A Pictorial of the house that #dandf built

For most people, investing in their home is the biggest investment and most important decision they’ll ever make. In my time, I’ve bought five houses before, but never imagined being able to build one. In US terms we are building a production home.

We chose the lot, in fact, we switched lot’s at the time of signing. We chose a floor plan and construction style, and again changed plans between two ultra-modern, single story, contemporary designs.

We were able to customize the plan in a number of ways; we chose the entire finish of the home; and we were even successful in getting the “designer” chosen external color palette changed. Feel free to watch as our home appears over the next 5-6 months and some of the changes we make to it after completion.

Each of the pictures has a full description, and you can view the pictures in slideshow mode by clicking on any of them. Feel free to add comments or ask questions and we’ll do our best to respond. #dandf

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We get asked a lot, why #dandf?

Snow and Solar

One of the things I completely overlooked, was easy access to the roof. Having put a 9.5Kw solar system on the roof, consisting of 29-panels, when you get 12-inches of snow overnight, the next day or longer the solar just doesn’t work.

On traditional pitched roof houses, as the sun shines down on the snow, and the panels start to get warm, the snow slides off the panels. It will take a couple of days, but it gets there mostly due to the much more aggressive angle of the roof.

Given our panels are only pitched at about 5-degrees off the roof, the snow really doesn’t slide off. You have to wait for it to actually melt, or get up on the roof and completely, and carefully remove the snow from the panels.

The 2nd problem is, given you can use anything abrasive on the panels, if you just pile up the snow at the edge of each panel and it freezes, if it snows again before the first lot of snow has completely melted, you’ll have nowhere to move the new snow.

So this was the scene last Saturday after a couple of hours work.

Pretty much as soon as I started to get the snow cleared, the inverters started cranking out electric. Another reason I need access to the panels, at least for the next couple of years is there is construction going on across the street, and next month they’ll be starting construction on a 6-plex townhome block on the lot nextdoor. Assuming everything goes ahead, Markel will be building out Block-11 in 2017-2018, which means construction probably won’t end until September 2018.

Given we live in a dry area, with little rain. Keeping the construction dust off the panels by carefully washing them is important.

1. Need to look at incorporating a set of steps in the patio for easy acces.

2. Need to find a good solution for actually clearing the snow from the panels.

Almost there…

Work continues apace, while most of the work is inside, including fitting the appliances, lights, doors, work surfaces etc. the outside is starting to get tidied up. Everything is looking great. The look of the house will change significantly when  the add the privacy fences go up either side, a well as tidying up the front.

Kate was able to take a couple of short videos, which you can see below. We also received a set of pictures from Denise at Markel Homes. As always, click on any picture to view in slideshow mode.

The first video shows the great room in the basement, as well as one of the bedrooms and the basement bathroom. If you click on the YouTube logo, you can watch in fullscreen.

The second video shows the mechanical room in the basement, Kate filmed it to answer some questions I had.

Why #dandf?

DandF revealedWe get asked a lot… I’ve flown 3-million miles with American Airlines. Other AA flyers will know that the first class on domestic routes generally has two seats on either side.

On the right as you board are the A/C seats, and on the left d/f. Kate an I have already had some great trips, I prefer to book AA.

Tomorrow we are heading to San Francisco to Jocelyn and Kevins Chinese wedding celebration, from Phoenix to SFO we are in seats 1D and 1F.

Another #adventuresofdandf #dandf



We visited the house on December 22nd to check out a few things. The construction team continue to make great progress. All the floors that will have tiles, now do; the guys were there doing to outdoor stonework, even though it was only a few degrees above freezing; and the master bath was having the shower tile done.

It was hard to get good pictures due to the lack of natural or indoor lighting, but the following gives some idea. We also found our first problem, in the heat return in the master bedroom is positioned in the middle of the only wall that can take a large chest of drawers aka dresser. So that will have to be moved. We also decided a much darker shade was needed for the blinds in the master bedroom.

All in all a very worthwhile visit. Happy Christmas, 6-weeks and counting. As always, click on any picture to see fullscreen.

Exterior and Wiring

The house is right on schedule, so much so that my time to update #thedaventuresofdandf has been limited and I’m behind.

The outside of the house itself is pretty much complete, painting will happen later. There is patio to be poured and fences as well, but apart from stone finish at the front of the house, it’s done. Interior the wiring is done, including networking and the speaker wiring. The dry wall is also done, and at least as of yesterday most of the cabinets are in and the painters were working on the walls. Photo’s here are of the former, I’ll come back to the internal finish later.

We did the pre-framing walkthrough via Skype; since then we’ve done a second video tour, this time via Google Hangouts. The latter was more reliable and produced better quality video.


Walls, Windows and Walkthrough

Progress is happening quickly. The walls are finished, and so is most of the framing. The windows went from being stacked in the garage to being installed.

We had two official walkthroughs last week. One on Monday(10/19) with the low voltage guy to agree where to put all the networking ports and the speaker cables. The second to check the framing and windows.

In this first video, taken from the hallway shows the master bedroom and bathroom along with the closet; the second shows a panorama of the house, taken from the kitchen area.

The second walkthrough with the construction supervisor it had rained heavily and the floors both on the ground floor and basement were wet. However, they’d gone from having the windows stacked in the garage, to almost all installed.

Finally, with just a couple of the doors left to install, on Sunday 10/25, the insulation, siding and venting hardware had started to arrive. We are hoping with a dry week, the taping, insulation for the roof will get done and then the house will be water tight, which will be a major step.

Floor and framing

With the concrete foundation done by September 15th, we wondered how long it would be before the framing was started?

We didn’t have to wait long. Before the framing started, the rebar was laid and the garage floor concreted.The rebar was laid by the 29th, and the concrete the next day. This was accompanied by the drainage and window wells and then the remainder of the hole filled in.

The floor and first wall were installed by the time we visited on October 4th. By October 13th the exterior walls were complete, and as far as Kate could see from the outside, the roof was on.

Foundation and basement walls

The dig out was completed during the week ending September 4th. By the 12th the “forms” were going in that marked out the shape of the building and the internal support walls.

It is surprising how quickly they went up, being metal though it was simply assembly, and the great thing is they were completely re-usable after being washed. The forms were removed leaving the concrete basement floor an the walls by September 15th.

Pre-construction and dig out

Each of the pictures has a full description, and you can view the pictures in slideshow mode by clicking on any of them. Feel free to add comments or ask questions and we’ll do our best to respond. #dandf