Libby's Lovely Land is at the end of a cul-de-sac in a neighborhood that includes houses of a variety of types and sizes and prices.
Tha land is mostly hardwoods with a few pines. Since the feline fuzzies don't live there, there are lots of squirrels around. They like to eat flower bulbs. In spring 1995, I bought "Squirrel Away" to try to deter them from eating the spring bulbs I'll be planting. The checkout clerk asked if I was trying to kill the squirrels. No, but they better stop eating my lovely bulbs!
I've also planted some wildflower seeds, some azaleas, a couple of rhodedendrons, and a few other things. The land came with wild blueberry bushes. In the spring and summer, you can barely walk on the south-facing slope without stepping on blueberry bushes.
The land is at the top of a short, but steep hill. Took me a while, but I finally biked up it a couple of times to be sure I could!
The land is a funny shape--kind of like two triangles stuck together at an angle with overlapping points, but it's 4.5 acres and even at the narrowest point is plenty wide. I hope to build a biking/mountain biking trail on it. With the slope and many rocks, it should be a real workout.
Actually, it looks like I may not have to build a mountain biking trail. My builder is also a mountain biker, as are members of his crew, and they may put one in for me while the path to the septic field is being created!
So, construction has proceeded nicely. A septic tank has been buried, and the foundation for the basement is done. We now know that there *is* bedrock as the builder feared, but its impact on the house design will be minimal. He moved the house site south about 10 or 15 feet, and one small part of the basement will be over rock and therefore have about a 7 foot ceiling instead of a 8 or 9 foot one. Having that very major unknown out of the way is reassuring. And he assures me that having the footings rest on bedrock will make for a very solid foundation. :-)
My builder is Mark Perry of Sundog Builders from Bynum, NC. He only builds one house at a time, does passive solar and energy efficient houses, and is known by all accounts I've heard for being honest, hard working, and for performing quality work. One of his personal touches is to install copper pipe in unusual places--like stair banisters and deck railings. So far, I feel very, very lucky to have found a builder I can afford who is so determined to build a house I like.
As of April 2000, the framing is done, the roof is on and insulated, the windows and siding and doors have been ordered, the insulation is in, the wiring (including CAT 5) is done, and the cabinets have been designed. (And then redesigned because I couldn't afford to do all of them. :-))
Working with Mark has been an absolute joy. I had lots and lots of people tell me horror stories about building a house. I have no complaints. Mark is communicative, organized, thoughtful, creative, and tolerant. If I have strong feelings about something, he's happy to comply. If I don't care how something is done, he's happy to make the decision. And every single time I go out to look at the house, I'm reminded how much I love the land and the house design.
Current date for completion is the end of June. Stay tuned. I'll put some photos up when I can.
This photo doesn't really have anything to do with the house (except that it includes a sun dial and the house is passive solar :-)). Notice that I have a cast on and crutches lying in the background. I had foot surgery in early February, and have spent most of the construction time walking around the site and house (including up and down stairs and ramps) in a cast and on crutches. At least the one in the picture is a removable walking cast, so my balance has improved dramatically!
Although I have a builder I trust, I have tried to learn as much as I can about the process. I've used a number of books.