We met with Tommy on Monday to do the Framing Walk-Through. First some changes, then some snags, then some bonuses.


Here’s a bunch of things we added since we signed the contract:

Initially, we were going to build the back deck on our own at a later date, but after pricing out what Tommy could do it for, we decided to just do it now. We saved a little money on a few things and the price Tommy quoted us was only a few hundred above what we could get the material for. We could build it ourselves for less, but our time is worth more than that. Plus we’re going to get a lot of use out of it, and we can take advantage of the gas drop for summer grilling.

We also added chimney toppers (which were muuuuch less expensive than I thought they’d be) to keep the squirrels and rain out.

We purchased floor boards and dry wall for the attic (using Tommy’s cost which is less than ours) so that we can finish it later. Not only is Tommy going to move all that stuff up to the attic for us (which will save our backs), but he installed the attic floor for us at no charge! We love no charge. 🙂


This one isn’t even a real snag but I wasn’t sure where to put it. When we decided to make the attic finishable, we were going to do it at a later date and buy a heating unit just for that space. Then Tommy suggested we condition the attic now instead of later so we said sure. We thought we’d be able to piggy back off the geo-thermal unit, but unfortunately it wasn’t sized to include the attic. Kind of a bummer since we got excited about it, but having an extra unit was the initial plan so we’re just back to square one. We are still going to have a few vents from the geo-thermal system up there to semi-condition it but they won’t handle the heat of the summer or the chill of the winter, the vents will just take the edge off.

Another not so much snag as change. The foyer closet is going to have a plant shelf on top. The height of the closet will be cut down to match the bottom of the stair height. Initially we designed a larger closer but we’re going to have to make it smaller so that the top of the closet isn’t above the stairs. Not really a big deal since we have another closet in the kitchen for storing stuff like vacuums.

One other not so much snag as something that’s not ideal. The intake vent will be located in the dining room semi-interfering with the wall panel trim. We talked with Tommy and the heating/cooling person during the walk through to see if we could come up with a better solution but determined it had to be there. At first we thought maybe they could raise it but they couldn’t because it’s suppose to be in the bottom of the wall to draw in the (hot or cold, I can’t remember which) air. Then we thought we could maybe move it to the kitchen wall but we couldn’t because the box is super large so it would jut out, plus the wall is load bearing so it would be tricky, plus it would require elbows which restrict air flow and whistle, plus it would screw up the basement ceilings making them super short to accommodate the tubes. So it’s going to stay put but they’ll do their best to hide it.


As I said before, Tommy installed the attic floor for us for free. He also upgraded our stair railings from wood to metal for free. We’re also getting larger wood floor planks, 3″ instead of 2.25″ which is standard, for free.

Next to the attic stairs there is a little area that we could use for storage. Tommy is going to put a door there for us … for free.

Stairs to the Attic

Stairs to the Attic

In both the dining room and master bedroom we’ll have a tray ceiling. Normally the tray ceiling is square but we asked for and got a octagonal shape. It will look similar to this but I don’t think we’ll have trim inside the tray, just below it:

Tray Ceiling

Tray Ceiling

And last but not least (most in fact), Tommy is going to build a toy box / window seat for us. This was something we were planning on doing later anyway but since Tommy is going to do it, that means we can have an electrical outlet on the front of the box. He’s going to put an electrical outlet below all the windows to make it easy for us to have candles in the windows at Christmas time.

During the walk through, we pointed out a few of the places we’d like outlets. The kitchen and bathroom counters were all drawn out on the floor so we could see where everything goes which was nice. So far everything is looking really good!


In the summer, I like to keep the windows open until it’s unbearably hot. Unfortunately, R considers 76 degrees unbearably hot. Therefor, getting a geothermal heating/cooling system was very important to him. Now is an especially good time to install one because of the huge tax rebate.

If Dobson Homes wasn’t such a good builder, the geo-thermal system would have put us FAR over budget. Apparently, when Tommy priced out the geo-thermal system, the price that they quoted him was for the unit only and not for the piping that goes in the ground. The piping that goes in the ground was going to be an extra $9,000. Tommy was a little upset because you really can’t have a geo-thermal “system” without the geo part. I’m not sure what kind of deal he struck with his contact or if he just swallowed the cost on his own, but in the end we aren’t responsible for the extra cost. I can guarantee you that not many other builders would do that. So yes, we continue to be very happy with our choice of builder.

I’m a big believer in everything happens for a reason. Initially we had planned to set the house back a little farther, but when they surveyed it, they located it a little closer. It didn’t make a huge difference to us one way or another, so we decided to build where they already surveyed and it’s a good thing we did. While digging out the basement they didn’t find any major rocks. To lay the geo-thermal pipes they have to dig 5 foot trenches and came across a large strip of rock. They would have had to jack-hammer it if the basement was there but because it was the geo-thermal trenches they are able to loop over the rock. Yet another way my life just tends to work itself out, someday I’m sure my luck will run out but today is not the day.

And now the pictures:


The 5 foot deep trenches.


More trenches and you can see the little rock hump.

HPIM3203The geo-thermal piping


More geo-thermal piping