POST 15 Don’t Know Much Topography

barb3My impatience was rewarded. Sunday. Barb and I had a lengthy kitchen table meeting with “B” our architect and “M” our builder. The design process is incremental, step-by-step, but it is progressing.

Via E-mail, B had not been particularly enthusiastic about the revision to the interior we had devised last week, but when we explained it in person, and he was able to draw it to scale, he understood the advantages. Another “Great Minds Think Alike (and therefore agree with us) Moment.”

Turning  to the exterior, lots of discussion, lots of ideas suggested and discarded. We have moved away from our Board and Batten concept, recognizing that it would look out-of-place in the subdivision. Although I don’t anticipate any problems from the Homeowner’s Association Architectural Committee, we don’t want to present to them anything that will not blend with the styles currently in place. After all, we are the last house to be built and we don’t want to be a sore thumb, even with Barb’s talents as a hand therapist.

So we are looking at various combinations of stone, stucco and brick. B has definite opinions, while M says he will build it anyway we want. B and M, our design/build dynamic duo,  have quite contrasting styles. As an architect, B wants every detail drawn and redrawn until we are all comfortable with the design, know every dimension and every angle. He is happy to make changes now. M is less worried about the lines on the page. His experience as a builder of spec homes is more organic and concrete. He gets more of a sense as the walls go up and he interacts with the sub-contractors. He doesn’t mind moving a wall at the carpenter’s suggestion. Barb and I just hope a little creative tension will bring out the best in everyone’s talents!

Our meeting concluded with some interesting observations that none of us were expecting. Barb and I have been ignoring the topographic map, the series of barely visible lines that wander across our site survey. I vaguely understood that the “657” indicated feet above sea level, and that the closer the squigglies were to each other, the steeper the rise or fall of the land. But I hadn’t thought about any impact this would have. What we all determined yesterday was that by the time we were done pinpointing where on the lot the house will lay, and how it should fall on a North/South axis, we had effected how high doors at the rear of the house will be above the ground. Out goes the cedar deck, in comes a paver patio. A change we can live with, and might even prefer.


I had the chance to chat with a few blog readers this weekend. Glad to hear you are enjoying following along. Please keep comments coming. Barb and I always want to hear from you. Design and construction tips are always welcome, as are any other construction tales. The more interactive we can get, the more fun the journey will be.

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4 thoughts on “POST 15 Don’t Know Much Topography

  1. well Les you made this very interesting to me, my husband is trying to convince me to build a home to fit our needs, I am reluctant to do so,( going through a renovations few years back with a less than a competent contractor who’s crew were less than courteous to our purchased home) reading your experience made me think this might be an interesting challenge at this point in our life’s. reducing our foot print on this earth is my main concern, not necessarily my husbands point. I hope you don’t make me regret this in the future.

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  2. Rima–As long as you and your husband know what you might be getting yourself into, go for it! We can swap stories in November, assuming you will be at the LUGPA meeting!

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