Well folks, it’s been a journey building in 2023. From clearing the land in April to FINALLY moving in with an unfinished interior at the end of November. I’ll be the first to admit I didn’t know what it took to build a home. I don’t know what I thought this process of building our garage home would be exactly. I know it wasn’t what it turned out to be. Like any project, there were good points and not good points. Here’s a wrap up of our overall experience of our mistakes while building a home in 2023. If you missed the first two blogs, you can find the first one here and the second one here.
When you see text in italic, that’s been written by Tyson.
The Final Reveal
We are calling it both the Clutter Cave and Harage interchangeably haha. We were so amused by our friend’s garage – the Garage Mahal, but nothing that clever came to us!
As I previously mentioned, this was my first foray into building. I had done renos on my previous home. It ranged from new siding, roofing and kitchen remodel, but have never gone through a design and build process. Tyson and I talked about the aesthetic of the garage that would match our eventual house. Apparently we didn’t talk about the specifics like I thought we had. I’ll call this our first mistake.
Once our design was drafted, we took our plans to Hubcraft Timbermart. Chris and Jim came back with a full supply list of everything we would need. I loved this part because it was so easy. We called in and ordered what we needed in stages based on the list they gave us. Working with Hubcraft is definitely one thing we did right in this process. Ok – here we go!
At the end of July, Tyson began the build -2 months later then we planned. You may have seen a post I did the summer about how he does NOT care about the look of things at all. I, of course, care deeply. Unbeknownst to me, he ordered windows and doors without thinking at all about what color, style or look they had… Even though I’d mentioned on several occasions I wanted to go with black windows not white, for example. He figured it was just the garage so why not order the less expensive ones. This pretty much became the theme of our build.
I actually just went off of a rough material list that had been put together. I was too focused on making progress. In hindsight should have had Alicia be in charge of ordering materials while I focused on moving forward. Then she would have known what I needed and could have made decisions on her aesthetic at that time. Lessons were learned.
Here’s where I need to put a special shout out for Jim at Hubcraft Timbermart. He inadvertently became the neutral party between what I wanted to order and what Tyson had already ordered! Jim was a saint for being able to help us bridge between what I wanted design wise, and what Tyson wanted to spend. He repeatedly used his expertise (and mediation skills he may not have known he had) to help us make the right choices for my aesthetic dreams and our realistic budget!
I’m quite confident we provided Jim with plenty of entertainment at the very least. It should have been obvious from early on that Alicia should have been the only person with decision-making power.
It took me awhile to pick out the colours for our steel siding and roof. There are SO many choices of colour and profile! I went to order my choice only to find out the colour I wanted wasn’t available in the profile I picked. I selected a backup color which was available in the steel profile I wanted, but in my heart I knew I didn’t love it as much as the first one. We needed to get it ordered so I went with it. This was mistake number two. What I WISH I had done, was taken the time to ask what profiles the color I chose was in. I knew we had to get it ordered so that’s not what I did. Another lesson learned.
In Alicia’s defence, it’s very difficult to pick a profile based on a cutaway section, and a colour based on a swatch. It works but it’s hard to translate to the side of a barn in your imagination.
As the build started to come together, the color scheme did not.
At least not to what my original vision was, so we had to keep pivoting. The vision was to do a sage green siding with a charcoal roof, and brown doors and accents. The colour of siding we ended up getting is called Pacific Turquoise which is a much brighter colour than the sage. For the brown garage doors, the colour swatch was only available online so I picked what I thought was the closest to my references. When it arrived, it wasn’t quite the same colour I hoped but we were (I was – let’s be real, Tyson only cares about the steel in the door) happy with it.
At that point I was just happy whenever Alicia was happy.
Now as we looked at the doors with the siding and the trim, it didn’t feel cohesive or at all like my reference photos. We pivoted again and discussed options to bring the color of the doors up to the gable of the garage. Here is where Jim shines again! He was able to give me SO many material options and swatches. When I couldn’t match a swatch to the doors we had (Teak Mitten!), he came up with MORE options for me. We found the perfect option! We decided to go with a vinyl siding at the top that matched the color of our doors perfectly. It tied the whole design together!
So what we have is a little mismatched misfit but, it’ll come together. In the spring I’ll paint the white windows black to match the roofing and steel trim, and paint the side door brown to match the other doors. We learned a lot. Mainly that I’m not sure I can survive an actual house build. We will start that process very differently than this one.
Things we learned:
Sit down with your partner if you have one for your project, and make sure you have a clear vision you’re both on the same page about. Look at the same photos together. This might sound silly but I REALLY thought we had done this (Ron Howard voiceover: They did not).
Decide who is going to do the ordering… 🙄
Don’t make rash decisions. When the colour I wanted for the siding wasn’t available, I made a snap decision to go with my runner up when I SHOULD have asked what profiles the colour I wanted WAS available in.
Timelines mean nothing. If you had a build that went on time, I want to know about it because you may be a unicorn.
Have documentation with your contractor. While we all know timelines cannot always be accurate and costs can go up as you build, try to have written communication and receipts for any payments you make.
Right now we don’t have a plan to build until maybe 2025. Tyson would like to stretch it to 2026 I’m sure but we’ll see how it goes. Our focus now is on settling in to the Clutter Cave and getting the interior finished. Our goal is to enjoy this time of being mobile and mortgage free! We’re hoping to travel in our Clutterbug and really think about out dream house design.
I hope you’ve enjoyed following along with our shenannigans. Maybe you learned from the our mistakes when it comes to build a home of your own. Maybe you were just entertained. Either way, thanks for being on this journey with us! May building in 2025 be a better experience than building in 2023.