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Old 08-05-2017, 07:38 AM   #61
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I do agree having one built is a pita and does test the patience even in a good marriage.

Bringing coffee and donuts as mentioned above helps allot IMO. Also when each craft completed their task I would buy them beer (not iced down) to take with them for drinking later. I did request them to not drink it on sight for obvious reasons. Living in the south all the contractors did inquire about their Corona.
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Old 08-05-2017, 08:44 AM   #62
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I have suffered through a couple of projects and I worry that much of this good advise will get lost in the blizzard. Here are the things I need to emphasize.
Showers make them all large with multiple heads and a permanent seat
GFI the main panel and make sure you have enough power
On demand water heaters
Heated tile floors in every bathroom
Double sinks too
If you must install doors inside, make them pockets with wood and glass panels
Install many outlets wth integrated USB chargers
Consider 6 inch studs and extra insulation , both exterior and internal to manage sound
Ceiling fans everywhere, no skylights unless they have integrated blinds
Consider a huge compressor for many minisplit heads and remember to drain the water from every head
Design your home security system now, consider bars, exterior lighting, water warnings, remote monitoring - everything is easy now
Design your home to handle an extended outage of electricity and Internet
Design your kitchen for function and style but with a wheelchair in mind

I could go on but it's time for breakfast.
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Old 08-05-2017, 08:47 AM   #63
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I built my home 35 years ago and di everything from the ground up except for the plumbing. I had built about a half dozen before building mine.

There are some great ideas for you but the one thing I did was built mine all on one floor with just one step up and into the house. The other thing is a large bath room and walk in closets.

I saved thousands and thousands of dollars building mine and we were living in our home after 4 month's. I put every minute I had into the home and was a very rewarding experience. I have also built a small cabin at my ranch which was another rewarding and fun venture.

Good luck my friend.
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Old 08-05-2017, 10:48 AM   #64
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We bought a house that was custom built by a building contractor who had 4 children one of whom was a disabled. His family lived in the house for 7 years and then sold it to us. The house was built with features that made it handicapped accessible in all manner and way, including wheelchair pathways/ramps outside (and an entry less swimming pool), 2 MBRs down on the first floor (with one fitted for the handicapped ), push button light switches at wheelchair level, doorways wide enough for accessorized wheelchairs, and an elevator going from the first floor to the second floor which has 3 bedrooms and with own bathrooms, a big bonus room and loft area. The second floor is kid friendly and our grandchildren enjoy time with us. The house is perfect for us to age in place and to have guests stay with us for extended periods; we had intended to have my MIL stay with us as she aged -- unfortunately, she only spent a few months with us in this house. If the OP's house is intended as a forever home, it would be wise to make it an age-in-place home with features that could accommodate home care arrangements.

I'd also look into using steel instead of wood in the framing of the house. Our prior owner, a commercial builder, framed the house (except the roof) with steel. I've been told this is a big advantage and our house would likely withstand hazards and perils better than wood framed homes.
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Old 08-05-2017, 10:49 AM   #65
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I built my home 35 years ago and di everything from the ground up except for the plumbing. I had built about a half dozen before building mine.

There are some great ideas for you but the one thing I did was built mine all on one floor with just one step up and into the house. The other thing is a large bath room and walk in closets.

I saved thousands and thousands of dollars building mine and we were living in our home after 4 month's. I put every minute I had into the home and was a very rewarding experience. I have also built a small cabin at my ranch which was another rewarding and fun venture.

Good luck my friend.
Wow, wish I knew you when this place was getting built. Another poster told me about a professional group that I can hire for my next home. Im definitely going to do that.
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Old 08-06-2017, 01:31 PM   #66
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We built custom last year. We built such that we can age in the house and never plan to move again. Building in MN is quite different than in Florida, however here are some of the things we learned (more at Driven to Net Zero - Home)...

No carpets (a few area rugs).
No wall hung TVs. We learned this from our last house. If the wires ever need to be replaced, or if there is some new cabling in the future, re-wiring can be a pain at minimum and extremely expensive at worst.

Everything below counter height should be drawers. Much easier than bending down and reaching into a cabinet.

Design the roof overhang to shade the windows completely during the summer.

Measure/calculate four times, do it once. A good plan saves a lot of stress and delays.

Delays will happen.

Build for you, not for resale value.

Put a 40A outlet for an electric car
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Old 08-06-2017, 05:40 PM   #67
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Just before the drywall is hung, take pictures of every single wall in every room in the house. This will provide reference to where all the wiring, plumbing, and stud locations are. Make sure you do this on the exterior walls before the insulation is installed. If, in the future additional work has to be done, or a wall has to be opened up, you will know in advance what's behind it.
Excellent idea.

Sometimes walls at this stage can look alike. You can write a sign with big letters naming the wall location (BR#2 East Wall) and tape it to the wall before taking the photo. Easier than trying to label the photos later.
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Old 08-06-2017, 06:02 PM   #68
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Excellent idea.

Sometimes walls at this stage can look alike. You can write a sign with big letters naming the wall location (BR#2 East Wall) and tape it to the wall before taking the photo. Easier than trying to label the photos later.
Good idea. It can also be taken a step further by measuring to the center of the studs from a corner and writing that measurement on each stud with a sharpie. If you ever need to hang something heavy you now know exactly where every single stud is located.

You may want to take into account the half inch of drywall that will be later added from where the measurement started.
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Old 08-06-2017, 06:47 PM   #69
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Great ideas!
We had a gfci receptacle drywalled over.
The pictures we had taken allowed us to find it easily and uncover it with no damage to the wall (other than the receptacle sized hole we wanted to put there).

Without that, I hate to imagine what we would have had to do to get the garage doors working again when the gfci breaker had tripped.
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Old 08-06-2017, 07:06 PM   #70
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Call me crazy. All this talk is making me jones for building a custom home. With all the good ideas, I'm just imagining what I could come up with. If I were only 20 years younger. Sigh!

Love all your ideas.
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Old 08-06-2017, 07:18 PM   #71
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Call me crazy. All this talk is making me jones for building a custom home. With all the good ideas, I'm just imagining what I could come up with. If I were only 20 years younger. Sigh!

Love all your ideas.
The end result is phenomenal. Almost a year later and my wife and I often blurt out how much we love the house.
However, it is a trying, stressful, delay ridden, and expensive project.
We also went with an architect and designer (both of which I was highly sceptical of at the start).

While this was costly, it was a wonderful experience, and we have a house now that will be our last (barring a disaster that wipes the house out). We are healthier and our quality of life has improved.
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Old 08-07-2017, 07:23 AM   #72
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I have built two. Many things learned from the first, used in the construction of the second.

The second worked well with a "cost-plus" arrangement with the builder. He provided me itemized costs for materials and lablor monthly, and I paid him his cost + 15%. This allowed me to go on ebay and craigslist and buy fixtures, cabinets, etc. ---- and just hand them to him for installation. Saved a bunch of money.

Wouldn't hesitate to do it again.

Two specific things come to mind immediately that had the most ROI in terms of hassles and running costs:

1) 2x6 walls with sprayed foam draft prevention inside, and high R-value insulation - this helped everything from rigidity of the house, to utility bills, to reducing exterior noise, to resale. The incremental cost at time of construction is not that high given the benefits (at least not when I built).

2) Lay 3-4" PVC pipes in the walls from lower floors to upper for a future wiring chase, changing you mind, etc. Find a place with access in the back corner of closet or something unobtrusive. Also do the same across the span of the house in the attic rafters for access from one side to the other on an upper floor.
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Old 08-07-2017, 08:20 AM   #73
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Since I could not predict what technological advances are forthcoming or how they will be delivered, I ran plastic conduit from each wall box (TV, wired home network and spares) up into the attic. Also ran conduit from demark area (where all utilities land from the street) into the "beehive" room where everything electronic lands (phone, cable, electric, etc.). I even ran a conduit out of the house to a location where a satellite could be installed. That way I have access to bring whatever the future brings to any location in the house (behind a TV, in the wall, etc.). Also make sure you have easy access to your attic (those pull down ladder are miserable!) and lay plenty of plywood walkways everywhere up there.

Many other excellent suggestions in this thread!
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Old 08-07-2017, 10:16 AM   #74
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Yes, great ideas. Love the idea of writing numbers in studs with a sharpie before photographing!

Some ideas to echo or add:
- Consistent flooring throughout looks nice and makes the space appear bigger. We chose porcelain tile for ease of maintenance, durability, and appearance.
- We painted all walls white except for one accent wall in master BR. Makes our home look very clean, larger and brighter than before.
- We put a custom glass backsplash in the kitchen. Love the uncluttered look and it's easy to clean - no grout! It can be done in any color.
- if you want a fireplace, the linear ones that are rectangular and set higher on the wall than traditional fireplaces look very cool. Ours puts out way more heat than other traditional fireplaces did.
- Years ago we looked at nice homes in FL. One feature I loved was the sliders that "disappear" when fully opened. This really brought the outside in. I would do that for sure.
- Agree that all one level with high ceilings is a great way to go, and also won't reinforcing walls so if you need grab bars in the future, they can easily be added.
- We used either drawers or cabinets with pull-out shelves in all lower kitchen cabinets. Should have done this in master bath too.
- We put a custom spa tub in our master bath, but I wish we had just skipped the tub and put in an extra large shower with massage jets and multiple shower heads. Hardly ever use our spa tub.
- We put LED lighting throughout (live the brightness and "clean" look) and had it wired for remote control in the living room and master BR so we can control it without having to get up. Thankful for this & use it every day.
- Also agree that building a home is a stressful process that will take longer and cost more than you think. But the end result can be worth it if you are patient and willing to go over budget. Good luck!
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Old 08-07-2017, 03:47 PM   #75
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When finishing my basement I took masking tape and taped it to everything important that was going to be covered with drywall. On the tape I wrote measurements from reference points with arrows pointing. For example, for my kitchen sink and laundry room cleanout (PVC drain pipe) I put a piece of tape on it with 48" ---> and then 22" with an arrow pointing down. That indicated that from the wall to the right of it, it is 48 inches and the cleanout is 22 inches up from the ground. I did this EVERYWHERE. I then got my camcorder out and did a full walk through of the basement and captured every measurement and read it out loud on the video. I then copied the video file to my server and also backed it up on an external hard drive.

I did this 5 years ago and it has saved me a lot of headaches twice, since I knew exactly where I needed to cut into the drywall to work on something. It only took a few hours with someone else helping to hold the tape measure but it was totally worth it. If you don't have a way to record video you could just as easily take pictures but maybe use a larger piece of tape and write with a thick, black marker.
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Old 08-07-2017, 06:01 PM   #76
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I designed our home. DW and I knew it was going to be our last home. I designed a two bedroom, two bath guest house attached to the Garage, about 30 ft from the kitchen door. It is a self contained unit with its own AC/heat, and hot water. The main house is essentially a one bedroom home. The extra two bedrooms are somewhat combined and are the TV room and DW's scrap booking room. When the kids come up they have their private residence. Oh, the hallway that connects the two bedrooms sports a small kitchen. i.e. sink, fridge, coffee pot. We were going to put in a toaster and microwave, but the kids said they would never use it.
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Old 08-09-2017, 12:26 AM   #77
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Yes, 4 actually! We are maybe a month away from moving into the LAST (?) one. We've done everything ourselves and still married (31yrs) but it is dang tough. Radiant floors are neat but not in an expansive soil area! One level home! (knees are gone). Most importantly for us was building in the county where permits and inspections are about half those in the city. ( We like rural acreage anyway). Inspectors in our area are past contractors and can take a real dislike to those that are able to build their own. (always be nice!) 20 amp everywhere. Best part is our utility bills would amaze most. Use the best materials for the area you live, meaning we tried very expensive windows, doors but they were horrible for our climate. (9mths winter) Ex. Best vinyl windows are best for our climate but inexpensive. The lot you build is extremely important and placement of home and windows doors, etc. (we have viscous winds). I individually screwed all soffits, facias etc so not to have any bangin with the winds. Contractors would never take the time to do that. Metal roof in our area. We really like log homes. Solid as heck. Barely hear the wind. We have the maintenance down to very easy. Only clear span trusses. (less drywall movement) Everything is new. We know how to fix it as we either built it or installed it. Proper drainage! You'd be amazed by the contractors that don't consider drainage. So much to think about. Takes a long time but worth it when done! Really study the homes in the area you chose to avoid the mistakes they might have or PIA issues!
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