The House (finally)

Well the wheels are finally in motion as far as building our house goes. We’ve been dickering over price for the past couple of weeks, but we finally came to an agreement and have signed a contract, so we’re committed now! After feeling like we’ve been spinning our wheels for the past month or so, this is a nice change.
We’re using a local prefab company to build the house, as it can take up to two years to get a contractor in the area where we’re going to be building, and this company is open to prefabricating any house plan that you bring to them. They will ship the house to the lot in panels and put it together over the course of a couple of weeks. This will get us to “lock up”, which includes doors, windows, roof, siding, and decks installed – then work begins on the inside. The delivery slot that they’ve got us booked for is the end of September, which seems like a long way away, but considering the amount of things we’ve got to organize between now and then, I’m sure it will fly by.

So now we’ve set about collecting the things that we’ll need for finishing the inside of the house. We’re hoping to use as many recycled and low cost items as possible, so I’ve been scouring Freecycle and Craigslist like crazy. We were thrilled to find these two solid birch vanities which were being sold off by a cabinet company that was closing up shop. They were display models, so they’ve each got a few minor dings, but I think they’re lovely and they only cost us $50 each (including countertops)!

If there’s anybody out there who can give us advice on the kind of windows to choose for our house, I’d really appreciate it. Vinyl windows are the standard option for our package, but I hate the idea of them. Our costs are already spiralling out of control, and we’d like to trim where possible. My concern (aside from the fact that they’re made of toxic PVC) is that vinyl is relatively new and its longevity hasn’t been proven – will it discolor, become brittle, or warp? We can upgrade to wood for about 20% more, and metal clad (metal on the outside with wood on the inside) will add 30-40% to our window budget. We’re going with low E argon filled windows for sure, but I’m agonizing over this material decision.

On another note, the weather has warmed up and summer finally seems to be making an appearance after all.

13 thoughts on “The House (finally)”

  • Hi Cheryl. You are the BEST at finding great bargains! Nice that you are on a roll for the house now. Congratulations. We’re thinking of coming up your way next summer – finally. Reading about Lummi Island in the current Gourmet sparked the interest yet again!

  • Congratulations on your house building start. Wonderful deals you got and great idea to build the way you are. Our house was here when we bought, but much of it was built on recycled items and skill and sweat equity. Glad your weather is nicer too.

  • Hi Cheryl,
    Of the windows that we did buy (several are salvaged), we went with aluminum. We didn’t want wood on the exterior because of the serious UV damage it gets, and vinyl is also succeptible to UV in addition to the offgassing. Also, we liked the idea that when it’s all over the aluminum can be recycled.

    Congratulations on starting the process!

  • You always find the best things! Since you plan on living here forever (I think) I’d go with the best quality for the windows. I’m with you on the vinyl window thing, totally toxic and they just don’t seem solid to me.

    So excited that it’s coming together for you.

  • congrats! I know that we are looking at wood framed windows to replace our vinyl ones with because you can really feel the heat leak in the winter! We are restoring a big house though and it iwll be forever before we can afford them. >:(

  • Hello

    I’ve been reading your blog for a while now and I don’t think I’ve commented before. Anyhow, I just wanted to let you know I’ve written something about you in me blog.

    Good luck with the move. : )

  • How very exciting! I love the vanities. The wood looks lovely. I was just tagged with that eight meme thingy you did awhile back. I’ve turned it into a bit of a game if you feel like playing.

  • Greetings once again.

    I can’t wait to hear more about the house procedure.

    As for Craigslist, I’m excited to finally have one a bit closer to where I live. I’ve been frantically looking for a car on it myself.

  • Lu – Lummi Island sounds wonderful! Will you be venturing across the border at all?

    Dawn – How interesting that your house was built that way as well. I hope we can make ours nice enough that someone else would be happy to live there!

    Steffi – Thanks!

    Jenny – Thank you for sharing your insight! I don’t know if the UV would be as much of an issue for us up here as it would be where you are, but I really want to avoid the offgassing that goes along with vinyl. Your advice spurred me to do a bit more research and we are now leaning toward the windows that have aluminum on the outside and wood on the inside, though that is the far more expensive option.

    Chelee – That’s exactly how we’re looking at it, but we’re afraid of doing that with every decision and not being able to afford to keep it! πŸ˜€

    Marye – Your vinyl ones are leaking heat?! Everyone keeps telling me how efficient they are -that sure helps with our decision!

    Rhonda Jean – Thank you so much, I was very touched by your nice comments!

    Carla – Still chuckling over #5!

    Burdock Boy – Nice to see you back – good luck with your car search!

    Soundhunter – Thanks for taking the time to say hi! I love Pender Island!

  • Hey Cheryl!
    I haven’t “chatted” with you in a while. Hope all is well with your family—I have fallen behind on blog reading (and posting).
    Here’s my comment on windows. We have never had vinyl—but my mother does. She likes them so far (but I agree with you on the issues of them).
    We have had all aluminum and we have had all wood. However—we now have wood with aluminum cladding on the outside. Some have E in the middle and some are tinted also (west facing heat build up here is a booger).
    I completely understand cost however you can NEVER go wrong investing in good windows. The wood has been the best for us so far (the cladding makes them no care for the outside). Very heat/cold and weather efficient. Remember: paint changes, carpets come and go—but the shell of your house is forever, or almost anyways, and much more expensive to change or fix. Spend your money wisely—good windows are an amazing investment. I wouldn’t harp so much about it if I hadn’t noticed a huge (HUGE) differences in our utilities every time we have gotten rid of old double pane aluminum ones and put in better double pane wood. This is our first time with E or tinting—which I really also like–and helped on the west side a great deal. We left it off on the south side for solar gain.

    Anyways—my two cents. Cheap advice πŸ™‚

  • Monica – It’s great to hear that the low E/metal clad windows are a good investment!
    I’m planning to leave the low E coating off of the south facing French doors to allow for solar gain, although we get so little sun in the winter that I sometimes wonder if it’s worthwhile.
    Thank you!

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