We decided to drive out to the lot early this morning, to miss the shore traffic crossing the Bay Bridge. We had no trouble getting there, although traffic on the Rte. 50 side of the 50/301 split was already backed up.
When we got to Chestertown around 9, the Saturday morning farmers’ market was in full swing. This is one of the many things we are looking forward to when we move; this market is held in the downtown Fountain Park every Saturday except in the winter months.
The second floor trusses were up, and some of the sheathing. The roof looks good with the wider overhang, so I’m glad we made that decision.
The crew was not at work, so we were able to walk around inside. Having the roof on gives a much better sense of the size of the rooms. The framer had also completed the arches on the side porch, which look good.
As we drove back toward the bridge, the backup we had seen earlier extended past the Kent Narrows bridge, so we were glad we came early.
OK, I promised to report on both the good and not-as-good. This week we had a minor bump in the road. Looking at the overhangs on the installed trusses, it seemed to me that they were wider on the plans. I asked the builder when I was out on Tuesday, and he said that they had spec’d their standard 12″ overhang when they ordered the trusses. Later on he E-mailed me to acknowledge that that the plans showed 24″ overhangs, and that they would correct that.
I thought about it, considering that they had already sheathed part of the roof and what would be involved in adding extension at this point. My wife and I looked at the pictures I took on Tuesday. With the interruptions in the roofline, the narrower overhand actually looks OK. The one thing I was concerned about was the shading of the second-floor south-facing windows in the summertime, which would work better with the 24″ overhang on the second-floor roof. Since the roof trusses weren’t installed yet on the second floor, extending the overhangs there would not require any rework.
I called the builder yesterday to discuss this. He re-iterated that the wider overhangs were in the plan and they were willing to make the corrections. I pointed out that we thought the first floor looked fine, and asked what he thought about just using wider overhangs on the second floor. He responded that this would work well from a design standpoint, and we agreed to leave the first floor roof as is and just do the extensions on the second floor.
We also discussed the window and door grilles again (see July 12 post). The windows have already been ordered with grilles, white on the inside and colored on the outside. The French doors could not be made to match the windows, so he recommended getting the doors without grilles. Given the placement of the windows and doors, we agreed that this would not look mismatched, and approved this change.
Even though this issue of the overhangs came up, I appreciate that the builder was prepared to make the correction, no questions asked, and that we were able to negotiate a reasonable solution. In the end, we think the house may look better with this change.
The builder E-mailed me yesterday to ask if we were coming out to the lot, that he had some things to go over. As it turned out, I had to drive up to Rising Sun in Cecil County this morning, so decided to swing by Chestertown on my way back.
I met the builder at about 10:30. The framing crew was still hard at work. The roof trusses were nearly completed, and they had put sheathing over most of the bedroom wing.
The builder wanted to get our choices for the color and pattern of the stamped concrete that we are using for the courtyard. They need to get the porch floors in so they can work on the porch framing. He gave me some brochures to take along and asked for our decisions by the end of the week.
We also talked about using stamped concrete for the side and front porches, which was not part of the original spec. He gave us an estimate, which was reasonable since the crew would already be out there for the courtyard. My wife also had some questions about the grilles for the windows and French doors, so I called her at work and let them hash it out.
By coincidence, this was the hottest day of the year so far, in the high 90’s.
We identified all of the builders we talked to through personal references. Our real estate agent recommended a builder he had worked with, and the sellers gave us the name of the builder for their house; his son now runs the company. We met with both of these builders in mid-2008 and showed them our drawings. They both expressed strong interest in working with us, and showed us some of their recent projects. Both received strong recommendations from their clients.
We gave both of them copies of the rough plans and asked for preliminary estimates. The agent’s builder never responded. We made one last stab at contacting him, and he promised to respond, but never did. We still have no idea why.
The seller’s builder came back with an initial figure that was well above our budget. That led to our decision to drop the separate guest room from the final plans. We gave these plans to this builder for a complete bid. He continued to solicit our business, and in particular started showing us a house that his company was substantially expanding. We made a few visits to this location at his invitation in 2009 and early 2010.
His first complete bid was still well above our budget. He was happy to work with us, and we iterated a few times on the specifications and bid. At one point he eliminated some items that we were not ready to give up, such as the geothermal heat pump. In general, we felt like our progress toward a final bid was slow and uncertain. We also wanted to get another bid to compare with.
Yesterday the builder E-mailed a couple of pics showing the second-floor walls and the first of the roof trusses up. We decided to drive out this morning to check out the progress and hopefully see some work underway.
We got out to the lot at about 8:30 this morning. The framing crew was already at work. We met the framer and chatted with him a bit. There were two crew members working.
The walls are completely framed up except for the attached storage shed. The trusses over the bedroom wing are mostly done. We talked about the rear portico and how would he put the roof on, since the concrete floor has not been poured yet. We could only stay about a half-hour, since we both had busy work days ahead.