Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Complexities of Home Building

Have you ever built a house? We are in the process and there is just so much stuff you have to think about that I never imagined. And rules. So many building rules you have to meet to get your permits. Some of them seem weird and a tad ridiculous to me. Like the fact that we have to have porch lights outside of every entrance. Ok, I understand that, but what if I don't want a light outside of every door? Tough. And you have to put electrical outlets so many feet from every door in the house and then every so many feet along a wall. We want a lot of electrical outlets but does it have to be so dictated? And then we have to have a lighted house number sign by the front gate (which is ok), but (always a but) we also have to have a lighted sign on the house that is supposedly visible from the road. The dirt road. Our house is set quite aways back from the dirt road, so ok we can put up a number sign, and we can light it, but I can't guarantee you are going to see it from there with the naked eye. Maybe some binoculars?

We were recently told we might not be able to build a wood-buring fireplace due to new California rules. Air quality concerns. Understandable, but we don't live in the city where air pollution is as much of a problem. We live in the desert. We want a wood burning fireplace in the desert! We looked into it and we are led to believe from our inspector that we can still build this fireplace as we had planned. Whew. I don't really understand it all - where the laws are at and when enforcement is happening. Let this be a warning to those of you thinking of building a home in California - you need to look into the ever changing building codes. You may not be able to build a wood burning fireplace and your plans for a wood burning stove may need to be changed to a pellet burning stove. Don't get me wrong - pellet burning stoves are a good idea, as are gas fireplaces. You just need to keep yourselves informed. The building codes are quite a process and always changing.

Right now we are working with the electrician to map out all of our lighting, electrical outlets and switches. Wow what a process! I have some serious admiration for electricians. Have you ever had to design the electrical plans for a new house? It is a lot of work and a lot of contemplation. What kinds of lights and where? Fixtures? Bulbs? Direction? What kinds of switches and where? How high do you want your switches? How high and where do you want your electrical outlets? You have to know measurements of what is to come. Where will things be placed in the kitchen so they can be lighted properly? Where will you place your bathroom sinks and how high and where will you place the mirrors around which lights will sit? Where will you place tvs? Recessed lighting? Facing directly down or angled at walls? It all has to be decided now!

So, we are in the midst of a lot of designing and planning and measuring and considering. I carry a note book with me most of the time. And a tape measure. The tape measure is my friend. We spend evenings like this researching images and sites on line. What kinds of lighting fixtures? What kinds of bulbs? What kinds of outlet covers? What about baseboards? How high so you know where to set the outlets? What kinds of railings for the stairs? What kind of lighting for the stairs? What is the typical size for kitchen cabinets and appliances and bathroom vanities? How much space is typical between a toilet and a vanity? How much space for bedside nightstands (so you can set outlets and lights properly)? How will the doors open in a room and will they interfere with furniture placement? You have to place the switches in places that won't be blocked by the doors. Where will you place the stereo? And speakers? Where and how many? How do you space the lights away from the ceiling fans so there will be no shadowing when the fans are running? Where do you want the switches to turn the lights on and off? Oh I could go on and on my friends. This is what it means to build a house.

It is a fun and exciting and stressful endeavor all rolled up in one, and we are so blessed to be able to venture on this crazy Byway adventure. Now, back to the internet research...

1 comment:

  1. I had a pellet stove in Morongo. They are awesome! Very efficient and still have that warm fuzzy fireplace feeling. Ask Paul about "EasytherebigPellet!" LOL.