I'm happy to announce that after over two and a half years of planning, production, and post production, the documentary is DONE! It has been quite a ride, and has taught me so much along the way.
As I sit here and reflect back on the process, I really had no idea of what I was getting into. Much like building a house, it is an emotional process of documenting a multi-year story. There are peaks and valleys of emotion and energy. I started off excited, shooting continuously and gathering content for the story that I had to tell. The problem, I didn't really know what the story was? I had ideas, and notions of what I would talk about, but no clear path through the process. It was daunting.
But by a stroke of luck, a good friend and video colleague of mine, Chase Stanton and I were talking about the project one day. He said, "Why don't you release it in segments?" Genius! And that's where this website came from. It gave me the motivation to release a new segment each month and show people the steps to creating a custom dream home. Until it didn't . . .
I got to a point in the process where I realized that everything was the same. The footage and "story" of putting on the roof panels one day felt the same as hoisting the massive pool on a 40 foot crane the next. My video was droning on and on. I stepped away. I realized that I was getting burned out in the process, and needed the house to be built while I re-energized myself on the project.
Thankfully, my father-in-law David shot time-lapse footage every day. I would come to the build site on important milestone days to document footage, but I ended up not using much of it. One thing I learned from the process is to GET OVER YOURSELF! Just because you went, shot hours of amazing footage in the freezing cold doesn't mean you need it or have to use it in the final edit. I've been telling my high school video students this for years, but it became very evident here in this project.
The break that I took from creating segments gave me two things: time for the house to develop, and time for me to get over the footage I wasn't going to use. A year later, with a thousand times the content I needed to finish the project, I sat back down to make sense of what I had to work with. Finding the story was the key, and it wasn't long until I knew how to wrap the project you see here today.
I'd like to thank the many people who helped along the way. My wife Meagan, who listened to me drone on and on about the project and guided me when I was just in too deep to see what was needed to see. David and Alisande, for allowing me unprecedented access to their lives and the chance to document this historic time in our family's history. My son Cooper, who for a 12 year old is very good at making suggestions to improve an edit. Mike Mahon and Michael Klement, for designing and building this amazing house. And to the HUNDREDS of construction workers for allowing me to follow you around with a camera while watching you do your job. These are true craftsman and I have a greater appreciation for why they call it the "Skilled Trades."
I set out in this process to create a story for a target audience of my family. I hope others will find it an interesting story and share it with others who might be interested in going on their own journey of a custom home.
Thank you for sharing the process with me. Enjoy the show.
After several months of really having nothing substantial to see in terms of changes to the house (in spite of workers being there every day), we finally are seeing some of the infrastructure elements come together. This week, the carpenters began installing the wood soffits that are underneath the overhang.
As you know, the concrete floor contains the tubing for the in-floor radiant heat. This has now been hooked up, and just needs the furnace to be installed so we can begin heating and drying out the house.
Electricians have been busy ...
as well as the HVAC crew.
The next step is sealing up the roof, installing siding and finishing up the project!
The guys spent the majority of today putting the SIPs (Structural Insulated Panels) on the living room portion of our house. The SIPS are made of a 12" slab of foam with OSB on either side. These panels are engineered to fit snuggly together to create the roof of our home. On top of this layer of panels will be another layer, but not quite as thick.
The following photo shows the first SIP going over the living room. The SIP will be covered with drywall to complete the ceiling of the house.
by Alisande Read
After the workers finished up this afternoon, David and I took a stroll over to the new house. We were pleasantly surprised to see that we now have stairs to go to the second floor.
In this photo, I am upstairs overlooking the living room/kitchen. The upstairs also is home to the guest bedroom, office, guest bath and my favorite room, the "sleeping porch."
This is a room that I am particularly excited about. As you can probably see, there are windows on three sides of this room, with a large patio door that will lead out onto a second floor deck over our master bedroom. The views from this room are to the south (looking at the woods behind what will become a native grass prairie), and to the west over the existing tall grass prairie with a view toward I-94. I anticipate many quiet summer evenings sipping an adult beverage on this deck while watching the fireflies in the trees.
The guys from KCEE Masonry, Paul, Chuck and Brian (otherwise known as Hank the Tank), build the safe room.
While I was watching the installation of the Endless Pool, I thought back to the beginning of the building of our new house. The first thing that was done was the digging of the pool pit. As you may know, this house is on a slab ... there is no basement. Because the pool itself was intended to be installed into the floor, the pool needed its own foundation to sit on. This is a photo of Norah checking out the beginning of that foundation ...
Gravel was laid into the pit and compressed.
A few days later, gravel was brought in (4 double trucks) and spread around the area where the house would be sitting. As you can see in this photo with Cooper, that gravel is about 16" deep.
On top of the gravel, two layers of four inch foam were added, increasing the height by another eight inches. The next step was to lay all of the tubing for the in-floor radiant heat (nearly a 3/4 mile of tubing). You can see the red squiggly lines in the next photo.
Following two layers of rebar, eight inches of concrete was added.
The floor is now at its thickest point of 34 inches. (16 inches of washed #2 limestone, 2 inches of pea gravel, 8 inches of foam, and 8 inches of concrete -- plus two plastic vapor barriers) . Once the carpenters have finished and the house is dried in, the concrete will be polished.
Today the guys, including "Hank the Tank" mostly completed the "safe room". Because we don't have a basement, we decided to have a tornado-proof room incorporated into our home. This room, which is also our master closet, is a traditionally framed room, which has been lined completely with concrete block reinforced with concrete and rebar. There is a metal roof, which will be covered with concrete tomorrow. After that, a steel door will be installed. Then, when the tornado sirens blow (or we get a text from Washington that the Zombies are on their way) we can gather our pets and huddle in there. Hmmm, I never thought about the wine rack we should probably install in there too! And the corkscrew!