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Old 06-09-2013, 04:46 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by bethzaring View Post
I started to reply to Billís house construction questions yesterday, got interrupted with a much anticipated phone call regarding my water and sewer tap application, and then noticed my labors on this post had disappeared. But I did see that my answers were somewhat lengthy and decided to take VitautaĎs suggestion and start a dedicated thread for this adventure.

So here goes:

There are no basements in this region. It seems to be for three reasons; either shifty sandy soils, shifty clay soils, or high water tables. I have two of those conditions; shifty sandy soil and, remarkably enough, high water table. Most all houses in the county have shifty soils and that is the main reason that no basements are built here. My housing development happens to be being built on former pasture land that also was former wetlands. All houses in this development are having extreme foundations put in. Mine will have rebar a minimum of every 6 inches all directions, so that when my house moves, it will move as one unit. I will have an attached 10íx11í heated storage unit that I should also be able to use as a food cellar. Originally the storage unit was to be unheated, which meant it would freeze in the winter, but the engineer said the whole concrete slab had to be heated, to keep the slab intact during temperature changes.

Mud room- Because of the HOA building envelope restrictions, there were several things I did not get in my house. These things included air lock entries which would have also doubled as mud rooms; a second bathroom and a garage. My current house plan extends to all four sides of the building envelope, but because of the front and back portals (porches), I lost potential usable house living space on all sides of the porches.

Pantry- Yes I will have a 6íx4.5í pantry adjacent to the kitchen. I had thought of having a half bath where the pantry is and using the storage unit for my pantry, but my love of easily accessible kitchen toys and food stuffs won out.

Eat in kitchen- yes, sort of. I will attach a photo of the floor plan so you can see how things are arranged. There will be a 2 seater counter at the end of one side of the kitchen, with a window with a direct view of the mountain. The dining room table, with another window view, will be behind that counter.

Evaporative cooling- No. Cooling is not a concern here, heating is. I will have three sources of heat. Primary heat source will be radiant floor heat, then trombe walls on the south side of the house, and finally a gas fireplace, for the north half of the house.
Fireplace- The end of the living room will feature a tiled gas fireplace with built in book shelves on both sides, a lot like a classic craftsman style fireplace. After 36 years of my primary heat source being a wood stove, I will be gleefully embracing a gas fired source of heat.
Water- Water source will be the town water whose source is ground water/aquifer. I will have a roof water collection system that will be used for outdoor use only.
The bathroom is somewhat ADA modified. The shower requires a minor step, has built in grab bars and a seat.
The house has a pitched metal roof with r value of 57. Exterior surfaces will have a three coat plaster system applied. I donít know about the windows other than they are Sierra Pacific. It is common to put different glazing on different facing walls here.

Gas and electric, yes. In the past 20 years here, 90% of new construction has natural gas radiant heated floors. I will have a natural gas boiler for the radiant heated floors, cook stove, fireplace and the heater in the storage room, plus a small electric heater in the bathroom for kick start heat. The gas boiler is a Navien Combi unit CH-240.
Considering the cost estimate for the plumbing, I expect the material to be copper. I have done all the faucet selecting and didnít have washerless in mind. Is that something I should look at?
Landscaping- I have hired a landscape architect to install the gutters and water catchment system and to do the final grading around the house. I plan to have him build a fence around the back yard, build the planting beds and install the drip irrigation system. I plan to have mostly green (junipers, blue spruce tree, pinon trees) bushes and trees in the front yard beside the front porch area.
Outbuildings- a big NO. No outbuilding are allowed by the HOA. My sister had to attach her art studio to her house because no separate buildings are allowed. There has already been built a barn for storage of garden and woodworking equipment.
Some things not asked . I will have a radon mitigation system installed and an energy recovery ventilator, AKA an air to air heat exchanger in the olden days.
More questions please.. That was fun.
what fun you must be having, beth, i know that i sure am! i have been poring over your blueprints for days, inch by inch, with my magnifying glass over the enlarged image of your house plans. every time my eyes start to blur and tear from the strain and concentration of my newest obsession, your house. i love your spacious master bedroom. i love the idea of front and back porches, and giving up some indoor footage is totally worth it with the size home you have there. can you expound a bit on the habit of your neighbors, of eating their meals on their back porches? is it something other than fresh air and low humidity? i also positively love your nice sized pantry--Way more appealing than a bathroom, imo....i too have od'd on a lot of interior wood, (still love solid wood furniture) and like painted cabinets. your town seems to have very restrictive building codes. i guess since you are starting out in compliance, it's probably not an altogether bad thing...?? it does seem to be a rather homeowner unfriendly
relationship on its face, though, at least to an outsider.
thank you, beth, for beginning this thread. as you can tell, there is much interest in your new home and every aspect of its progress. we are both happy for you and envious of you. thanks for sharing....
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Old 06-09-2013, 07:37 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by justplainbill View Post
Glad to see you're up on most all of the aspects of your new house and that your area of New Mexico is not as hot as Hades,
In our area the well water eats up copper plumbing, but it takes decades to do so. The washerless ceramic disk faucet in our bathroom basin has not given us any problems for the 20 years we've lived in our 55 year old house; wish I could say the same for the bath and shower faucets.
On the off chance that the radiant heat plumbing in your slab springs a leak, I hope the slab is made from waterproof concrete.
I like your double kitchen sink. The cross ventilation provided by windows in two walls of each bedroom would have been nice.
Will you exterior wall siding also be 3 coat plaster (stucco on metal lath)? If so how thick?
Building footprint 40' x 50'?
It would be accurate to think of my location as being in the Southern Rockie Mountains. Houses do not have air conditioning here, but cars do. I'll do some checking around about how corrosive the water is here. In Ohio, we had our own spring water and it was harsh. One of the many things Rich did to the house in his last months was to replace all 9 faucets in the house, as well as switch the water source to county water. The kitchen sink is a Kohler Vault drop in with medium and large sink bowls, I like it too. You can't tell, but there are 5 operable windows on the south wall above the trombe wall. Yes, stucco on metal lath that looks remarkably like chicken wire. Don't know how thick. Two houses are currently under construction here at the development and they both have copper plumbing. But they both are also high end homes. I guess mine is a medium end home.

I'll attach some elevation drawings.

Oh, i see I'll have to take a North (back) and South (front) elevation photo soon
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Old 06-09-2013, 07:57 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by vitauta View Post
what fun you must be having, beth, i know that i sure am! i have been poring over your blueprints for days, inch by inch, with my magnifying glass over the enlarged image of your house plans. every time my eyes start to blur and tear from the strain and concentration of my newest obsession, your house. i love your spacious master bedroom. i love the idea of front and back porches, and giving up some indoor footage is totally worth it with the size home you have there. can you expound a bit on the habit of your neighbors, of eating their meals on their back porches? is it something other than fresh air and low humidity? i also positively love your nice sized pantry--Way more appealing than a bathroom, imo....i too have od'd on a lot of interior wood, (still love solid wood furniture) and like painted cabinets. your town seems to have very restrictive building codes. i guess since you are starting out in compliance, it's probably not an altogether bad thing...?? it does seem to be a rather homeowner unfriendly
relationship on its face, though, at least to an outsider.
thank you, beth, for beginning this thread. as you can tell, there is much interest in your new home and every aspect of its progress. we are both happy for you and envious of you. thanks for sharing....

Thank you everyone for your comments, I really appreciate reading them.

The master bedroom (#1) is actually smaller than the guest bedroom. I intend to use the guest bedroom as my office, for genealogy work, and as a sewing room (next to the closet for storage of material). I will put a sofa bed in front of the window.

People are very into nice landscaping in this town and have beautiful flower gardens. The weather is ideal to eat out and the scenery is stunning. Most restaurants have outdoor seating. Actually people here are very outdoorsy. In town, you walk everywhere, very pedestrian friendly. It is a very family oriented town. Stores are closed on Sunday here to permit family time together. I can tell the towns folk from the tourists. Towns folk smile and say Hello, how are you?, and tourists will not look at you.

The town, county and state have very restrictive building codes here, as well as my home owners association. It used to be that billboards were banned in New Mexico; they are considered visual pollution. They are still restricted, but not banned anymore. Businesses have strict building codes. It is a hoot to see the fast food restaurants look like adobe; you can not distinguish them apart.. The towns new strict environmental building codes are to be feared. Each new construction has to pass an air pressurized test to see if the house is air tight. They also check for energy and water conserving appliances. If you do not pass, the town will not issue you a letter of occupancy and you do not get to move into your own house. The home owners covenants are mostly geared toward tasteful aesthetics and granting views of the mountain, since the town covers the energy conserving angle.
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Old 06-09-2013, 08:17 PM   #14
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What are your average daily highs and lows in temp, Beth? Snowfall? Sounds like a delightful place to live.
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Old 06-09-2013, 08:40 PM   #15
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i was wondering why the larger of the two bedrooms was identified as bedroom #2. the master bedroom, then, (#1) is being built facing the mountains. is there a reason for the larger bedroom being at the back, and the smaller bedroom the one with the spectacular mountain view?
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Old 06-09-2013, 08:42 PM   #16
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What are your average daily highs and lows in temp, Beth? Snowfall? Sounds like a delightful place to live.
Right now, June, the lows are in the 40's and highs in the 80's. The climate varies from block to block. Here in town, the annual rainfall is 12 inches a year, but the past two years have been 6 inches. Fifteen miles away, the ski valley averages over 300 inches of annual snowfall. I can still see snow on the mountain.
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Old 06-10-2013, 05:44 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by bethzaring View Post
It would be accurate to think of my location as being in the Southern Rockie Mountains. Houses do not have air conditioning here, but cars do. I'll do some checking around about how corrosive the water is here. In Ohio, we had our own spring water and it was harsh. One of the many things Rich did to the house in his last months was to replace all 9 faucets in the house, as well as switch the water source to county water. The kitchen sink is a Kohler Vault drop in with medium and large sink bowls, I like it too. You can't tell, but there are 5 operable windows on the south wall above the trombe wall. Yes, stucco on metal lath that looks remarkably like chicken wire. Don't know how thick. Two houses are currently under construction here at the development and they both have copper plumbing. But they both are also high end homes. I guess mine is a medium end home.

I'll attach some elevation drawings.

Oh, i see I'll have to take a North (back) and South (front) elevation photo soon
You might want to investigate the cost - benefit of using a stiffer and heavier metal lath. E.G.-
http://www.expandedmetalcompany.co.uk/metal_laths.html
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Old 06-10-2013, 06:14 AM   #18
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Beth, you might find the referenced site to be of interest-
Published Soil Surveys for new Mexico | NRCS Soils
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Old 06-11-2013, 09:06 PM   #19
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i was wondering why the larger of the two bedrooms was identified as bedroom #2. the master bedroom, then, (#1) is being built facing the mountains. is there a reason for the larger bedroom being at the back, and the smaller bedroom the one with the spectacular mountain view?
Bedroom #1, the master bedroom, and bedroom #2 are across the front of the house. Since I do very little in my bedroom, mainly read, sleep and get dressed, and those activities are done when it is dark outside, I didn't want to devote much square footage to those activities and also didn't want to waste viewing windows in those rooms. I will attach a photo I took today that shows where my best view of the mountain is; right at the north west corner where there is no window. My best views will be from my back porch, next, the views from the north wall windows (living and dining room) and finally, out my kitchen sink window.

Bill, a soils investigation report was done in 2010 by a geotechnical engineer on the actual housing development site. One of the recommendations was for a Frost Protected Shallow Foundation. I believe my foundation is a blend of a FPSF and a Raft foundation; but I am not sure about that. That report is very dog-earred at this point.
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Old 06-11-2013, 10:59 PM   #20
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What a gorgeous view !!!
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