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Author Topic: Building our Dream Home a.k.a. Delusions of Retirement  (Read 10168 times)

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Offline EOTE

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Building our Dream Home a.k.a. Delusions of Retirement
« on: December 10, 2019, 08:41:26 PM »
Hey y'all,
I've been mainly posting in the "Whatcha Sawing" thread but decided to start a new thread where I can share my experiences in building my future retirement home or more correctly, to share the delusions of my retirement dreams and the path they led me down.
 
The back story is that I retired a couple of years ago (typical forced corporate retirement) so my wife and I bought a 30 acre piece of  wooded earth out in East Texas with the intent of building our retirement home and enjoy life there.  Only about a quarter of an acre was actually clear so we built a steel barn there as our center of operations and mapped out where we wanted to build our future home.  We saw that we needed to clear a lot of trees including a fire break around the home site and barn.
 
Long story short, my wife and I cleared about 2 to 3 acres of land and ended up with a BIG pile of logs.  After checking what I could get selling the logs, my wife and I came up with the bright idea to buy a sawmill and cut all of the lumber for our new home, starting with those logs!  We figured we could cut up that stack of logs and harvest some of the bigger trees from the rest of our land.
 
So as we plunged headlong into this adventure, we learned that there were lots of other things we needed to think about like drying, stacking, and storing the lumber we cut.  We needed a place for the sawmill and we needed a way to process all of the lumber once we cut it.  So the brilliant idea turned into a massive "To Do" list of things we never anticipated or planned for that we had to accomplish.  Talk about a wake up call.  Are we crazy?  My wife says we are.  But my response is "yes, and enjoying every minute of it!"
 
So here we are over a year later, having cut down about a hundred trees and turned them into over 50K board feet of lumber, plus a drying house, storage house, and sawmill house, all of which we built by hand ourselves.  I am now preparing to do the actual site prep for the house (it's not post and beam, it is stick frame construction, traditional gambrel roof farm house) and I figured this might be a good time to start sharing our experiences.
 
Maybe sharing some of the dreams, ideas, challenges, setbacks, and successes will will be a nice sobering slap to the side of the head for others with similar dreams.  (Not as a discouragement but as a reality check.)
 
In coming posts, I will outline what we are planning on building, as well as all the assorted challenges we face, and the progress we are making. 
 
  

 

When it comes to my dream, I put safety above everything else because there is a fate worse than death...being maimed or crippled for the rest of my life.  I constantly remind myself that I am making my wife's and my dream come true so if something happens to me...dream over. So everything starts with safety.
 


 

 
Meet my crew, lovingly called "12 Mexicans".  No, it's not racist!  It is a compliment because I used to manage crews of temporary workers who were usually Mexican, and they would work their hearts out.  I totally respect that and honor them by naming my tractor in their memory.
 


  

 
Meet "Buzz Lightsaw" without which I would have never been able to cut all these logs into lumber.  It's a Woodmizer LT40.
 


 
 
Here is my faithful companion "Miss Gigi".  She is just over a year old, learning to be a service dog and helper around the End of the Earth.  She was bit by a copperhead about a month after I got her.  I thought she was a gonner but she pulled through and was back to normal after about 3 days.
 


 
 
Last and most importantly, my wife and son.  She is the joy of my life and my reason for embarking on this adventure in the first place.  She is still working so she comes and helps on the weekends with what she can do.  She is my safety spotter when dropping trees and she helps sweep all the sawdust off the newly sawn boards.  Best of all, she is my head cheerleader that drives me to persevere in all challenges.  We have a shared dream and we are making it come true.
 
I hope y'all will enjoy the thread and that it will brighten your day a little bit.  Maybe you'll even find something helpful or enlightening.
 
EOTE (End of the Earth - i.e. last place on the road in the middle of nowhere)  Retired.  Old guys rule!
Buzz Lightsaw, 12 Mexicans, and lots of Guy Toys

Offline thecfarm

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Re: Building our Dream Home a.k.a. Delusions of Retirement
« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2019, 08:57:26 PM »
Retirement home? We are in ours now. Or I hope we are. ;D  Three foot doors every wheres. Wife has been in one more than a few times,the house works. Need a ramp to the house,but don't need one yet. High toilet,bathroom should've been a little bit bigger,but she can transfer from wheelchair to toilet. Walk in shower. We only have 2 over head cupboards,all draws. Slide it out,look in and get what she needs. Everything on one floor. Yes we have a basement,but no need to go down there.
Model 6020-20hp Manual Thomas bandsaw,TC40A 4wd 40 hp New Holland tractor, 450 Norse Winch, Heatmor 400 OWB,YCC 1978-79

Offline Magicman

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Re: Building our Dream Home a.k.a. Delusions of Retirement
« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2019, 09:11:04 PM »
It will be interesting to follow your adventure.  8)
Knothole Sawmill, LLC     '98 Wood-Mizer LT40SuperHydraulic   WM Million BF Club Member   WM Pro Sawyer Network

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Offline tule peak timber

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Re: Building our Dream Home a.k.a. Delusions of Retirement
« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2019, 09:14:57 PM »
Sign me up,,,,I will be following your posts. Cheers !
persistence personified - never let up , never let down

Offline EOTE

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Re: Building our Dream Home a.k.a. Delusions of Retirement
« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2019, 09:22:33 PM »
Hi thecfarm,
You actually bring up some good thoughts on house design.  Although we are able bodied now, what will we be in 10 or 20 years?  I agree with the thoughts of wide doors, a walk in shower, high toilets, and lots of drawers instead of cabinets, although we are also going to add in a very large pantry to make storage easy and accessible.  Although we will have a second story because of the gambrel roof design, it will be unfinished to start with other than a shiplap floor.  I will be posting in the near future some of our designs and plans.
EOTE (End of the Earth - i.e. last place on the road in the middle of nowhere)  Retired.  Old guys rule!
Buzz Lightsaw, 12 Mexicans, and lots of Guy Toys

Offline Darrel

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Re: Building our Dream Home a.k.a. Delusions of Retirement
« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2019, 09:52:31 PM »
I'll stay tuned. 
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Offline Stephen1

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Re: Building our Dream Home a.k.a. Delusions of Retirement
« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2019, 09:54:12 PM »
Let me follow along on this journey, as I am heading down a similar one also.
cheers
Stephen
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Offline Larry

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Re: Building our Dream Home a.k.a. Delusions of Retirement
« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2019, 10:16:23 PM »
a walk in shower
I'm living in my retirement home.  Instead of a walk in shower think of a drive in shower.

One of the cool things about being old is all our options....I'm loving it!
Larry, making useful and beautiful things out of the most environmental friendly material on the planet.

We need to insure our customers understand the importance of our craft.

Offline Traci

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Re: Building our Dream Home a.k.a. Delusions of Retirement
« Reply #8 on: December 10, 2019, 10:33:20 PM »
Wow! I will enjoy watching as you progress. Making that decision to do it all yourselves and purchase the mill, etc must have been a tough one but once its done, you can def have some good stories and pride.  I suggest wide doors, halls and bathrooms to get around and turn around with wheelchairs and have an extra person fit at same time as well. Have at least one accessible entrance into home with 1 step or no steps or a ramp that can easily be made with railing. Shower with a seat, low step to get into shower and hand rails (these can be added if you have family nearby later). My dad and father-in-law both had a hard time getting around every room with wheelchairs. Also, for some reason, never seemed to be an easily accessible wall plug for oxygen, electric bed,  tv, lights, etc. Two per wall or even 3 would have been ideal. Also, low cabinets to access food.  Tall, elongated toilet helps too. At least 2 bedrooms/rooms on main floor and laundry room. Sry for long post, just have 27 years in healthcare and parents/in-laws who needed help and adjustments to their own homes. If you enjoy outdoors, a walkout porch/patio s a nice addition.
Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.
Robert Brault

Offline EOTE

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Re: Building our Dream Home a.k.a. Delusions of Retirement
« Reply #9 on: December 10, 2019, 11:06:41 PM »
Hi Traci,
You really have some good insight into making a home completely accessible.  You brought up one thing that I think my wife and I will need to discuss and that is accessibility into the house itself.  Our design calls for a 4' wide porch around the most of the house but the main floor is currently planned to be about 3' above grade.  If/when accessibility becomes an issue, that may raise issues we initially failed to account for.  I can envision lowering the main floor to one step above grade and still be happy with the design.  The main entry is from a large courtyard but currently you would need to climb 3 to 4 steps with the current design.

I think we have accounted for most of the other things you have mentioned.  The main floor is a concrete slab and the house is very open inside with 3' wide doors throughout.  I am a proponent of lots of accessible outlets and easy to reach light switches.

Please check back and share other insights as it may help others who are following this thread.  Thanks!
EOTE (End of the Earth - i.e. last place on the road in the middle of nowhere)  Retired.  Old guys rule!
Buzz Lightsaw, 12 Mexicans, and lots of Guy Toys

Offline ljohnsaw

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Re: Building our Dream Home a.k.a. Delusions of Retirement
« Reply #10 on: December 11, 2019, 12:47:27 AM »
 :P  Looking forward to reading.

Is the house going to be built on a totally flat pad?  If not, have a ramp / sloped sidewalk up the the high spot and then up to the porch.

My niece and her husband rebuilt a little shed (8x8 ) into a little larger she-shed/guest room (8x12).  He wanted electricity in it and was going to put one outlet on 3 of the walls (a total of 3).  I made him put two on each of 3 walls and 1 on the front wall with the door and big window (a total of 7!).  No need to reach behind something or have extension cords!  You can never have too many outlets.
John Sawicky

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SkyTrak 9038, Davis Little Monster backhoe, Case 16+4 Trencher, Home Built 42" capacity/32" cut Bandmill up to 54' long - using it all to build a timber frame cabin.

Offline thecfarm

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Re: Building our Dream Home a.k.a. Delusions of Retirement
« Reply #11 on: December 11, 2019, 05:33:16 AM »
I did forget to mention we have an open concept house,before I knew what that meant. ;D All the rooms on on the right coming into the house. No hall ways.
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Offline Crusarius

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Re: Building our Dream Home a.k.a. Delusions of Retirement
« Reply #12 on: December 11, 2019, 07:24:50 AM »
You can never have too many outlets.


This is the same premise as no matter how big you build your shop its always to small :)

Offline Traci

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Re: Building our Dream Home a.k.a. Delusions of Retirement
« Reply #13 on: December 11, 2019, 08:01:29 AM »
Congrats! I will enjoy watching as you progress. Making that decision to do it all yourselves and purchase the mill, etc must have been a tough one but once its done, you can def have some good stories and pride.  I suggest wide doors, halls and bathrooms to get in and turn around with wheelchairs and have an extra person (helper if needed) fit at same time. Have at least one accessible entrance into home with 1 step or no steps with railing or a place for a ramp that can easily be made with railing.accidents happen fast and usually when unprepared. Shower with a seat, low step or better no step to get into shower and hand rails. My dad and father-in-law both had a hard time getting around every room with wheelchairs and helping them out of jams was tough. Also, for some reason, never seemed to be an easily accessible wall plug for oxygen, electric bed,  tv, lights, side lamps etc.  3 per most used wall would have been ideal. Extension cords are trip hazards. Also, low cabinets/drawers to access food, water, etc.  Tall, elongated toilet helps get up and down also handle is nice, easily accessible toilet paper holder, At least 2 bedrooms/rooms on main floor and laundry room. Sry for long post, just have 27 years in healthcare and parents/in-laws who needed help and made adjustments to their own homes and the work didn't happen over night. If you enjoy outdoors, a walkout porch/patio is a very nice addition. Sorry, again, for long post
Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.
Robert Brault

Offline samandothers

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Re: Building our Dream Home a.k.a. Delusions of Retirement
« Reply #14 on: December 11, 2019, 09:25:42 AM »
Looking good!  Great job on setting your goal and working to make it a reality.  I too look forward to following your journey. 

Offline Jim_Rogers

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Re: Building our Dream Home a.k.a. Delusions of Retirement
« Reply #15 on: December 11, 2019, 09:54:37 AM »
following.
Whatever you do, have fun doing it!
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Offline Traci

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Re: Building our Dream Home a.k.a. Delusions of Retirement
« Reply #16 on: December 11, 2019, 12:12:38 PM »
Keep in mind that even one step can be very tough when in a wheelchair or if you or loved one is very weak. My dad was stuck inside except when 2 strong men came to visit. Temporarily using a wheelchair around the house now might give you an idea of what you would like or need for the future.
Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.
Robert Brault

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Re: Building our Dream Home a.k.a. Delusions of Retirement
« Reply #17 on: December 11, 2019, 12:19:58 PM »
During my Total Knee Replacement recovery during the past three weeks, I quickly found out that a "walker" will not go through either of the bathroom doors unless it's turned sideways.   It did fit inside of the shower but sideways through the shower door opening.
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Offline EOTE

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Re: Building our Dream Home a.k.a. Delusions of Retirement
« Reply #18 on: December 11, 2019, 10:01:30 PM »
I never anticipated all the feedback on accessibility but it is quite an eye opener.  Magicman, you found out first hand what it's like not having an accessible house.  We are so used to feeling "invincible" when out of the blue life dishes us up a good ol' helping of reality that opens our eyes to our mortality and how frail we actually are.

So I welcome the input because we need to plan for the worst and hope for the best.  After all, we're not teenagers anymore.  :laugh:

Here is the floor plan that we are planning on building.



 

There are no real halls in the house.  We wanted an open plan.  The upstairs currently is not finished except for a full shiplap sub-floor.
Here are a couple of side views...




Note the in the first side view, a portion of the porch is screened and the courtyard detail is excluded.  In the second side view, the sunroom has a full length window wall.

Construction is 2" x 6" framing (not your big box stuff but real 2" x 6"s) with 1" x 6" shiplap (no plywood or OSB) on a full concrete slab.  The shell of the home will be insulated on the outside with 3" PolyISO on the walls and 6" PolyISO on the roof.  The exterior finish will be Steel Panels.  We are still considering which panel style to use as we don't want the standard R9 panels.

I am a big follower of Building Science gurus like Matt Risinger so I will be incorporating some of the ideas and concepts that make for a tight, well insulated home while trying to follow some of the older building techniques (such as using shiplap instead of plywood).

We will share more details as we progress on the home.
EOTE (End of the Earth - i.e. last place on the road in the middle of nowhere)  Retired.  Old guys rule!
Buzz Lightsaw, 12 Mexicans, and lots of Guy Toys

Offline ljohnsaw

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Re: Building our Dream Home a.k.a. Delusions of Retirement
« Reply #19 on: December 11, 2019, 10:27:16 PM »
Nice!  They are a pain when they are not working, but I'd think hard about putting in pocket doors for all the interior.
John Sawicky

Just North-East of Sacramento...

SkyTrak 9038, Davis Little Monster backhoe, Case 16+4 Trencher, Home Built 42" capacity/32" cut Bandmill up to 54' long - using it all to build a timber frame cabin.


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