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Posted to Our-simple-home by Bob in LaPorte, IN on 12/5/2011

Since the last entry, we were able to get the windows installed and Jim was able to finish the roofing. Because I had to go to work at 1 pm, the windows were a two-day project.

Mother Nature wasn't kind to Jim as he struggled to finish the roof. A cold windy day with gusts up to 40 mph challenged Jim a bit. Jim wasn't the only one who battled the elements that day, as Adam and his crew from A & T Concrete poured our 24x40 garage floor.

Friday morning we spent installing our 8-foot patio door. One of our best decisions was to go with the 8-foot vs. the 6-foot patio door. It's a better view looking out the back from the living room, plus if we need to move something large into the house, we have the larger opening. Saturday Jim spent installing the entry doors.

Today was a busy day. Plumber Nick Goodman and his crew were busy running wastewater drains, and installed the MANABLOC for the PEX plumbing. At Nick's suggestion, the PEX will be recessed into a 2x6 wall, keeping it neat and tidy.

Electrician Tom Ault was also keeping us company. He was able to put the exterior lights in. We are going with recessed lighting in the soffits along the front of the house leading to the garage and driveway. There will be a total of 6 lights along the front, three on the garage side (one above each of the two garage doors and the other centered towards the end) and two in the back of the house (one above the garage service door and one above the patio door). The lights in the back will be supplemented by four floodlights lighting up a future patio. Two more floodlights will be placed centered above the two garage doors to light up the driveway. We went with the recessed light for two reasons: 1) gives a very nice effect with good lighting coverage, and 2) after time wall-mounted coach lights seem to rust.

The neighbors have been wonderful, allowing us to either run an extension cord for electric or use of their generator for power. A very brief unpleasant sound (something similar to nuts and bolts in a blender) last Wednesday was traced to Jim's generator. A quick glance was all that was needed to determine the problem. A tennis ball sized hole in the engine case confirmed: "NASA, we have a problem." Fortunately nobody was in front of it when it went, as fragments of the case were found about 8 to 10 feet away. But things are progressing very smoothly. Thanks be to God. As you can see by a couple of the photos, we did have an unexpected visit by none other than... Santa and Mrs. Claus.

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Posted to Our-simple-home by Bob in LaPorte, IN on 11/27/2011

The past two weeks are a blur. I've wanted to update the site many times, but between helping Jim during the day and back to my regular 8-hour shift at work, there hasn't been much time... barely enough for sleep. Since the last posting, we've finished putting the sheathing down on the roof. Two rows of ice shield followed by 15# felt paper. Of course the first day we dealt with winds (gusts up to 40 mph) and then a brief rain. But then again, these past two weeks we've run the gamut of northwest Indiana weather... rain, snow, sleet, winds, bitter cold and sunny and warm. The shorter days haven't helped either. We've worked with a wide range of lighting conditions... the setting sun, under the dimly lit moon, DeWalt flashlight, and halogen lamps (and even my car's headlights).

Our 113 bundles of shingles were boomed up by our Big C buddies. We started shingling on Nov 17 with the last row going down this past Saturday Nov 26. A few rainy days didn't help us. But those days weren't wasted. One day was spent going through the house adding drywall nailers. A large stack of scrap lumber that was at one time bracing during the framing didn't go to waste, as it was used for the drywall nailers. Trying to use all scraps of wood as not to waste. The smallest pieces of wood that were usable made for a nice bonfire.

The housewrap is on awaiting the siding. Still trying to decide on a color. My wife Mary is very indecisive... Gave her one job... and she still hasn't completed it... Just kidding.

Our HVAC and plumber are scheduled for this week. Sad to see the framing stage coming to a close. Although there is still a little more to go. Need to frame a 2x6 wall in the basement where the plumber will recess the PEX manifold into it. It was a great idea by our plumber Nick Goodman. At a later time, we'll be able to conceal it behind doors. One other area I want to "re-frame" is in the bathroom. Never really cared much about store-bought medicine cabinets for above the bathroom vanity. It seems you can never fit a lot on the narrow shelves. What I plan to do is to make my own "cabinet" using 1x6 maple or poplar recessed between the studs above the vanity. I like to use the metal pilaster clips for the shelves. Depending on my time, I'd like to make the vanity and use the same wood for the medicine cabinet.

But that should be about it for the framing. I think we did pretty good in the planning of the house. Our builder Jim figured in for three wall changes and we had one. We originally planned for a 24-inch pantry cabinet on the kitchen/front foyer common wall. Seeing how the two foot was already planned to be used, we had Jim build a 2'x5' pantry closet with the doors in the foyer area. It will be three steps farther from the original pantry door, but we doubled the pantry size, utilizing the space to get more storage area for a lower cost.

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Posted to Our-simple-home by Bob in LaPorte, IN on 11/13/2011

The crane from Buchanan Ironworks (Westville, IN) arrived on time on Friday Nov 4. Our prayers were answered for sunny skies and no wind, as we had a busy day planned setting the trusses. 28 trusses (not including the hips and jacks) to set with our team of four. The step-down trusses seemed to take forever because of trying to take extra care to make sure they were braced properly. We finally ran out of daylight at 5:30 pm with 7 trusses left. We had the crane leave them on the top plates where we laid them on their sides. Saturday we were out there first thing lifting the rest by hand into their final resting place. The rest of the day and part of the following week were spent with the permanent bracing including hurricane ties, and finishing the jack rafters and hips.

Two days were lost due to rain. Thursday was spent battling the cold and lake effect snow. Saturday (November 12) we began the sheathing of the roof. 60 sheets of 5/8" OSB were laid covering half the roof. Hopefully the rains will stay away Monday so we can finish the other half. We are trying to be careful to stay close to our budget. Knowing that upgrades for $200 here and $400 there add up over the course of the whole project. But we did upgrade the OSB for the roof from 1/2 inch to 5/8 inch.

HVAC tech and electrician stopped by to get a preliminary game plan going. It's hard to believe the framing stage is almost over. At times it seemed nothing visibly was being accomplished, but when I look back a lot has been accomplished. Working with Jim and Glen has been great. In a society where the motto is 'hurry up and get it done and it's good enough', Jim and Glen believe like I do: take your time and do it right. Thanks guys. I believe the final measurement before the sheathing was 1/8th of an inch off for the whole 40'x68' house, and that was in the garage.

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Posted to Our-simple-home by Bob in LaPorte, IN on 11/3/2011

It's been a very busy two weeks. Under the direction of our builder Jim Weiler and his uncle, Glen, and with the help of Dad, and Uncle Joe, the exterior and interior walls have been framed and sheathed. Rain slowed us down a few days. But we had a couple of days when the forecast was for rain and it held off until the end of the workday.

My employer has been very accommodating. Working a second shift as a newspaper photographer (LaPorte Herald Argus), they've allowed me to use half vacation days to work with our builder, Jim during the afternoon and then come in to work a little later and work four hours in the night. It make for very long days (and short nights) but the satisfaction is indescribable.  

Everybody is excited now that each room is defined by the walls. The little ones have fun walking through the walls and spending time in their bedrooms looking out their windows. The two boys will have a 11x15 bedroom while Rebecca will have a 12x12 bedroom. In our prior house, all three younger children were in an 11x12 bedroom (very cozy). The total living area in the new house will be 1,760 sq ft (44x40) with a 24x40 ft garage. Our prior house was 1,030 square feet with 6 children ages 3-19 years old.

Our roof truss package arrived Tuesday Nov 1 from the Big C Lumber truss plant in Michigan. The driver did a wonderful job maneuvering the 40-foot trusses through the narrow road in our subdivision and dropped them off at literally our front door with door and precision. Being the curious type (and in the journalism field) I tend to ask questions. Big C Lumber truss designer Dan Parker has been great to work with. He's always taken the time to answer any question and the couple of "speed bumps" we've had with the trusses, they corrected them the same day. The crane will be here Friday morning to help set the trusses. Originally scheduled today (Thursday) but the forecast was calling for rain... at least it's not snow. Pavey Excavating came in last week to backfill and grade the area around the house. Mike, Tom and their dad, Gene Pavey, have been a wealth of information, and not just in the excavation aspect. The time they spent hanging around and chatting is greatly appreciated.

After months of seeing our new home on paper, now that the walls are up we think it's turning out, for the most part, better than we planned. Glen's valuable suggestions during the framing helped to "perfect" a couple areas that will help maximize wall space for furniture. Two areas that are still giving us trouble are: 1) the laundry room. A 9' wide 3'6" deep "closet". Room enough for a washer, dryer and work station. Trying to come up with a creative way to close it off from the hallway. Trying to stay away from bi-fold doors and sliders. 2) The kitchen. Wendy, Big C Lumber kitchen designer has given us two great layouts for our 13x15 kitchen. We know that the kitchen is a long way off, but one of the designs involves bumping out a section of kitchen wall into the garage for a large pantry. And since we are at the framing stage, now is the time we need to think about that. There have been a few areas (decisions about the kitchen, basement, siding) where I've been told I was jumping the gun, but our future plans are simplified by decisions made now during the framing stage. Or as in the siding, the color of the shingles we decide on is influenced by the color of siding (which is still being debated)... I think we are going to let the neighbors decide, since they have to look at it.

We did manage to get a section of the hip trusses up today. We managed to get one of the girder trusses up along with the hip and jacks on one end of the house. The crane is scheduled tomorrow morning to finish (hopefully) the roof. I knew for the most part I wanted a hip roof, but debated going gable because of the cost factor. After a little debate decided hip was the way to go and the cost wasn't much more when looking at all things considered.

Time to sign off and get home to get some sleep for a busy (but exciting) day tomorrow.

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Posted to Our-simple-home by Bob in LaPorte, IN on 10/17/2011

Today started with Big C Lumber delivering materials for walls. We finished laying the rest of the flooring, which took us all morning. The afternoon was spent with Jim working on the stairs to the basement (figuring, measuring and cutting the stringers) while Glen was busy laying out the walls.

Michael, John Paul and Rebecca came out and enjoyed the dirt piles. The triangular scraps from the stringers gave the little workers something to play with. I stayed at the site long after Jim and Glen left cleaning up and enjoying a little bonfire with the scraps of wood (non-treated lumber only).

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Posted to Our-simple-home by Bob in LaPorte, IN on 10/15/2011

Friday was another productive day. Weather has been on our side, thanks be to God. Finished setting the floor trusses. Jim Weiler (our builder) and his uncle Glen, have been wonderful to work with. The care and pride they take in their work can be seen by the accuracy and precision in every move they make in the framing of our house. These days where everything seems to be rush-rush and "good enough" is acceptable, Jim and Glen take the time to double and triple-check, and correct even the smallest problems to make it right. I am extremely grateful to be able to work alongside these guys. Not only am I working on our future home but gaining valuable knowledge by working with these guys.

As soon as the trusses were done we went right into putting the AdvanTech down. We got about a third down before it was time to call it quits. I had to get to work, plus it was Friday evening and getting dark. Monday morning we'll finish getting the deck down and start preparing for the walls. Lumber will be delivered first thing Monday morning. Pavey Excavating may be out this week to finish backfilling. Well... off to bed and get ready for what we hope will be an exciting week where a lot of visible changes will be seen. The little ones are excited to see the changes. Instead of hearing "Are we there yet?", we are hearing, "Is the house done yet?"

Photos

Glen trimming off a little subfloor
Jim looking over AdvanTech that has just been laid



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Posted to Our-simple-home by Bob in LaPorte, IN on 10/14/2011 10:19:13 AM

Despite a couple of "speed bumps", Thursday was a very productive day. We were able to get the floor trusses set. Rain and storms were forecast for the day. We had cloudy skies with light rain at times. Our builder Jim noticed a few of our trusses appeared to be shorter in depth than the others, and he was right. They were two inches shorter than the others. Fortunately they were in an area where we were able to set the others. The truss company was able to make new ones and have them back on site just as we were getting to that area. The end sections were bowed and we had to have three out of four remade. Should have those back Friday morning. Despite the day's problems, in the end, things worked out.

 

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Posted to Our-simple-home by Bob in LaPorte, IN on 10/13/2011 9:00:35 AM

Finished framing the bearing walls in the basement. Because the shorter wall will be close to a 2x10, we framed in a 5' opening in the center to be used in the future as a possible place to recess an LCD TV. During the building process, I try to look at any area that could potentially be turned into usable space... such as this plain ordinary wall becoming an entertainment center with a little finish work later. Just trying to plan for future potential. Jim's uncle, Glen, joined us today. We should be setting floor trusses today, weather permitting.

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Posted to Our-simple-home by Bob in LaPorte, IN on 10/11/2011

We began framing Monday, starting with the sill plate. Today we began building a 2x8 bearing wall in the basement. We went with a framed bearing wall instead of a steel I beam to support the floor trusses. Knowing that the basement will be finished some day, by going with a framed bearing wall some of the framing, including doorways, are already done. But in order to do this, we had to plan the future layout for the basement in order to know where to frame the doors. The main bearing wall will run about 15' off the back wall instead of the center of the house. This will allow us to build a bathroom, a large utility room and two 10x15 rooms with large closets towards the back of the house and leaving a wide open 22x44 room for a living/TV area, game room or whatever. A short bearing wall will be built on the other side of the stairs to support the shorter floor trusses.

We are planning to use 2x10's and framing in a five-foot opening so that in the future we can utilize that wall for a flat screen TV and entertainment center or shelving for a bookcase. Just trying to make use of any potential space. We will finish framing the bearing wall today and then start setting trusses.

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Posted to Our-simple-home by Bob in LaPorte, IN on 10/8/2011

Big C Lumber delivered our first load of lumber early Friday morning. This material will be used to build a 44' 2x8 bearing wall in the basement for our floor trusses and lumber for our sill plate. About an hour later, a delivery from Big C Lumber's truss plant arrived with our floor trusses. In this hurry-up society where everything is rush-rush, I took a moment and stared at those piles of lumber and the hole in the ground with our foundation walls. To think that that stack of lumber (along with several more) so neatly stacked, will be measured, cut and nailed to form the skeletal system of our future home. Even though the lumber is there ready to go, framing will start Monday morning.

I work a second shift at my job, so my plans are to use a half of a vacation day each day, so that I can spend all day working with our builder, Jim Weiler, framing and then go into work and work evening and night hours. This way I can conserve vacation time and still be at work to get things done. I can't thank my employer enough for working with me on a schedule to make it possible to work on the house.

Photos

Builder Jim Weiler lacing up his boots getting ready for the framing to begin.
Big C Lumber delivering our first load of lumber... enough for our bearing wall and sill plate.
Bic C Lumber delivering our floor trusses.
Bic C Lumber delivering our floor trusses.
Bic C Lumber delivering our floor trusses.
Builder Jim Weiler looking over the stack of floor trusses.



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Posted to Our-simple-home by Bob in LaPorte, IN on 10/1/2011

Well after a week of rain, Adam and his crew from A & T Concrete spent their Saturday pouring our basement floor. A brisk north wind brought in a shot of reality that autumn is here and winter is closing in. Framing will start next week with a forecast of sunny skies and temperatures in the 60's and 70's. Since Christmas is only 80+ days away, I'm putting my request in now to Santa for an early Christmas present of three months with sunny skies and temps in the 60's and 70's . (please Santa, I've been a good boy). Thanks again to Adam and his gang for working us in on a Saturday.

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Posted to Our-simple-home by Bob in LaPorte, IN on 9/25/2011

Watching the weather segment of tonight's news and all I can say is... Rain, rain GO AWAY... we have a basement floor to pour this week. Rain forecasted through Wednesday.


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Posted to Our-simple-home by Bob in LaPorte, IN on 9/24/2011

Not much activity this past week. Big E Waterproofing came in and dampproofed the foundation walls. Nick Goodman, owner of Goodman Plumbing, spent Wednesday putting in the basement underground drains and sewage ejection pit. We tapped into Nick's plumbing knowledge to help tweak our layout for the 15'x16' area in the basement we designated as a separate mechanical room and bathroom. Our mechanical room location was basically determined when we asked our HVAC pro, Blaine from Maple City Mechanical, where he felt the best location for the furnace would be. We then designed a very efficient basement layout around the furnace. I've seen a lot of basements that are chopped up because of beams, support posts or mechanical items (furnace, hot water heater...) but we are able to maximize every square foot in the basement by getting input from the pros.

The basement floor was supposed to have been poured Friday, but rain said otherwise. There's always next week. Big C Lumber rep Jhan and our framer Jim Weiler met Friday to double-check measurements for the floor trusses. They are ordered and scheduled for delivery. Monday, Oct 3!! I'm not sure who's more excited about getting started, us or Jim. If it weren't for Ambien, there would have been a few sleepless nights due to the excitement. Next week will be a slow week with the only thing scheduled is the basement floor being poured.

Photos

A & T Concrete crew setting foundation wall forms.
A & T Concrete crew setting foundation wall forms.
A & T Concrete crew setting foundation wall forms. Here they are setting the basement window into place.
A & T Concrete crew pouring foundation wall with concrete from Transit Mix.
A & T Concrete crew pouring foundation wall with concrete from Transit Mix.
A & T Concrete crew pouring foundation wall with concrete from Transit Mix.



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Posted to Our-simple-home by Bob in LaPorte, IN on 9/18/2011

It was a busy week. We started the week with Pavey Excavation digging our hole first thing Monday morning. By 11:30 am we had our hole dug. Father Terry Bennis blessed our lot and freshly-dug hole for us. The piles of dirt have been providing the kids with hours of fun.

Tuesday through Thursday was filled with the crew from A&T Concrete doing the footing, forming and pouring our 8-foot foundation walls. Everything went smoothly. The only "major" issue was to decide where did we want our basement windows placed. We decided on medium-sized basement windows. Talking to homeowners who have the large egress window pits and having seen them, we didn't care for the depth of the window wells and the grate that covers them. Seems a lot of moisture and debris collects in there. Not to mention critters (esp my "favorite"... snakes). The smaller ones didn't didn't provide much light or ventilation. So we opted for two 2'x3'. One will be in the main living area and one will be towards the back where we will have an office space or playroom.

Finishing the basement isn't our top priority now, but our plans for the basement in the future are part of our decision-making now. Besides placement of the basement windows, deciding on placement of plumbing rough-in for a possible bathroom in the basement and our sump/sewage ejection pits. We are trying to maximize an area of the basement for a mechanical/storage room and a possible bathroom next to it. Will be meeting with the plumber sometime this week. Foundation dampproofing will be done Monday. Weather has been perfect (Thanks to Father Terry's blessing).

Photos

Pavey Excavation pushing off to start our project.
Pavey Excavation pushing off to start our project.
Mary, Rebecca and John Paul playing on our dirt hills.
Michael playing in the dirt after school.
Michael reacting to the changing in the terrain during his visit following school. Rebecca ready to play.
Mary, Michael, John Paul and Rebecca the day before the big dig.
Mary, Michael, John Paul and Rebecca the day before the big dig.
Michael and John running through the "house". At least they don't have to worry about running into walls or furniture yet.
Michael, Rebecca and John Paul the day before the big dig.
First shovelful by Pavey Excavating.
The Pavey crew almost done.
Future Pavey employees
Being a newspaper photographer, this isn't the side of the camera I prefer, but with Rebecca and John Paul, I'll take one for the team.
Father Terry Bennis blessing the site.
Father Terry Bennis with Mary, Rebecca, John Paul and Michael. Thanks Father, for your time and making sure our project begins with the One who gave this to us.
Adam Frank and the crew from A&T Concrete putting in the footings.
Adam Frank and the crew from A&T Concrete putting in the footings.
Adam Frank and the crew from A&T Concrete putting in the footings.
Adam Frank and the crew from A&T Concrete putting in the footings.



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Posted to Our-simple-home by Bob in LaPorte, IN on 8/31/2011

Met with Jhan Stafford, our Big C Lumber rep, and got our windows ordered. After a three-week psychological battle deciding between Andersen 200 series double-hung and the Marvin Integrity windows, we went with the Andersens. The house we are currently renting has the Marvin Integrity windows and there are a couple of things that concern me, such as the window seal quality.

As far as the windows go, we tried to keep things pretty simple and basic. To simplify framing, we are only using two different sizes of windows and using stock sizes. The Andersen 200 series 3'0x4'9 double-hungs (which meet egress code and is a standard size) in the bedrooms and living room. The master bedroom and living room will each have a two 3'0x4'9 windows mulled together. In the kitchen, we are using a  5'0x3'0 glider above the sink and countertop. To help balance the kitchen window, we are adding another of the same window on the front side of the garage. The patio door is being bumped up to an 8' wide door. I can't tell you how many times people have tried to move things in and out of a 6-foot slider and run into trouble. So hopefully we can take care of potential future problems by enlarging the door now.

While planning this house, we kept in mind things that worked (or we liked) about the house or houses we've been in and things that bothered us. Since I have been diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease, we wanted to design the house to make it user friendly in case the disease progresses. But even if I weren't diagnosed, I think everybody should keep that in the back of their mind... Design a house that can be handicap friendly... just in case the unthinkable happens. As we build, we'll show some of the modifications we made to make life in our new home easier.

Appears next week the hole will be dug and start of the foundation. Patience has never been one of my strongest virtues, but this project has helped me work on it. I'm not saying that I don't get anxious, I take medicine for that (just kidding). This is supposed to be a fun project that is also a learning project and I want to (and will) enjoy it (most of the time).

I want to add one more thing that came to mind. While looking over different bids from various lumber companies, the bottom line between the companies had quite a range of prices for the same house. Looking at the material lists, there were quantity differences in various materials. So I stayed up one night going through the house counting all the building materials myself and then checking quantity numbers against the bids. Again, there were differences between the companies. Don't let the bottom line be your only deciding factor, because it could cost you more in the long run when you have to order more supplies. Jhan spent a lot of time coming up with a detailed line-by-line materials list that was extremely close.

Photos

Large mounds of juniper that need to be removed.
Matthew and myself clearing shrubs. Daughter, Julia taking photos.
Dad enjoying a Popsicle brought over by our new neighbor Wayne.
Myself and uncle Joe with my son John Paul as we take a break from clearing shrubs.
One end cleared. Excavating crew will pull the stumps.
Pavey Excavation, LaPorte, IN, officially starting the project.
Pavey Excavation, LaPorte, IN, officially starting the project.
Mary, Rebecca and John Paul watching the bulldozer in action.
Dad watching the action.
Dad watching the land being clear standing next to a fallen maple tree that still needs to be cleared.
Our super-sized sandbox... at least until the hole is dug.



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Posted to Our-simple-home by Bob in LaPorte, IN on 8/31/2011

Received a call from the excavator at 7 a.m. to let us know he was sending a crew out to push off the topsoil and start the prep work. By the time we got there, he had already made a couple of passes. We were hoping to get our priest over to the property to have it blessed. The two youngster children, John Paul, 4, and Rebecca, 2, loved watching the bulldozer push the dirt. They keep asking when the hole is going to be dug. We have a temporary sandbox and play hills for the little one to enjoy playing. The neighbors have been stopping by anxiously waiting for the action to begin. Spent the rest of the day with dad, Uncle Joe and brother Steve clearing tree branches and burning what we could. 12-hour day, and it felt good.


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Posted to Our-simple-home by Bob in LaPorte, IN on 8/31/2011

Spent the morning and early afternoon working at my job. But later, myself and daughter, Julia, went to the lot and started taking out four large 5-6 foot tall shrubs. Also a large maple and mulberry tree need to come out. Save those for Sunday and Monday. The stumps are going to be pulled by our excavator. With the help of Julia, Matthew, dad, Steve and Uncle Joe, we were able to take everything down to stumps. We have happy neighbors who stated they have been waiting for the shrubs to come out.


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Posted to Our-simple-home by Bob in LaPorte, IN on 8/31/2011

Closing day today... Slept maybe two hours last night. It's hard to believe all the emotions that run though you (and usually at the same time). On hand for the closing were our Realtor Mike Laughlin, of Countywide Realty, LaPorte, IN who has been a big help with the sale of our house and the purchase of the lot. Farm Credit Services of MidAmerica Financial Services, loan officer Denise Scarborough, who without her and the wonderful staff, we wouldn't be able to undertake this project. (Thanks ladies for giving us the chance and believing in us.) And our wonderful rep from the Chicago Title Company.

Closing scheduled at 1:30 pm and we finished, complete with hand cramps from all the signing, at 2:30. Raced to the building commissioner's office and had our building permit about a half hour later. Thanks Darlene, Diane and the rest of the staff in the LaPorte Plan Commission-BZA-Building Inspection for their help.

Because of my work schedule, couldn't make it out to our officially owned "island". That will have to wait until tomorrow.


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Posted to Our-simple-home by Bob in LaPorte, IN on 8/21/2011

Received word Friday that closing on our lot/construction loan will be Friday August 26, 2011 at 1:30 pm. This week reminds me of when I was a kid during that last week leading up to Christmas. It's hard to believe that 9 months have past since we seriously started this project. I remember reading in The O-B Book to take a year of planning and they weren't kidding. But it was time well spent, as we feel prepared to take on our challenge. There have been several late nights (even staying up until 3 or 4 am). It became at times an obsession.

Our floor plans have seen many changes. Thanks to "Punch! Home Design and Landscape Pro", we were able to make as many changes as we wanted and come away with a reasonable-priced set of plans. Our lumberyard salesman was impressed with the floorplans and asked who drew them up... (Thanks, Punch). Most of the decisions have been made. Still trying to decide on windows... either Andersen 200 series or Marvin Integrity... Also working on selecting vinyl siding color. Wendy at Big C Lumber is busy designing our kitchen.

 

     Hi! I am Bob's wife, Mary. Bob suggested I share my thoughts as well. I am eager to get this project going. I have never seen a house built, so it is difficult for me to look at the piece of paper with lines and numbers on it to envision our dream house. Also, I am tired of making decisions about what should go where and what color it should be. (And we are just getting started with this part -- eek!) Also, Bob's aforementioned hours are wearing me out. So Friday can't get here soon enough for us.


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Posted to Our-simple-home by Bob in LaPorte, IN on 8/4/2011 12:31:52 PM

Received work today closing on lot/construction loan will be late next week. After nearly 9 months of planning, researching and long nights, it's almost game time. Spending the past few days finalizing subcontractors and working on getting permits and other paperwork. One thing we did in choosing subs was to make sure that one has worked with the other. The excavator and concrete company have worked closely on other jobs and know each other's routine. The plumber and HVAC actually get together before they start and work together planning their systems so as not to interfere with each other.  


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Posted to Our-simple-home by Bob in LaPorte, IN on 8/1/2011 11:47:50 AM

Closed on our former home and moved out in 7 days (the hottest days of the year and my busiest days at work.). Due to a few issues with our first choice lot, we had to back out and go to our second choice. God's intervention. The one-acre lot in the inner circle of a 6-house subdivision. Neighborhood residence call it the island. Soils testing is done, and we'll be going to get septic and building permit in a few hours (it's almost 2 am and can't sleep. Want to be at the county building when they open). Should be closing on the lot and construction loan soon. Everybody we've been dealing with, from government officials (for permits) to people in the trades, have been extremely helpful.

Photos

Wife Mary with our younger children Michael, John Paul and Rebecca
Our "island" with the asphalt moat
Soil scientist Larry Huber doing soil test
Surveyor John Saylor



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Posted to Our-simple-home by Bob in LaPorte, IN on 6/25/2011

What started out as an unrealistic/crazy dream is now getting closer to kickoff. We've been looking at homes on the market for the past two to three years, and haven't found the "perfect" home. We've outgrown our current 1,080 sq ft home (6 children ages 2 years - 19 years old). So after nearly 7-8 months of research, planning and number crunching, we decided to test the waters. We put our house on the market thinking it was going to take months to sell. Well it sold in 7 days. We are working on purchasing a lot. Our biggest obstacle was financing. None of our local banks wanted to talk to us. Even our current one whom we've been with for several years. We did find a wonderful place to get our construction loan. Farm Credit Services. They have been wonderful to deal with.

As far as our floor plans. It's impossible to find plans for a simple four-corner ranch home. I took plans from a house that I was familiar with and squared it off. It added about 150 sq ft in the home and will give me a 24x40 garage. It's a very simple plan, but flows well inside. Spent hours designing, re-designing and I think we have finally got it the way we want it.

We have most of our bids back already. We're at the point of no return. We close on our home mid July. Hopefully be able to close on the lot about the same time.


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