Over the past month, a lot has changed on Hope Rise and the home site is being rapidly transformed from an open field to a construction site. The catalyst for all of this activity was the completion of the culvert header walls down at the roadway entrance. These poured concrete walls ensure that the entranceway can withstand the heavy construction vehicles that are now using the road on a near daily basis.
The real work of constructing the house began in earnest in late June with the start of site excavation. First, the surveyors marked the footprint of the house by precisely measuring, then placing metal pins to mark the exact location and orientation of the foundation. Once that was done, the excavator removed the topsoil and set it aside for when it will be eventually be put back in place for the yard.
Once marked, our excavator went right to work throughout the long Fourth of July holiday weekend to dig out the house site. Since the house is one story with a full basement, the excavation required was substantial. Over the course of three days, massive mounds of deep red clay (the predominate soil in our part of Virginia) began to appear on Hope Rise. I was amazed and impressed with the skill of our excavator as he worked deliberately to carve a very precise hole in the Virginia clay. It is only through years of experience that someone can attain the skill to move earth using large bulldozers and excavators and end up with a hole that looks as if a house-shaped cookie cutter had been used!
In the meantime, while all the construction activity was occurring, Joanie and I were knocking out our list of tasks. In order to ensure that the design elements of the house are available when the installers need them, we need to make our decisions early in the process to account for the various supply-chain delays caused by the pandemic. This past month, we selected our plumbing fixtures, purchased our appliances, met with the kitchen designer to begin the process of cabinet and countertop design, viewed hundreds of samples of granite and quartz, purchased a garage door, and began the process of selecting our flooring. Needless to say, there are a lot of decisions to be made, and I don’t think we have really even begun the hard part of color and materials compatibility!
A month of significant progress culminated with the pouring of the footers for the foundation and basement walls. Once the wood forms were placed (per the previously cited survey), a fleet of concrete trucks appeared on site and in the matter of a few hours, while a severe thunderstorm was descending on the area, the footers were poured with the crew finishing up just as a tornado warning was called! In the span of a single month, the site has truly been transformed and I am looking forward to sharing all the progress to come. Stay tuned…