Thursday, January 15, 2009

Compromise, and progress

(Happy Birthday, Mom!)

Today we had a production meeting at 7am with the builder, his project manager, and our architect. We talked about a bunch of things, including the need to raise the windows behind the kitchen banquette (for the seat backs), the fact that the original slab isn't level (but only slightly, and we don't yet know what the impact on the new slab will be), and what we'll use to frame the floor of the porch. Interestingly enough, one sheet of the plans calls for Trex while another leaves it unspecified, and our contract states Trex as an alternative. Neither our architect nor we really care too much as long as it is structurally sound and has water and ice guards. Later, our builder related that they preferred to wood frame it.

There's an unconditioned space below the porch, but my eventual hope is that in a few years we'll close that off, bring in hvac and electrical and possibly be able to finish it. It's a nice little space, but we really can't afford to finish it now, so it'll mostly be used to store lawnmowers, bikes and the lot. Someday it might make a nice little area for Jane's pottery studio perhaps.

Another interesting thing about that space: I wanted to put a concrete ramp in next to the stairs, so we've actually designed a 6' wide entrance. Unfortunately, even though that ramp was approved by the county, it turns out that it's not up to code after all, so we're going to put stairs in across the entire 6 feet and then probably put in a wooden ramp or some such for the few times I need to haul gear up and down. I'm disappointed, but we can work around it.

As mentioned yesterday, we did discuss the drywells for stormwater runoff, but since the county is pretty strict about this, we're going to leave it as designed.

I'm glad that we'll be waterproofing most of the outer foundation. Almost the entire perimeter has been dug around: the entire back of course, the side because of the new entrance footers, and half the front for where the new bay window is going. All that will be waterproofed. The neighbor side and half the front will be left alone, but they're already dry and we'll make sure the new grading will keep it that way.

There was also a question about whether code would require a sprinkler system, but we've learned that our plans will not require it.

One of the things I really want to think about is wiring the house for smart home. I mean, what would be cooler than being able to log into your house and turn off the lights when you're on vacation? I'm not sure we'll be able to afford to put in all the fixtures, but I really want to at least prep the house so that we can do this if we want. Of course, I'll also want to wire the house up for cat-6 so we can hardwire a few rooms to reach areas where wireless sucks. I'm starting now to research all this, but if you have suggestions, please leave a comment with some suggestions!

Oh, and the photo stream is up!


  1. I did a little research on smart home technology @ Their website has much info and good videos. Look up part number 12213p and choose the video links on that page. What I understand about the system is that there is no pre-wiring necessary. So long as the wires have a neutral(white)wire,the devices can be controlled remotely. All your new wiring will have neutral. Should check any wiring that you are not replacing to see if they have a neutral. So it would seem as if nothing has to be done now to enable this technology in the future.

  2. T-Mac, thanks for the links and info. I'll definitely spend some time on smarthome. I think we're getting all new electrical since we essentially gutted the inside. I know we're getting new plumbing, gas, and hvac so I'm pretty sure we're getting all new wiring too. I'll check on that.

  3. This seems to be the work of a giant spider all over the place spreading its web. Though on the second thought, its not so bad after all; its just the mix up of telephone & electrical cables running everywhere & the scene wont be much different with your system if you are running a few spares along. These bundles of china wire constitute the technological infrastructure & if you think of pulling any of these, then you will be most probably bringing down the network.