what’s going on here?!

Ok, it’s been a while since our last post – for good reason. There just hasn’t been a whole lot going on! At least, not on our end. Smallworks has been busy getting things organized, and the City permits were taking a little longer than usual. The permit delay has held things back about a month, but now things are as good as ready. Tomorrow we sign the contract and work starts next week. Exciting! I’m itching to see things start.. even if it does mean the yard, side of the house and front yard are going to be thrashed for a few weeks.

What have we been up to in the meantime? Practicing how to live on a pint-sized budget, that’s what. Now that we’re all grown-up and paying for a house, we can’t be quite as care free with funds. No more impromptu visits to the local pub. Really this just means we’re cooking at home more, which isn’t a bad thing at all. I can’t wait to be using our  new kitchen for it, though! We’ve been enjoying rediscovering our cookbooks and I’ve recently found a useful and innovative recipe search tool: www.gojee.com. You should check it out, it’s fun.

Ok I cooked with these a couple of months ago, but they're just so pretty and in the spirit of cooking with fresh local food, which we are trying to do more of again these days.

Last week we met with Kate and Jake of Smallworks to go over our design/construction choices and of course, the all important budget. No surprise, we were over our budget. We expected as much, since we’re doing a lot of customization and built-in mill work to use the space as best we can. After a bit of slashing/downgrading on things we were willing to part with, we’ve settled on a very livable little home that still has some excellent features and is built and finished with quality products. We’re coming in at around 25% less than the average cost of a comparable sized west side Vancouver apartment, and we’ll have a balcony, garage, garden, heaps of storage and personalized interior. We’re pretty darn lucky.

The one item that was the hardest to downgrade on was the roof. We really wanted the 50 year plastic slate product that looks really unique and beautiful, is made from recycled materials and lasts ‘forever’, but the difference between it and a 30 year asphalt roof is almost $5,000, which is about the same price as our custom built in storage couch/dining bench. We still get a decent roof and get to keep our very practical couch corner. In 30 years perhaps we can afford to replace the roof with something better – but I’d rather not think about being a 60 year old woman yet, thanks.

I’m not hesitating to give price ranges on here because I find it far too common for other bloggers to shy away from sharing costs. As a reader I wish more people would share pricing as it’s really helpful for getting an idea of how much one can expect to budget for a project or product. I am only writing the approximate prices however, so as not to lead anyone to believe something is a set price – especially when it comes to custom mill work. In any case I hope it’s helpful to those of you considering building your own little (or big) house.

Let the countdown begin! Things should be a lot more active on here very soon.


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