Today was another exciting day where we could really start to see the house take shape and get a feel for how we will be able to use and utilize our lot. I'm still in "Goldilocks" mode...
The house is too big ...
The house is just right.
The lot is too big ...
The lot will be just right.
I went up first thing in the morning and they were just starting to grade the lot and bring in the gravel. The guys from Savage were super friendly. They introduced themselves and answered the two quick questions I had. Then we chatted for awhile about what was happening. I could tell they really liked their work. I like that the people who are building our home take pride in their work. It makes us feel good about the quality of work they bring to this job and I believe it leaves good vibes in our home too.
Watching these big trucks maneuver is pretty amazing. I don't even like to back up in our little truck and have never backed up a trailer in my life. I also realized that I'm glad we were the first house built on our corner of the street. I don't know how many times these trucks drove up onto the lot next door, but that can't be good for their soil compaction. (remind me I said that when the trucks and machines are working next door making noise and dust)
I wasn't able to stay long enough to watch them throw the gravel into the basement. They use a big truck that basically is a super conveyor belt and the driver has such good control of the flow and the direction that the guy in the pit just has to do a little raking. We had a crazy busy day, our lights were being delivered, I had to run to Sam's Club to get dessert for our FHE group (which meant I also had to make time to clean the house before they arrived) so I had to leave just as they were getting the conveyor truck loaded up.
But, the light delivery went easier then expected (except for the damaged lights - but that's another post), the trip to Sam's was successful and living in a small apartment means we can get it spic and span in almost no time (hmmm....back to "the house is tooo big"?).
So, Rob & I headed back up to see the progress. When we got to the lot there were only two men left with their front loaders working on the grade. (hah - I had to google to find out the difference between bulldozers and front loaders - these have wheels, not tracks so they are loaders)
I had so much fun watching these guys work. They know exactly how close to get to the edge of the foundation before turning. They can dump their load with precision. They work at an area for a while and when they are finished we have a lovely, useable space.
This first picture is the loader that was working at the bottom of the lot. Here you can see he is just starting to create the pile that will be on our property line. He'll move the dirt piled up by our gully. He'll move the dirt piled up behind Rob's office and will attack the pile behind the family room from the bottom.
This guy is moving the dirt from the top of the lot. He's taking the dirt and putting it near our property line and a little bit onto the lot next door. You can see he's already moved the pile behind the garage and is starting to work on the pile behind the family room.
The loader working on the bottom of the lot again. You can get a better idea of the soil he has to relocate. Once he had the pile near the gully area moved he started to work towards the house. He kept the dirt out of the gully, he didn't break any of our tree branches off AND he didn't fall in the gully. Somehow, even when he was backing up he knew exactly where he was. I didn't see him turn around once. He just kept moving (except when he stopped to take a phone call). The pile closest to the family room is partially carried away and partially knocked down into the gap. They really want to fill most of that gap with gravel so he was pretty deliberate about how much soil he allowed down in that gap. Again, the control of these operators is astounding. If I were responsible for moving that dirt it would be in the gap, covering the nice level gravel in the family room, or I would have backed up into the gully and fallen in.
I thought these two pictures were fun because you can see the grade change from the garage level to the walk-out basement level.
We have our own little Alp.
Of course it didn't last long.
Here you get a nice overview of the basement floor. With the gravel down we had a much better idea of what we needed to do when it was time to lay down the XPS insulation. We will have to fit it around all of those monolithic footings and the plumbing stacks. I am standing in the single car garage, looking over the wall where the tv will be. You can see the corner of the double car garage and the outline of our cold cellar.
This is a quick picture of the thermostatically controlled vent that will go into our cold storage room. It will automatically close when the temperature drops below a certain level (we still have to find out what that is). I forgot to ask if it runs on batteries. There will be no power in that room so it must. I am so new to the idea of having a cold storage room that I didn't even realize we had to open and close the vent depending on the weather.
Here we have a nice shot of the front of the house with the preliminary grade finished. The horizontal black line is the approximate level of the sidewalk from the driveway to the front porch. There will be one or two steps from the sidewalk to the porch. (Jesse promised!) I didn't want to have to climb a bunch of steps to get into our house and I didn't want to have to worry about shoveling them in the winter either.
Jesse asked us some very specific questions about the final grade we want on the lot and since we didn't realize we had control over that Rob and I were both a little caught off guard. Oh boy! Another thing to study and imagine and plan. Luckily, he said we have a little bit of time to think about it.
Anyone know a landscape architect who works for free? Or for really good cheesecake?