Back on the Positive Side

Happy Sunday

Spending time working on the home that we live in.  Getting it ready to go on the market.  Spend the morning pulling weeds and getting some much needed yard work done.  I will be glad when I only have one place to keep up.  Even though it will be 7 acres, many of the acres will be pasture and maybe we will have some more livestock to help keep the mowing to a minimum.

Now to the Dream Home.  The plumbing and electrical are being installed.  Also Grassi Refrigeration is installing 2 heat exchangers and I think one heat pump.  That is so out of my realm of expertise, I just let them do their thing.  They are a sub-contractor for S & K Mountain Construction.  The plan is that one unit will supply the heating and cooling to the upstairs and the other will supply the heating and cooling to the main floor.  The duct work will be in the ceiling in the upstairs and in the floor on the main floor.  The duct work is wrapped and insulated.  The house will have insulation in all the walls and in the attic and also under the floor.  I sure hope it makes for a cozy home.  We have a total of 44 windows to let in the light.

The master bath has the tub framed-in, just waiting for the insulation and drywall to be installed then the hydro-tub can go in.

Master Bath Tub Framing
Master Bath Tub Framing

Here is another picture of the Master Bath.  The shower will be a curbless, and sandwiched between two closets.  This has a vaulted ceiling.  Actually the bathroom is larger than the Master Bedroom.  Never gave it too much thought, but who really needs a bathroom that big.  Though it is nice.

Master Bath, Vaulted ceilings.  The shower will be where the ladder is
Master Bath, Vaulted ceilings. The shower will be where the ladder is

We did make the laundry/utility room 4 foot deeper and that is a good thing, as that is where the heat exchanger will be for the main floor.  It is going in quickly.  I have a more complete photo that I will post tomorrow.  Here it is beginning to go in.

First floor furnace goes in.
First floor furnace goes in.

Off of this utility room is a back porch.  Done in redwood, it looks wonderful.  Can’t wait to stain it.  I like it stained redwood.  Which is what I want all the decks and porches to be on the house.  The main back deck has grayed since we put it in 2012, so I need to power wash it and stain it with the redwood stain.  Not fond of the gray patina.  They are also beginning to put in the upper deck which has been waterproofed so that it doesn’t leak onto the below deck.  I believe that will be a porch where we will spend a lot of time.

Porch off the utility room
Porch off the utility room

Tomorrow I will post some updated photos.  These are about 2 weeks old.

I can’t say enough good about the contractor we hired.  S & K Mountain Construction has been wonderful.  Their work is top notch, and they are great to work with.  Gabe their foreman stays right on top of things and he has an awesome memory.  We try not to make many changes as we don’t want to exceed our budget.

See you tomorrow.  Taking this Monday off work to catch up on many of the things I need to get done.  I guess I’ll rest in December 🙂

Annie, the picture taker and work skipper.




Drowning in Flood Insurance

I just want to preface this particular post with, as much as I try to put a positive slant on my posts, because I need to stay positive, in this post you will hear how frustrating some of the hurdles have been and I am neither positive or happy.  But that will end in this post and I will move-on in tomorrow’s post.

If you live in a flood plane anywhere in the United States and have a mortgage, you probably had to purchase flood insurance.  Well we live in a flood plane and have flood insurance on the home we are living in.  Plus the Dream House is also in a flood plane as it is about 500 feet from the home we now live in.  We knew this when we started that project.  We had the acreage and it is in a beautiful town, so we decided that we would build our house so that it would survive in the event of a flood.

We had no idea that that would be tested so soon.  We had to contact a survey company and get the elevation that our new home needed to be built to to withstand a flood, plus comply with FEMA.  That survey cost us almost $2000. at that time.  They put a marker out and that is how we determined the height of our stem wall.  One of the things that we did do at the time of excavation, was to dig down so that the crawl space wouldn’t be so confining.  We dug it down to where the footings needed to be  and built the stem walls about 4 1/2 feet – to the top of the stem wall.  The stem wall was 1 foot above the flood level and then we built the floor on top which added another foot.  This gave us 2 ft above the flood level.

Dream Home - framing the stem walls

Dream Home Stem Wall

Dream Home Stem Wall 2

That stem wall was finished in July/August 1995, we had a flood in February 1996.  We had a false since of security when the levy behind our house broke up stream.  We didn’t anticipate this because we had not lived here the 30 years prior when the last flood hit Waitsburg in in the 60’s.  Although we had the flood, we saw first hand that the stem wall was built well above the flood plane.  It was more than a foot above the water.  The flood did not go over the wall.  The water did pert up inside the foundation as the water table rose.  There were area photos that made it look like an odd shaped swimming pool.  That was a very difficult year.  We had sheep and we were in the middle of lambing.  We lost all our lambs and one Ram.  All our fences were downed, but the home that we lived in did not get any water inside the house.  So we were dry and didn’t have any damage to the home.  It came as high as the top step.  This was February and we lost our electricity for 3 days.

1996 flood - water receding

1996 flood - silt & mud left behind

Our journey in building this home has taken us almost 20 years.  We tried to do everything by the book and how we were supposed to.  In 1999 the flood rules changed.  They no long measured by the top of the stem wall, but by the top of the lowest floor.  They described the lowest floor as the crawl space or basement.  Do you see where I am going with this?  We dug our foundation down, remember?  Though the house was now built, the floors, walls, and roof, it is not considered built until it is finished.

We had the same surveyor come out and check the elevation and issue us a Certificate of Elevation which is when we found that we were no longer in compliance.  We don’t get a break on our flood insurance because we are considered to have a basement (even though we don’t) because it is more that 2 ft down.  Now our insurance (just flood) costs us $2000. a year and rising each year.

That made for a trying week, but that is just the breaks.  I am going to try and find the photos I took (before I had a digital camera) and show you how we dug it down.  On the plus side, the electrical, heating and plumbing contractors love that they can almost stand in the crawl space.  Someone benefits anyway.  No mechanical down there but duct work and plumbing.

Tomorrow’s post will be on the brighter side.

Annie, Treading Water