Where do I begin?  Today there are so many different ideas and options to go with.  If you can narrow down what you need versus what you want, you can eliminate a lot of problems and changes in this process and save some money at the same time.  Pinterest is a great place to find layouts and ideas. We came up with a general size and layout we are hoping for.  This was given to our architect and he is in the process of getting us plans.

When building you will need to get architectural plans, structural engineering plans and roofing trusses designed.  If you can find someone who does architectural and structural you might be able to save a little cash, but we had a referral from a friend to use a company for our plans.  The open concept can help reduce the amount of space you need and the loss of dead space.

Never stop thinking about how to make the home better.  Mostly because this is the time to make changes.  One of the things we are trying to do is reduce the amount of space we are using, reduce monthly utility bills and make life more simple for us all.  The way our property is set up being in the mountains we have to try to utilize the slope to our advantage.  Originally we were going to do crawlspaces under the two sides of the home and both garages were going to be on the main level.  Well because of some brainstorming from Dad (Rick) we were able to add basement space under the main level at little extra cost and move a garage from above ground to under part of the home that was going to be a large unfinished space.  This adds to function and reduces the footprint of our home.  This will open up the main level and create more open space to be enjoyed.  One other huge thing for us since we are in the Energy Efficiency Business is making sure to reduce our usage, but I will talk more about later.


Fall 2017 To Do List

Lots to be done before the snow flies.  The hardest part so far is the “hurry up and wait thing”.  Our plan is to get the following done this year (2017) and then start the foundation in the spring.

Driveway, Septic System, Well, Electrical and something else that I am forgetting at the moment.

1- Driveway-
This consists of applying for the permit, staking of the proposed route, the county has to approve our layout (for incline, access for emergency services and such).  Once this starts we will be able to complete the rudimentary road that is there now.IMG_8976

2- Septic System-
First part of this is design.  We had a gentleman come out that has been doing this for 30+ years.  He measures distance from the well and then inspects for the proper placement on the hill.  He stakes off four corners.  We will have to dig 2 trenches 8′ deep and 12′ long with a slope to walk into in order for him to check the soil (this is a check for water table levels and if there are any other concerns for the leach field).  Once this is done he will provide us with a design for our home.

3- Well-
This has turned out to be a bit of a process and hopefully will end with us having a viable well onsite that we didnt think could be used.  There is an existing well head that was never finally permitted.  We have a company that is going to case it and install a pump and line in it to see if it will work for us and our home.  More to come as we figure things out.

4- Electrical
IREA (Intermountain Rural Electric Association) came out to do an onsite inspection to see where we can bring power onto the site.  This will consist of cutting an opening through the forest 15 feet wide so that an access for poles can be installed.  Now that the onsite inspection is done they are going to engineer a plan of attack to make it happen.

So in the process of writing the above I remembered what I forgot.
Architect, Structural Engineer, Truss Engineer, building permit, tax id, propane and this is all before you even get to the build part.  Wow!!  But for today I will leave you with this at this point, when looking to build a home imagine the result and stay there.  Along the way (very quickly in the process) there will be some major bumps.  But as grandma said “simply adjust”.  So that is what we will do.


Plan on Planning

So this might sound a bit redundant, but it must be done.  If you can plan before talking to an architect you can save some time and money on extra work.

We have spent many hours deciding best ways to orient the home, how big to have rooms, how to plan for energy efficiency, placement of utilities and recently we were able to relocate a garage and possibly save around $20,000 (hopefully).  All because of a little planning ahead.

Having a basic layout, a list of what you want and do not want in your home.  Ceiling heights, kitchens, living rooms, open layout, etc.  I don’t know about you but if I have a notebook and some dividers I can keep my thoughts in order and the project as well.  My notebook is pretty much with me wherever I go at this point. (Oh and a cup of coffee!!)

Planning Notebook


Well we are planning to build a new home and moving from burbs of Denver to the hills of Colorado in what many call the banana belt of Conifer.  This blog is something to share with others who want to see the progress and maybe use some of the knowledge for their own projects.  We are building what many call a “big house”.  It will offer many things shared and each family its own living space.  It will house my wife (Karyn) and I (Seth), my parents (Rick & Carrie), my Sister (Ashlea), brother-in-law (Tyler) and their soon to be baby girl (Name TBD, Coming in February 2018).

This process started in late 2016 and is now slowly coming to its beginning. The whole project is to be completed in the fall of 2017.  Please sign in to see what goes on as the process happens.  I will update as often as possible and look forward to this adventure.

One thing that is helping us out on this endeavor is a little phrase my Grandfather told me my Grandmother always used in life.  She would say when an obstacle comes up in life, “simply adjust”.  Such simple words but so wise to use and apply.  No doubt we will need to use them a lot in this process.