Consultants and Vendors


Nancy and I put up the rest of the signage this past weekend.  We know it’s a bit overboard, but it’s a way to thank and give credit to all those people who over last two years have helped make this project a success.

So many companies and individuals have taken the time to work with us on price and getting things just right.  We appreciate it very much.




With the framing nearly complete, the garage has taken shape quickly -- and the lot is getting filled up.  The garage is pretty tall and should provide ample storage for us.

The tall clerestory windows provide some nice natural light while still providing security.  Jerry has ordered the Galvalume siding, so we eagerly await installation.

Doesn’t that flat roof look like a nice place for a rooftop garden?  According to Denver Zoning Code - upper roof decks/gardens towards the back of the lot are not allowed.  Got to wonder at the logic behind some of these zoning rules...

Check out more photos by clicking on the image above and accessing the pop-up sequence.

Plumbing-Mechanical Rough-In


The mechanical and plumbing sub-contractors have been working on the rough-ins.  It’s amazing how much abuse the studs and floor joists can take with all the holes and drilling -- and still perform!

We have specified a number of interior chases (exterior SIPs walls don’t really work for this) which are quickly filling up.  

Foundation is poured!

Benjamin and his crew worked straight through this past weekend on the forms to beat the big cold front and snow storm. It was close - yesterday as they were finishing up, the flurries had started.

I was a little concerned about the cold weather and the curing process, but they have taken the precautions (they mixed in an admixture for cold weather and covered all the forms with tarps), so we shall see when the forms come off...

In commercial projects I’m used to the form system being a metal frame with wood, but for our small residential project, they built it from scratch. Each tattered piece of plywood at a time. The plywood has a really cool patina.

It’s exciting to see all of this coming together so quickly! Yesterday with the cement truck and massive boom on the pumper truck going, it really felt like we are in full speed ahead mode.

Check out the sequence from footings to foundation wall complete in the construction photos here.

Windows & Doors - Loewen it is

Loewen gallery shot

We were interested in finding windows/doors which were high quality and energy efficient, as well as having a modern look with wood interior/exterior clad. Out of all the options we researched and priced over the past year, it came down to Kolbe & Kolbe, and Loewen.  Both of these window manufacturers make an excellent mid to upper grade window, with Loewen perhaps slightly more refined.  Loewen was a few thousand dollars more overall, but we are fairly certain the quality and finish will be worth it.

Loewen comes standard with a nice vertical grain fir interior and to top it off, we got triple pane glass on the big openings!  It will not help much with solar heat gain, but the insulating value with the Heat Smart Plus System 3 (Loewen’s name for triple pane glazing) is much higher than a base double glazed window or door.

It would have been nice to have the big exterior folding or sliding door packs for the back and front patio, but it seems that they are still out of reach for our budget.

Day One



Well we started off with a glitch on the very first day. On small urban lots, you are required to install shoring piers so that the neighboring properties don’t cave in during excavation -- and to keep the workers safe too. However, what was to be a straightforward process suddenly proved otherwise. The boring for the shoring piers had to stop due to extremely sandy soils - too much fine grain loose sand at 17 feet to get it out of the hole (and they need to go down 25 feet). So, a casing type boring rig needs to be used, and it’s going to be a more involved process.

The casing is that big pipe in the photo above. They slide it down with the auger and when they hit the sand, it helps to trap it and keep it moving back up out of the hole. When pouring the concrete if the sand continues to cave in, the casing can be used to hold the sides of the hole up while the concrete is poured in. The casing is then eased out of the hole. This is much more involved in that the concrete truck needs to hang around most of the day to be there for each hole as it’s completed.

Let’s hope Tuesday is a better day.

First Snow


Well, wouldn’t you know it, but a day before the project is supposed to start we get our first snow! We sure hope warmer weather returns so we can get our foundation in...

Job Site Sign


The temp electric is in, the permits are in place, the work is about to begin and now it’s time to put a proper job site sign up. Eyecandy Graphics did a great job printing the sign - hopefully it will hold up over the winter.

Contractor Discussions


We started talking to a few contractors around town, and each had a different take on the project. We explained that although we wanted to build a new house, it would be small by Denver standards (2400 sf), and simple and modern. One mentioned that he didn’t think it’s possible to build a custom home for under $200 a square foot. Another stated that $150 is totally doable. Time will tell.