Any change, even a change for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts. ~Arnold Bennett
As I stated in the last post, we had a stack of bids that had come in. Bill went through the bids first line for line. He then started a spreadsheet to enter $ amounts into the correct category, i.e., excavation, building material, block, concrete, plumbing, electrical, siding, stone, windows, doors, roof, gutters, etc. He would enter the subcontractor’s name and the amount of the quote for that particular category. He also had a column for tax and a column for comments.
After Bill would get done with bids, I went through each one by category and made notes and questions. It was great having two people checking each bid as we each would catch something that either wasn’t correct or wasn’t bid. After I was done with my examination of the bids, Bill and I sat together and went over them and made changes to the spreadsheet. Bill made notes on any subcontractor he needed to contact either by phone or email for further explanation of their bid or for revisions of the bid. This process took a long time. And, Bill is still following-up on some of them.
We sat down with Jill one evening last week to get her opinion on each bid. She would look at the spreadsheet, then the bid, and then compare the prices of the bid with theirs from three years ago. We each had our construction binders out. We created ours to mimic the one Jill & Jim used:
When we reached the stone bid, we started discussing how I wanted the fireplace surround and mantle to look. I had put a picture in our spec document. However, no subcontractor really addressed the fireplace. Jill asked to see our inspiration photo of the fireplace. Here it is:
Fireplace we like
I guess we hadn’t put enough detail into our spec document to get this area spec’d out. Well, hecky dern! Jill asked what the material was on the mantle. I said I had no idea. I thought someone would bid on how to build it for us. Oops! Guess not. 😕 I’m still learning the ins and outs of this building thing.
This fireplace design became a blessing in disguise. I loved this fireplace from the moment I saw it on houzz.com. I wanted the design to look like the columns in front of our house. Plus, I wanted the fireplace to be a focal point when you walked into the front door. The next day, Thursday, June 27, Bill and I went on a mission to find a masonry company who might be able to help us out.
After a couple stops at places who could not help us, we found a company called Tri-State Stone. We went inside and waited to talk to Rick, the President. I love places like this. The president is also your designer and installer. Lots of years of experience and was excited to create a fireplace like the picture we showed him. After talking with him, Bill asked if they would like to bid on the stone for our home, fireplace, and chimney. Rick said he would be glad to. He said he was sure he would give us a competitive bid. (We only had one other bid.) Then, he asked us what type of fireplace we were putting in and where we were getting it. We had picked out this:
Fireplace Xtrordinair Elite 44
Rick suggested we go to another store and look at their fireplace. He said to tell them he had sent us there. It was just down the street, so we went the same afternoon. We ended up looking at this fireplace:
We got a quote and it was almost $2K less than the other one! The design was fine and we decided this was another area where we could save some money with hope that Rick’s quote would be less than our other stone bid. The good thing was that Tri-State specialized in the actual manufactured stone that we had picked out – Centurion. So, when we got his bid, it would be for the same stone as the other bid.
Friday Bill received answers and updated bids to several inquiries we had sent out to subcontractors. One big problem we were having was that one lumber company had bid the quote using trusses and the other two lumber companies had quoted stick built. Bill had asked those two to submit a new bid with truss structure. Our framer likes to build with trusses, so that is the way we will go. Unfortunately, this brought our build price up even higher! 😯 Bill continued to update the spreadsheet.
In addition, Bill and I went out again Friday morning with Megan in tow to a couple of places trying to decide what to do about our siding. We had originally wanted the Apex Fiberglass siding. However, the only distributor in the area said he wasn’t able to give us a quote for it any longer and he didn’t have an install crew any longer for the siding. That was so frustrating. I even called the manufacturer to find out what was going on and if there was any place else where we could get a quote and get someone to install it. Bill ended up calling a place in Bloomington but they said they only went as far south as Vincennes to install. This was becoming a pain. We finally took this as a sign that we needed to choose another type of siding. I had chosen the pole barn colors to match the colors with the Apex siding. Now what? So began the siding, shakes, trim, windows, door and roof saga.
On a earlier trip to a lumber company, the guy who waited on us told us about this siding and trim which was in their showroom. He said it was LP SmartSide siding with Azek trim. Remember this as it will come into play later . . .
This structure reminded me of the house I fell in love with at the Indianapolis Home Show two years ago.
I really liked the green with the white trim. The lumber company sales person gave us several samples of colors for the LP siding. Or at least he said they were LP siding samples. 🙄 The problem was they just didn’t seem to have that green sample of the LP siding which I really liked. We had all these other samples, but not the green. They gave us a sample of a clay color, too. I asked if they had a dark bronze-like trim or shakes that we could use if we went with the colors that would match the pole barn. Unfortunately, their display on the wall was missing several samples – green and coffee. The other dark trim color was way too brown and didn’t blend in well with the bronze windows. The only other thing I had to go with at the time was a printed off piece of plain paper with the color choices. On this earlier trip we didn’t ask if they could order samples for us. But when we got home and showed Jill the color choices on the plain piece of paper, she said she wondered if the Coffee color would match Bronze.
Back to Friday’s, June 28th, visit to the lumber place . . . We finally got to talk with the guy who was doing our exterior material bids – James. Thank goodness for James. He knew us through our plans and spec document. The other guy we saw that day was Joe – who was bidding the Marvin Integrity windows and the exterior doors we wanted. We already had a great working relationship with Joe. Now we had two guys at the same place who were not only willing to work with us with great service but were also willing to be competitive dollar-wise to get our business. We talked to James about our frustrations with changing to a different siding and the lack of being able to match colors. He said he would order samples of any colors we wanted in the LP SmartSide siding. We gave him a list. He said he thought he’d get them in early the following week. In the meantime, he gave us a sample of the CertainTeed Cedar Impressions Double 7″ Staggered vinyl shakes. These were really heavy-duty.
Bill and I didn’t want vinyl siding but we would consider vinyl shakes – especially these heavy-duty ones. We went home that day to see if these combinations would work. Clay for lap siding, Sable Brown vinyl shakes, White Azek trim and white for exterior windows and doors.
Guess what? I didn’t like the White against the Clay color. I didn’t mind the White against the Sable Brown or the White against the Bronze, but I thought the White against the Clay was too stark for me. And most of the trim was going to be against the Clay lap siding. Bill knows from experience, I have final say on colors. By this time he was like this. Make a decision, already!
Fast forward to Monday, July 1. We made arrangements to make another round of vendor shopping. We took Jack and Megan out for breakfast and then dropped them off at Jill’s workplace so as not to subject them to a dull afternoon of house-building shopping. Our first stop was Menards. They carried the LP SmartSide siding. We wanted to see if they had any color samples we could see. Turns out Menards used a different prefinished color manufacturer than the lumber company. They had different colors and their only samples was a shiny brochure. 😡 However, they had lots and lots of samples of the CertainTeed Cedar Impression Shakes. I grabbed every color sample we thought might work.
We had gotten a call earlier in the morning from Kight Lumber (the lumber company we’d been visiting often). James said that Marvin had the windows and sliding door on sale and we could get another 10% off. Yay!!! And, he said he thought the siding samples would be in that afternoon. So, our next stop was at Kight. James and Joe smile every time we walk in this place. Now, they might be smiling and thinking, “Oh no, not these people AGAIN!” But, no matter what, they smile at us and never appeared or act frustrated. James said the samples had just gotten there and he started to open a package. Needless to say, we were all surprised to see all the color choices! And, this was the Diamond Kote Prefinish. I had read about them. They were highly recommended. And, their finishes had a 30 year no fade warranty. The prefinisher at Menards only had a 15 year warranty. See all our choices? Can you imagine what Bill thought when he saw me get so excited with all of these?
LP SmartSide Siding Colors
I basically was excited about the color Coffee. I took the Coffee sample and put it beside a Marvin Integrity Bronze exterior window and it matched so well. Jill was right. This opened up our possibilities of going back to our original color scheme of Clay siding with Bronze trim. I was happy! Bill just shook his head. I noticed that the Olive color on the chart was lighter than the one on that building display. Remember, I told you this was going to come into play later. While Bill went with James back by the green siding building display I went to go ask Joe about window exterior prices. I wanted to ask him if White exterior was cheaper than the Bronze. For the Marvin Integrity windows, they are the same price. When I went back to meet up with Bill and James, Bill greeted me with the comment that the green siding on the display was NOT LP SmartSide siding like that one sales rep told us. It was Hardy Board. Really? After all these trips and trying to make decisions and now we find out it’s a different siding with a different cost and install price? Brother! 🙄
I did put the Olive sample up to the Green Hardy Board and it was a shade lighter. Since the lighter color didn’t bother Bill or I, we said the Olive LP Siding could still be an option. We looked at roof shingles and picked out two. We liked the Bronze trim around the mahogany stained door below, so we asked that Joe quote us what that would cost if we went that route. This was not the door we wanted, but it was the stain color. We had a cart full of samples and headed out.
Sample of bronze trim around a mahogany stained door
Our next stop was at Tri-State Stone. Bill wanted to check to see if Rick had gotten all the bid information. I asked Bill to see if there was any way we could get a sample of the Centurion Cutface Suede stone that we had picked out. It was a quick in-and-out. Bill said Rick made the comment that there was a lot of stuff included in our bid specs and he was still weeding through it. And, we got the stone sample.
I figured I finally had all the information and samples to make a sound decision on the exterior colors. Now, I just had to wait until it stopped raining and I could take all the samples outside and look at them together in the sunlight. It rained all day Tuesday, July 2, so it wasn’t until Wednesday until I could drag everything outside Jill & Jim’s garage and line it all up and see what colors might be best. We were down to the following choices:
Color Choices for LP SmartSide Siding and Trim
The Olive siding choice was pretty simple. Olive siding with Azek White trim and White window and door exteriors.
Olive with all White Exteriors
The goal for the other color choices was to see if Clay or Oyster Shell would be the best match with the shakes, stone, and trim.
With Jill’s help, we decided that if we went with the taupe tones, we would go with the Oyster Shell color for the lap siding. It blended in better with the stone and matched well with trim and shakes and either of the roof shingle choices.
When we were going through bids last week, Jill had shown us a picture of what she had done when she was trying to make exterior color choices. She had Jim print her out several small copies of the exterior of their home and she would color them with colored pencils. Her colored drawing looks almost identical to her home. She said it was a great way to see how it would all look.
Jill & Jim’s colored house drawing
I decided to try my hand with colored pencils. Here are mine:
Front view: Olive with white exterior trim and Hearthstone colored shakes
Rear view: Olive with white
Front view: Oyster Shell siding with Coffee trim, Sable Brown Shakes, Bronze window and door exterior, and Mahogany door
See my funny gutters? I purposely didn’t draw them close to house because I didn’t want to use Coffee trim on the corners of the house. 😀
Rear view: Oyster Shell siding with blah, blah, blah
Looking at the pictures Bill and I couldn’t make up our mind whether we wanted the Olive or Taupe. There were advantages to both. I really liked the Olive but was afraid that it would look like we hadn’t thought to coordinate the colors with the pole barn. We couldn’t change the pole barn colors. That sucker was built and was staying that way!
Bill suggested we go for a ride and look at a newer subdivision with homes that all had some sort of out building. As soon as we pulled into the subdivision, we noticed that all the homes and the out buildings were the same color scheme. And, we liked them that way. Bill looked at me and said, we have to go Taupe colors and I agreed. It was finally settled. I was happy because I was going back to my original choices. They just kept calling me back. Bill was just happy that the exterior color saga was over. He had been quite sick of the whole thing. 🙂
Picture the siding color on the house to look more like the lap siding on the pole barn. We didn’t have the right colored pencils. I did what I could. What do you think?
Front view: Oyster Shell siding with Coffee trim, Sable Brown Shakes, Bronze window and door exterior, and Mahogany door
By the way, we did get the bid from Tri-State Stone for the house, fireplace, and chimney. It came in about $3500 less than our other quote. I think you know who is going to get that job!
Sometime yesterday someone with the pole barn construction delivered a big pile of rock in our driveway. If it doesn’t rain, maybe we will see some workers down there tomorrow shoveling that rock into the pole barn. The rain has held them off several days. Tuesday I saw the garage door people come and go. Bill got a call yesterday. They said it was way too muddy for them to install the garage doors.
As soon as Jim gets back from Africa, we need to sign a contract with the construction company and send a copy to our bank along with set of plans and line items from the bids. Then, we hope to start building.
Were we able to make enough cuts to build this house at the price we wanted? Not really! Yes, we were able to save here and there. I hope the stock market goes up and up – cause we’ve decided to take more out of our savings to build this house the way we want it. You only live once!
Next up: Will it ever stop raining? Will we ever get our stuff out of storage and move it down here? Will Bill get back to finishing our cabinets?