Watch us build a Home



I am having a home built and we are sharing each step along the way to help you understand the process.  There have been some pleasant and not so pleasant surprises along the way!  Join us on the adventure!  – Dave Axness

2.23.16  Making it Official

We are building a 2000 sq ft one level home on the small acreage property that I own.  The builder is Adair and we took a popular floorplan and made several changes to meet the needs of a combined family of my wife and her two daughters plus myself and my son and daughter, the Brady Bunch plan!

The best laid plans of mice and men

The floorplan we chose started out simple enough….

… but we made ‘a few’ changes to suit our needs!  That’s the hazard of working in the business!

Breaking ground!

Goodbye little tree.  Its amazing what a good excavator can do with little effort.

Our excavation contractor was exceptional and dug out the entire foundation and lined it with gravel in one (long) day

Dump trucks in the mist

The dig-out for the foundation would have all slumped back into the hole because of the rain so the excavator put gravel down immediately to cover the exposed soil/mud

A strong foundation

Plywood forms are set up based on the floorplan and slope of the lot

The blue concrete truck slowly dumps concrete into the green pumper truck that pumps it into the forms

The concrete forms come off, surprisingly just 24 hours after pouring concrete

Framing begins

Because the home is on a slope, the lower part of the crawlspace is 9 feet deep at one point

The carpenters frame the walls on the ground then raise them with the tall jack system

Framing takes about a week and really makes it feel like a structure as it takes shape

The truck delivers the trusses for the roof and loads them on the house with its attached crane

The weather was beautiful for most of the framing until the December Snowmaggedon hit!

Time out for Christmas Tree hunting and petting zoo.  My son Brett and a mini donkey at a nearby farm

After a few days delay from the snow, they put plywood on the roof and my dog got to check out the progress

Looks a bit like a house!  Gutters and downspouts go on to keep rain away from the foundation

The roofing supplier loads the roofing materials via conveyor belt off the truck

Once the windows were installed, we could work on drying everything out inside.  Homes are built all winter long in the Portland area, the key is to get the home dried out well before next steps.  Wiring took just one day and so did plumbing, just amazing what good craftsmen can do in a day.

Got married in a small family wedding, my brother got his officiants license and performed the ceremony and as a sign of the times, immediately took a selfie with us!  Had the guests come into the new house and ‘sign’ the walls with messages before covering with drywall.

Interior video shows the plumbing and wiring installed in the walls.  The big blowers ran for weeks to make sure the interior was plenty dry before installing insulation and sheetrock.  At the end of this clip, you can just see the one piece shower/tub unit.  Those are so big, they have to be installed before interior walls go up.

Homes get wrapped with a moisture barrier before siding goes on.  It is supposed to let condensation out but also keep moisture from getting to the walls.

Pressure treated ledger board is installed for the front porch decking to sit on

Getting power turned on is easy, trenching down 4 feet to the power pole gave us a surprise because it cut through two water lines and a buried power cable- yikes!

Normally interior walls are not insulated but we did some for sound reduction.  Found this great product that reduces sound by 50%.   Fairly inexpensive and easy to do while the walls are open like this

Our property is on a well and there was not great flow so we put in a new power and water line (ok, also because we cut through the old line!)

Setting the propane tank in place, great excuse to rent an excavator and have some fun!

Loading massive pieces of sheetrock

Messy kitchen mid-sheetrock


Even though we have good Southern exposure, we wanted skylights because the living/kitchen/dining area is large and could get dark.  Glad we did.

Happy wife!

This is how a teenager paints her room… daughter Alyssa

That’s better

We chose to get large drawers instead of base cabinets in the island- so much easier to use!

Prepping for paint.  Interior painting takes about twice as long as exterior (and costs nearly double) because there is so much more preparation and masking to do.  Also new siding comes pre-primed but drywall in the home all has to have a coat of primer before painting.

Our new shower doesn’t appear to be potty trained.   They fill the shower pan with water and let is set for 24 hours to see if it leaks.  It did.

Caught that they shipped the wrong accent tile just before it was installed, you have to watch each step even with a good builder.

Correct accent tile installed and ready for grout

Unlike uncouth toilet water drinkers, Ally prefers shower water

Front porch begins.  The guys huddling against the rain makes me glad I get to choose if I work indoors or out in my job!

People who know tell me stairs are one of the most complicated things to build and now I see why

I’m a fan of real wood but not a fan of having to paint our railing every couple years.  In this climate, Trex materials are worth checking out

Close enough, right?  Porch pillar went a bit wide


Builder told me they ordered the wrong mantle and that it was too small… I believe I would have noticed

Flooring down and dirty, half a day and they were done.  We went with tile counters to keep costs down, there are so many terrific counter materials but they get very expensive with a lot of countertops

Carpet only took an afternoon to install and was met with approval

Nosy neighbors.  Gotta keep your jobsite clean, I caught one cow trying to eat a big piece of plastic that blew over to the fence

Railing nearly done and looking sharp.  The handrail on the stairs failed inspection because it was too wide, rules, rules rules!

Building in the winter and spring means mud is a constant battle.  Fixing a broken sewer line that got too close to this inexperience excavator operator, oops…

Nearly complete!

Let me give you a quick tour!