Tuesday April 21
Last week was a milestone week for us. In March we finally made a decision on a builder and began moving ahead. It felt good to start moving ahead and make progress after so many months of seemingly spinning our wheels. Our builder (Rich Karsten, Karsten Construction) and architect, Peter, have become my new best friends. Email and phone calls are firing back and forth daily as we work on the details around building a zero energy home. It is amazing how much research goes in to building a house and how many decisions it entails. As always there is a tug between what we want and cost as we do our best to stay within budget. We filed the building permit with the Colrain town building inspector, and got approval from the Colrain Conservation Commission (since Vincent Brook runs across the bottom of our property, although the brook is far from any building activity or landscape changes).
On Monday April 13 the excavator arrived and we finally broke ground. The first thing to go was the old apple tree in the front, which made some of our Katywil neighbors sad. But we have promised to plant a new heirloom apple tree in it’s place and honor when we move in. Our builder Rich spent the first part of the week overseeing the excavation. Since we are building on a steep slope, there is much reshaping of the upper portion where the house will sit to be done. The land not only slopes steeply in a North – South direction, but also slopes significantly is an East-West direction. While this gives us a great view of Pioneer Valley and a wonderful walk-out basement, it also means that out excavation is challenging (aka expensive).
Next the footers were poured. The outline of the house started to emerge. It seems really small, but Rich tells us that all houses look disproportionately small at this stage.
Then on Wednesday a large truck/crane combo arrived and the forms for the concrete walls were lowered and set up. On Thursday the concrete truck came and the foundation and basement walls were poured. On Friday the forms were removed. By week’s end the landscape had changed radically. We are all really excited to see our home slowly emerging and taking shape.