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Posted to gypsyhillfarm by Michelle in East Petersburg , PA on 7/6/2017 3:00:59 PM

It's taken months to get to this point. The designer has my excel spreadsheet made floor plan and is working on a preliminary design for us to look at and place things like windows and doors. 


Let's back up though. Originally we thought we would be renovating an existing structure but every GC we talked to said it would be a better idea to tear down and start new. We are now also not sharing this house with anyone in the future it will be our forever home and that changes things a little.

So we've decided to stick with the original size of 30x60 but adding on a garage in the back and a 4' x 25' bump out in the front to make space for the living/kitchen/dining "great room" as I will call it. We're now option for a basement under the center of the house (the great room) and doing slabs on the wings of the house where the bedrooms/bathrooms will be. This will allow us to put our utility generators in the basement and run the ductwork (if we go with ductwork) from there.

We definitely want solar at this point but as for the rest of the HVAC system, we haven't made any final decisions and want to explore all options.

I'm about to start a budget spreadsheet because once the design is complete, I can finally start to get some bids and also start the permitting process. One minor sticking point that is unconfirmed at this point is that the permit office needs a license number/insurance proof of the GC, so I'm curious how that will play out. I've been reading in the book about the insurance options to use and will dig deeper into that as we get into the permitting.

Anyway, that's the update for now.. trying to be patient with our designer. It's been months since my last update and the anticipation is killing me, I want to get to work!


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Posted to gypsyhillfarm by Michelle in East Petersburg , PA on 3/26/2017 10:15:07 AM

Here we are, weeks later and we still don't have a quote. I am the driver so this is my bus i'm on and I get to decide where to go. The reason we don't have much so far is that I only have one meeting per week at this point. 


I had a GC come out a few weeks ago and he suggested we take down one of the walls (it's partially below grade, made of cinder block and I have no idea if it's been sealed or what condition it's in) and though my FIL pushed back on that a bit, next time I'm there I will be ripping off some of the old paneling to see what's behind it. 

To be honest, I'd like to tear that wall down, despite the increased cost, because then we can expand that side about 6 feet forward to make a little more space for the bedrooms and bathroom on that side of the house. Only being a 30x60 house, we are already working with less space, so adding an extra 6'x11' or whatever the width of that front would be is worth it to me.

Another issue that i'm thinking about lately is how the left side of the house is below grade. I don't like that and I don't want it to be like that. So I talked to my Dad about what normally happens and he said they excavate it out to make the ground level and then do a squall to send the water elsewhere. We do have the space on that side of the house to level it out at least 10 feet around that side, if not more. It's currently an issue with water runoff from the barn roofs, but hopefully we can rain barrel it or use the squall to direct it elsewhere. After this last snow storm and therefore, heavy ground moisture, the backyard is just mushy. Not in a super muddy sense, but you can feel that it's very spongy underneath.

The main thing that my husband and I need to hammer out is expectations with my in laws. This will be the home they most likely retire to in 10-15 years, so I understand that they have expectations and they have ideas about what they would want. However, the number one thing that is even allowing me to consider moving onto a property with them is that I get to renovate this 2-unit apartment into the home that I want. It's complicated and communication is key. 

So I do have some more meetings but I need to discuss some things with them first, I guess. They seem to think we can just keep all the exterior walls and work within them, and at first, I thought that would be a valid option, but now.. I'm wanting to expand a bit on the one side, like I said, plus excavate out so it's level. 

The first week of April, I will be meeting with my friend Mark, a former GC and current Engineer. He will visit the property and I will be able to ask him 800 questions about what can be done and all my concerns. I really look forward to that meeting. 

I will update again after that meeting takes place and I'll have more insight! Slowly it goes.


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Posted to gypsyhillfarm by Michelle in East Petersburg , PA on 3/1/2017 9:37:17 AM

Yesterday, I finished reading the Owner-Builder book and I've been updating my notes and questions file with everything I can think of. Our floor plan is pretty set and I'd really like to have every detail planned so that the process of designing and getting an accurate price is as smooth as possible. 


With the little building knowledge I have, I must say, I am nervous at the prospect of undertaking a project of this size, however I have always wanted to build a house and I've been craving the knowledge and hands on experience prior to this opportunity to build fell into our lap.

A little background might be necessary here. We plan to buy into my husband's family farm. There is a structure on the farm that is now acting as a 2-unit apartment. It was built in the 70s and has quite a few issues (in my non-professional opinion). There are two options we are working with. 

1. Remodel the current structure. (This is not ideal in my opinion, I'd like to build a house that will stand the test of time and I really do not think the current structure would, not to mention, it would need copious amounts of money to rehab when starting fresh may cost the same amount.)

2. Complete demolition and rebuild with a new foundation, slab or crawl space, exterior walls, etc.

I just reached out to a friend who was a GC at one time and is now an engineer. I am chomping at the bit to hear back from him as he has loads of knowledge and knows me well enough to be realistic with me. 

I am trying to wait until I hear his insight before talking to designers, however I have started to research options in my area. A lot of them are designer/builders, but one is just a designer and works by the hour, they might just be the winner but I'm trying to find at least three that I can interview and get answers from.

I'm trying my best to be patient, as I know this process is going to be long (and grueling at times). I am hoping that my excitement and enthusiam continues throughout the process though. There is plenty of time, I think. It is now March 1, 2017 and we would like to be complete and ready to move in by the end of the August 2018. So we have about 1 year prior to the start of building. If it's possible to have it started in the fall and completed in March, that would be fine too. My daughter will start kindergarten in the fall of this year, so we want her to finish her school year prior to move in. Luckily, like I said, we have a flexible timeline we're working with and we won't need to rely on a bank for financing. I'm really hoping we can do our 2,275 sq ft build with a budget of $150,000. That's $65 per finished sq foot and seems doable since this isn't going to be a high-end home. I guess we'll see!

Photos

This is a photo of the current apartment that is standing where the house would be (either renovated or demo'd)



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