And so it begins…. My earlier post (read here) tells about our decision to build our home in the historic district of Norcross, Georgia, and gives an overview of the town itself. Building in a historic district comes with its own special set of rules, requirements, headaches, hoops to jump through and rewards. The citizens of Norcross (including us, as we join their ranks soon) want to be sure that any new construction fits in with the historic structures that have been saved.
Before you can do any work on your property you must have a plan of what you want to build, in detail. Once the plans are submitted to the city’s Planning Dept. they put you on the agenda for the next monthly meeting of the Architectural Review Board. Our architect, Alexandra Gotsch, of Gotsch Studio had some experience drawing plans that met with the Board’s approval. We worked for a couple of months to make sure we had a plan that incorporated what would satisfy our needs, fit on the lot with the required setbacks and meet with the ARB’s approval.
Our builder, Louis Tapia of Centurion Home Improvements, attended the meeting with us. There were a few questions by Board members, some of which Buddy and I could answer, and some Lou answered, but in the end, it was pretty painless. Our plans were approved, with a few minor conditions to be met later, such as approval of exterior light fixtures and landscape plan.
The Board was pleased that we plan to reuse the bricks from the old home that was previously on the property.
Our hope is that there will be enough to go around the outside of the foundation. I think it will make a nice story to tell.
And so the process of clearing and grading began. The city also has a Tree Board which must approve the removal of any trees. They want any trees that can be saved to be saved, and we are in complete agreement with that. One pecan tree had to come down, because it was smack-dab in the middle of the lot, but we have saved the trunk. We’re planning to have a turned wood bowl made by Atlanta native, Bill Benzur but the wood has to cure for a minimum of nine months before he can begin work. See his work here. I plan to have the rest cut into stool-height pieces. I thought it would be cool to have those for sitting around a firepit, or just sitting around………….. So, the tree will live on at our little place.
We decided to keep the old detached garage. Our house will have an attached garage for our cars, but this will make great storage and a workshop for Buddy (and me, too) and could even be a good “doghouse” for him, if the need ever arises (kidding, Bud).
The condition is not toooo bad, and we plan to put on a new roof when the roof goes on the new house, and siding to match the house.
Sara and I attended a garden tour in the spring and I took this picture of a garage at the studio of a landscape architect, Alex Smith Garden Designs, Ltd. Our dream is to make our garage look as awesome as this one.
Buddy was so taken with the gooseneck light over the doors that we spent hours searching the net for just the right one. I finally found one he was happy with online at Northern Tools and ordered it. It’s ready and waiting……….
The grading of the property and preparing for a foundation continued. From what you saw above, we went to this……..
One of the MOST EXCITING days thus far has been when this arrived……
As far as I’m concerned, that means we are a bona fide construction site! Woohoo!!!!!
After much work of moving dirt around, hauling in certain dirt, removing certain dirt, and generally a lot of dirty work, we came to this point.
Nice and level. Then the footings are dug and filled with concrete.
Blocks are laid…
and then the second most exciting day (okay, maybe this was even better than the arrival of the Porta-Potty)
DA-DUM…………………………………… (DRUM ROLL, PLEASE)…
The Day of the Concrete Truck! This was BIG! Buddy and I were both there, a soon-to-be-neighbor came to watch, and lots of guys working hard. An extra truck, called a Pump Truck was needed and that’s what you see in the center of the picture on the bottom. Our lot is not big enough to allow the concrete truck to get close enough to all areas, so this truck pumps the concrete where they need it. At the end of the day….
We. Have. A. Slab!
This is a thing of beauty to me. I’m told that the construction process will go a lot faster now. I hope so, because it has been like molasses up until now. But, we all know the importance of a good, solid foundation, right?
Framing materials have been delivered and the framing of the walls was begun yesterday. I hope to be able to make more frequent updates now.
(Read about the next phase of this journey here.)