Thursday, September 18, 2008


I've been slowly working on furnishings for the house. We already have a queen size bed and dresser, which will go into the guest bedroom. We also have a few chairs and shelves we'll be moving from the old house. But there's a lot more rooms to furnish!

For our bedroom, we'll be buying new king-size mattress and box springs. I've seen a wrought-iron headboard and footboard at one of the second-hand shops that I'll probably buy this weekend if it's not already sold.

I've been going through all the second-hand and thrift stores in Winston and Greensboro the past few weeks searching for furniture. I bought 3 chairs this week for the house...a glider rocker from Kinnaman's antiques, which will be Tom's chair in the den, and 2 ladder-back cane chairs to go with my little dining room table that I'm painting (see below).

I have also refinished an old stereo cabinet that we bought at a yard sale many moons ago. It turned out to be a gorgeous deep cherry color, and it will be our TV stand in the den. It has lots of nice shelves in it, so we can use it to store books, games and puzzles too.

I've had a little wooden kitchen table since I graduated from college (it was the first piece of furniture that I owned, and it was used then!), so I have no idea how old it is. I just know that I've never been able to get rid of it - it seems like an integral part of my life. It's a great little table - it has 2 leaves so it can seat 4 or 6 comfortably. Anyway, I have stripped it of it's multiple(like 10!) layers of paint and have painted it. Let me know what you think!

Monday, September 15, 2008

And most importantly, the views!

Once the porches and deck are completed, here's what we'll be looking at.......

The view from the deck and screened porch:
We're across our driveway and looking at Catherine's knob,
the highest peak in Alleghany county....

The view from the small side porch:
We're looking across our land down towards the road.

The inside

I finally got to see the inside of our house this past weekend. Tom has been up to meet with various workmen and has been through it 2 or 3 times - it was just killing me. Anyway, here are some photos of the inside. They are busy seaming, putting down the laminate and caulking the woodwork. The deck builder has started on the porches, but didn't get much done last week because of the rain. As soon as the porches are built, the roofer will be next.

The house looks and feels very solid. There are lots of little things that are weird. For example, if you look at the picture of the kitchen, why would they put a plug in the island on the side that faces the den? Why would they make it white, and why wouldn't they at least center it? And the lights in our bedroom aren't even. But those are all minor and can be fixed. The appliances, cabinets and hardware are good quality, so all-in-all I'm pleased.

Photos of the the guest bath, and our bedroom and bath......

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Setting the house

The foundation took forever.....after grading, we had to wait forever on the state to approve the footer plan. Once approved, the grader had to mark the footers and wait for an inspection. Then after pouring the footers, another inspection. Finally the masons could start the foundation. Unfortunately, we didn't get a good pictures of the whole foundation before the house was set, so no photo. The foundation looked really high, but after contemplating it for a bit, we decided we really liked it. After the foundation was laid, the home people had to bolt the house plate to the foundation. By this time, the house was finished and sitting on the lot in Sparta.

As Hurricane Hanna was approaching, the modular home people decided to set our house before the rains came. We almost missed it, since it was a last minute decision. It was pretty wild to see them bringing the house up the road and setting it with the crane.
Here's the first half before it was set on the can see the fireplace, the small side porch, and one corner of the foundation.

It really something to see a house swinging in the air.
Watch and see for yourself!

The road

After the loan, which was a pain in the &*(%, as you would expect, we started on the road. We had an existing road that had been graded about 10 years ago and was in pretty good shape. It just needed some repair, especially on culverts, and a new layer of gravel. Here's our entrance (before gravel......) The road curves to the left and goes on up the hill, through a grove of rhododendrons and up to the house site. The grader did a fabulous job, and I will post a picture of the finished road in a later post.

Changes, changes, changes......

Of course, we couldn't settle for just the standard stuff! The upgrades we chose for our modular were:

  • Cedar siding
  • Green metal roof (you've just GOT to be able to listen to the rain.....)
  • Large screened porch off the den with 2 skylights
  • Double French doors to open into the screened porch
  • Floor to ceiling rock fireplace ready for gas logs
  • Deck along the back of the house
  • Upgraded appliances (flat top stove and side-by-side frig)
  • Laminate floors

Other than that, we took the basics. It's just amazing, but the home comes with all appliances, including washer and dryer, decent quality blinds, and even curtains and valances. Other than furniture, it will be ready to live in.

The house plan

The next step was finalizing our home plan so we could apply for a loan. I actually had no idea that you could customize a modular home plan to your specifications (with a few restrictions). So I started with this basic floor plan, a Norris porch-end entry home, and added ideas from some of the other models in the series. Using Better Homes and Gardens Home Design software, here is the floor plan we ended up with.

The small cabin becomes a house.....

The idea to build actually came from my cousin day, she said "You just need to go ahead and build my guest house up on the hill. Then you can build your dream house later!" Little did she know that she would start this whole process! We started thinking about it, and decided it would be a great idea. We even had a second house site on our land (we have 30 acres) that would be perfect.

So the exploration of the idea began. What would we build? We didn't want to get into designing and building a traditional house - just a small 1000 sqft cabin would be perfect! We did some research , talked to the modular home people and realized that a modular would both quick and relatively inexpensive.

The next step would be getting a road to the new house......simple, huh? We brought our grader out to the site and after much suveying and talking about options, he declared that a road to this site would be $30,000 as a conservative estimate! And the grading of the site would be at least another $10,000! So that idea was ditched pretty fast........

So we went back to our original "dream house" site, which already had a road to it, and was partially graded years ago by the previous owner. Since we were building on our primary site, we decided to grow the house into something bigger - now it's a 1400 sqft 3 bedroom, 2 bath house. Big enough to live in, but still small enough to keep up easily.

We finally decided to build.....

After years of postponing building a house on our land, we finally decided to jump in. We had always planned to build our "dream house" and move to the mountains after our parents had passed away (We are both only children, and our mothers are in their 80's and 90's and need relatively constant attention, so a permanent move isn't possible). We finally decided that we're not getting any younger, and they may be with us for many years yet.

The dream house was not in the picture since we wouldn't be living up here full time, so we scaled down to an "affordable" modular home. We'll be blogging about the building of the home, the things we have learned along the way, and once it's built, we'll continue with decorating, landscaping and the fun and interesting things we do and see.

I'll be breaking up this inital blog into several posts, since we've been working on the house for a couple of months.