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October 10, 2007

Ground Breaking and Thanks

First off, I'd like to thank everyone who left comments on my last post. Your remarks were much appreciated, and gave us a lot to think about. If you're curious about which way we went, after a lot of hemming and hawing we decided to go with the fiber cement. It was a difficult decision to make, especially as I'd just finished helping replace some of the cedar siding on my mom's house and the smell alone was almost enough to sway me in that direction. But, we're concerned about the risk of forest fire, as we will be surrounded by trees on three sides, and the area is prone to water shortages and dry summers. While researching fiber cement at a local building supply, the man working there mentioned that several of the homes that survived the severe forest fires that swept through BC two summers ago were spared because of their fiber cement siding. A pretty convincing argument in my books.
While talking to our contractor, we learned that the James Hardie line of products was an option for us, and we decided to go with that instead of Certainteed, as we feel that their shingle siding looks more realistic.
For those of you who were pulling for cedar, all of our trims, decking, and decorative moldings will be made of cedar, so hopefully our house should still have some of that natural warmth.
Concern about the risk of forest fire also led us to change our mind about the Enviroshake roofing shingles. It turns out they only have a Class "C" fire rating, so we tossed around the idea of going back to the steel roof option. Unfortunately, the curved roof over our front entrance is concave, and standing seam steel roofs can only be used on convex curves. Can you see where this is going? You guessed it - we ended up having to go with the product that we were hoping to avoid in the first place - asphalt shingles. The upside is, they have a Class "A" fire rating, and since we opted for the ones that come with a lifetime warranty, we hopefully won't have to deal with replacing them in our lifetime. If we ever build another house, we'll be sure to avoid house plans with curves in the roofline (although that was one of the things that drew us to this particular plan!).

See that lovely mud pit above? We finally have a hole in the ground! This was taken on the day that we went over to the property to spray paint the house's footprint on the ground so the blasters could come in and make some room for the foundation. The house is going to run the length of the rock along the trench that you see on the left, with the back extending over the rock's slope, and the front entrance on the right hand side on the rock. I was initially against blasting to put in a basement, but because of where the house has to go (due to covenants, etc.), the front of the house was going to require a 9 foot foundation wall anyway, so it made sense to blast out a little bit more of the rock to give us a full basement for storage (that way we don't have to build a garage or shed right away). At this point, the blasting is nearly done, and we're hoping that the foundation will start going in over the next few weeks.

We're currently recovering from a lovely Thanksgiving weekend, and we've been happily munching on leftovers every day since Sunday. Saturday was also the last regular farmer's market of the year, so we stocked up on apples, asian pears, cranberries and honey. Luckily, they're planning to do bimonthly winter markets this year, so we didn't have to stockpile quite as much as usual.

I'm not sure how much time I'll have for posting in the coming months, as things are just starting to rev up for us. Our part of the work probably won't begin until around December however, so I should be around for another month or so. I look forward to catching up with all of you again - I've fallen way behind in my blog reading!

Thanks again for the good advice!

9 comments:

Kristi said...

Congratulations breaking ground! I'm green with envy. I would love to have a cellar where I could store fruit and veggies (and everything else). As much as I love my house and yard, the idea of building a house is tempting. We're still fixing up our place after the previous owner's interesting decorating. :-)

Carla said...

It must be such a relief to have made the decision. Considering some of the forest fires that have hit BC, I think safety is a valid concern. I've seen Hardie Plank on a number of houses here, also with cedar trim, and it looks lovely.

dawn said...

It sounds like you made some wise choices. It is such an overwhelming task figuring out the details. Congratulations on starting the ground breaking. I still have work to do with my garden things I harvested, and I am going to a green house next week to pick up some cabbage. I don't plant enough for sauerkraut and sour cabbage. Good luck with all your building starts. Good to have you back even for a bit.

Christy said...

Congrats! I'm glad things are moving along for you.

Tea said...

Congratulations! What a grand adventure you are on.

Cheryl said...

Kristi - A cellar is high on my list of must haves!
It is fun knowing that you're making things exactly how you want them, but it's also very stressful (especially when you can't afford what you actually want!). We keep agonizing over the smallest details because we don't want to regret any of our choices!

Carla - I'm glad that you've seen it and liked it. It's hard to choose these things without ever seeing them in person!

Dawn - I would love to learn to make sauerkraut, our whole family loves it! I'm off to check your blog to see if you're sharing your recipe!

Christy - Thank you!

Tea - Thanks! It's an adventure indeed! :D

farmer, vet and feeder of all animals said...

Good luck Cheryl! I'll be looking forward to occasional pics of the house progress. I know you will be busy---but you'll love it :-)
Like your blog look too.
Monica

Mary said...

Congratulations on the ground-breaking, Cheryl! What an exciting time this must be. And if there was a chance of forest fire - I would have chosen fibre cement, too! Can't wait to watch the progress of your dream house!

Cheryl said...

Monica - Thank you! I'll post updates as often as I can.

Mary - We're maybe a little too paranoid about the risk of forest fire, but better safe than sorry I guess. I'm still pining for cedar shakes though!

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