Thursday, June 4, 2009

    Almost There

    It's been a little quiet on the blog for a while, but there has been a lot going on behind the scenes. When we left off last we were working on getting some cost feedback on the design to see how we are doing relative to our budget before pushing through to finished construction docs. When we got our feedback last week, we were a bit high. So we had an emergency meeting with the architects on Friday last week to see what we could do about it. We took a look at things we could delete from the plan, things we could defer to a later time when we can better afford it. We targeted the high ticket items in the feedback and are trying to trim here and there.

    Windows obviously are a high ticket item, but we didn't want to attack them or the square footage too aggressively because you can't come back later and add those in easily. We deleted a couple of windows and are seeing if there are configurations of windows that could be a little more cost effective. Right now the plan calls for metal clad wood windows. If we went to vinyl windows we could cut the cost in half or more, but we really feel like the windows need to be done right the first time.

    We are doing radiant heat and that is important to us, but also important was having good air conditioning. We don't suffer the heat very well. Our original plan was to use a high velocity system with flexible 4" ducting that would be easy to hide. This number came back much higher than is feasible for us. We are going to now go with an exposed duct on the first floor that will feed floor registers on the second floor connected to a standard air conditioner and fan unit. Early feedback is that this will be much more affordable and still keep us very comfortable. The greener option would be to go with a swamp cooler, but because we are heat wimps our love for the earth could be summed up nicely by Meatloaf, "I would do anything for love, but I won't do that."

    We have decided to defer the fireplace and stone countertops for now, which will also save a lot of money.

    We think we have found the savings that we need and will spend the next week with the architects and engineers finishing up construction docs for delivery next week. Then we will march them into the city for permit and work on getting our formal bids tied up.


    Anonymous said...

    good to hear what's going on, sad it has to be such big cuts. hopefully you come to a nice balance, and it sounds like you guys are doing just that.

    You mentioned the countertops and the desire to have them out of stone, have you looked into concrete counter tops? I've seen some REALLY interesting looks from the material, and i've also seen companies that do it from 80% and higher recycled material. I've also heard/seen that it can be less expensive then natural stone. Not to mention, it's far less instrusive on mother nature then quarrying for stone-top counters.

    Hopefully you can find someone in your neck of the woods that does something like this for the right price. I've even seen first hand people doing it themselves, that however has come with some mixed results.

    Tai said...

    Concrete countertops would be great. With all that I will be doing sweat equity wise in the house, I'm a little nervous to undertake something like a countertop, thought I haven't ruled it out entirely.

    I should clarify that by stone countertops, I really meant a manufactured stone product or something like that. The original spec for the kitchen, and what I would really love to see there someday is a product called Ice Stone. It is recycled glass in concrete and is gorgeous. The bid we got on it came back at almost $6,000.

    The second choice material is a quartz product like Caeserstone, but even that would cost $3,500 to $4,000. The baseline in our bid was what it would cost to do granite, though it was never something we really wanted and that number is $3,500. We decided that we could spend $500 or less and get a plastic laminate that would look pretty good and that $3,000 at this point goes a long way to making the project pencil.

    Hopefully we will be able to save our pennies and upgrade to a product like Ice Stone, or I will be able to figure out a concrete counter top. I have the book by Chang, but it intimidates me a bit.

    Anonymous said...

    that icestone is really nice! Unfortunate that new companies seem to want to charge so much for products that aren't heard of and mainstream, you'd think they'd want to get their name out, especially in a down market like the one we're in.

    with that said, I don't know enough about your project, i'd be curious if you could get a quote on concrete countertop from a local company. Doing a QUICK search in your area i found They seem to be based in Salt Lake. Let me know if you do get a quote from them and how it fairs.

    I have seen also some concrete work (and counters) with recycled glass in it if that's a look your going for. curious how that affects the price.

    I'll say this... I too am nervous about trying it out for myself. too bad i'm not in Salt Lake and we could try it for a small project first like a bathroom vanity.

    Jacob said...

    David Newkirk with Mass Concrete does a very good job. We have one of his "seconds" that we use as a table top and it is beautiful. It is very smooth and strong. He can do just about anything with concrete.