Friday, February 25, 2005

Site Clearing

Javier had his folks over on Tuesday to clear the site. They did a really good job. In addition to trimming the trees around the building site, they cut the larger tree trimmings into firewood and stacked it. They also treated each cut on the trees to prevent oak wilt. They cleaned out the brush from under the oak grove and in a few other major areas. Fortunately, they did not clear out the brush everywhere. We like enough brush to shield us from the street and from the ranch behind us. It is beautiful and will give us a private yet beautiful home site. Good job, Javier!

By the way, if you are looking for someone to do this sort of job and want to make sure you find someone who will do a good job at a fair price, call Javier S. Holguin's "Yard Mowing Service" at 830-997-4678. Tell him Deb sent you.

Deb &:)

Kitchen Cabinets

I went to San Antonio on Monday afternoon to look at kitchen cabinets. There was not much that I liked at the first place but I did find a style and quality that I liked at the second store. The style which I like best uses a beaded board in the door inset. It is maple with a bronze finish. Now I am thinking that I will need to change the color of the countertop.

The color we had originally chosen was a light color with little tiny specks of color. From a distance it might look almost like a solid color. This color cabinet is so rich looking that I am thinking that only a darker color will tie the cabinets and the flooring toether.

Of course, all will depend upon the cost estimate for the cabinets. I know that I have chosen cabinets which will be more expensive than the basic but these will like furniture and since they can be seen from both living room and dining room, it does not make sense to buy cabinets which will not wear well. We'll see.

Deb &:)

The Plans

We chose a 2,080 sq. ft. floor plan. Three Bedrooms, two baths. Basic plan. Then we tweaked. And we tweaked. And we tweaked. We are down to the fine adjustments now. The final plan is not much different from the original but much more workable for us. The major alterations from the original plan include:

--increased size of master bedroom closet;
--walk-in shower in the master bath;
--making the two guest bedrooms the same size and increasing the size of the closets in both of those rooms. This also increase the size of the hall closet and decreases the size of the guest bath by just a little;
--deleting the closet in the guest bathroom and moving the water heater for that bathroom into a built-in utility closet at the head of the bathtub. This increases the amount of available cupboard space in the kitchen;
--pedestal sink and toilet in the guest bath exchange locations;
--extending the kitchen counter for increased storage and counter space;
--adding a wall and closet to define the dining room and entry way;
--adding a 8' x 28' front porch and a 10' x 20' screened in rear porch

There are other minor changes, mostly to the electric. These amount to
--adding telephone, tv and additional plugs to anticipated computer and television locations;
--extra lighting in the bathrooms and living room;
--the addition of ceiling fans to the back porch;
--additional exterior lighting.

We will rock the exterior with native rock and use stucco under the porches. The floors will be finished concrete tile.

Here is the floor plan:
Floor Plan
Here are the additional Electrical Requirments:
With Additional Electrical

And now the paperwork part begins....more on banks and loans later.

Deb &:)

Getting Started

After much research, we have decided to build our retirement home in Federicksburg, Texas. We wanted a design which is as energy efficient as we can afford. Regrettably, passive solar design, even in central to south Texas, is still not affordable or understood well by most builders. In fact, it is still so "trendy" that if you mention it, the prices start going up immediately. Escpecially if you are wanting to build in an area where the building industry is fairly healthy and the builders do not need to take on special projects in order to make a living. We did, however, find another option: Real People Homes.

This company has developed a method for building which is supposed to reduce the construction costs and provide an energy efficient home. Framing is steel, insulation is styrofoam and all window and door openings, plumbing and electrical runs are built into the walls at the factory. The walls are then shipped to the site and erected on the foundation. Finishing is is generally stucco. This method of building is supposed to yeild higher R-factors than standard construction and allow for construction times which are one quarter of normal. So we decided on a Real People Home.

Deb &:)