Digital Chum - Virtual fish guts and other nonsense

December, 2014:

Virtual First-Floor Walkthrough

I recreated (and I use that term loosely) the real architect’s plans for the first floor living area of our house-to-be in Chief Architect’s Home Designer Suite 2015. I got most of the dimensions correct (more or less) which is all I wanted to do initially so I could try out some room layouts and see what worked and what didn’t. The software lets me create a 3D Virtual Walkthrough of the plans, so… that’s fun! Once I got the first floor layout done, I threw in some furniture and kitchen cabinets and created the walkthrough.

The finishes are not correct and some features are wonky since I didn’t actually “build” the house in the software. I just created rooms. So as far as the software knows, the house is a one-story structure that is floating roughly five feet over a lush meadow… which also means the stairs up and down can go nowhere… and the ceilings aren’t correct in some areas. Regardless of that, it’s an interesting (to me) glimpse of what the inside of the house will resemble.

A delay… sort of.

We got an official excavation timeframe from our builder. It’s not “NOW,” so we’re a little disappointed, but it’s for the best. With the holiday weeks coming up, it wouldn’t make sense to do all the excavation and then have big holes sitting empty, freezing, and/or filling up with rain and snow waiting to be filled with concrete after everyone is done with their eggnog. So our breaking ground timeframe will be the first or second week in January. This time, however, it’s an official timeframe from the builder, not one of our wishful or speculative timeframes.

And that’s really only about two and a half or three weeks away. After planning for six months, I think we can wait another couple weeks.

We don’t want to, but we can.

Ready to dig…

This morning, we closed on our construction loan. That means that we’re ready to dig. Well, at least I’m ready to dig. The excavator might be ready in a couple days.

Ready to dig!

What the permit means…

So this is hanging in our window now.

Our building permit

In case that doesn’t show up well on your monitor, the project description says, "Full home remodel, 2 additions, Deck, Detached Garage + Enlarge Driveway." To quote George Carlin (from a really obscure episode of his short-lived television show), "That seems like a lot."

And it is. So what follows is a visual depiction of the changes that are about to occur.

This picture…

Our current house

…is our house as it was on Thanksgiving morning (it’s the same now, too, but without the snow). It’s a little three-bedroom rancher with a two-car garage and a walk-out basement (the door’s around back). There’s some attic space, but it’s the kind where you have to crouch down and walk like a duck to avoid impaling your head on the points of old roofing nails.

Here’s the computer rendering from the architect of what our house will look like when we’re done. It’s moderately close to the same angle as the above picture.

Our future house

You can’t see the deck on the back or the detached garage (which will be off to the left), but you can pretty easily see the "full home remodel" and the two additions and the enlarged driveway. If the angles were a bit closer in the pictures, I could overlay the current house onto the rendering, but you can use your imagination to see that the current house fits snugly right in the center of the rendering. The front doors would align.

So… tick-tock. We’re counting the days to ground-breaking day which should be about the middle of next week. From that point on, we’ll be surrounded by mud for the foreseeable future. Hooray. Mud.

No, really. Hooray, mud!

The Moving Saga

The old place

Way back in February of this year (2014, for those of you reading this in the distant future), Lori had started thinking that she might like to move somewhere with a bit more space than what we currently had. A little more land. A little more storage. Just a little more room in general. She had had to commandeer my library for a Pampered Chef work room and our two-car garage hadn’t been able to house two cars for over fifteen years. With the kayaks, it barely contained her little Scion xB, anymore.

So we went off house shopping. We hadn’t really made a decision to move, but it couldn’t hurt to see what was out there, right? We looked at a nice nine-acre farm with a pond and a bank barn, an eight-acre property with a very stately house (from the outside), and a lot of smaller properties with nice houses that just weren’t… right.

We finally made the decision to actually make the move because we really needed to have a contract on our house before anyone would take an offer on a house we wanted to buy. So we got our house all staged for sale and put it on the market in May. Thanks to exceptionally good advice from our real estate agent (thanks Pat Manalli!) and Lori’s hard work getting the house ready for showings, we got a full-price offer in two weeks. The offer we accepted had a June 20th closing date… and we had nowhere to go.

The new place We put offers in on the two multi-acre properties I mentioned earlier, but we got out-bid on one and rejected on the other. In the mean time, Lori had noticed that this property (where we are now) was for sale and both of us had, for years, driven by it and made comments about how nice it was. It’s a nice corner lot on a back road with about an acre and a quarter. Woods on one side and nice neighbors (behind a tree line) on the other help make it a great location. The only problem was that it was a tiny ranch-style house, which didn’t exactly match up with our plan to upsize our living arrangements.

However, Lori went to the township building and asked whether the house could be expanded. With the help of the township guy, she found that there was a ton of expansion potential, so we got our agent to schedule a viewing the same day, went through the place, and decided to make an offer then and there… with a June 20th closing date (which was now only three weeks away!). We expected to get a good response on our full-price offer, but rejected on the exceptionally close closing date. To our surprise, the offer got accepted on both counts. We had somewhere to move!

Before we even moved out of our old house, we met with a builder (Co-Del Construction) to discuss expansion plans and that started the whole remodeling ball rolling. Now, finally, we’ve got finalized plans, finalized financing, and finalized building contracts. We should be starting our mega-project in less than a week and it will take about nine or ten months to complete… while we’re still living here.

Let the chaos begin!