The House on the Hilltop - Part Two

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Continued from The House on the Hilltop - Part One

 Exterior of our house plan
I guess before I get too much farther into these posts about our construction, it would be good to tell you a little bit about our house plan and why we chose it. We wanted a plan that would be a good house for a hilltop with a view - lots of big windows and wrap-around porches. We also wanted a house that would look like it belonged in this part of the country.    I had a certain style I was looking for and probably the best way to describe it is that I wanted an old farmhouse!   Originally (several years ago) we picked a house plan that was perfect for what we wanted...  open floor plan,  huge laundry room, large craft room, basement for the grand-kids, huge porches, big windows.   However, when it came right down to the nuts and bolts of what we could afford to build without getting a loan we had to face the facts that we needed to majorly down-size.  We determined what we could give up and what we couldn't (I was willing to have a tiny laundry room as long as I had a big craft room, two bedrooms instead of three, etc..).  So it was back to the drawing board and after weeks and weeks of searching and lots of frustration we found this plan.  We both loved it and decided that with a few changes it would work for us.  The modifications we made to the original plan: changed the gable roof dormers to shed roof dormers,  removed an unnessary exterior door in the kitchen, added french doors in the dining room, changed a couple window sizes, removed upstairs bathroom, removed fireplace, etc...  So, with all that said here are the original house plans (without the modifications).   

I guess I have never really thought about all the behind the scenes work that goes into building your own home. My husband spent hours and hours with the house plans, making supply lists and evaluating every aspect of the house. Good thing he's a retired Engineer because he's pretty good at that sort of thing! When it was too cold to be outside in December and January he was sitting at the table in our travel trailer pouring over the plans. In February he went back to Arizona to help out at his old job for the month so when he returned we were ready to start with a vengeance in March. 

Eldon spending countless hours going over and memorizing every detail on the plans

  The first order of business was to meet with City Lumber in Huntsville and place an order for everything we needed to complete the house on the exterior. It was an exciting day when we heard the rumble of the trucks coming up the hill with our lumber! 

 First truck from City Lumber, March 2012
Eldon had laid out pallets near the concrete foundation where the lumber was placed.  We probably spent an entire full day carefully covering all the piles of lumber and supplies with heavy tarps and roping them down to keep everything protected.  It was fascinating to realize later that Eldon had "staged" these pallets according to what we would need first, etc..  I just don't think like an Engineer does - it never would've occurred to me to do it that way!

In mid-March, the framing began.....

Exciting day.... first exterior wall up!

Of course our crazy horse, Promise, had to be involved!

We put the lower half of the sheeting on as each wall went up.  It helped strengthen the wall and also made it easier to put up the top layer. 

I hope you notice how "clean" this house is!  In between helping Eldon I keep everything clean. 
 It was super easy at this point.

We love all the big windows in this house plan.

Final exterior wall up!

Exterior walls complete, April 2012

 I don't know if you can tell by these pictures but on every wall we put up they are "attached" to the foundation with bolts that were placed in the concrete at intervals.  So when we framed a wall we had to drill holes at the perfect interval and then actually lift the wall up and down onto the bolts and then I would come behind and tighten the wall down onto the bolts.  Then we would add a temporary brace to the outside of the wall by nailing a 2 x 4 to the wall and to a piece of rebar that was hammered into the ground.  This kept the wall level and secure.  You can be sure that we never lost a wall to a wind storm (and there were many) during this phase of construction!  It was rock solid. 

Interior walls going in now.  House started to seem really, really small!

All interior walls complete, April 2012

Eldon so happy to have this phase complete! 

Post to be continued in The House on the Hilltop - Part Three


  1. Wonderful house plan. The location of your home is picture perfect, Dori.

    I am so enjoying your posts. Keep going...

  2. Dori, your house is beautiful. I love the size of your windows and can see the views you will be able to have.
    Thank you for sharing your journey with us.

    Take care.

  3. hi

    just found your website and think you folks are doing great!!

    have a question about the concrete floor: was it all poured at the same time or in different parts?

    is it just one big concrete pad that becomes the house floor as well as the sidewalk, or was the exterior/sidewalk portion completed differently?

    1. The house part of the floor was poured at one pour and the porches on a separate pour. The porch concrete is about an inch lower than the house portion to keep rain water from running into the house.