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So you want to build a house (pt. 5)

May 3, 2011

This is as far as we’ve gotten with our house building, but I think that this post is potentially the most important, assuming you have all the required skills for designing the house and finding the property.

Don’t let it get you down.

Supposedly the design process is 90% of the work, which I really hope is true. This process has been incredibly rewarding and also very challenging and frustrating. There is a reason people hire architects and general contractors, and it isn’t just because they have gobs of cash or can’t be bothered to design and build their house. The process of planning your home yourself will take over your brain and all your time. Mr. B makes phone calls and runs errands from 7 am until closing time. I spend most of my day ignoring work to make phone calls and do research. We have had an appointment from 4 to 5 almost every afternoon for the last month. The only person who knows the information you need will mysteriously take a week off work. Your conversations will revolve entirely around building codes, problems with officials, how much everything costs, or the best roof pitch. Nothing will move as fast as you want and you won’t understand why these problems exist. You and your partner will discover new-found opinions about 8 or 12 foot sheets of drywall and these opinions will be in opposition. You will wish that you lived in a country where you could bribe people, and then you will wish that you could get what you want by hiring Jack Bauer.

What has gotten Mr. B and I through this process (as corny as this sounds) is remembering why we are doing this in the first place. This Thursday was the worst day yet, and we were depressed about the whole project this weekend. We decided to go out to the property to pick out some potential alternative house sites. As we started walking around we both calmed down, and by the time we left both of us had smiles. On the way home, Mr. B said, “Can you imagine going back to the way life used to be? Just giving up on all of this and just thinking about fixing the problems with our house?” People have asked me why we are doing this right now, or if our marriage is “strong” enough to go through so much stress. The truth is through, Mr. B and I would be less happy without the stress because we both know that this is the way to get what we really want – self-sustainability on a homestead.

You will all have your own personal reason that will get you through this process, so make sure you are really committed to it before you start.

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