Clippings by arisonn

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my little Geum obsession....

posted by: christinmk on 11.11.2013 at 03:34 pm in Perennials Forum

'Arisonn' asked me to comment a bit further on the Geum I've tried over the years. Prepare yourselves folks! Are you comfortable? Got a hot beverage and comfy chair? I'm long winded about my favorite genera ;-) Don't say I didn't warn you, LOL.

Geum coccineum 'Borisii' (occasionally seen written as Geum borisii, which is wrong)- fair grower. Stands a bit taller than my 'Cooky' and has darker orange flowers.

Geum coccineum 'Cooky'- super vigorous and uber floriferous! This is a very low grower- probably not much taller than six inches when in bloom. Nice spreading habit too. I've noticed in recent years that this one still performs well even if it doesn't get regular division. It probably will soon, but it's nice to find a Geum that can go a bit longer. I sent seed of this one to my good GW bud and she was duly impressed with the offspring. So two (four?) thumbs up for this cultivar.

Geum coccineum 'Cooky' photo cooky_zps44e650eb.jpg

Geum x 'Coppertone'- this is a rivale cultivar. This is my second time trying it. I killed it first time around without much trouble. It seems to be a weak thing, although it might not care much for the semi-arid weather over here. If it doesn't like the new situation I put it in (an area out front that the Geums excel in, what with the sandy soil) than I will try it in a damper/semi-shady area. The rivale species like it moist. Hence the name 'Water Avens' I imagine, LOL!!

Geum rivale  'Coppertone' photo geumcoccineumCoppertone.jpg

Geum x 'Cosmopolitain'- from the 'Cocktail Series'. Only just got this fellow in the summer, so the jury is still out. Seems to be a tough cookie though- it survived a few days of severe neglect!

Geum x 'Fireball'- a quellyon (formerly chiloense) hybrid I believe. This is probably the only chiloense I've had long-term luck with. The first few years it surpassed expectations. Then the spot became a bit too shady for it and it dwindled. I've put starts of it elsewhere, but so far I haven't been able to get it as big and robust as it got in that first location. One observation- it is very tall and the double orange flowers seem to weigh the stems down a lot. In some locations this can cause some major flopping, in others it seems to hold itself upright okay. It does best to plant this near things that can prop it up a smidge. 'Firestorm' is a new-ish improvement of 'Fireball' that supposedly is more compact and less leggy. Flowers are darker orange than appear in my pic...

Geum 'Fireball' & ribbongrass photo 111GeumFireballribbongrass.jpg

Geum x 'Flames of Passion'- could be my favorite. It is a rivale hybrid (x coccineum??) selected by the great Piet Oudolf. Wonderful upright habit with slightly nodding flowers on dark stems. Exceptionally vigorous bloomer. Doesn't mind drying out too much- perhaps that is where it's coccineum heritage shines through?

Geum 'Flames of Passion' photo geum.jpg

flowers against 'Touch of Class' Jacob's ladder
Geum  'Flames of Passion' photo geumfop_zpsd20cfc04.jpg

Geum quellyon 'Lady Strathden'- semi-double yellow flowers. This one put up a greater fight for life than some of my other chiloense cultivars did. Seed strain. Think mine is dead now...not terribly distraught about this, LOL.

Geum x 'Mai Tai'- from the 'Cocktail Series'. According to this site free patents online it is a hybrid cross betweeen 'Mango Lassi' and 'Flames of Passion'. Got this last year, but am quite impressed with it already. It's not even in a very nice spot either. If it declines in this location (crap soil with a dash of crap soil) I might move it elsewhere. So far it shows the wonderful vigor of 'Flames of Passion'. Peachy-apricot color with darker pink highlights. As the blooms age they take on a more of a pinkish hue.

Geum 'Mai Tai' photo geummaitai_zps58698401.jpg

Geum 'Mai Tai' photo gmt_zps564a4799.jpg

Geum coccineum 'Mango Lassi'- Golden orange with darker orange highlights. Not sure what's gone wrong with this guy in recently. First couple years it did well and had a good amount of flowers. Last few years it hasn't produced much flowers, even with division. I've put extra starts around and those haven't done much either. Good foliage growth but not much else. It could need fertilizer to do well, though it seems strange since my other Geum go without (excepting the few odd handfulls of compost when I get around to amending the beds, which isn't often!).

Geum coccineum 'Mango Lassi' photo 57GeumMangoLassi.jpg

Geum triflorum- "Old Man's Wiskers"/ "Prairie Smoke". An outstanding native Geum that (surprise, surprise!) is native to prairies, lol. Honestly, it doesn't really resemble other Geum at all. It's hard to describe the flowers. Nodding pink sepals that hold the stamens? In any event, it's the seedheads that are the main attraction here. It's like the love child of Pulsatilla and Fallugia paradoxa, LOL. After blooming the gorgeous pink-tinged seed heads emerge above the kind of weedy (to me) looking foliage). They don't last terribly long, but boy are they something! Love the texture it provides. Incredibly easy to grow. Does well in full sun and part shade. Doesn't need to be divided quite as often. A winner in my book!

Geum triflorum 'Prairie Smoke' flowers photo DSCN1597_0199_199.jpg

Geum triflorum photo geumt_zps57b3f836-1.jpg

Geum triflorum photo COPYdewonGeumtrifolium.jpg

Geum coccineum 'Pumpkin'- long since dead. Can't even remember what was noteworthy about it. Think the flowers were a bit larger than 'Cooky'??

Geum x 'Tequila Sunrise'- of the 'Cocktail Series'. Holy smokes, it happened again. I was on total Autopilot when I bought this. I didn't even remember it until I saw a picture of it in my files! LOL!! Heck, I'm not even sure where this is in my garden. I suppose that gives you an idea on the impression it made on me. From the pic it seems that the flowers are a light to medium yellow, with some orange highlights I believe? I should wait until next year to comment further on it (and find it, lol).

Geum 'Tequilla Sunrise' photo GeumTS_zpscf75bfb9.jpg

Geum macrophyllum- big leafed native avens. Don't do it people. Don't be temped by this uggo. It seeds like crazy and the flowers are small and unattractive.

Geum quellyon (formerly chiloense) red hybrids: I've only a vague memory I tried of the red forms over the years. Many a 'Mrs. J. Bradshaw' of course. Those lasted a couple years before croaking. Think I might have tried 'Bloody Mary' & Blazing Sunset'. I want to say I tried 'Red Dragon' at one point too, but am not positive. I've given up on the quellyon/chiloense species. They simply don't do well in my region. I suspect it is a combination of our wet winters combined with lack of hardiness. Maybe they would survive in a dryer zone 5, I'm not sure.

Overview: if you have a climate anything like mine steer-clear of the quellyons. Go for the coccineums instead. If you have a damp situation go for the rivales. Even better? Go for the coccineum x rivale hybrids. I'm very impressed with this combo- it seems to bring out the best qualities of each species. Can't grow Geum at all? Give G. triflorum a try. Its tough and does well in a variety of situations.

Ps. If anyone knows where I can get my hands on Geum repens seeds let me know! It's my current lust-after Geum! Along with 'Alabama Slammer', 'Gimlet' and maybe 'Sangria'. Maybe peppered with a few straight rivale cultivars too ;-)

Further interest:
National collection of geum in UK: HERE

Avondale Geum catalog (!!!!): >HERE


clipped on: 11.13.2013 at 11:06 am    last updated on: 11.13.2013 at 11:06 am

Remodel Complete - 1908 Foursquare, Shaker Quartersawn Oak Kitche

posted by: davetz1 on 10.07.2009 at 02:18 pm in Kitchens Forum

Our summer kitchen remodel is complete in our 1908 Foursquare home. We opted for somewhat of a period-true design along with flsuh inset cabinets.

Many thanks to members here for posting, input and ideas. Special mention to kitchenkelly for her banquette design and photos.

Let me know what you think and thanks for looking!


Here are the details:

60% DIY (Demo, electrical, plumbing, paint, finish trim, tile, knobs and pulls)

Timeline: Summer 2008 - design finalized; July 1, 2009 -groundbreaking; July 22, 2009 - first meal in kitchen, appliances back in; early September, 2009 - finish details such as trim, backsplash, counters, knobs and pulls complete.


Cabinets: custom built stained Quartersawn Oak

Counters: Zodiaq Woodland Grey with integral runnels (drainboard)

Sink: Franke OAX-110 Super Single

Faucet: Kohler Forte (ebay)

Back Door and Transom (Fullview with operable

blinds): Thermatru

Casement Window: Anderson

Appliances: various Stainless steel - Amana, GE (counter depth fridge)

Range Hood: Vent-a-Hood PRH-9130-SS (ebay)

Lighting: Sconces - Schoolhouse Lighting Hand Painted Emory


Pendant and Semi-flush - Rejuvenation

Undercabinet lights - American Lighting Brushed


Fan: Emerson Atomical Brushed Steel (ebay)

Speakers: Bose 190 In-Ceiling with independant volume controls

White Plugmold

Knobs and Pulls: Lee Valley Antique Pewter

Doorknobs: VanDyke's Restorer's Octagon Knobs with Brushed Nickel Backplates

Backsplsh Tile: Dirk Elliott Breeze Subway Tile

Decorative Insert Tile (in upper cabinets): Motawi 6"X6" Mountain and Valley Landscape tiles

Banquette: Custom design based on kitchenkelly's and Crownpoint's (painted maple and stained oak), self built

Drawer slides: Blum Tandem self close/soft close undermount

Door hinges: Blum with Soft Close

Without Further adieu, the photos:





Packing up

Our temporary sink - lots of takeout, no paper plates!


Drywall finishing

Floors refinished

Cabinet installation

First meal cooked in the new kitchen - from the Farmer's Market

Counter installation

My little helper

Backsplash complete

Range with Subway Tile Backspalsh

Backsplash with Plugmold and Undercabinet Lights

South View with new Door and Transom

Leaded Glass Window Insert

Motawi Tiles

Banquette, Fridge, Microwave

Banquette - thanks for the ideas, kitchenkelly!

Overall Southwest Aerial View

Here is a link that might be useful: For the whole set of photos - check out the slideshow


clipped on: 10.15.2009 at 08:49 am    last updated on: 10.16.2009 at 09:29 pm

RE: Budget is Way over Bid - Can you help? (Follow-Up #6)

posted by: susan3733 on 06.06.2009 at 01:37 pm in Building a Home Forum

I'm going to echo what most everyone else has said. First and most importantly, get multiple bids!! It might be a pain, and maybe you really want to use this particular builder, but you must must must get multiple bids. It's the only way to keep the guy honest and get a good cross-section of understanding of what everyone is charging.

Also, just to give you a little illustration of what's happened to both building and materials costs in recent years, we are shocked (in a good way) at how much cheaper it is NOW to do a complete renovation/addition of a home than it was in 2003. We have done renovations on two separate houses, one back in '03 and one that we're currently doing, both in the same high cost coastal town. Both involved a "down to the studs" remodel and addition of significant square footage.

In 2003, we went with a "cost plus" builder who charged us 17% and did everything on a time and materials basis. Our build ended up being about $350/sf. It was high end materials and a great home. We loved it, had a very pleasant experience with our biulder, and because real estate was booming, we made a nice profit when we sold it several years later (after adopting two children and needing more space).

Here we are in 2009, with our expanded family, and we bought another fixer-upper almost a year ago, and are now coming to the end of yet another large renovation/addition project. Everything is very similar to the prior house project - the finish details, the complexity of the build, in the same town, etc, and yet it is costing us FAR less per square foot than it did in 2003. This time, the price psf is coming out to under $200 (probably around $185 when it's finished). In our area (southern Cal) that is WAY lower than the norm.

The major reasons for that are twofold: We went with a high quality builder who offered a fixed price bid and cost of subs and materials are way down.

Our builder, although he's well-established in our area, is recently becoming known as a GC who will offer fixed price bids and he is now fairly busy while other cost plus builders are slow. These days, people need/want the peace of mind of fixed price bids, and there's no reason that the local builders should not respond, especially in this economy.

Granted, the fixed price bid process was way more work for us up front (as well as for the builder) because we had to really nail down all the details in the architectural drawings and specs and make decisions about all our finishes very early in the process in order for the bid to be on target and meaningful, but so far, we're pretty much on budget and we only have about 8 weeks left to go.

It's been a little difficult with our current fixed price builder because there is a definite "push-pull" and a little more tension in the relationship than with our prior "cost plus" guy because we have to hold our fixed price guy accountable to building exactly what is spec'd for the price he quoted, instead of just opening up the spigot and paying as we go, as we would with a "cost plus" contractor. Now, DH and I always joke that no wonder our former builder was such a good guy and so great to work with - we just paid him whatever he asked for - what a deal! When we think back on it, although we trusted him in general, there was really zero accountability or financial incentive for him to keep us on budget, which is the way it is in most "cost plus" contracts. Again, there will probably be a little more tension and you will have to look over the builder's shoulder a lot with a fixed price bid (and maybe your architect can help with that, albeit for a fee), but the best way to avoid the tension as much as possible is to make sure your plans/specs are super detailed and clear right from the start.

The other reason our costs are so much lower this time is also because the subs and the materials seem to be way down in price.

There is really no reason whatsoever at this point in the economy that anyone should have to choose a builder with a cost plus contract that charges 20% on top of everything else. That's crazy...and don't let them tell you that you'll make it up in discounts by his offering you the benefit of his contractor discount. That is not true either. These days, most plumbing supply houses, electrical fixture suppliers, tile shops, etc, etc, are more than willing to pass on a contractor's discount directly to the consumer if you're doing a significant project. And, even if they're only willing to pass on the discount to your contractor, with a fixed price bid you can get the benefit of the contractor discount but without the mark-up afterwards, which usually nixes most of, if not all, the savings. That is the way we are doing our project - we pick out all fixtures and finishes and we get the contractor's discount. Our builder does not mark any of it up.

I suggest you start from the beginning and put together a bid packet (which should include your detailed drawings, spec sheet outlining all finish details, and a detailed questionnaire with interview questions regarding the builders' backgrounds, experience, references, etc). Then you should hand that out to at least 3 builders that you are considering (including your current guy) and tell them you're only interested in fixed bid contracts and if they're willing/interested in working with you, please get back to you within x weeks (for our project, they got back to us in 2-3 weeks). Tell them you'll make a decision by a certain date and you'll be ready to go on a certain date. Ask them if they need any more info from you and if so, tell them you'll be very accessible.

Just my two cents. Good luck!!


clipped on: 06.08.2009 at 07:38 am    last updated on: 06.08.2009 at 07:38 am

Coat closet doors & hardware

posted by: niff on 01.08.2009 at 04:22 pm in Building a Home Forum

We have the traditional wide reach-in coat closets... two closets on opposite sides of one another. Currently, our architect spec'd the standard bi-fold doors. I am not opposed to the bi-fold doors per se, just don't want to deal with the cheesy home store tracks that ultimately break. Is there any stout bi-fold door hardware out there these days?

Or, can anyone offer a reach-in door set up they opted for instead of bi-fold doors? Specifically, I'm interested in quality closet hardware -- I know there's some pretty clever stuff.



clipped on: 01.13.2009 at 06:05 pm    last updated on: 01.13.2009 at 06:05 pm

Mudroom locker systems from cabinet companies?

posted by: lhildreth on 11.12.2006 at 12:49 pm in Building a Home Forum

The company we bought our kitchen and bath cabinets from has quoted us $6500 for a 64" wide mudroom locker setup. This price is using Aristocraft brand cabinets (we have Decora brand elsewhere which seems to be more high end) - they told us to add 50% for Decora. I've had a competitor come out and their bid was just as high (they again used Aristocraft).

I'm thinking the reason this price is so outrageous is that Aristocraft doesn't have "standard" components to create these lockers, so they are cobbling it together using refrigerator end panels, modified depth wall cabinets, etc.

If I can't get the price down to $2500 or so, I'm going to have to settle for the Pottery Barn pre-fab deal.

Our "mudroom" is really more of our garage entry (and we're in Florida - boots, coats, etc. will not be stored here and left to dry) and is highly visible (very open floor plan), so I am more concerned with looks than with function. This is more of a place for storing backpacks, laptop bags and shoes.

Since this concept seems to be growing in popularity, I'm wondering if anyone has seen "standard" components to create this type of storage system from the big cabinet companies (Kraftmaid, etc.)?


clipped on: 01.13.2009 at 05:59 pm    last updated on: 01.13.2009 at 05:59 pm

Poll: What is one brand/product you will never buy again?

posted by: sniffmeister on 09.14.2007 at 12:58 pm in Building a Home Forum

Now that you're building, what one product/brand have you had such bad experience with that you will never buy it again and would try to talk anyone else out of buying?


clipped on: 01.09.2009 at 01:01 pm    last updated on: 01.09.2009 at 01:02 pm

RE: $65 Sq foot to build (Follow-Up #26)

posted by: persnicketydesign on 09.04.2008 at 02:05 pm in Building a Home Forum

Thank you so much, phoggie! I don't mind sharing the info a bit. We learned so much from this board and it only seems right to share. :o)

Our framer charged $25,000 for the entire job and I cannot say enough good things about the entire crew. They were incredible. The father (who ran things) has been framing for 35 years and only builds custom homes. The rest of the crew consisted of his sons and employees who've been with him for years. They always said "yes sir", "no sir", "let me check for you sir" and ran (actually ran) to grab lumber. They took a 15 minute break at 9:30, another at 2:30 and an hour for lunch at 11:30. You could set your clock by them. He's the only framer we will ever use. Period.

Our roofer charged $5,033 for labor and he supplied the flashing. The shingles and ridge I purchased from a local lumber yard that was not going to be selling GAF/ELK anymore. Lucky for me they had the exact ones that I wanted. I got all of my shingles & ridge for $4219.55.

We shopped around for the Nichiha with 3 different lumber yards. One was high, the second was a really good price. The one we ended up going with called the second lumber yard to get their price and then beat it. We got prestained for $265 per square.

One of my dearest friends' husband owns a large HVAC company. He gave me 3 Carrier Infinity systems for $11,400. I do have to bake cakes for him for the rest of my life though. :o)

Our tile guy charged $2300 for the laundry room and bathrooms (including master shower & tub surround). I purchased the tile, backer board, grout, and pebbles for the shower floor.

Sheet rock was fun. We had 3 different subs that we liked and they were trying to beat each others prices. Our final price for materials, labor, and haul off was $12,900. They had it finished in 3 days.

The same guy who did our drywall also has a paint crew. We will supply everything and they do all the prep work, prime, and paint for $6300 (including the exterior trim).

I got a fantastic deal on the 4" maple floors online from Hurst Hardwoods. Since we needed so much of it Eric got it for us for $2.80 PSF and the shipping was just over $300. It's selling here locally for $4.59-$5.39. The installer that I found works for one of the flooring stores during the week and "freelances" on the weekend. He charged us $1.00 PSF to lay it down. We haven't had them finished yet, but that will be $1.75 PSF for sanding, staining, and 3 coats of poly.

We have custom cabinets from a local shop. They are made of maple and we had them painted SW Alabaster in the kitchen and laundry room. They are just recessed panel doors. Nothing fancy. :o) The vanities in the master are also maple, but we had them stained. The children's baths are painted. Total cost for cabinets, installation, counters for the baths, and laundry....$16,400.

The granite is coming from Atlanta Intown Granite. They do really nice work & offer some fantastic deals! Check them out if you're in the vicinity.

I bought all of the appliances online. Got some fantatsic deals. We have a 48" custom panel GE Monogram fridge that we purchased from a new construction house for $1560. The people who bought the house wanted stainless and wanted this one sold. Lucky me!!! I got a brand new Samsung washer & dryer set with pedestals for $1300. The double ovens have a scratch on one of the handles, so I got it for dirt cheap too. I just had the custom panel dishwasher delivered yesterday. It's sitting in my garage. LOL They are still selling them at Best Buy for $1400, but I got it on eBay from a company that sells Best Buy's overstock merchandise. My cost for the same item they're still selling? $643.00. Got my cooktop from the same folks too.

Saw our front door in a catalog for $6700 and then got in touch with the company that imports them. Bought it $1999 beacuse it was a slow time of year for them. They're now selling them for $2499, but hey...that's still a good deal. LOL

Bought all my drawer pulls, knobs, and doorknobs on eBay. Bought 3 Ellington Palladian fans from eBay too...for only $29.99 each (they're usually close to $400 ea). Saved a bunch. Same thing for faucets. I picked out what I wanted at the plumbing supply place and then watched the auctions and bought what I wanted at a great price.

I don't think we've really had to sacrifice anything but time to save some money. I'm putting the same things into the house that I would have if we'd paid full price.


clipped on: 01.05.2009 at 09:06 am    last updated on: 01.05.2009 at 09:07 am

Our Almost Finished $64 PSF House w/ Pics!!!

posted by: persnicketydesign on 12.31.2008 at 07:12 pm in Building a Home Forum

Hi all! Since I posted on the "How Are You Tracking Your Costs" and "Can You Build For $65 PSF" threads I've had lots of emails from people wanting to know how we did it, so I thought I'd start a thread to keep all the info in one place.

First the basics...the house is 4240 HSF with 6380 SF under roof on just under 2 acres. We have 4 bedrooms downstairs and 4 1/2 baths (1 up) with another bedroom optional upstairs. I'll be using this area as my sewing/office area for now. There is also a game room upstairs for the kids.

We have a 3 car attatched garage with insulated CHI carriage style doors. We also poured a pad for a future 30 X 30 shop for DH who restores muscle cars for fun. :o)

The house is on a crawlspace with BluWood for framing, engineered floor joists, Typar housewrap, Nichiha siding, Simonton windows, a Portobello front door, and Jeld-Wen for the rest of the doors. The shingles are architectural from GAF/Elk. There are 110 LF of gutters with 10 downspouts and French drains that run behind the doggy yard. The front and side porches are flagstone and the screened porch has concrete floors. There's one deck off the sunroom.

We have 3 heat pumps...4 ton, 2 ton, and 1 1/2 tons. We used the pink stuff for insulation and incorporated "Quiet Zone" for some rooms too. The interior doors are solid.

We used Pex for the plumbing and have a single 80 gallon water heater with a recirculating pump.

The floors are solid 3/4" maple in a 4" width that were site finished with a 50/50 mix of Early American stain & poly. They were then followed by 3 additional coats of poly. The baths, mudroom, and laundry room all have tile. The carpet in the bedrooms is "Walking on Clouds" by Shaw Industries with a 10 lb moisture pad underneath. Feels great!

The maple cabinets were custom made by a local shop. They were painted with SW Duration paint in Alabaster. The MB cabinets are also maple and were done in a custom mix stain color.

The faucets are all Moen except for the two in the kitchen which are Price Pfister (Marielle). All toilets are Cadet 3s by American Standard.

Most of the ceiling fans are by Ellington, but there are a few Hunter and Hampton Bay thrown in. We have a total of 10.

The counters in the kitchen are Uba Tuba granite with an Ogee edge. The laundry room counter is laminate and the baths all have cultured marble.

The fridge is a 48" GE Monogram, double ovens are GE Profile, dishwasher is GE with smart dispense (holds a whole bottle of detergent!), the cooktop is a 5 burner gas-through-glass by Frigidaire/Electrolux, and the hood vent is an Inca Pro. The fridge and dishwasher have custom panels so that they will match the rest of the cabinetry. They're finished, but haven't been installed yet.

We're still not finished, but sold our other house faster than we expected and had to move in here with lots of projects still to finish. The painters still have to come back, so there's blue tape all over and hardly anything on the walls. I can't put any rugs down yet and am using the old furniture until we're finished. I'm an admitted fabric junkie and stare every day at the bolts of fabric waiting for me to make them into window treatments, dust ruffles, and pillows. My sewing machines miss me. *deep sigh* BUT.... we're and it feels FABULOUS!!!

I'm happy to answer any questions that anyone has, so ask away!












clipped on: 01.05.2009 at 08:57 am    last updated on: 01.05.2009 at 08:57 am

Buying house 'parts' online to save...? Recommended sites?

posted by: capecodfan on 12.06.2008 at 09:12 am in Building a Home Forum


I n the past, I have been pretty savvy when it comes to deals online for various things. I am an avid slickdealer ( ) as well as ebayer...

But where the confusion with trying to buy stuff for a new build online comes in for me is wondering whether the price I find is a lot cheaper than my builders pricing (who gets better pricing than the average Joe).

Obviously it just requires communication with my builder about pricing.

But if there is any knowledge I could gain from this post it would maybe be:

items that fellow Gardenwebers have found cheaper than their builder online

known items that can motn(more often than not) be found cheaper online.

and recommended sites other than eBay for finding these items.

Thanks so much.



clipped on: 12.29.2008 at 04:12 pm    last updated on: 12.29.2008 at 04:12 pm

RE: Fixed Cost or Cost Plus (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: mightyanvil on 11.21.2008 at 08:27 pm in Building a Home Forum

I like to use a Cost of the Work contract with a Guaranteed Maximum Price and a Shared Savings. This is pretty much the standard for large commercial projects since the early 70's. Each trade is bid competitively and the owner chooses the sub and if that price is greater than the lowest one, the GMP is increased by the difference. The owner has cost protection and a chance to save money and the builder has a financial incentive to buy the job out below the GMP. Splitting the savings increases the builder's profit with little effort and no additional cost. I've never found a downside to it. It is usually a good idea to have an architect involved unless the builder is sophisticated enough to administrate the contract.

I would avoid any allowances in fixed price contracts or any Cost of the Work contracts with no GMP because you have no cost protection against excessive markups by sub contractors.


clipped on: 12.09.2008 at 09:56 am    last updated on: 12.09.2008 at 09:56 am

RE: Help finding a small, simple floor plan and I need your advic (Follow-Up #24)

posted by: mightyanvil on 01.30.2008 at 08:05 am in Building a Home Forum

The most efficient shape, in terms of surface area, to enclose a certain volume of space is a sphere but the next most efficient is a cube. A cube would minimize the amount of foundation and roof. The only drawback is the need for stairs in a multi level design but that can be offset by the reduction in hallways if there are enough rooms in the program.

An open square floor plan also maximizes views from living spaces with the fewest number of windows. Fewer larger windows are also more efficient in terms of cost. Double-hung windows are cheaper than casements and awning windows. I like to use windows with wood frames and aluminum clad sash and muntins. The trim can be installed at the factory (and the ganged windows mulled together) and it is not much more work to paint the exterior of the window frame when you paint the exterior casing trim. And you don't need a ladder if you use a good tie off harness. This assumes you can't afford PVC trim. I would also use unfinished red cedar shingles for low maintenance no corner trim and instant charm.

A cube reduces heating and cooling costs since it reduces the surface area of the house.

The most efficient sloped roof shape is a hip (pyramid shape in this case).

A 22' square footprint is the limit for 2x12 Hem-Fir joists at 12" o.c. unless you like bouncy floors. LVL framing would be a large cost increase.

Large overhangs might eliminate gutters.

Exterior porches increase summer living space at a bargain price. Forget a screen porch, use 8-0 rolling doors but don't buy cheap ones, they have to open easily.

Forget the garage or add it later with just enough common wall overlap to allow a connecting door. Perhaps the mudroom is in a connecting link but that increases foundation cost.

You can design a house better than a pre-packaged one on the internet and for less money if you don't mind it not looking like Hansel and Gretel live in it. Buy the pro version of Sketch Up and draw it up.


clipped on: 12.04.2008 at 10:32 am    last updated on: 12.04.2008 at 10:32 am

Percentage cost of rough shell vs complete build

posted by: cedar32 on 05.11.2008 at 05:46 pm in Building a Home Forum

kind of an oddball question.... but here goes: I'm trying to figure out what is the percentage of the total cost of getting to a weather tight shell vs the total cost of the completed build. Say if your total build cost is $500,000 what percentage of that was to get to weather tight shell.... and by shell I'm including excavation, septic, foundation, rough framing, roofing, siding, windows and doors. I'm thinking about 50%... am I close or maybe not that much....??

Thanks for the help.


clipped on: 12.04.2008 at 10:19 am    last updated on: 12.04.2008 at 10:19 am

Shell company

posted by: homeimprovementdiva on 07.01.2008 at 11:26 am in Building a Home Forum

Has anyone ever used a company to build the shell of your home and then they helped you sub out the rest or you could sub out yourself and/or you could do some of the work? Was it worth it? Did you save any money that way? We have a company in the area that does that but not sure if it's worth it.


clipped on: 12.04.2008 at 10:18 am    last updated on: 12.04.2008 at 10:19 am

Building a new house with an old house feel

posted by: arisonn on 12.02.2008 at 01:31 pm in Building a Home Forum

Id love to build a "new old house" because I want the beauty, coziness and careful design/craftsmanship of an old house paired with the conveniences and efficiency of modern houses. Plus I want to put it outside of the city/town, where its hard to find nice old houses in my area. I spend a good deal of my free time reading building/remodeling magazines and library books and websites about construction and my favorite house style: Arts and Crafts/Craftsman/Bungalows. However it doesnt seem popular to try to re-create an old house feel so Im looking for inspiration.

Have any of you built a new house with an old house feel? If so, can you share your experience? On the recent "trendy building" thread I noticed some discussion about faking traditional styles like "Tuscan" or French which just come off looking superficial. Id like to avoid anything like "Craftsman light" so even if you dont have any experience with building new-old yourself, please feel free to chime in with any advice or ideas for how to achieve an old house feel without breaking the bank. Everything I see that is similar to what Im thinking about is architect designed million dollar type homes, and thats not a possibility for me.


clipped on: 12.02.2008 at 06:10 pm    last updated on: 12.02.2008 at 06:12 pm