The first project that didn't take 84 years - excavation!

Despite the confusion from the Board of Health as to why they were looking at our septic plan a THIRD time within the last couple of years, NewNewNewSepticPlan.PDF was officially approved by them at the end of February. 

When we purchased the land almost 3 years ago, it came with a massive, expensive septic design made for a 5 bedroom dwelling. Jay and I decided the smart thing to do, at the time, was to pay the $1400 to have it reconfigured a bit smaller, since we were “nEvEr gOinG tO hAvE mOrE tHaN tWo KiDs!.” The reconfigured design also included a lot less expensive materials, which worked just as well and was friendlier on our wallets. 

Then of course life laughed at us in the face and *blessed* us with spontaneous triplets, bringing us to an immediate family of five that we never planned on having. Our contractor advised us we were better off paying the $1400 again to reconfigure the septic now instead of later, when we would inevitably run into problems that would cost much more than that to fix. So we took his advice, redesigned it to accommodate our family of five, and it was brought to the Board of Health yet again for approval. 

On March 25th, we pulled the building permit that allowed us to get started on this house and simultaneously our dream began.

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Excavation started just a few days later and within a week, we had the concrete footings for the foundation poured and ready to go. These footings laid out the ground work for the house, an outline of sorts, that the concrete walls would sit on top of. 

During one of my visits, an unexpected challenger appeared, forever leaving his mark in the most hilarious of ways. We never figured out who Steve was, but his legacy shall live on via social media and our memories. 

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For two weeks excavation was put on hold due to the company’s vacation and some crap weather we were having, but by the end of April, our foundation was completely finished. 

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If those walls look abnormally tall to you, you’re not seeing things! When we purchased this land 3 years ago, we were warned about the abnormally high water table (partially due to being surrounded by wetlands) and the need for a LOT of backfill in order to build this house. With most builds here in New England, you dig a hole for the basement, pour the concrete walls in said hole, and then start framing from the ground level. With our build, we had to pour the walls ON the ground level, and then bury the walls with backfill (aka lots of dirt) in order to prevent our basement from flooding every time it rained.

In fact, the reason why we now have a drive-under garage instead of following the original plans of the house our build is based on is because of this water table situation.

The original house, which exists in Virginia, utilizes the circled area as the garage. Homeowners drive up the driveway, park in the garage, and walk into a mudroom on the main level. Had we wanted to do the same for our house, we’d have to spend over $100k on dirt to raise the entire property up 8’ above ground level in order to be able to drive from our driveway into our garage. 

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Instead, we opted to figure out how to utilize that garage space on our main floor (spoiler alert: it’s our entire kitchen/dining area) and put our garage in the basement, maintaining the same exterior look I’m obsessed with so much while also still being able to afford our mortgage. 

The only things left to do now, in terms of excavation, is our septic, retaining walls, and some trenching for utilities (underground propane tanks, electrical trench to the house, etc). Due to bank disbursements and sort of intentionally getting ahead of ourselves with other parts of the build, our excavator has agreed to come back later to finish his part. 

I know this is only the beginning, but after waiting 3 years to start this house and having every other piece of the project we’ve done so far take no less than 4 months (power poles, well, etc), I still can’t believe what I’m seeing. An entire foundation done in just a few short WEEKS? As in, not 6 months?! I must be dreaming! 

Stay tuned to see what May’s framing brings us.

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