Hi ho, fellow bloggers, it's your long lost dr. fly killa. I've finally gotten some time to myself to blog a bit. My "free" time (i.e. the time not spent changing diapers, feeding Preston and hubby, wiping spaghetti off the floor and Preston, preparing for church responsibilities) has been consumed with acting as the co-general contractor for the home we're building.
Basically, we paid a fee to a consulting company called the Owner-Builder Network (OBN), and they gave us handbook for building a house, a list of contractors, and told us to go for it. Now I know absolutely nothing about construction or carpentry—I can barely hammer a nail in straight—so I thought there’s no way that I can do this. My husband has a bit more experience since he spent a summer building cabinets and has repaired or built many household items as part of his husbandly duties, but still he’s never done anything this big before. He found out about OBN at a home show and was so excited about building the house of his dreams that there was no way I could rain on his parade. Ever since we’ve been married and we started out in a tiny apartment, he’s been working on THE PERFECT FLOORPLAN. So now he has the chance to see his dream home take shape. Personally, it was a little too soon for me to be jumping into this project. I mean, Preston is our first child and I want to make sure I don’t scar him for life—joke! Geez, I hope no CPS (child protective services) workers are reading this. But we definitely need more space now, and when we add a brother or sister in the not too distant future.
So our OBN consultant Rick and my dear hubby convinced me that yes, we could do this thing and we’d only spend about 10 hours a week working on the house. Hah, hah, hah! What Rick forgot to tell us was that 10 hour thing only applies when everything goes as planned AND building materials don’t get stolen AND you actually know what you are doing AND you don’t have a small child that needs your constant attention. AND it also assumes that you like to call up lots and lots of people every day—remember that introvert thing? I have to either be so tired that I’m too groggy (and therefore incoherent) to be nervous or I have to psyche myself up before I make calls.
“All right, dr. fly killa. You are a potential customer. You have purchasing power. They want your business, so don’t worry about feeling like an idiot when they ask you technical questions like if you know what the pitch of the roof is. Come on, just do it! You may not know anything about construction, but you have a Ph.D. for goodness sakes! Too bad you didn’t pay attention when your dad was building a house while you were in college though.”
But seriously folks, I am learning a lot and we’ll eventually have a bigger and better house—for me to clean…hmmmm. No really, I know about soffetts and angle iron and R-values--all sorts of house construction-y stuff.
I think OBN is a good way to go if you have time to build the house yourself. You can build your house exactly the way you want it and pay less money than hiring a general contractor. Plus you know exactly what is going into your house so you can make sure the quality is high. General contractors tend to go with the cheapest stuff, not necessarily the highest quality. Exhibit A is our current too small HVAC system that lasted about 4 years before we had to start repairing it every summer. Anyway, I would recommend OBN if the husband or wife can work from home. Also, if you have kids it would probably be best if they are in school because I’ve had to do a lot of running around—meeting contractors at the building site, visiting prospective contractors, getting samples of brick, tile, paint, etc. It’s also helpful if you have a good idea of how you want your house to look. There are so many choices out there! Keep a folder of home decorating ideas that you like, swatches of fabric, or samples of paint colors.
Anyway, the framing of our house is almost done and then the brick goes up. I hope things start going faster. We’ll probably be moved into our house by March. Until then, I’ll post when I can.