getting my septic tank and 21 tons of rock today.  I am literally days away from getting my temporary residency permit.  The only holdup will be how long it takes the electric company to come pull the wire.  They said it could be up to two weeks.  That's fine, because I still have a ton of finish work to keep me busy. 

I think it's funny that to get my temporary residency permit I don't need flooring or even interior doors, but I do need to get the house numbers for the outside.  I know it's a fire department issue, but it still seems funny to me.

I really feel like I'm holding the ship together right now.  I have five people working on various projects around the house.  I am constantly getting something that is needed for the job, fixing or replacing their tools for whatever is being worked on, and keeping the laborers on task.  I've spent $11,000 in the past three days and my family asks me every day, "When are we moving in?".  Don't forget that I am laying flooring from 6 PM to midnight afterward.  When this part of the project is complete, I am going to find a really good long book to read, sleep in for a week, and detox myself from caffeine.

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Posted to RR-Homestead by Rachal in Janesville, CA on 12/12/2009 10:10:32 AM

I've started my wood floors.  I decided, after hours of consultation, to staple and screw it down.  Everyone on the face of the earth had an opinion on how it should be laid.  I started in a kids room so that I could get proficient at laying it down.  I'm glad I did because I made some hideous mistakes.

#1  At the beginning I didn't realized that the tongue and groove on the plank flooring had a short side and a wide side.  The planks can only go together one way.  It took me about seven square feet to realize this.  (Big ugly gaps were the consequence) 

#2  The flooring stapler will dent the face of the board unless you are very careful

#3  Snap your chalk lines after you lay the paper.  Duh!

#4  The backside of the flooring gun hammer is perfect for tapping in the boards.  (took me awhile to figure that one out). 

Otherwise the job is going well now that I am out of the kids rooms and into the living room.  I absolutely love the look of the floor.  It also make the house cozier. 

My concrete guy came over to help me for a few hours.  I couldn't believe how quick the job goes with a second set of hands.  I guess I'll just truck along by myself and take extra pride in the job when it is done. 

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Posted to RR-Homestead by Rachal in Janesville, CA on 11/18/2009

I decided to cut my hours back at my place of work so that I could concentrate on the finish work in the house.  I'm retired, so my job in a pizza place is just extra (not a lot extra) I spent last week tiling. I had a friend come in and show me how to do it. That is some hard work! I'm very, very happy with my craigslist tile. I'm also very happy with my installation. 

The forms are set for the concrete slab for my porch steps. There are three porches. They are supposed to be poured tomorrow. We'll see. 

I'm almost to the point that I will switch over my septic, power, and water. I'm shooting for moving in at the end of December.


Forms for porch landings
Propane tank
Laundry room tile. This is my cool floor sink.
Bathroom tile. I have a little more grouting to do in here.
Kitchen with tile and uninstalled base cabinets
Isn't that a great tile job?
My disaster of a living room

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Posted to RR-Homestead by Rachal in Janesville, CA on 10/30/2009

I spend more time in my new house than I do in the house my family is currently living in.  Everyday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. I am working on the new home. I finished the walls in the kitchen, bathroom, and living room because I'm trying to get the tile installed in those rooms. I'm trying to get the tiles installed in those rooms so that I can install the cabinets and get a working kitchen, bath, and laundry. The county inspectors don't care if the other floors are finished.  The cabinets in the those rooms will go on top of the tile since I have so much of it. 

The base cabinets for the kitchen arrived (that's all I could afford). They are beautiful. 

I am having a contractor issue. The gentleman that has been helping me got a job. He has had several jobs over the course of the year, but this one is an all-winter-long $65 an hour job. This guy has been so good to me. He did the foundation, framing, electric, and plumbing for $25 an hour. I've done a couple of favors for him (personally) so he feels he needs to help me finish. I don't expect him to, but his advice (and connections) are still invaluable to me. 

We joke all the time that this is the cheapest house ever built. Not including the price of the land it has cost me $41.50 psf. I have about $10,000 to go for utility hookup. That will bring it up to $46 psf.

The greatest thing about this website is the ability to go back in time and look at how my planning has progressed. When I started this house in February, I thought it would be at least two years till I was done. I've been very lucky and could be in it in the spring. I had forgotten the two-year original plan. I'm actually making progress and am proud of myself.

For you new guys, keep up the journals. They really help when things are going slow.

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Posted to RR-Homestead by Rachal in Janesville, CA on 10/20/2009

I got my front porch built and I'm still sanding the walls. I don't think I'll ever be done with them. I'm so close to moving in, but can't seem to make any significant progress. I put a wood stove in the house so that I can't not work on it in the cold weather.


Front porch. Still have to pour the concrete for the landing.
Front room. Need to sand and paint it.
Master bath

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Posted to RR-Homestead by Rachal in Janesville, CA on 9/27/2009

I can't believe how hard taping is! I've been working on drywall all week and am now working on taping. I'm finding all sorts of new muscles I wasn't aware of.

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Posted to RR-Homestead by Rachal in Janesville, CA on 9/25/2009

I'm getting the drywall up. This is some frustrating work but it is great to feel the house coming together. 

I was looking for a tool and I had to go from room to room looking for it. I thought to myself, "So this is what it's going to be like going from room to room looking for my three-year-old when the house is finished."

I had a partial drywall inspection done so that I could start the tape and mud in the completed rooms. 

My fingers hurt and my shoulders are getting stronger by the day.

I have one professional doing the drywall and he is amazing. My husband and I are his labor. I am paying him $25/hr. At the rate we are working I will estimate that the drywall will cost me $650 in labor. I think this is a good deal. Does anybody have any comparisons? I didn't get any bids for drywall, so I have NO IDEA what it would cost...


Master bedroom with drywall up
Kitchen ceiling, can light
Closet in one of the bedrooms
Master bathroom
Another bedroom with walk-in closet
Horrible picture of the kids bathroom

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Posted to RR-Homestead by Rachal in Janesville, CA on 9/15/2009

Can you believe it?  I passed the framing, plumbing, shear wall, electric, and HVAC inspection on the first round!  There was one fix for an outlet for the dryer, but Mike (the electric guy) was able to fix it on the spot before the inspector was done. 

I told Mike that I didn't believe we would pass it on the first round. Mike bragged that he had 38 in a row, first-pass framing inspections under his belt. Regardless of his record, I scheduled a whole week for passing. That was completely unnecessary. 

On Friday we insulate. On Monday, Mike will be the boss of the sheetrock crew that consists of myself, my husband, my son (17), and one of his guys. This should be an adventure. We both took the week off work, so pressure is on to perform.

The inspector gave me a list of things that need to be done to get my temporary occupancy:
*steps for all entries
*hot and cold running water in the bathroom and kitchen
*a cooking source in the kitchen (this could simply be a microwave)
*outlets covered

I asked him about the flooring and he said that living on OSB flooring is not a health and safety issue, so he isn't concerned with that. I will do the flooring before I move in, but I thought it was an interesting bit of information.

After I get my temporary residency certificate signed, I will stay under the permit umbrella for six more months (or until I call for a final) with a possible extension of six months after that. This is great. It means that when I build a patio or a deck or finish the master bath I won't have to apply for a new permit. 

I am so grateful that I have this site to write on. You guys are great encouragement! 


My son hanging out in the master bedroom

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Posted to RR-Homestead by Rachal in Janesville, CA on 9/13/2009

We are scrambling to tie up loose ends before our inspection on Monday. We are finishing a lot of little projects and it makes us feel like we are getting a lot done, even though we've been working on this stuff for a couple of weeks.

I finished the trim. Somebody gave me some old paint that was left over and I wanted to try it on the front door. I think the color is good, but will wait till later to finish it up. 

I've decided to texture the ceiling. I just can't imagine doing five coats of mud perfectly over my head. 

We have all this next week to pass the four-way inspection. I am scheduled to have the insulation in this Friday. 

For those of you that have been following my cabinet "issues" I ordered Kraftmaid from a local dealer. I priced out the RTA and they were comparable in price with more work involved. I only bought the base cabinets. At this point I am just trying to get into the house by December, and don't want to spend my VERY limited resources on wall cabinets. 

Here are some pics and I want to point out that I am very stressed out. I will be planing the studs in preparation  for the drywall and that really helps me relieve tension. Manual labor is a form of meditation for me.


This is the whole-house fan. I can't wait to fire this puppy up!
Shower valve installed
Duct work in the ceiling. Many hours of arguing went into this decision. My brother Paul (HVAC specialist) was the person who told me it was okay to put the duct work in ceiling.
Staged sheetrock being used as a table. I can't believe that someday I will sit on a comfortable couch and relax in this room.
Finished trim. Door with a little paint. All I need now is a porch and door handles and window and an occupancy certificate and...
It looks like my meter/electric panel is puking wire
Back of the house with trim done

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Posted to RR-Homestead by Rachal in Janesville, CA on 8/30/2009

First let me say that my husband's job title is 'Safety Specialist.' He works in a federal prison and makes sure people follow OSHA and other state and federal safety rules. He loves his job and takes it very seriously. He is so serious about his job that one time, before I retired, he reported me when I had an inmate standing on a chair drilling a hole in a concrete wall without eye protection. He turned in his own wife!

Today I was 20 feet high on an extension ladder, on uneven ground, painting trim. He comes outside to say "hi" and says, "You're breaking a ladder safety rule." "Oh yeah?" I say, "Which one?" He replies that I should have a spotter for the ladder. Then he turns around, walks away, and goes back inside the other house.

He must not have been too concerned!

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Posted to RR-Homestead by Rachal in Janesville, CA on 8/24/2009

Okay. No serious progress has been made. I'm finding that at the end of a crazy day of building, planning, and paying that it is a relief to relive my day on this blog. 

The plumbing, electric and HVAC are all going in right now. I have been running back and forth from the electric supply place. They had to order some stuff that arrives one day then they ran out of this type of wire that arrives on another day. WHEW. Not such a big deal except for the fact that I live 20 minutes from the place. The guy at the electric shop actually yelled at me this morning for bringing back a couple of floor plugs that I changed my mind on. I took the berating like a champ because he is the ONLY electric supply place within 100 miles and his prices are outstanding. If I acted like an ass I may have lost my 10% discount. I guess he gives the discount to people who are willing to put up with his grumpiness. 

I went to Reno today to pick up a attic ladder I found on Craigslist. While there I went to Home Depot to check out toilets, lights, sinks, fixtures, and countertops. I felt like the sheltered hick on his first trip to the big city. I've been to Home Depot plenty of times in the past, but never with the idea of finishing a house. I was walking around the light aisle with a look of complete bewilderment on my face. Sometimes there is too much choice!!

I was going over all the money I spent today ($7,000). I was doing my mental checklist on what I've bought and how far we can get with the money I have left. As I'm standing in the house looking at wiring and vents I'm going over my mental checklist. "Cabinets, check. Tile, check. Wood flooring, check. Drywall, check. Tape and nails, check. OH NO! I forgot to buy or budget the insulation!" Moral of the story? Write everything down.

No pictures for this journal entry. If there were any pictures they would be of my credit card smoking!

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Posted to RR-Homestead by Rachal in Janesville, CA on 8/18/2009

So I painted the house. I decided to go with red. Since the house is very simple and not very architecturally interesting, I thought that I could at least make it visually interesting! Neighbors haven't said anything, I hope they're not mad. It's interesting how the red house makes the red roof appear almost purple. I like it.

Cabinets are my bane now. I've got two quotes. One for $10,000 and one for $12,000. This is a budget buster for me. I have another couple of places to check out, but I really doubt that I'm going to stay anywhere NEAR $7,000. To tell you the truth, I don't even like spending that much.

Here is the problem. I have $32,000 to finish the house. I want to move in around December. I still have electric, HVAC, plumbing, drywall, septic, electric hookup, and water. I'm thinking that I will put a sink base cabinet in the kitchen and call it finished. 

I received a takeoff for my electric yesterday and was a bit perplexed. It's a little over $1,000. The meter main and sub panels only came up to $280. This makes no sense to me. I thought I was looking at $600 at least. I'm going to go back over the list to make sure we are speaking the same language. If we are then I'm going to buy it QUICK. 

My brother, the HVAC guy, came down to visit with our Mom. While he was here he designed my ducting system. Then he pointed out a couple of really bad ideas I had about the house. Not all his ideas were great, but a couple of them really pointed out the lack of rational thinking on my part. 

So we will have propane for our on-demand hot water. The alternative is ridiculous. 

Here are some pics of the house.


Front of house with new color. Trim mostly done.
Still working on the trim
Practiced using the spray gun on the chicken coop before I started working on the house. I love that machine. I used WAY too much paint. I'll do better next time.

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Posted to RR-Homestead by Rachal in Janesville, CA on 7/29/2009

I post journal entries when I feel that significant progress has been made on my build. This journal entry is different. I am very excited about the flooring I just bought. I'm not ready to put flooring in, but it was such a deal that I couldn't pass it up. 

It started with a trip to two different flooring stores to get an idea about the different types of flooring and the price ranges of each. These were great trips because I didn't realize that plywood with a thin veneer of hardwood was considered "hardwood". So after looking at the different types of wood and flooring, I realized that if I didn't find a great deal I would probably get stuck with laminate. I budgeted $3,000 to cover 1,500 sq ft. 

What followed these trips was intensive time-consuming research on eBay and craigslist. I called stores up to 300 miles away looking for a deal. I became frustrated, so decided to go to the lumber yard to get some caulking to take my mind off the whole thing.

I picked up two cases of caulking and I turned around to leave.  Then I looked over my shoulder and said, "I know you guys don't carry flooring, but, do you have any flooring?"  The man said, "No we don't carry flooring, but we just got a lot of Douglas Fir flooring and we're selling it for a great price." 

I had never heard of Douglas Fir for flooring, so I did some research.  It's supposedly the hardest of the softwoods and makes a perfectly fine floor.  They didn't have 1,500 sq ft, so they called around to see if their others stores had enough.

All and all, I got 1,600 sq ft of solid wood, Douglas Fir, unfinished, for $.50/sq ft. I went under budget by $2,000!! 

So I thank you all for the opportunity to brag about this find. None of my acquaintances or friends really understand why I'm so exited about putting in a floor that I will have to sand, stain, and seal. I know that you guys understand.

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Posted to RR-Homestead by Rachal in Janesville, CA on 7/21/2009

Progress is being made on my house. Not physical progress, but economic process. I have been working and paying down the debt that I incurred from the last portion of my build. For those who don't know my story, I am building my house on credit cards and savings accounts.

If there are no major bumps in the road, I will be starting the interior in October. I will have $30,000 available to me at that point to wire, plumb, drywall, insulate, floor, and finish the inside. It doesn't sound like very much money, so I'm going to have to make it cheap!! No high-end new appliances, no hardwood flooring, no fancy sinks.

The upside is that once I finish, I will have a low mortgage ($1,000 month), $65,000 in equity, and plenty of disposable income to make changes in the future.

I am sounding really positive about the project, because it's going well. I will admit that it is a little frustrating to have to pause between phases.

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Posted to RR-Homestead by Rachal in Janesville, CA on 6/22/2009

The metal roof is now on. Now the house is buttoned up for winter. No more shop-vacuuming the subfloor every time it rains. I'm out of funds, so I'm going to work my butt off to pay my debt and then start again with the interior. It's so painful, because I'm only $20,000 away from having a viable house.

A couple of details that friends and family were confused about… rain gutters... there are none because the snow we get rips them off when it slides off the roof. We also don't have enough precipitation here to worry about diverting the water away from the foundation. Of course the foundation will have the normal drainage of 1 foot over 10 feet, but I'm not going to do that till after I've painted the house.

The vents are there, I just haven't cut them out of the siding yet. I decided to go with the whole-house fan (due to wonderful suggestions I got from this website) so I will be making the roof vents a little bigger than I would otherwise.

Next steps are caulking, painting and if funds allow, pour the patio and sidewalks before the ground freezes and winter sets in.

I guess it's time to go get a second job.


The metal roof from the front door
A guy who I was paying to put the roof on got bored and finished off the portico to the house while the other workers were pre-drilling the metal roof. I didn't complain.
Metal roof from the back
Metal roof

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Posted to RR-Homestead by Rachal in Janesville, CA on 6/13/2009

You may remember from my other posts how I was bragging about the good deals I was getting on tile and doors.  Well, having little experience in construction, I got a GREAT deal on a door. It was an exterior door that was framed for a 2x4 framed house. Mine is a 2x6 framed. We got it in, but I was very embarrassed that I bought the wrong-sized door.

Finally got the siding and exterior trim up. Will get the roof on next week. Then I will be finished for the summer, except for painting it. I must save my pennies and dimes to get the electric and rough plumbing in this winter. 

I am thinking about putting in a whole-house fan instead of a swamp cooler.

I am also thinking about camping out in the house with my kids if the weather ever gets warm.


Front of the house with siding and trim
Siding and trim up. This is an eight-foot long window. That gives you an idea of the size of the building
Sliding glass doors that will eventually lead to my cool patio

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Posted to RR-Homestead by Rachal in Janesville, CA on 6/6/2009

Okay, first of all, I live in the desert. Saying that, I never thought that there would be a week-long rainstorm in June. I have my siding, windows, and doors in and the roof sheathing is on, but as you may or may not know, it is required that there is 1/8" gap between the sheathing to allow for contraction and expansion. You wouldn't think THAT much water could get in the house, but it can. I have spent the last three days shop vac'ing the inside of my house twice a day. Forecast? Rain through Monday. It's been three years since we've had this much rain. 

The irony is that my roofing materials are supposed to arrive on Monday. I really don't see any work getting done until these rains let up. It wouldn't be so bad to work on except for the lightning that seems to be a part of these storms. Plus the sheathing is slick and could cause slow work (more money). 

I generally have a good attitude about delays, but this one is worrying me. My subfloor is getting soaked. I guess I will keep it as dry as possible, and when the rain goes away, set up some fans to try and get it completely dry and see what the damage is. Luckily, it is so dry here (normally) that just opening the windows and doors will completely dry it out. 

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Posted to RR-Homestead by Rachal in Janesville, CA on 5/28/2009

Siding is exciting. My siding has been going up very slowly. The Memorial Day weekend took it out of everyone.  I did not take pictures of the front of the house because it hasn't been sided at all. 


Sliding glass doors in the back of the house. One leads to the kitchen and the other leads to my master bedroom.
Back door that leads to the laundry room

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Posted to RR-Homestead by Rachal in Janesville, CA on 5/21/2009

The house is really taking shape. I decided to credit card $12,000 worth of the project. That will get my siding, windows and fascia done. I should have that paid off by August when I can then have the metal roof put on and she will be sealed up for the winter.

I really envy the people who can pick the most up-to-date, environmentally friendly, aesthetic, and expensive upgrades, but I sure wouldn't want their mortgage!!!!

Today the 'guys' put the vapor-barrier wrap on the house and installed the windows. After watching them put the vapor barrier on, I was embarrassed that I was paying someone to do that job. It's sooooo simple. I have been doing work on the house, but defer much work to my contractor, Mike. I always give him the opportunity to do a job first because he is an information asset and I'm only paying him $20 an hour. Without him, I would be floundering through a sea of technical terms that I don't understand.

Here are some pics I took this morning.  Hopefully by the end of Friday I will be able to include pics of the installed windows. 


Front of house with wrap
Front of house with wrap
Sun rising over my roof

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Posted to RR-Homestead by Rachal in Janesville, CA on 5/12/2009

Well, the money to finish the house fell through. That means I have to re-evaluate the situation and decide on my next step. 

I absolutely need to get the roof and siding on my house before winter gets here. So I think I will credit-card the costs to do these things and then spend the winter working my butt off to pay off the credit cards. I'm retired, so when I work, all the money is extra. 

I have to have my four-way framing inspection done by January. I have one get out of jail free card from the county, but I don't want to use it unless I absolutely have to.

I'm not too upset about this because the slower I go, the more money I save. If I pay for the house out of pocket then my refinance at the end of the project will be less. The whole point is to keep my mortgage down. Who knows - this may be a blessing in disguise. The lack of money will also make me do more of the physical work. 

It is a little depressing, because I won't be able to move into my new house this summer. Oh well, I just have to have faith that things happen for a reason.

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Posted to RR-Homestead by Rachal in Janesville, CA on 5/5/2009

Yesterday, the trusses were put on the house. It took four hours. I thought it would take longer, but in four hours the house is transformed. What a difference!! So now we have the blocking, sheathing, felt, and metal roof. 

There are so many decisions to make on aesthetic issues (not my strong point). I found a lady on craigslist who has 858 sq ft of Sedona gray 18"x18" tile. I only need 470 sq ft to do the bathrooms, kitchen, and laundry room.  I'm going to buy it all at $.95/sq ft, and plan on tiling my outdoor patio that is right off the kitchen. 

Cabinets are my bane right now. 

To date I have spent $37,000. That has paid for plans, permits, taxes, and all labor and supplies up to this point.  Am I doing well? I have no one to compare these numbers to. I know you can't compare a persons dream home with mine, but I feel that I'm doing okay. The mission is to build a bigger, better house for my family without significantly raising my mortgage.


The sun rising over my new roof
Five feet of roof really adds to the house's impact
It feels cozy inside now

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Posted to RR-Homestead by Rachal in Janesville, CA on 5/2/2009

I was supposed to get the trusses this Saturday, but was unable to secure a boom until Monday. So Monday is the big day. I will spend the weekend cleaning up the construction site... dreaming of a roof. Delays for me are not a big deal because I have to wait for some money to show up around May 10th. Creative financing has taken away the super stress of time constraints.

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Posted to RR-Homestead by Rachal in Janesville, CA on 4/28/2009

I'm waiting on my trusses. The guy who is building them is a neighbor and has lived here for 35 years. I stopped by his shop yesterday to see how things were going and he demonstrated how the trusses are put together and then put through a roller. There are 26 trusses that span 40 feet. They will be delivered and set the day after tomorrow.

I'm adding some photos of my project. I am new to the blog and will try to explain the more interesting parts of my project.

When I had the home drawn up, my only requirements were that I wouldn't have to have the plans engineered, that the house would be simple enough for an idiot to build, and that it would have two bathrooms.

I looked for bids for the stem-wall foundation and was quoted for $15,000-$17,000. I paid $4,700 by doing it myself. What a savings!!! I hired two contractors for hourly wages and swung hammers and dug with shovels alongside of them. I did all the simple, but grueling work while allowing them to do all the technical work. 

I found that I could hire a company to insulate the floor for less than I could do it myself.


Footings dug
Pour day
LPI floor joists installed
Insulation and subfloor. The contractor had never installed PEX before and said "I am never going back to copper"
My son standing in the front door

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Posted to RR-Homestead by Rachal in Janesville, CA on 4/14/2009

The planning of my house started three years ago. My husband wanted nothing to do with saving money or doing any of the work ourselves. After three years of arguing over manufactured homes vs. stick built, I finally got tired of it. I offered him $8,000 to spend any way he wanted if he would agree to let me make ALL decisions concerning our home. He agreed and bought a motorcycle. Six months later, I am halfway through building our home.


The buyout for decision making
Exterior framing

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