Saturday, May 30, 2009

The King of Swamp Castle

Yes, I finally closed escrow yesterday, so now I'm the proud owner of huge... tracts of land on a picturesque hillside in the seaside town of Pacifica. Well, maybe not huge tracts exactly, more like seven thousand six hundred and fifty square feet of land, but still... it's another small step along the road to my Holy Grail.

And it's not the only small step - on Monday I expect to finally resubmit my amended plans to the City of Pacifica. Give them another two weeks or so for final review, and then with any luck I will be in possession of a building permit for my Minnie House...

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Song Remains The Same

Another week gone by, and I'm still waiting to resubmit my permit application to the city. I nearly have all of the amended sheets and all of the responses to the city's comments, but honestly, with two architects, one of whom is in Missouri, and two structural engineers, one of whom is in Indiana, not to mention a geotechnical engineer in Burlingame and a civil engineer in San Francisco, it's just like herding cats. Perhaps I'll be ready to re-file on Monday, if I can avoid getting scratched by any of the cats.

And in other news, I'm still trying to get quotes/budgets from general contractors, and get an acceptable quote for the foundations. I'm much closer to moving ahead on both fronts, but I still don't have anyone or anything under contract. The foundation quotes range from $93k to over $150k, and I have to choose between shotcrete, cast in place and Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs). Right now I'm leaning heavily towards the latter, which seems like the best combination of price/performance, and since the forms are insulated you save time and money later on as well.

Yesterday I signed all of the paperwork for the lot and wired the balance to the title company, so some time in the next two days I should officially close escrow and become the new owner of the beautiful little piece of land in Pacifica where I will build my dream house! That's some progress right there!

I have also been working hard at the lot, cutting back shrubbery, clearing the building area, and pulling up weeds and stinging nettles galore. Keeps me busy, and makes me feel like I'm getting somewhere. I even found a rose bush on the site last weekend that I hadn't noticed before...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Creepy crawly

Moving along, very slowly, like a creepy crawly. Still getting quotes for the foundations, and at last I may actually have a couple of options. I think in the end I'll have to choose between cast in place from one contractor, CMU above the basement slab from another, and sprayed shotcrete from a third. Hard to figure out what to do, especially without a GC to help.

I'm working on that, though, and would like to have a GC in place within the next week or so.

Also still assembling the amended plans for resubmission to the city. I wanted to resubmit this week, but t doesn't look like I'll get everything together in time, so perhaps next Tuesday?

And while everything else is constantly shifting forward in time, the same can be said for closing escrow, which was due to happen tomorrow, but is now awaiting a legal document from the seller, who lives in Colorado and is quite technologically challenged - no cell phone, no fax machine. Whaaa? It's 2009!!!

So everything is manana, manana, manana. Trying not to get frustrated, just keep moving the ball down field the hard way, a few yards at time, without turning it over! Every now and then it would be nice to just air one out towards the end zone, if you know what I mean. And I think you do.

While all this is going on, I managed to get a great Craigslist deal on a couple of new Panasonic bathroom fans ($100.00 for the pair!), and I'm also spending many hours at the lot cutting down branches and shrubs, pulling up roots, and generally clearing the site. I can't believe how gorgeous it is almost every time I go down there! Roll on the day this is all finished and I can move to my new neighborhood!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Here's a lovely new movie to play with: this one has my own art work and photos on the walls, and the actual view, or something close to it, from the living room and bedroom. It also show the cypress tree through the side windows in the living room, and West Ham on the TV!

I'm a little closer to something, although I'm not sure what, exactly. I'm in discussion with several concrete contractors about foundations (that I can actually pay for!), and with several GCs about handling the whole project. I'm also close to closing escrow for the land but that is dependent upon getting the OK from the city to build the house.

I spoke to the city yesterday, and although they are not finished with my application yet - they still need to get comments from the engineering dept - they did agree to fax me the comments so far. And there are a lot of them, around 45, so I'll need to get together with all of the relevant parties (engineer and architects) to so that we can resubmit. Then it should only take another week or two to get the permits.

And then I can start... IF I have a contractor in place, and IF I have an acceptable bid for the foundations.

In the meantime, I actually bought my kitchen yesterday, because IKEA has a 20% sale on kitchens, and it ends this weekend. So I bought and paid for all of the kitchen cabinets and appliances. The cabinets are per Rocio's spec, high-gloss white Abstrakt panels on white Akurum cabinets. For those of you keeping score at home, the appliances consist of the Energisk B18 fridge/freezer, the Eldig cooktop, the Nutid dishwasher, and the Hovskar single lever kitchen faucet . If anyone wants to know why IKEA, well - $5K for the lot, including shipping. That's why!

Friday, May 1, 2009


Well now. Here's a very cool 3D walk through of The Minnie House, which I made using Live Interior 3D Pro for the Mac. Most of the furniture is mine, but I can't quite figure out how to import my own art work.

Now, if I can just find a way to actually build it...