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Take a Breath February 14, 2008

Posted by jeff in Uncategorized.

For those of you who followed us through this adventure – and especially those of you who followed in order to learn from our experiences while attempting to build a house of your own – I apologize. But not too much! After all, I don’t really have a problem with forgoing online blogging in favor of living my life!

Kitchen SouthWith that said, what about the house?!? It’s beautiful! The layout is great – very comfortable. The best bit is how amazingly close to nature we feel. Living in this house is like tenting in absolute luxury. On those rare occasions when a lightening storm hits or we get owl calls floating in the windows, I have to check to make sure I’m still in my comfortable chair and not out sleepwalking! The photos I’m posting today were taken without a flash with all the lights in the house off. I didn’t have sunglasses on, but sometimes it feels like I need them!

There are still boxes in a few places. The fall was fraught was emergency surgery and illness, huge surges in workload and more. Heck, we didn’t get our official certificate of occupancy until 2 months after we moved in and the conversion from construction loan to regular mortgage happened 30 minutes before our 1-year rate lock expired. Living RoomYour builder tells you the build is going to take 4-6 months? As him/her if they’ll back that statement with some serious cash! I heard of these clauses before signing our almost non-existent contract and thought they placed undue pressure on the relationship. Now I’d have loved something that would have said “$10K penalty every month beyond 8 months if house not complete.” Not that it would have been signed, but it would have been fun!

We had Thanksgiving here and the house handled 13 sleeping here and 17 for dinner just fine. Okay, I need to build the table for the eat-in kitchen area, yes, but a card table worked fine for now. The bookcase around the low island is an original feature of mine that has been admired by almost every visitor. And if I ever get the pantry cabinetry done instead of using quick shelving, we’ll have no need for additional storage, either.

Kitchen NorthThe fireplace is worth its 600 lb weight in gold. Especially since we found out the geothermal system is working at 1/3 predicted efficiency! The electric/heating bills for Dec/Jan totaled $1300. It ain’t the lights since the entire house is running on CFLs. Heck, we have Mike from Advanced Building Analysis come back in to find the trouble and it’s definitely the geos. When both are running, it’s eating 21kW of juice – and they’re running far too often. So we’ve been heating the whole house via the fireplace at about 1.3 cords of wood per month. Almost no odor, almost no ash (I’ve emptied it once in 45 days of operation) and massive amounts of heat. If you have wood available and don’t like wood stoves, the fireplace xtrordinair is the way to go! The only problem I’d read about is the door sooting over every few days. Just grab a 4 inch razor/scraper and it’s a 1-minute chore. No problems.

The geo will be getting fixed. We spent way too much money on that puppy not to use it!

Got questions about a Maple Forest modification? Ask away. I might even be able to answer them now!



1. G.O. - February 15, 2008

an update! What a nice way to celebrate Valentines’ Day.

2. Rick - March 4, 2008

I just purchased a house in Vermont based on the Maple Forest plan, it’s great to see what others have done with the house, maybe we can exchange some photos someday.

3. Stephanie - May 5, 2008

so….news on the geos? I’m thinking of putting one in and wondering what happened to yours!

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