It only took 15 years for me to convince Kerry to let me built a house. She could not get the image of a dining room floor that I never finished, out of her mind. When her friends at work started building their own houses, she gave in and decided to let me try my hand at it.
We purchased 46 acres in Erath County Texas. It was land that no one else wanted, with mostly cedar and cactus covering a hilly terrain. Kerry also did not see any reason to buy the land, until I sat her down on a hillside and told her to look at the view that her bedroom would have.
Since I am not a carpenter nor do I like to put Christmas presents together I decided to make my own design and build it my own way. We spent a lot of time reading how too and engineering books. The plan was to build a house that was partly in the earth to help protect it from the brutal Texas summers and also to add a bit of tornado resistance to the house. We incorporated passive solar heating for the winter months along with radiant floor heating. Oh yea we also added a certain romance into the design with its beautiful views, rock and cedar accents and a master bedroom with a large corner tub and rock shower.
The foundation is slab on footers with pillars drilled into the solid rock building site. It took the excavator three days to jack hammer the rock to the level we wanted.
The two walls that are against the earth are cinder block filled with concrete and rebar. The rest of the exterior framing is steel. Metal framing studs are imbedded in the slab and attached to a I beam header.
Plumbing is mostly PVC as I have lived in two houses where abrasives in water wore out copper pipe.
Insulation is sprayed in ,closed cell, foam with additional fiberglass insulation added. We insulated the interior walls and up stairs floor to reduce noise.
Most of the fixtures, doors and windows are used. We feel that we up-graded quality and reduced cost by purchasing high end used material as opposed to the status quo at the local home store.