First post: Introduction
After years of dreaming, I am finally almost ready to start building my home.
I have 3 acres of land on the shore of a small, quiet lake in rural Cape Breton. I will be building a one-story home in the woods—my own little paradise, across a small cove from my parents’ house.
I’ve been planning and researching, getting bogged down and discouraged by—at the same time—too much information and too little information. There is an overwhelming amount of information on the Internet about building green, heating and electricity options; flooring, roofing, decking, framing, windows and doors; designing and laying out kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms, living rooms, decks, basements, patios, gardens and yards. And for all of the information provided on these subjects, there wasn’t a lot of advice I could find on how to do things—what decisions to make when; what paperwork, forms and processes to follow; what tests, inspections and consultations need to happen; and a myriad other things to keep in your head throughout the whole process.
There are two things I hope to accomplish with this blog:
- make an online chronicle of the whole building process, from the ground up, for myself, and
- provide as much useful information to anyone who might stumble across this blog so that they have another resource, and hopefully something to help them along their own journey.
If a bit of background information helps, here it is:
- I work for the federal government in eastern Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.
- I play music part-time (less now than I used to), which provides a supplement to my regular income.
- I am single, and am building the home for myself.
- The land I own is located about a half hour outside of Sydney. My long driveway branches off my parents’ driveway, which is maybe a hundred feet up a dirt road off the main paved route.
- Until yesterday, I had an apartment in Sydney. As of today, and until the house is completed, I am living with my parents as a cost-saving measure and to be closer to the new home’s construction.
- I’m not sure if this information is going to be of use later in the blog, but I also wrecked my car on the way to work yesterday morning. I got caught in slush and careened head-first into a guard rail (and was then carried by momentum, swung around, and hit the back end of the car, too). I walked away completely unscathed, and am really, really lucky. I’m pretty sure the car will be written off, though. I’ll find out next week.
- This winter will be used for planning out the construction process, and I’ll be blogging about the whole thing.
- Right now, I aim to start building in March 2013, depending on how well the planning and approvals go over the winter months…and how frozen solid the ground is…and how much snow cover we have…
- The house plans are not finalized yet, but I have a fairly good idea of how it will be laid out. The tentative plan was modified from a much larger home I found on the Internet. I cut out two bedrooms, a bathroom, a formal dining room, a two-car garage, and a porch, and am now left with the basics: kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, living room, a half bath and laundry room. There is a staircase in the living room leading to the basement, which will be left mostly unfinished…for now. Because there is only one bedroom, if I ever start a family, we’ll fix up the basement so there are a few bedrooms down there, and then move back upstairs once the kid(s) are old enough. I don’t know what the final area of the house will be, but I think it’s in the vicinity of 1400 square feet.
- It took about 18 months to get the deed transfer all straightened out; if not for that, I’d probably be settled in the house by now!
- So far, the land has been surveyed, a decent driveway has been put in, most of the brush has been cleared away, the spot where the house will be situated has also been cleared, and the QP2 test (also known as the “pit test”) has been completed. I’m sure I’ll be blogging about all of that later on, too.
I’ll be posting photos and hopefully some video of the process, and detailing the things I’ve done right and the mistakes I’ve made along the way…and I hope there is much more of the former than the latter.
If anyone is reading this, let me know what you’d like to know. Or if you’re reading it long after the house has been built, I hope the blog is useful to you!