CountryPlans Design/Build Forum
General => Owner-Builder Projects => Topic started by: DemianJ on February 27, 2006, 10:05:45 AM
Since I've received so much great information here, I've been meaning to post my project but have been too busy building. The house is a 20x24 2 Story Universal (http://www.jshow.com/y2k/listings/57.html) (modified length with a full, walkout basement) being built about 30 mi N of Lynchburg, VA using a combination of free family help and hired carpentry friends. I'm serving as the GC and semi-skilled labor and have enjoyed every minute of it. It also doesn't hurt that, so far, the weather's been amazing for Feb. We started framing 2 weeks ago and here's some pics of where things are at now. I'll post more details later.
(Forum Admin Note: Added Owner Builder Gallery Page (http://www.countryplans.com/demian.html) for this house 9-21-07.)
First off... here's a more recent photo to show you where this story and forum thread is headed:
Floorplans below then pictures of the framing.
That looks very good! Keep the pics coming!
Nice start -- I really like the scenery there.
Lovely site and clean framing. Nice tidy plan.
You are getting some pretty nice weather considering it is still winter most places.
I like your cabin and the way you have sited it - great views! Any chance you've got some elevations to post? I'd love to see what the exterior is going to look like...
Thanks yall for the good words. The 2nd story walls go up today (so I get to see just how much of a tower it'll actually be). We're beginning to wonder whether we'll have to rent a crane or extended forklift to get the trusses in place (any thoughts?). I'll post some more pics soon.
Boatz, I'll post some elevation pics in the next few days. I'm still trying to figure out how to blend the bumpout, front porch and upstairs balcony together in 3DHA.
What type of truss system did you decide to use?
We ended up buying scissor trusses because the one's I was unable to get the VA paperwork for the one's I was given. They'll probably be used in a outbuilding down the road.
We've got the 2nd story done and the house sheathed and wrapped and hope to raise the trusses and start siding next week. I'll some more progress picks soon.
Would love to see the update...looks great so far!! :)
Here's the recent progress. We're using the wall system labeled Wall 1 in this article. It turns out that we'll need to go back and cut the foam openings larger to allow the window flashing to connect with the Tyvek.
I'll post some 3D renderings of the front of the house with the porches soon.
Note- rotated and resized picture- GK
Jonquils sprouting, must be close to Easter.
Your house is great!
I never got around to reposting that 3d rendering so the current progress will give you an idea. We're currently trying to figure out how to blend the bumpout, balcony, and front porch roofs and are currently leaning towards having the bumpout top touch the underside of the metal porch shed roof (which extends 6' out, has a 3/12 pitch, and goes all the way across the front). Luckily, my carpenter is very patient with onsite architecture.
New house pics showing progress as of 4/1 (electrical, plumbing, roofing are being done this week):
Note the extended boom forklift getting stuck and almost sliding down the mountainside.
Ouch on the forklift.
I drove them for about 4 years. Never the out-side capable ones, usually the little bitty narrow aisle reach trucks. But in one training class they assured us that the 3-wheel types--the kind that ride on the back of block truck--were as stable as the 4, not any harder to overturn. Even if your big sweetie was a four-wheeler.
But they are very very heavy for their size, have to be to counterbalance tons many feet in the air. And working at capacity, not terribly stable. I soon learned to work smoothly when my forks were up high. Any kind of jerkiness when I had over a ton 18-feet up put me on three (of the four) wheels if not two. And that was on flat dry concrete. Never turned it over though. Would have been easy. We weren't supposed to take ours outside at all, but a lot of us did, and not infrequently, since these only powered (and steered) one wheel, had to be pulled or pushed out of a pothole under that one wheel.
Wow, it's been a long time since I updated my project posting.
The porches are over half done, the sheetrockers finished yesterday and painting started today. We're hoping to move out of the travel trailer and into the house in about 3 weeks.
Now if I can just find that camera cable.....
The porches are over half done, the sheetrockers finished yesterday and painting started today. We're hoping to move out of the travel trailer and into the house in about 3 weeks.
Now if I can just find that camera cable.....
Demian, What a tease!
I would really like to see those pics when you find the cable!
Nice work! [smiley=beer.gif]
Demian has sent me some updated photos. I will add a few here and he can comment if needed:
Exterior image - siding going up.
Front porch wraps around side.
Interior framing exposed.
Drywall in process.
dO you have any pics of the walkout side. pics of framing above door. what did that ad to the cost of the basement compared to reg basement. just wandering what basement cost. thanks Mike
That looks so good! It is amazing how fast your place is coming together.
I think I've got some pics of it somewhere. The door opening wasn't actually framed; it's a rebar reinforced concrete header that they made using the forms they poured the walls with. With the current price of concrete and steel, adding openings should offset any increased labor cost and will probably actually reduce the cost of a basement. We also had a window opening in the same wall, so b/w the window and a double glass door the first half of the basement gets a good amount of light.
Thanks. We've brought on a bunch of subs towards the end to try and get things wrapped up. I'm amazed you've been moving faster while doing everything yourself!
The siding was finished today in time for the torrential rain. I should have papered the porch roof though.
Thanks Demian I think you have done a great job. very inspiring. I am still conviencing my wife we can do this. we already have land (not free and clear) but am not wanting to add much more to the financed amount. So I am hoping to have the basement poured with walk out. By the way how tall are the walls in the basement. I see that some builders are advertising deeper basements for more head room. not sure what is standard and can't remember what they are saying thier deeper basements are. I have a cousin that is an electrical engineer that I think will do the electric. I have another that is a roofer that I am hoping will atleast keep me sane. my Father-in-law is very handy so I think he would enjoy helping. enough rambling from me thanks for responding. thanks Mike
We're hoping to get a temporary CO this week.
Here's a few pics from this week:
Edited on 9/29 to add more pics.
Looks beautimus!! ;)
Rafters over the porch look cool, the way they're cut.
Must feel good congrats!
If it's not rude, how much was your building cost?
Looks wonderful, beautiful! 8-)
This is beautiful! Great job, you must be very proud!
Coming along nicely Demian!
I resized some of the early photos and edited the starting post a bit.... and put up a link to your great project on the home page! 8-)
Jared, I don't mind you asking at all. That was one of my biggest questions when we started. The total is a rough estimate b/c we used up the construction loan awhile ago and haven't been keeping track as closely lately. Once we're done, I'll have a better idea of details, but off the top of my head here's the breakdown.
Total Cost is about $125,000 for the house (everything but the land; includes fully finished interior, appliances, etc). The cost of living here is probably slightly above average and slightly larger houses (some in "as is" condition) go for between 200-225K in our area. The cost of materials went up about 25% during construction (the price of houses more than doubled in the area over the past 3 years and the number of houses being built more than tripled, so there was a lot of demand for materials). As for valuing sweat equity, I was the GC and probably put in about an average of 20 hrs of hands-on work per week from Feb. 1 until the present (5 day a week for the first two months and then about 2 days a week thereafter once I started a new job) with about an average of 8 hrs a week spent GCing (on the phone and getting materials). On average, (not counting subs) there were 2.5 people working onsite during the last 8 months.
300ft well $5000
300 yd Electric Trench $4000
Basement (excavation, concrete, waterproofing, drainage, labor, for 8ft walls and 6" slab) $10K
Porches (materials and labor; T&G flooring and onsite made posts and railings) $14-15K (+ about another $1K to screen and glass part of it and build a balcony on front for materials w/ 1/2 paid labor)
Electric labor and materials $2K rough in, $2300 trim
Plumbing labor $2800
Rainscreen and foam walls added about $6,000 (a guesstimate) of labor to cost of the house; materials were about $1000
Insulation labor and materials (other than foam) $1500
Siding Labor (cedar lap siding, includes caulking) $2400
Bump-out about $3000 (labor and materials)
Heating $200 used stove, $325 of baseboard, $1700 of pipe, etc, $300 labor (only includes pipe installation)
Driveway (very short crushed stone) and parking area: about $1K; Final Grading: about $500; Landscaping about $1K in straw, seed, trees, bushes, etc.
Termite Treatment: $400
3/4 of windows and doors, 1/2 the appliances, 1/2 the flooring, 1/2 the plumbing fixtures and all the cabinets came from the Habitat store (about 1/3 of retail). Floors are tile in the master bath, vinyl in 1/2 bath, and laminate in the rest of the house. Heating is electric baseboad and wood stove. Cooling is attic fan and 2 window units.
If you saved the porches for later and didn't do the rainscreen (or just used folded tarpaper strips), I'd guess the house could be built for $90K w/ 2-3 days a week of your own work (w/ a carpenter and a laborer working 5 days a week) over the couse of a little over a year. If you were able to put in 5-6 days a week with only another skilled worker, it would be more like $60K. This is a complete guesstimate, but if you left off all the optional things above (and did a post foundation), did all the work with a hired helper (and subbed out electrical, plumbing, and excavation), I'd guess it would take over 2 years and could be done for $35K or so. I'll write more once things settle down some and I sort through the damage.
Screening in the porch added about $3K to the total (doesn't include removeable glass and insulated panels that I plan on adding for winter use as a sunporch/greenhouse) and finishing 1/3 of the basement (includes insulating walls and floors) as a den, added about $4K.
Edited/Updated by DemianJ on 10/11/06
Beautiful job, DemianJ. While there was added cost for the rain screen, there is no question of the added value - it is one of the best things you can do for yourself especially if you are exposed to driving rain which I guess most places get once in a while. It is especially a very good idea if using a housewrap to help prevent damage from water getting through a wrap penetration of any type, getting behind the wrap and unable to get out.
Two new apartment complexes in Oregon had major problems from rain and house wraps, I was told.
We did use housewrap behind the foam. We're on a ridge and get 10-15 storms a year with driving rain, so I think it will be worth it in the long run. I just wasn't prepared for the extra amount of time and cost from adding all those extra layers. I should have been considering foam, furring strips, and the top and bottom vents nearly doubles the complexity of the walls.
I have to be honest the costs of your house have scared me alot. Iam hoping to build a 20 x 40 with full basement haven't commited to 2story or 1.5 yet. I am hoping for under half that. I live in ohio. ???????????????? :'( Mike Barrett
It did end up costing a lot more than we thought, but material costs really sky rocketed on us and we added on extras. There's a huge building boom around here that really drove up prices, so it might not be as bad in Ohio. Also, that cost is a guesstimate at this point and includes a finished interior, appliances, etc. We ended up splurging on a number of extras (400 sq ft of farmhouse porch, rainscreen, bumpout, lots of windows, tile and our water/electric expenses were high), so if you keep it simple, and do most of the work yourself (or just hire a laborer and a framer) and don't mind it taking a few years), it might be possible to do it for a little more than half. Jimmy is doing all the work himself, so you might want to check out his costs. Is there any chance you could shave off some sq ft (maybe 20x32)? You can always plan for the possibility of an addition which extends past the basement walls with a post and pier foundation (John's plan's are really easy to expand). Maybe use part of the basement for living space (or wait to finish it until later)? Our 2 story 20x24 is plenty of space for two adults, a crazy dog, and a baby.
I do plan on doing all but the basement myself. I am married with 3 kids 11,10,8 so I need room. I am going
to get plans this month and hope to get a material list and bids on material. I can build over two years. So hope it goes well. I do have to do a bump out to cover 22x 24 minimum sive per county restrictions.Thanks Mike Barrett
It does sound like you need some space; I'd definitely consider using the basement as living space (with windows, if you can), then.
You'll know for sure once you solicit bids, but I was thinking about it some more, and with a full basement I think it would be hard to do that number of sq ft for 60,000 at today's material prices. The basement (18K), septic (5K), well (4K), and framing package (20K?) is going to use up the vast majority of your budget. Flooring (even cheap stuff like laminate), windows, doors, appliances, plumbing, paint, siding, fixtures, etc really add up, but you'd really have to be extremely resourceful about sourcing these items and there would still be an unavoidable sacrifice in quality.
You could definitely dry it in for that price, but I think all the finish costs will push you over. For what it's worth here's my thoughts, based on my experience:
I'd really consider whether you can trim some sq ft. A well designed, well thought out plan will feel a lot bigger and be more functional than most off the rack houses out there. I'm sure you already know this, but it's good to remember that if you max out the sq ft you can afford, then you'll sacrifice quality. I really believe in the "Not so big house" maxim that it makes a far more enjoyable house to focus on creating quality rooms that you actually use. Make the LR and kitchen a relatively large, high quality open space, then create minimal, cozy bedrooms (especially for the kids). Put a basic den in the basement to have a play area or separate TV area. Everyone has different needs, but for me personally, in my house, if I expanded my floorplan to be 20x32, an extra 300-350 sq ft of interior, would be enough to add two more small bedrooms (12x13) expand the 1/2 bath to a full bath and maybe add another small 1/2 bath. Plus, having that extra 150 sq ft or so in the basement would allow for a really large den while still having a large space for storage and washer/drier. I grew up in a 1400 sq ft house with no basement and never felt cramped with my mom, stepfather, and brother. On the other extreme, my wife and I were the only tenants the landlord bothered to find for a terribly designed 5000 sq ft house, that we both absolutely hated. Even if we could have afforded to buy a house like that, we both would have gladly traded it for our current 960 sq ft house.
Good luck with all the decisions. I'm just trying to convince you to scale things down now, b/c things will always cost more and take longer than you originally planned (so you don't want to start out with a plan that uses your entire budget).
We got our Final CO today (so now I can take the picket railing off my non-tempered windows and hook up the wood stove). We've still got a bunch of little things left; the punch list seems to stay about the same length now matter how many we knock off.
I'll try and dig out the camera to post more pics.
We cleaned up for guests, so I thought it would be a good time to take some pictures (I'll post some upstairs pics later). We've still got a lot of punch list items and porch painting to do. I may have gotten a little carried away with the number of pics b/c the batch uploads with photobucket are so easy.
Beautiful, cozy, homey! Thanks for sharing the pics!
Very nice. :)
Yes it is.
Very nice Demian! Would you like to have a spread on your place in the Gallery (http://www.countryplans.com/gallery.html)?
If you can send some of these photos as an email attachment, I can pull a page together for this. We can show a little larger photo and get a tighter storyline that way.
Thanks for the kind words.
John, I'd be honored. I'll dig up the originals of those pics and email them to you this week.
I'm pretty close to you over in Albemarle County and just ordered the same plans to start building this Spring. We're working with the same Sarah Susanka, 'Not So Big House' philosophy, so on several levels seeing photos of your project and it's budget is extremely helpful. Thanks for posting all of this. It's remarkable how those salvaged windows make a house with such classic lines look like it's been there for 100 years.
May I ask what your experience was in construction before you started this project?
I'm glad my postings have been helpful. I'd be interested in hearing more about your project (as would other folks here, I'm sure). I just sent you an email and can provide you with some helpful sub contacts (e.g., a great electrician and plumber) if you're interested.
I wasn't that experienced when I started. I helped out on building the house I grew up in, but I was only 10 or 11. Then I worked 5 or 6 summers as an electrician's helper, trim carpenter's helper, and construciton laborer, but didn't do much more than grunt work. I'm pretty good with my hands, but I was somewhere between a laborer and a newbie carpenter when I started. I've definitely learned a lot.
And thanks; I was trying to make the house look like it belonged on a VA farm. The windows are actually mostly low-E, high performance windows (Habitat has a wide range of materials from new/almost new to salvaged) that I selected based on their looking appropriate on a farmhouse.
Did you say your liveable sq is 960- not counting the basement??
Sorry for the slow response. We had a baby 5 months ago, so I've been busy.
Once you subtract the exterior walls and the stairwell, it's more like 860 of finished interior space (but we also have almost 350 sq ft of porches). So far, it's been plenty of space for 2 adults, a baby, and a dog. In hindsight, I'd have probably included a small closet downstairs, though.
Currently, we've finished the balcony and are working on screening in the sideporch, in addition to building a laundry room in the basement.
And I still need to track down those pictures for the gallery, John....
Babies do have a way of taking over the top of the project list. :D
Sure a good thing they're cute. 8-)
Yeah -- nobody ever wants to do anything for an ugly one. :-/ :)
The reason babies are so cute, is so you don't kill them before they become teenagers. :)
Around here, the same 28x32 colonial house goes up all over the place as a spec home. Its the only thing built on spec! It makes me so angry!!! Anyway, they build them for about $100K, not including the land. That includes all of the professional labor. The trick is that you have to be extremely cheap with everything, vinyl siding, (is 1/4 the price of wood) cheapest windows, osb everything, carpet or vinyl flooring, cheapest appliances and fixtures, no character, and no class basically. BTW, I love everything I have seen of your house here! I have estimated costs jotted down for the same footprint, but rotated as a craftsman foursquare. Or I might go with a 32x32 instead. Lots of built ins, 3rd floor walk up (attic), 3 (or could be 4) bed, 2 1/2 bath with laundry on main floor. This is with wood siding, and trim (cedar clap, and shakes), but could use prefinished hardiplank for same cost. Again, some of the estimates are purely theoretical, but being as though building is my living, I am fairly good at it. With labor, and the loan payments, it comes in at $150k for the construction of the house (no land cost in there), not including any landscaping. Keep in mind though that I build most of the stuff that costs a lot of money in the inside of a house. The worst part about it though, is that I still have to wait so long to build the house for my family. Even if I could get the 50k needed to get the rest of the loan, the house would just be for spec, and not for us!!! ARRRRRGGG!! Everybody on here makes me smile when I look at your progress. I am so happy for you all to be enjoying building your own house. You give me hope!
BTW, if anyone happens to just have a spare 50k laying around...
If I do find a way to build the house, I will start a thread on here. If anyone is interested in the cost breakdown I have, let me know. Like I said, it may not work for everyone, or every location.
Congrats on the baby, nap often with him/her, and take lots of photos. I have four of them myself, and the time flies by so fast.
Thanks hobbiest. Sounds like you got a great plan. And you're certainly right about the added cost of using high quality materials.
Here's some new pics on our progress. We're hoping to screen in the porch in the next few weeks and start finishing 1/3 of the basement as a den.
Nice lookin place D 8-) What up with that rake metal on the 4 th photo? The one showing the to be screened in porch one. Looks like it's flipped over , at least partly.
Keep at it you'll be done with the main stuff soon. Of course you'll MTL never be done ;) There's always something to tweak , build , and to etc, etc,.........
Looks great -- it's come a long way. :)
Nice place! I like the window seat and the screen porch particularly. :)
Good eye, Peg. That rake has been like that for months. It gets really windy here and my roofer only used 4 screws to install each piece of rake. I haven't gotten around to getting the 40 foot ladder out (with help and on a rare non-windy day) to fix it yet.
Wow, what a gorgeous home, inside and out. Love all the porches... even if I build little bitty I want porches like that!
Demian and others:
I have a new Gallery page (http://www.countryplans.com/demian.html) devoted to this house.
Let me know of updates to the information or any corrections that need to be made. :D
Homegrown, thanks. I've always thought of the house as being something to attach the porches to. We pretty much live on the screened porch. We also bought a water resistent cover for an old futon, so the screened porch also serves as a guest bedroom. I'm also glad we made the bumpout large enough to serve the same purpose.
Looks great, John. Would the original, higher res pics still be useful for the gallery?
We've kind of stalled on house progress at the moment. We've still got a lot of work to do on the basement den and I doubt we'll install any glass panels on the screened porch this winter (I guess all my nonhardy potted plants will be coming inside this winter).
Great job on this house Demian. I really like what you did.
I love the porches you put on your place. We are eventually going to add porches, but I am hesitant because of blocking the sunlight into the downstair windows. Do you find this to be an issue? Also, how wide is the porch you are going to screen in? It looks nice and open and airy, like I would like mine to be!
Great progress! Amy
Thanks Amy and Scott.
Sunlight blocking is an issue. We actually put homemade plexiglass skylights over south facing windows which does help some. Obviously, you can also put the roof higher and minimize the depth of the porch (but if you go too narrow, then the porch isn't good for much). Don't forget to also calculate the sun blocked by the roof support beam (the lowest part of our porch roof). The bumpout extends out far enough to get lots of sun. In hindsight, I wish I'd done more sun blocking measurements and that the porch roof was about a 1' higher, but that would have complicated the balcony significantly. The porch does keep the downstairs significantly cooler than upstairs, which is more of a concern for me b/c I've got tons of free heat from my woodstove in the winter, but AC is costly in the summer.
Our screened porch is 14x12 which I've found to be a good size. We live out there 9 months of the year.
Thanks for the info. Geez...just another thing to think about! ??? Porches can't even be simple. d*
I had built a 12'X48' addition (shed) on the back side of my house. That was the kitchen , dining room, and two bathrooms which were on that outside wall of the original house. When I had framed it up and sheeted that area the original house rooms mentioned before were like a cave. I installed two skylights in the new roof at the location of the kitchen window and spaced between the two adjoining bathroom windows. I had sloped the skylight wall 40 degrees toward the windows which was later drywalled. It made a 200 % difference in the light to those areas. These were on a north/west side and there wasn't much sunshine except for the late afternoon and little evening sun.
I'm long overdue for posting an update on the house.
I thought folks might be interested in the energy performance of the house. So far we average about 750 kWh per month for a family of 3. This number would be lower except that I work in a home office, so the house is almost never completely unoccupied. Also, my son is young enough where we use his electric baseboard heater at night, so our winter electricity usage will probably fall 15-20% when he gets older. Over 90% of our heat is from a low emissions wood stove (which easily heats the entire house for the winter on about 1 cord of wood) and all lighting and appliances are efficient (including the electric waterheater) except for the dishwasher. In the dead of summer we use window units for a few months, but the rest of the year an attic fan is all that is needed. Overall, I'm pleased with the heating/cooling performance of the house. It would be even better if the house wasn't perched on a windy ridge and I hadn't used a few Habitat windows that weren't as insulated as I had originally thought. Also, although the porch provides some shade for the first floor, we don't have any deciduous trees on the South side of the house.
We've made some cosmetic improvements to the house and have done lots of landscaping, so I'll post some new pics in the spring.
Thanks for the update, Demian. ! cord is pretty efficient on the wood.
Yeah, I've been very impressed with the ease of heating this house with a wood stove. In fact, in hindsight, I'd have used a smaller woodstove (ours is a Dutchwest Federal Airtight, large model). A small fire in the morning keeps the house warm all day on a sunny winter day. The only other thing I'd change is to install a powered vent into my son's room and one into the finished portion of the basement during construction. I do plan on adding the basement vent at some point. I'll probably also add some additional thermal mass around the stove.
I'm really inspired by this home! So inspired we actually went out to pick a spot on the land to build. Thank you for sharing!
With the addition of twins, we needed more space for 5. I did not have the flexibility this time to be involved with much other than the design work and a little bit of GCing, so I cannot claim the honorable title of owner-builder for the addition, but I thought other folks on the forum might be interested in the way we expanded our two-story universal. We also did some renovation in the lower floor of the main house. Below is the floor plan and some sequential pictures of the progress I dug up from my phone. I will post some follow-ups when it is completed.
Hello. Can you tell me how difficult it was to modify the plans as received to the smaller length? Is it possible to view your plans to make it easier for me? I need a 20 x 25.