Day 1 GC'ing

mtnrdredux_gwSeptember 15, 2012

So, since our little stonehouse was too small a job to get in our GC's queue (he tells me after I wait SIX weeks), my DH is GC'ing it himself.

We have a gardener who has been with our property for years before us. He has a large crew and even larger network of laborers who can do everything. The mason is staring Monday to prepare the floor and create openings for the new doors and windows.

I am sure there will be hiccups (but, as DH said, our old project manager on our whole house reno was being paid 9k/mo and he screwed up all the time ... Dh can screw up for free!)

I'm so excited to be starting, and very happy to just be paying time and materials (with receipts and no mark up), and paying directly to the people who do the hard work!

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I'm so glad that it is starting! Good luck, can't wait for progress updates.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2012 at 9:13AM
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I'm planning on GC-ing my kitchen for the exact same reasons. The GC is supposed to have all these great subs and keep everything moving forward apace and honestly, 5-7 days between marginal subs didn't seem worth 25% of the project total plus marking up all the materials I had already bought and paid for before he arrived (and replacing all the materials his subs screwed up).

I think if you're organized and have done a project before you can handle being GC.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2012 at 10:38AM
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I agree Grl. It would not have been feasible for the scope of whole house reno and additions, but this is 150 sq feet!

And you know what, I hear a saw! The carpenter showed up early and is on premises working right now. I have never once had a GC show up ahead of schedule.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2012 at 10:41AM
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"Dh can screw up for free!"

Good attitude! Hope it all works out the way you want. Looking forward to pics.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2012 at 11:35AM
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We were general contractors for this house when we built it as 21 and 22 year olds and have been GCing every reno since, including an add on that nearly doubled the size of the house. I don't recommend living in the house while HALF of it is being remodeled (by us) and *someone* is going thru "the change" :o

    Bookmark   September 15, 2012 at 1:14PM
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We've done both--- well, i have done the GC gig on some projects (never DH), and have had a GC on others. I honestly don't know what is easier. The last GC who built our new portico had his own ideas about doing things and did not clear the details with me, things like the shape of the foot of the handrail stanchion, for example. I had warned him that I wanted to be consulted on everything and he kept "forgetting." In truth, he did not want to bother holding up any purchase until I had had a chance to look at it. He did not involve the architect as much as I deemed appropriate. When we built a guesthouse in Florida our GC was a great guy but was always trying to save money in ways we had not requested... I appreciated the thought but not some of the result!

I had better luck working with a construction company and the architect directly. I would rather pay her to oversee a project that is built by a reputable company than a deal with a builder who has his own vision of the finished product.

The stone house project will be wonderful fun for you, and at 150 sq feet, how far out of hand can it get? I am really looking forward to your hideaway!

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 2:06AM
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Good idea - the trick, as you well know, is understanding critical path, and knowing how to schedule things so that things get done in the right order, and allowing time at every junction to adjust for the unexpected. I can't imagine that you won't do a better job than your previous high-priced fellow.

Sounds like you have a group that's an experienced team.

So of course I thought of Diane Lane in "Under the Tuscan Sun."
If you haven't already seen it, do! It's about suddenly deciding to buy and renovate a stone house in Tuscany. Romantic silliness, but loaded with charming moments. And the irresistible Vincent Riotta...but I digress...

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 11:01AM
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I've read the book, but I will have to see the movie!

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 11:06PM
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So far, so good.

"Managing" the subs has been interesting.

The folks who are part of our landscaper's network show up at 8 and work until 5 (the carpenter and the masons, so far). On Saturday they asked "is it okay if we work Sunday"? YES. Is 8 am okay? YES.

So far all these folks seem to know what they are doing, relying loosely on my Sketchup, and consulting us on things we hadn't thought about. (eg the wall is 15+" thick .. do we want the windows centered in the wall, or recessed. or?)

The plumber (for the stove) showed up as promised and told us he can install in 2 1/2 weeks.

The floor is curing and our tile guy is coming next week. He did send me an email saying at first he "wasn't sure" if he could do the job Monday because Tuesday is his wife's birthday. (huh?, well I guess he resolved that)

So far, we are earning our monthly fee and mark up. : )

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 9:47PM
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You really do have to see the movie...

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 10:54AM
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I'm so glad you are getting started. We've GC'd all our projects, not always by choice, but like you because we couldn't find a GC who would do a small job. We're also diyers and love a good challenge so that helps.

Sounds like your project is off to a good start.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 11:44AM
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mtn, I was browsing on Amazon, and I came across some images that made me think of you & your little house. Scroll though the pages of this book until you get to the interior shots of the stone cottage. You'll know them when you see them.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 8:39PM
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Wow, Lynxe, thank you! That's so kind of you to think of me.

It does bring to mind my little house, but with far superior masonry. : )
I am heartened by their use of clapboard; our gable ends will be clapboard in Hampshire Gray, and I think that looks very similar (the only color on our property exterior is white and touches of Hampshire Gray at the front door, well, cellar door, etc.

I also really like the pale blue shutters with black hardware. The beachhouse we like (going there Friday for the weekend!) has white clapboard, to my deep disappointment (it should be unpainted cedar gone gray). Anyway, I wanted to do pale blue shutters but worried I'd need more contrast --- but this book shows a perfect example.

(Yes, I know, extreme mental illness here. I've not only painted the shutters on this "house-i've-only-seen-once-and-was-in-for-less-than-ten-minutes-but-think-might-be-IT". I've also completely redone the kitchen, added a bath, and enclosed part of the porch. In Room Planner, just guessing dimensions!)

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 10:13PM
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Yup. You're a crazy person.
Takes one to know one...

Luckily, the turns my life has taken in recent years prevent me from doing these things, and my time is too obligated to allow obsession over them in imagination...but give me the chance, and I will be certifiable again, just like you!!

    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 10:36AM
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Okay, the stone masons are done. The walls have been repaired, raised and levelled, and a concrete floor poured. The carpenter has made sashes for all the windows and window frames installed (i may have the window anatomy wrong a bit; always confuses me!)

Here it is as of today:

New french door entry

Side facing the pond; note dormers break the roof line. I love that detail.

The view sitting on my imaginary sofa inside --- to the right you see the water, straight ahead you see the lawn and water, and to the left, something I didn;t realize, you see the pergola patio. That is also the area where the bathroom is. A bit of a hike! : )

Gratuitous shot of the shoreline and hydrangeas.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 6:52PM
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Annie Deighnaugh


    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 9:54AM
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So lovely.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 10:21AM
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Coming long beautifully! I bet that things will move quickly now with the framing with the masonery done! Can't wait to see more.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 11:25AM
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I was wondering how it was going.
This is going to be so much fun to watch.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 1:49PM
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Looks great.

Wondering what's holding up the rocks over the windows....

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 3:15PM
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Marcolo if you look closely, you can see braced framing members across the tops of the window openings.

Feel better now? :>)

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 3:32PM
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OMG, it's going to be just charming! What a beautiful view.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 3:43PM
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Love watching your progress! That view is divine!

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 9:19PM
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Not to worry. I think they said they used two coats of cola maluca (sp?)

Thanks everyone!

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 11:17PM
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Your masons did a glorious job!
Keep us posted.

How you keep all those plates spinning is a wonder to me...

    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 9:03AM
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What beautiful work! You must be excited to keep this project going. And what a lovely setting! Can't wait to see the finished product.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 12:56PM
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