General > Owner-Builder Projects

Colorado 26X36 - Build has started !

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UK4X4:
So I've posted a few times, asked some questions and bought some plans.

So here's my long and winding intro

The build progress will be limited to contracted friends and hired labor and also our summer vacations where we intend to camp and develop the cabin as we go year to year, so onto the background.

I'm a brit currently living in qatar previously of many other locations ............

during our travels we fell in love with Grand Junction CO when we spent a year working there.

offroading - moab down the road, fishing on grand mesa, tubing the colorado river, hiking single laning on dirt bikes.............this location had it all !

My wife is latino and me being from a place where snow only exists every 20 years, we both also took advantage of the skiing at Powderhorn, its a family midsize resort but with zero lift Q's and 40 mins from town we were hooked.

Luckily here we did'nt really get hit by the global down turn other than I was transfered from a small office to a larger one....

being that we are surrounded by sand and gravel and not a hill in the whole country , we yearned for the clear mountain air and a view of the ski that was'nt tinted yellow by the dust.

Cunningly the internet is set up for global shopping, and as every one should know realtors can't be trusted...............

So I'm the proud owner of 10 acres of useless CO mountainside which I can only walk too, this we found out on arrival in CO where we had planned to start clearing and foundations...........

3 weeks of county offices later I have docs that basicly mean we have access, but will take a few years to fight through the courts, legally I have vehicular access but the owners have left the bulldosed trail to slowly return to woodland.

meanwhile we had three great weeks and we rumaged arround looking at other properties, seemingly fate spun us a deal on a small .5 acre lot in the developement next door to the ski lodge..................

needles to say we spent the build money on the second lot....hearts winning over minds

So the build was going to be a small off-grid cabin, the plot we now have has all the utilities but none of the space, so all the plans just got changed and year set back to boot.

Both plots are covered in very tall weeds commonly called aspens, this story will be about the smaller plot.

Due to the hike only option our three week vacation was a washout, build wise, but i managed to coerce a friend into helping me and a plan was set in motion.

Altitude 8500ft on the snowy northern side of grand mesa means snow comes early, leaves late and has a wet bit in the middle where the run off filters through the land.

So solar design .....mmmm in summer yep but the winter days will be shadowed by the 11,000 ft mountain just behind me..........

The plot is a U shape with a road below and behind on a corner, it has good drainage and the down hill side is 20ft above the road.

So I know you all love pic's so here's the start, we contracted my friends to chop tree's and a contractor to level the center of the plot, it the wife and I a day just to chop through from one side to the other with matchete's and a bow saw, to get the lay of the land.

I estimated that we would not need fill and we were right, however the quantity of the timber once down and the pile of roots was decididly rather large and took 5 truck loads to remove.....at extra cost of course !

By other peoples prices for clearing and excavating I can say that CO is rather more expencive !

anyway enough of the waffling and a few pics !

Looking north into the property from the upper road, basicly it was harvested about 5-10 years back and all the pine removed, the aspens too a liking to the new sunlight and filled the area back with young growth, with logs on the ground bushes and sapling the property could not be walked though without a lot of work.






The day of purchase we hacked our way through from one side to the other with machete's


Seemingly the tall weeds needed some rather large toy's


We left a boundry of new growth on the view side and left the rear and sides with both new and old tree's


The pile of weed roots was larger than thought next to a small human friend


To be continued saving as I go !




Squirl:
Half acre lots generally have restrictions/requirements/ local quasi governments. Does yours?

MountainDon:
Grand Junction was on our list of finalists 25+ years ago too. But it lost out.  Good location though. Some good 4 wheeling around there (in CO) as well.

UK4X4:
The HOA is way easier than the Local government !

the restrictions are mainly on no trailers,and architecturally sticking to mountain designs and letting them know what we are doing

with the snowload you are physically limited to mountain designs!

and frankly why would I want a rancher with stuckpoo....(englishjoke)and and paper and chalk walls when it rains alot and have multiple feet of snow for 6 months a year

So yes went from free and easy into permits up the yin yang.

My first contact with the HOA was chopping down the tree's without their input................well sorry but you can't build the min size without taking out the tree's....

Mind you a few others have cleared 100% and have non mountain type structures .........they look so out of place its a joke

me I like the privacy and the idea to have a house in the mountains is to have trees etc on your lot

even with bears !

Q the bear paw prints on the tree's

To be continued mannana seemingly my uploads failed

UK4X4:
We decided on the entrance being where the plot and the road basicly has the same level, the front has the drop down and the rear has a large drop down so just after the bend was chosen.

being that we are season limited I decided to clear the center of the plot and level, trying to gauge where to build was dificult as you could'nt see anything.

The larger aspens were showing sign's of age with half dead branches so rather than have them fall later we took them out with the machinery at hand, 25ft of new growth was left all the way arround and the leaning aspens in the corner left in and also some at the western side of the property.

The site was levelled , but I still left the natural drainage direction in place.

The area cleared is probably larger than we need, but we'll be planting some pines back in when done to add back to the mountain feel.

Here's some more pic's

Any guesses on which furry animal climbed this tree ? we ate all our caniverous animals in England years ago.....Bear maybe ?


Full size excavator makes easy work of moving the cut down tree's



the cleared area ready for building, they did'nt go down as deep as I thought they would need to to get the grade, I was concidering a basement and then a 1/2 story on top with the first floor clearing the original grade and having a deck over it., but it looks to be only about 4-5 ft at the deepest end..



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