31 December 2005

Two More . . .

Well, we have now heard back from two more of the contractors. One is going to come out next week and give us his bid, and the other will be out the week after that.

SO - - let's see if either one of these two are any better than the first one was!

Keep you posted. . . . .

22 December 2005

Good News, Bad News . . .

We have heard back from two contractors so far - -

One has priced himself TOTALLY out of the ballpark - - and then some!

The other returned our drawings with a very nice letter letting us know that his schedule for this coming year has filled up and he would not be able to fit our house project into his schedule.

I would be lying if I said we weren't disappointed to hear that from the second contractor. He was the one we felt really good about, and felt that would could have worked very well with.

Oh well - - three more to hear from.

On the "Good News" side - - Steve's uncle has referred us to a company down in Charleston that builds homes, and we are going to talk to them next week. I'll keep y'all updated on how that goes.

Also - - Steve knows someone who builds houses, and gave him a call a couple of evenings ago. He's a very nice man and an excellent builder. He is coming out tonight to look at the house plans and talk to us.

SO - - it's still going SLOW, but - - at least it's still MOVING . . .

Keep ya posted as things happen.


09 December 2005

Quick Update

Not much to report yet - - still waiting to hear from contractors. But, we have been getting in some estimates for house materials. So far we have heard from the HVAC, lumber, and brick companies.

SO - - things are still in a "holding pattern".

I'll keep you posted as things get going.

26 November 2005

Our Next Move

OKAY - -

We STILL have not heard anything from any of the contractors, except for one who has called us twice asking questions for clarification.

So we decided the next move was up to us.

Last night I got into PrintShop and created a greeting card. We sent one to each of the contractors thanking them for taking the time to meet with us and go over our house plans, and that we hope to hear back from them soon so that we can move the process forward.

Hopefully that will kick something into motion with some of them, because - - as ANYONE who knows me will tell ya - -

Patience is NOT one of my strong points.

I'm just sayin' is all. :-)

16 November 2005

Sorry . . .

Yes, it's been a long time since my last entry - - Mea culpa . . .

There has been a small bit of progress that I need to update, but it will probably have to wait till this weekend. Life has been out of control lately with work, homework, sickness in the household, etc.

I'll be back on here this weekend and get things all updated.

Stay tuned . . .

07 November 2005

Filling In the Quiet Moments . . .

My Daddy, bless him, gave me an offer he had received in the mail for THREE YEARS of Better Homes & Gardens for $13.00. He knows how excited (and scared!) we are about this new house, and thought this might give us something to look through to get some ideas of what we might like in the house.

So we have been spending time while waiting to hear back from the GC's poring over the magazines and dreaming . . .

which is really kinda fun!

Also makes the time we are WAITING go a little faster - - and helps me cultivate patience . . . :-)

03 November 2005

STILL Waiting

Patiently waiting - -

We have heard back from a couple of the GC's with questions for clarification on one point or another, so we know they are working on bids!

This is the hardest part . . . *sigh*

I'll let you know as soon as we hear anything more.

30 October 2005

Updates . . .

Well, it's been quite a while since my last post - -

But sometimes LIFE has this tendency to get in the way.

Sorry 'bout that.

ANYWAY - - time for a couple of updates.

We met with GC #5, Brian, this past week. And he, like the others before him, came across as very good.

This does NOT help our decision-making process any! *sigh*

So now we have met with all 5 GC's, and gotten a callback from one of them for clarification on a couple of things on the drawings. So at least we know people are working on bids to submit to us!

Hubby Steve and I have been looking around at brick colors and trim for the outside of the house. In fact, we took a day trip to Southern Illinois this past weekend, and noted what we did and did not like about the houses we saw.

We are also looking at different types of flooring. I'm leaning more and more towards a tile kitchen floor (ceramic), and have seen a couple of patterns/colors that will go well with the Tuscan theme planned for that room.

But there is not much we can actually DO until we get in some bids and make a decision on a contractor.

But once we do, it will all start happening faster than we can keep up with, I'm sure.

So guess I shouldn't complain about it being QUIET at the moment, should I? Because soon I will be wishing for a few of those "quiet moments"!!

More later . . . stay tuned . . .

19 October 2005

Numbers 3, 4, and 5

Well, so far THIS week we have met with General Contractors (G.C. from now on) number 3 (Dave), number 4 (Bob), and have received a call from number 5 (Brian). Five out of five - - pretty impressive!

Number 3, Dave, had been recommended to us by Rob, our architect. He, like the others before him, was pretty darned impressive. Same with number 4, Bob. AND - - from what I have heard about Brian, his work is excellent.

So far not a "clinker" in the bunch. You are NOT making it easy for us to make a decision here, fellas!

Once we meet with Brian next Monday evening, it will be time to wait for the bids to start coming in before we can seriously start the decision-making process.

In the meantime, it's time to start in with the business of looking at flooring (hardwood, tile, carpeting, and so on) and getting pricing on windows and doors. I'm also going to start looking over a set of floor plans and start deciding on room colors and type of faux finish I want in each (color wash, sponging, ragging, etc.). That will keep us busy, and then some.

GOOD NEWS!! My artist friend, Jessica, has agreed to help me paint the kitchen!

I had been trying to figure out exactly how I wanted my kitchen to be designed, but was not satisfied with anything I had seen so far. I didn't know what I wanted, but knew it was out there somewhere - - I just had to FIND it!

Well - - last weekend, it happened - - in fact, it fell right in my lap.

In her old shop, Jessica had painted a mural on the walls of an old stone wall, very Italian in style. When my friends and I were there last Saturday, Betty happened to mention that it would look good painted in a kitchen, to make it look very Tuscan. Suddenly something inside my head went, "DING!!!". A Tuscan kitchen!!

I didn't say anything to her at the time, but I talked it over with hubby Steve when I got back home. He loved the idea! Then we started talking about having glass doors in the cupboards, and following through with the Tuscan theme by having grapevines etched on them. I also found very pretty, delicate grapevine swags for the tops of the windows in one of many mail order catalogs that find their way into our mailbox daily.

The more we thought about it, the more we liked it.

So - - Tuesday I made a call to Jessica and broached the idea with her about "commissioning" her next summer to paint the murals. She thought it was a great idea! So now the next time I see her, we need to talk about colors and such, and get it all planned out. It will be VERY unique!

Thanks for stopping by - - Stay tuned . . . . .

16 October 2005


Well - - of the five contractors hubby Steve called, four of them returned the calls, and appointments have been set up. Not bad!

We met with the first one, Mark, Saturday morning at 9:00. I was leaving to head to Peoria with some friends at 9:30, but this gave me a chance to meet him and form my own opinion of him. Once I left, he and Steve had an opportunity to go out and check the lot, and finish talking about the drawings.

Sunday at 9:00 we met with Jack at his shop. We took him a copy of the drawings and spent quite a bit of time going over them and discussing things.

Two down, two to go - - we meet with them this coming week, one Tuesday evening, and one on Wednesday.

If the other two are as good as the first two we have met with, we are going to have a serious problem choosing - - but that's a good problem to have!

Stay tuned . . .

12 October 2005


At last - - some progress to report!

Hubby Steve picked up the sets of drawings he ordered yesterday from Decatur Blueprint. We now have 7 sets of drawings for when we start talking to builders.

So this evening he's been running around the house with the tape measure - - terrorizing me and the cats with it, taking measurements from the drawing and comparing them to the space we have in our present house. Every time he winds up that tape, Callie, who is on my lap, digs in for all she's worth. My leg is going to leak like a sieve before he's through . . . *sigh*

Now comes the "fun" part - - calling general contractors.

Hubby Steve started that process this afternoon. He's already called 3 or 4 and left messages. One called back within about 5 minutes! We have a meeting set up with him for next week. Hopefully the others will call by the end of this week and we can start scheduling time to meet with them also.

The race is on . . .

More later - - stay tuned . . . :-)

11 October 2005


Guess what arrived via email today?

Yup - - the house plans from Rob!

He sent it in two formats - - in PDF for us to print out and show around, and in PLT, for the blueprints.

So this afternoon hubby Steve emailed the PLT files to Decatur Blueprint, and he picks up the sets of prints tomorrow afternoon after work. He is getting 7 sets done for now, so we have enough to work with

Next step - - contacting and talking to General Contractors.

Hubby Steve - - my ROCK through all this - - has finally admitted that he is scared s***less also - - guess it took actually getting the files to push him over that line . . .

So now we are BOTH that way - - excited and scared all at the same time.

Wish us luck - - I'll keep y'all posted!

07 October 2005

Waiting, Waiting, Waiting . . .

I wanna see the house plans!

I wanna get the blueprints done!


I know, I know - - patience . . . . .

(which if you know me, you know that is one of my weak points!)

More soon, I hope . . .

04 October 2005

A Little More Progress

Hubby Steve talked to Rob again last night. They went over the drawings Rob had emailed us and made some minor revisions. Rob will be making the revisions this week, then sending us the files.

The next step is for us to go to Illinois Blueprint and have the blueprints made.

Then it's time to start talking to contractors.

Slow but sure, we are moving ahead. It's exciting!

But I'm STILL scared half to death! What a BIG undertaking . . .

I'll keep you all posted - - stay tuned!

30 September 2005

New Proofs

Good news in the email today! Rob sent the revised proofs of the floor plan and the outside elevations!

They look GREAT!

Can't wait till hubby Steve gets home Sunday evening (4 day weekend in Joliet at the races - - *sigh*). I couldn't wait for him to see them, so I forwarded the email and attachments up to our friend's house in Chicago where he's staying. Once he's back home, we will call Rob and give final approval so the blueprints can be started.

We're making progress - - we really are! It's exciting! :-)

Stay tuned . . .

29 September 2005

As Tom Petty sang . . .

"The waiting is the hardest part."

We are eagerly anticipating the arrival of our final house plans. I can't wait to see them!

In the meantime, we are gathering information about contractors, bricklayers, plumbers, electricians, etc.

As soo as the plans arrive, we start making phone calls and scheduling meetings with ones that seem like good prospects.

Then the FUN part begins - figuring out home decor . . . Weeding through Home books to see about design ideas for kitchens, living rooms, bedrooms, and the like.

That is the part I'm really looking forward to! Figuring out room colors, what faux finishes to use on the walls, flooring . . . can't wait! Got to get my artistic juices flowing! :-)

Stay tuned . . .

26 September 2005

Planning the Escape

Hubby Steve and I moved to our current house 10 years ago.

Thought we were "buyer-savvy".

Thought we made a good deal.

Thought we would be in this house for the rest of our days.

We were wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

What we thought was our dream house has turned out to be every bit as bad as Tom Hanks' "Money Pit".

SO - - after much planning and discussion, we decided the only way to come out on top was to build what WE want the way WE want it.

This blog will describe Liz and Steve's Excellent Adventure into the world of contractors, plumbers, architects, electricians . . . good and bad, I'll post it all.

Stay tuned - - the fun is just beginning . . . :-)

Finalizing the House Plans

Good news!

The house plans have been finalized!

We went to Turkey Run State Park in Indiana this past weekend. Spent Saturday there, and then headed to the other side of Indianapolis on Sunday to meet up with Rob, the young man who has been working on our house plans.

We made it to his house around 1:30 in the afternoon. Hubby Steve and I spent the next 2 hours with Rob going over the preliminary plans he had sent us, making a change here, minor revision there, "tweaking" things a bit somewhere else - -

And when it was all said and done - - we have house plans!

We will be getting the permanent copies in the next couple of weeks, and then it's time for Phase 2 - - talking to contractors, plumbers, electricians, etc.

Exciting - -

And scary as the dickens . . .

Stay tuned.

House Plans

This was posted previously to my other blog, "Dizzy Ms. Lizzy". But, since I have now started this blog to chronicle our "incredible journey" into the world of construction, it seemed a good idea to include this post on this blog also.

And - - since I am new to this blogging business and still learning the ropes, it was easier to copy and paste than figure out how to link the damn thing . . . :-)

Here y'go:

We are going to build a house.

I am excited as all get-out - - and scared shitless all at the same time!

But I'll get through that - - somehow . . .

Anyway, let me tell about the house plans - -

We moved to our present home 10 years ago. We thought it was a good place, but over the years it has turned in to a bad parody of the Tom Hanks movie "Money Pit." It has finally gotten to the point of being totally ridiculous. With all the structural problems, wiring problems, and everything else that could POSSIBLY go wrong, we decided it was time to give up and go another direction. With all the problems this house has, it would cost nearly as much to fix it up the way it needs to be as to build a brand new house. So instead of having an old fixed-up house . . . we have decided to concentrate our efforts on a new one.

A few years later, we bought the empty lot behind our house from a neighbor, mostly to keep anyone from building behind us. Our current house is sitting lower than the back lot, and we already have enough water problems; if someone built back there it would just increase the problems. But now it has turned out to be a blessing - - the lot is already ours AND paid off; so that part is out of the way. Now time for the house plans.

Steve checked with the local lumber yard that he has dealt with for years. They are really good guys and totally reliable. He asked them to suggest someone to draw house plans. The man they recommended, Rob, used to live locally, but has since moved to Indianapolis. But he still has family ties back here and still draws plans. They gave Steve his number.

So - - hubby calls him up and talks at great length with him. He is willing to do the job! Now OUR part begins.

We start going all over Central Illinois looking at homes to see what we like and what we don't. We take pictures and point out certain features of homes we would like or want to avoid. Steve drew up a rough floor plan of what we would like the inside of the house to be. We took pictures of the back lot from every conceivable angle, complete with dimensions and lots of narrative about the lay of the ground. We scanned in all the pictures, typed up all the narrative, zipped up the file, and sent it email to him. In addition, we mailed additional pictures, narrative, and the rough floor plan to him.


Now the waiting begins . . .

A couple of weeks ago, we got an email from Rob. The preliminary plans were finished, and he was mailing them to us that day! Wow - - that was a lot faster than I thought it would be! Can't wait to see them!

A few days later, the plans arrive. They are amazing!! Somehow, with the jumble of pictures, magazine articles, narrative, dimensions, and the rough floor plan Steve had drawn, Rob came up with a totally AMAZING set of plans! Steve and I sat down and went over them, and were very pleased with what we saw. There are a few things we need to have changed, of course - - but overall they are fantastic!

Steve called Rob and talked to him about the changes he saw that we thought may need to be made, and he said there would be no problem with that.

Steve and I are going to be at Turkey Run State Park in Indiana this weekend - - get away for a couple of days, walk the trails, stay overnight in the Lodge, and just have a nice relaxing time. Before we head back to Illinois, though, we now have a little side trip to make. Rob lives over by Indianapolis - - we will have the plans he sent us with some revisions marked on them, some magazine articles and other house information, and also some more pictures and measurements on the lot, and will be going to Rob's with all of this. He said he may even be able to finalize the plans before we head back home that day! WOW - - this is incredible.

But now the real work on our part begins - - NOW we need to start talking to contractors, plumbers, electrical contractors, etc. If it all works out - - and we are determined that it will - - ground will be broken next Spring.

Like I said - - excited, but SCARED TO DEATH!!

As this goes on, I plan to chronicle the whole thing, complete with pictures.

Wish us luck!

Have a good evening, and thanks for stopping by!