The Rebar

Once all the forms were in place it was time to attach the rebar. Rebar is a long medal rod. Here is what I found on a quick google search of rebar.Screen Shot 2015-12-27 at 1.21.57 PM

So the whole point of adding rebar into the footings is to ensure that the concrete will be reinforced. The amount of rebar we were required to install into the footings was a lot! The house will not being going anywhere anytime soon!



Installing the rebar only took my father and husband one weekend. My mom and I didn’t help with this part because it went by so fast. By the time we can by it was already done. The rebar is “floating” in the footings and is not touching the ground. It is being held up by wire that is connected to the footings. The medal rods you see sticking straight up will go through the cinder blocks that will be making up the foundation. 20151115_103233.jpg20151115_145453.jpg20151115_103219IMG_0619

Here is Matt, my husband, standing in the living room of the house with all the rebar completed. When we pour concrete the rebar will be inside of the concrete and the long rods will be sticking out of the concrete.


The Forms


We are finally getting to the really exciting stuff! It is exciting because you can start to see the house take shape. Just to recap, my father, husband, and friend JT dug the footings to the house. As for me, I did little jobs and I shovel out the loose dirt. Here is another picture of what that process looked liked. We had to square the house with batten boxes and then dig 18 inch deep trenches. You can see in the picture my husband jack hammering the back corner of the garage. FullSizeRender.jpg


Once the trenches were complete, my dad had to measure and cut out forms. Now in order to save some time and money, he cut the forms to match the measurements of the stairwell. So if we want to later down the line, we could use these boards for the stairs. My dad and husband cut the boards at home and then we took them over to the property. The boards are called forms. They are called that because they are going to hold the concrete in place and form the foundation. Once we got them to the property, my mom and dad had to figure out where our level spot was. We are building the entire house off of the front corner of the living room. We had to find a level spot because we are doing a raised foundation. Each step you are going to see in the forms is where will drop height with concrete. My parents bought a laser to help us measure the forms. I am holding the laser in the picture and we are finding out whether the forms are level with our corner in the front of the house or not.




Here you can see my dad in the trenches checking out measurements with the batten boxes. You can also see a large black pipe in the photo, that is going to be the dirty water pipe for the septic system.


The forms are lot of work because you have to hold them in place while you secure them. You must also have exact measurements. So if something slips or falls you have to start all over again. Also, the ground is very hard and it is a lot of work to drive in the steaks that hold the forms. In this image you can see JT measuring the form and making sure it is level.


Now you can start to see the outline of the house!! To the left is the main living area. To the right is the garage.





My dad made this cute little sign a long time ago. He was so excited when we decided to take on this project and this was his way of showing his excitement.



The Trenches


Hello Again!

When we got started on this project we never thought the permit process would take SO long!  Matt was still on deployment when we found the 3 acre lot in Lake Riverside and we didn’t want to make any decisions with him being gone. So my dad decided to purchase the lot before someone else bought it. When Matt came home in April 2014, we took him out to the property and he loved it! He was defiantly hesitant because it was a lot to take in all at once, but he believed in us when we said that a house could go on the lot and that we knew what we were doing.

Anyways, my mom started to draw up the plans in the Fall of 2014. They were completed and submitted to the county around March of 2015. My mom, Matt, and I were all hopeful and thought they would pass the first time around. My dad on the other hand thought that the plans would get rejected at least once. We waited about two weeks to hear back from them and when we heard from them it was a postcard marked ” Plans declined and ready for pick up”. My mom was very upset. So she went to pick them and went back at it. We turned them in again around May and once again, they were declined. This was an uproar in our house. My mom had never been declined twice before.

She was  discouraged and we did not resubmit until later in the summer. Finally in September of 2015 our plans were passed!! The day Matt and I found out the plan had passed we were so discouraged we weren’t even that excited or jumping with joy like mom. We were just so relieved that we could finally get started.

We started construction in September and have been working hard ever since. The last post I wrote was about the shed. Once the shed was completed it was time to get down to business. It was October when Matt and my dad started to dig trenches. Trenches are deep, long holes that outline the house. Our trenches are 24 inches wide and 18 inches deep. That is two feet across and over a foot down! The trenches play a pivotal part in the structure and stability of the home. With the type of trenches we were required to create, our house is not going anywhere!

Matt and our friend J.T. spent a lot of long days digging and digging and digging. It took Matt an entire month to dig and jack hammer all of the trenches that outline the house.

Before you can even put a shovel in the ground, you first have to make batten boxes to square your building. Batten boxes are perfect square rectangles that ensure that where you dig is the correct spot. They also ensure that your corners will be 90 degrees. The tall rectangles you see sticking out the ground are batten boxes. 20150924_083240.jpg



In order to dig the trenches you have to run a piece of string from one batten box to the other. Where the string lies is the outside of the trench. So he had to go in 24 inches from the string towards the middle of the building. This is the trench for the outside of the garage.



Here is a higher view of what the trenches look like. The one on the left is the outside of the living room and kitchen. The middle one is below the stairwell and goes to the front and back of the house. The one on the far right is the outside of the garage. You can also see the water tank and shed in this picture. Click on the links to learn more about those steps. 20151001_111608.jpg


The Shed

Hello There!!

Welcome to my site. Just to catch you up, my husband and I are building our own house with the guidance of my father and mother. We do not hire help and we do everything with our two hands.

Before we started building the actual house, we had to get a water tank in place and we also needed a storage shed. The storage shed makes the building process go a lot smoother because it allows us to keep the supplies we need on hand. Without the shed we would have to pack up the truck with tools every morning before we even started work. This would be  way to time consuming.

Building a shed was also a great introduction of basic framing for my husband too. He had never framed anything before, so my dad was able to explain a lot to him. For me, I was able to learn the math behind framing because I already know how to do the grunt work, I just too young to before to understand what we doing.

When building a shed the first step is make everything square. This means a lot of math and measurement before the fun building. First we had to take the concrete bases and put them in the correct spot. This can be frustrating because it needs to be precise. If your base is off, it will cause major problems later on and you will not have a square building. Squaring the shed was left to my father and mother. We watched them work and listened to their logic. Once the bases are in place you have to secure them with some studs. After they are secured you can then move onto creating a floor.


Here is my husband and dad taking a break after squaring the bases, securing them and building the floor. This was about a half of days work. 20150802_154450.jpg

The next step is to frame! Framing is so much fun and it is so exciting because you can start to see what your finish product will look like. Framing is like the skeleton of the structure. They hold the entire place together. I surprised my husband when my dad started throwing out boards and I started to lie them in place to prepare them for nailing. When my dad started working I just fell right into place because I remembered doing it when I was 14. My dad took the time to teach me how to measure where each stud should go and explained the entire process to my husband. That way when we get to framing the house we can all just start working.

Unfortunately, I did not get a good picture of just the framing. If you look closely though, you will see the framing behind Matt and on the side of him. I did get an image of the next step though, which is sheer paneling the outside. Sheer paneling has two purposes. The first purpose is that it makes the structure sturdy. The second purpose is that when you use lap siding, the lap siding will lay flat against the structure and will not bow.


After sheer paneling, the next step is to build the roof. I do not do roofing. My father has never allowed me to and I am not interested in working up that high either. Here is the shed after my husband and dad added the roof and a door.


The next job, is to add all the lap siding. My dad has become more creative over the years and makes things more visually appealing now. So in the front we have one piece vertical siding. The rest of the shed will be single slats going horizontal.


Screen Shot 2015-12-13 at 8.10.23 AM.png

FullSizeRender 2.jpg

Here is the completed shed. It holds our tools and building materials. I picked out the color! I wanted to go for like a pistachio ice cream color. When I actually bought the bought the paint I ended up buying a paint color called Springfield and for those of you who know me well, you know that this was the perfect color!! I am a huge Simpsons fan so to have my house painted Springfield makes me very happy.

The Plans

Hi Everyone!!

Thanks for all the views on my blog. I am so excited to be sharing this experience with others and letting you really see what we do on the weekends. Building a house is a huge project and it is such a rewarding feeling to do it yourself.

I wanted to share with you the plans for the house. I have posted some pictures explaining what the land looks like and where the house will go. I want to now explain the floor plan.

Screen Shot 2015-12-13 at 7.27.00 AM

The house is going to be roughly 1,900 square feet and two stories.

The bottom story is going to be our living space. When you walk in the front door you will walk into the living room. When you turn to the right you will enter the dining room. While standing in the dining room the staircase will be to the right. As you continue walking through the house you will end up in the kitchen. The kitchen is at the back of the house because this is where I spend a lot of my time and that is where the million dollar view is!

Screen Shot 2015-12-13 at 7.25.25 AM.png

Also, off of the kitchen will be a doorway to the garage. The garage is going to be 500 sq. ft.. I plan on using some of the space for an at home gym!

When you walk up the stairs that are located in the dining room, you enter the upstairs living room. The upstairs living room is straight and to the left. When you walk forward and turn right you will enter the master bedroom. The master bedroom is located above the garage. Inside the master bedroom there are two closets and a bathroom.

When you exit the master and turn to the left you will walk down a hallway. Off of the hallway there is a laundry room closet, bathroom and two bedrooms. I am thrilled to be have a laundry room closet upstairs. I think this will make doing laundry a little bit easier. Also, I won’t have to tote dirty clothes through the entire house as I make my way to a laundry room.

Screen Shot 2015-12-13 at 7.25.46 AM.png

The floor plan was hand drawn my mom, Julie. This is the 3rd house to has drawn for my dad to build. She does things the old school way and drags out the drafting board, large papers, pencils and rulers. She still hand draws everything. When we dealt with the county, many people were very surprised to see her plans and blown away by how neatly they were put together. Having my mom draw the floor plans has its major downfalls and benefits. I am a very picky person when it comes to my living space. So we had a lot of back and forth about what she could do and what it will look like, but in the end I got what I wanted and I couldn’t be happier.