..my house building posts consolidated in to one blog… follow at your peril .. or my peril
So its that time again of year again when summer is upon us,
at least here in southern California anyway,
and its that time of year when I get inspired to do something with property like i do every year.
So this year my focus is on my family, my little girl is starting school soon, which is a wake up call that one should have a nest established. A nest where my offspring can ruffle her feathers and invite her little friends over to play and study in future years
One of my great joys in life has been building a personal residence for myself, and I suppose it is in my blood, dating back to the irish potato famine with generations of my family building little straw roofed homes, and now I am contemplating doing it again. Buying a lot, (with a view) and then creating the masterpiece that I and my family shall reside in. And not just any home – sustainability, the environment and a low impact footprint all come to mind.
I learned of a family building a house out of used tires in France, and it turned out wonderful, once the tires were filled in and plastered over and the low impact roof was in place. I learned of a home that has been excavated and sunk under the ground to incorporate the earths own natural heating and cooling elements, But that’s a little extreme for me. I’m thinking of keeping my passive house simple, with the focus on minimizing energy consumption. Using localized sustainable building materials and increasing insulation R-values. Yes filling every void with foam. Solar power and water conservation a must. My first mission is to find a suitable lot with a view and number crunch.
Maybe you think like me and want a low impact home?
you can buy one at this website –
or if they don’t have what your looking for you can contact me and I will find you one, just go to my home page
Which lot of this lot would you choose?
So its been a few months now since I conceived my idea of building a home.
And oh how the idea has moved and developed.
I located 3 lots that I like but each presents its own set of individual challenges.
Flat lot? Nice and easy to build. Usually located in the vicinity of other buildings, no view only concrete. Accelerated dollar cost of lot… Easy to build, just lay your slab and off you go..
Hills down slope lot- Great views , lower purchase price, tough to get plant machinery onto and function on the slope of site, extensive and costly shoring works required to produce foundations to build upon. The home will require a 400 sq ft garage with the house, this will be an added force exerted on an all ready taxed foundation caissons. Will the stilts hold in the next earthquake? A nightmare in reality.
Hills Up slope lot – Good views to one side of the envisioned build. The views to the hillside of the home will be of a giant retaining wall that would be holding back the rath of… a mountain and its landslides.. 500 tons of earth to cart away. Pre foundation development shoring works and reinforcement of the hillside requirement to keep everything from crashing down on you before you pile drive that ground for your house. You got to consider your neighbors living in the hill above you right? I wouldn’t want to see them land in my lounge the next heavy rainstorm … another nightmare in reality.
I like the down-slope the best.
Call me crazy and talk me out of it someone please…
The site is Bought… now i need
Well i bit the bullet between my teeth and signed my life away last week. After 3 weeks of delegations the owner decided to accept my offer. this is very exciting.
One of the influencing factors in the sale was an old soils report that was done by the previous owners that came with the lot. OK it was 10 years old but soil and a few trees can’t change that much in ten years. Its sat the for a few hundred thousand and not changed probably so another ten is the blink of an eye in this case. I felt it is important to know what is going on beneath the surface, i mean i wouldn’t want to be digging for 30 feet down trying to find bedrock for a foundation. So i know whats going on with this lot. Anyone considering doing a build out there, make sure you know whats going on with land, if there in liquefaction or not, how deep is your bedrock, is you land moving, is it near a earthquake fault line?
Next i went to the city hall planning department in D.T Los Angeles. Good to know there are no restrictions imosed on the lot that the seller might not have know about themselves. You need to be careful here because i once was in escrow on a piece of land that i wanted to buy in Ireland, and we found out half way through closing that there was an historical ruins and artifacts found in the site, and that it was protected. Just a thought. Always check it out.
i bought 6,000sq ft lot in Laurel canyon, and now I need to get the soils report updated, and get an engineer and architect to design my project…. the blog goes on….
After surveying my previous sloping site there may be a new forced direction.
i pose the question that is it wiser to pay more money at the start at the planning stage and buy a flat lot where one can create a clean and easier build?