Our latest Little Diamond is coming together nicely, getting some final finishing touches (by the team at Island Carpentry) as it gets comfortable on its new site on the Kennebec River. The homeowners, Mike and Pattee, have been so excited to see their dream come together, so we asked if they might answer some questions, and share some reflections on their process to date (and perhaps a dose or two of that contagious, much-needed-right-now enthusiasm!).
1. Have you built a home before and if so, can you relay some of the similarities/differences you've encountered?
P+M: We have not designed nor built a new house, but have rebuilt 3 previous older homes.
The biggest difference is removing the old prior to starting. That in itself requires a significant amount of labor. In new construction, you start from the beginning with no surprises.
One also has the opportunity to design the structure to match exactly how you want to live, unlike old construction were one has to work around what is already there.
2. Looking back at your design process, was there anything you may have done differently?
P+M: Actually the design process was a great experience for us due to the expertise of the people we worked with.
In our case, Audrey and Jessica, who both brought many helpful ideas and suggestions to help us when deciding the best way to approach the myriad of choices involved in designing a home. We felt they listened to what was important to us during the design process and helped guide us to make informed decisions to meet our needs.
Trust me, we all worked hard at getting it perfect! We picked the Little Diamond design and truly made it our own with their guidance.
3. What, if anything, surprised you during the set?
P+M: Well Mike will answer this, (I unfortunately was out of town and did not witness it personally, which was a great disappointment...but did look at videos later.)
A group of friends gathered for set day and were all blown away by how the modular units are set onto the foundation and then are UNFOLDED before your eyes. We were not expecting that!!
Almost an instant house before you!!
4. Because you didn't get to visit the factory during construction, was there anything that you did not expect?
P+M: It would have been informative to visit the factory, however it did not make a difference to us in the end.
In some ways it was nice to be surprised during the set. Especially the hinged and unfolding parts.
5. Now that you're in the Onsite Construction Phase, is there anything you'd like to share with others?
P+M: First of all we must say that we call our project, ”Pandemic home building”. And even with its challenges and the fact that we built in the winter, not the easiest time to build...
We cannot say enough about how excited and happy we are to have made the decision to build a Bright Built Home. It is everything we have been dreaming of since we were first were introduced to the idea.
Finding land took time, but once the land was found and purchased, we started our plan to build.
We now know after seeing the house in its place and as we witness it's construction, we made a wise, informed decision that we will be happy with for the remainder of our days.
The reason we chose to build a Bright Built Home is our belief that each individual needs to choose how best they can reduce their contribution to green house gases.
6. In closing, do you have any words of advice for other clients?
P+M: We are ecstatic about our new home, so if you are considering it and have any doubts, JUST DO IT!
When we decided to down size, we first looked to purchase land. When that was not proving successful we looked at other homes to buy. Our search just kept bringing us back to another house that needed to be rebuilt. Having done that, we waited patiently for a parcel of land.
We learned a lot about patience, and in the end it payed off because we are now building the home of our dreams for about the same cost of purchasing and rebuilding an existing structure. The worksheet process and picking out the detail items was the most difficult. You just have to push through it, do your homework and you will succeed.
One of the things we were told by Jessica from the beginning, is that the process goes faster and easier if we do not keep changing our minds. This was very true, so we tried to make decisions with careful thought and only changed the design/hardware/systems when we knew it would not meet our expectations.
Having a great building contractor with a great team of experienced workers is also vital to the project. We chose and were fortunate to have Mike White [Island Carpentry] take on our project; he has decades of experience in green building.
Pandemic home building adds challenges, so we have all been working together to make this happen.
We cannot wait to move into our new home!!