After 6 years of living in our tiny Garage House (if you missed it a couple of weeks ago, here’s the grand tour), we decided to begin construction on a new, larger home on our acreage – “Our DIY House”. We broke ground during the first week in August of 2012, and now we are finally at the drywall stage. Hooray!
It’s been a process, let me tell you.
We have done almost everything ourselves (except for some framing and the drywall). By “ourselves”, I mostly mean my wonderfully talented hubby, Sean. My dearest husband is the general contractor, he dug the hole with a bobcat, he stacked the ICF, he smoothed the cement, he did the electrical, plumbing and heating, he installed the windows… etc, etc.
(Here’s the hole that started it all):
I am very blessed to have such an able-bodied hubs who is an electrician by trade and owns a spray foam company.
Without going into too many of the terribly boring details of the actual construction of our home, here are some of the more interesting notes on the construction phase:
I have always loved “foursquare” style heritage houses, and we were able to design our home to look like a little heritage foursquare house (like the ones we see all over our Albertan prairie landscape). The fact that this house had a simple footprint also made my husband happy. I’ve always wanted a heritage foursquare and he’s always wanted to build – this was our “meet in the middle” solution.
Here’s what foursquares look like. Yes, they are just what you pictured: a pretty little square house.
- We purchased and had modified this house plan from Cool House Plans – they were fantastic to work with, and they were able to make the few changes we wanted done in a snap for a reasonable price.
- The foundation was built with ICF for its ease to work with, it’s great insulation qualities, and for its cost efficiency.
- We spray foam insulated our entire home to help with energy efficiency – we don’t want to be stuck with massive heating bills once we’re in!
- We’re in the midst of installing an in-floor heating system with a boiler and also splurged on a large, real wood fireplace. We hope both will also help with the ol’ heating bills.
- Hubby is “over-wiring” the home because he has the skill and wire isn’t that expensive. Later, when we have the funds, we can add in some little extras that might be nice (like a whole home sound system and more TV’s).
Now that we are having the drywall put in, we are having to modify some of our finishing choices so that we can stay on our (very tight) budget. Everything I’ve heard about house building is absolutely true: it WILL cost you more than you think and take you longer than planned!
What I am the most excited about is getting my hands dirty in the finishing stage of our home. With the help of my family, we’re going to continue our crazy DIY house building journey and install all of the finishes ourselves! The finishes will be budget-friendly, but we want them to have the heritage charm that this house conveys.
I’ll share with you some of our plans and how-to’s along the way, and I truly hope (by the grace of God and with some very hard work) that we’ll be in this place very soon.
Meanwhile, here’s a mini-tour of the new place. We absolutely love the floor plan and we think it will work quite well with our busy family & home business lifestyle.
If you’re interested in the progress of the house in real time, I’m always excitedly posting things on Instagram as soon as each phase is complete: http://instagram.com/thediymommy
Fellow house builder survivors: please comment below and say hello! Did you go crazy at the drywall stage (like I feel I’m going right this very minute)?
This post is part of my “Our DIY House” series where I’ll share with you my most exciting DIY ever – building a country house from the foundation up with my talented hubby! We’re crazy, we’re creative, we’re on a limited budget and we’re planning on having it finished in the Spring of 2013.