We’re nearing the home stretch, hurray! That also means we’re winding down on what has been a very expensive year of design and construction. I’m sure it will be worth it in the end, but it’s quite different from our original vision 5 years ago of living mortgage free. Had we picked somewhere else to live, we know we could have done it but we chose this place and are here to stay. Still, I have to admit a little envy when I read about folks who are building their own little homes on wheels. I’ve seen two new ones in our part of town recently too!
I remember it wasn’t all too long ago when we talked about having everything done before moving into the new house. I can assure you now, that’s not how it’s going to be, and that I have a new appreciation for why so many other households live in a never-ending state of construction. It seems that this is simply the way it works unless you have exceedingly deep pockets or a combination of great insight and excellent preparedness before hand.
You’ll notice that we didn’t cheap out when it came to the big things like the heating, our metal roof or our wooden windows. We knew we’d have to cut corners and put in some sweat equity along the way but where have we opted to take a bit more time and save a bit more money? There are a number of ways:
– I’m tiling the bathroom using the cheap subway tile since our first choice was going to cost nearly $1000 in materials and another $1000 in labour.
– We’re only finishing one shower area for now (saving another $1000-$2000 in the short term)
– We’re so grateful that my dad was both willing and able to make us a lovely vanity for one bathroom and we’re using plywood for it’s counter (at least temporarily) since we have a piece the right size kicking around. I don’t even want to guess how much we’d have to spend to get what we have in a store since most of what you can get in stores is full of off-gassing nasties.
– We’ll be putting up the baseboards (after we move in) and applying varathane to it and the window trims.
– Our site supervisor is filling the cracks in the concrete with StarPatch and I’m sealing the concrete floors. (We could have saved money by sticking with the cure and seal the concrete guys left us back in June but it gave me a headache so instead I used Broda Prothane. The other quotes we got for cleaning things up included really fancy crack fill treatments and an epoxy sealer that I didn’t want and cost a few thousand dollars more.)
– It’s not ideal, but at least for the short term we’re going to have wooden counter tops. We were reluctantly going to go with plywood but then we had a surprise find last weekend which means we’re more likely to have wooden ones from IKEA. It’s hard to know how much of a savings this really means since it’s likely only temporary and it never had a dollar figure in the budget. Oops!
– We’re finishing the wooden floors upstairs. Kevin made good headway with the sanding this past weekend but there’s still more to be done before we get to applying our own oil finish.
– Instead of finishing with a fully landscaped house we’re removing any real expectations until the summer comes and we’ll likely buy the bigger things when they’re cheaper and easier to transplant in the fall. I’m so itching to get my veggie plots built but my old collection pots is going to be standing in for a while. With all the other work to be done, there’s just no time. Plus, materials that will last cost a bundle too.
– We’re not usually big fans of the big blue box but when it comes to light fixtures, they have the best deal going. We used their cable lights and repurposed their most economical ceiling fixture as a sconce so that we could save more thank $1-2K and spend that money on LED bulbs (which in part came from that store too).
– Not only are regular doors expensive, but none of closet openings are of a standard height which means they’ll definitely cost more than $300 each. We’ve decided to go with curtains for the foreseeable future and may even leave the laundry area uncovered.
– Speaking of laundry, I probably already mentioned that we saved ourselves another grand by going with a more standard size and a model that isn’t the newest on the market. We did look at buying used but couldn’t easily find what we wanted at a price that seemed worth the risk, without a big hassle when it came to delivery.