WHAT THE HELL

Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like

Holiday bummer

Yelling

We learned yesterday that our dream of building a house on our little piece of land in the Sierra foothills is defunct. Merry Christmas.

I could chalk it up to a lot of things, including some naïvete on our part, but mainly I blame the architects — a husband and wife team out of Sacramento — who led us down the primrose path. After a swift bait and switch from our hoped-for 1800 square feet to just over 1300, it became increasingly clear that no contractor wanted to touch a project that small, so all the bidders jacked up their numbers to compensate. Our budget was busted before the first shovel could break into that beautiful red ground up there. Four years of planning, and wishing, down the drain.

Had we gone ahead with the house, we’d have been under water on the day we moved in, possibly never to recover. It would have been foolhardy to give in to the temptation. Add in the inevitable cost overruns and the insanely high permit fees in that county, and you have quite the catastrophe on your hands.

At least we dodged that bullet, though we did drop a ton of money on those architects. Non-refundable, of course. And they weren’t the least bit contrite either.

Anyone out there looking to buy five acres in Gold Country?

25 comments on “Holiday bummer

  1. John W. Howell
    December 19, 2014

    Really sorry about this. We also built a house and had some of the same issues. Finally got it done but thought I was going to die.

  2. Margaret Jean Langstaff
    December 19, 2014

    Build it yourself! You can do it! I have friends who had no clue how to build a small home actually DO IT!

  3. heatherparady
    December 19, 2014

    Dang. I’m sorry. :////

  4. Margaret Jean Langstaff
    December 19, 2014

    We’ve built custom homes (with a cheapskate builder) right out of those el cheapo home plan books you can buy at Home Depot. You don’t need an architect. Work with the county building inspector. Ppl do this all the time

    • Kevin Brennan
      December 19, 2014

      You haven’t tried to build in California. It’s a different world, believe me…

      • Margaret Jean Langstaff
        December 19, 2014

        No, you just think it is. Check out link I sent you. Don’t let bureaucratic crap deter your dreams. There is always a way.

  5. Margaret Jean Langstaff
    December 19, 2014

    You will need licensed electrician and plumber, but that’s minimal. Or put up a yurt 😉

  6. 1WriteWay
    December 19, 2014

    That really bites, Kevin. My heart goes out to you and Sue. But do you need to sell the land? Or are you thinking if you sell, you can then buy a ready made house in the country?

    • Kevin Brennan
      December 19, 2014

      Thanks, Marie. Yes, we’re looking to buy an existing house so we can get much more square footage. We’re already aware of a couple of them that look perfect, and one is in a town called Cool. How cool is that? 😉

      • 1WriteWay
        December 19, 2014

        I think that sounds very Cool 😉 Just as long as you have a guest bedroom for when we come to visit 😉

  7. kingmidget
    December 19, 2014

    Not that I can buy it but where in the Gold Country?

    • Kevin Brennan
      December 19, 2014

      Hey, you never know, man! It’s in a tiny place called Pilot Hill, along Hwy. 49 not far from Auburn. We like all the awesome hiking around there… Has a well and a good-size ag building too. (sales pitch now over…)

      • kingmidget
        December 19, 2014

        My sons wants a few acres to raise animals on. Problem is he is only 17 and has no money.

  8. Margaret Jean Langstaff
    December 19, 2014

    Kevin, gather up your guts. Build that home–if you really want it.

  9. MacNutt
    December 19, 2014

    Merde.

  10. sknicholls
    December 19, 2014

    That is a bummer, but I wouldn’t give up. Where there’s a will there’s a way.

    • Kevin Brennan
      December 20, 2014

      We’ll land on our feet. Thanks for the pep talk!

  11. Gretchen Getsinger
    December 19, 2014

    Bummer, being led down the Primrose Path. There must be some way you can build your own home; from the photo you shared a few months ago, it looked to be a great place to live. Have you looked into the possibility of a Tiny Home?

    • Kevin Brennan
      December 20, 2014

      We actually looked into a tiny house a few years ago, but there’s a legality issue in that county vis-a-vis size, and if you bring a tiny house in on wheels, as if it were a trailer, you can’t hook it up to a permanent septic system, etc. I’m not sure we’re cut out for cramped quarters anyway! 😉

      • 1WriteWay
        December 23, 2014

        When we were in CA last August, we stayed at a little cottage in Marin County for a couple of days. It had a very nice, ingenious floor plan and was perfect for our purposes. But it only took five minutes of imagining to agree that no way could we plus our three cats peacefully co-exist in such a small place. Given that both my husband and I are introverts, it mean that someone would always monopolizing the bathroom just for some privacy 😉 Get yourself a home with room to breathe …

      • Kevin Brennan
        December 23, 2014

        I’m with you. I ain’t sleepin’ in no loft you get to by ladder. We don’t need huge, but bigger than a camping trailer would be nice!

      • 1WriteWay
        December 23, 2014

        I still pine for a two-story house like the one I grew up in. They seem to be very hard to find, especially out west.

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This entry was posted on December 19, 2014 by in Et alia and tagged .
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