Well the wheels are finally in motion as far as building our house goes. We've been dickering over price for the past couple of weeks, but we finally came to an agreement and have signed a contract, so we're committed now! After feeling like we've been spinning our wheels for the past month or so, this is a nice change.
We're using a local prefab company to build the house, as it can take up to two years to get a contractor in the area where we're going to be building, and this company is open to prefabricating any house plan that you bring to them. They will ship the house to the lot in panels and put it together over the course of a couple of weeks. This will get us to "lock up", which includes doors, windows, roof, siding, and decks installed - then work begins on the inside. The delivery slot that they've got us booked for is the end of September, which seems like a long way away, but considering the amount of things we've got to organize between now and then, I'm sure it will fly by.
So now we've set about collecting the things that we'll need for finishing the inside of the house. We're hoping to use as many recycled and low cost items as possible, so I've been scouring Freecycle and Craigslist like crazy. We were thrilled to find these two solid birch vanities which were being sold off by a cabinet company that was closing up shop. They were display models, so they've each got a few minor dings, but I think they're lovely and they only cost us $50 each (including countertops)!
If there's anybody out there who can give us advice on the kind of windows to choose for our house, I'd really appreciate it. Vinyl windows are the standard option for our package, but I hate the idea of them. Our costs are already spiralling out of control, and we'd like to trim where possible. My concern (aside from the fact that they're made of toxic PVC) is that vinyl is relatively new and its longevity hasn't been proven - will it discolor, become brittle, or warp? We can upgrade to wood for about 20% more, and metal clad (metal on the outside with wood on the inside) will add 30-40% to our window budget. We're going with low E argon filled windows for sure, but I'm agonizing over this material decision.
On another note, the weather has warmed up and summer finally seems to be making an appearance after all.