The Building of Akili's House

The start of my home. It's not much to look at during nightfall, admittedly. This is after the concrete slab had been poured, so the sewer plumbing has already been installed.

The same slab, although this is facing the porch corner.

Now they've started to put the framing up. As you can see, it's reinforced concrete, so it should last for a while.

As you can also see, not all of the frames are bolted to the foundations yet, so they can't really stand under their own power.

A couple people with me (you know who you are!) walking around on the slab, checking out the work. It seems so small when it's just like this.

There's my kitchen window view. Right into the house next to mine which, at the time, didn't exist yet.

Taking shape, here. It's amazing how fast the structural work can go once all their permits are done.

I kept wondering what they'd do if it rained on the plywood before the roof was up. It never happened, but the answer is nothing - and I guess they have a point. This _is_ in the desert, after all. You can also see the foam strips they put under the frames to seal them to the concrete.

More framework. I actually went back with a can of liquid foam to fill in any gaps myself. The construction supervisor politely advised me that I didn't have to do that, and that they'd take care of it. I politely informed him that I'd bought the foam, I'd already started, and I was going to finish. They eventually left me alone.

This is from the living room window down the hall. Lots and lots of wood. Now you can really get a feel for how big the rooms are going to be.

The bathrooms! Not really much else to say about these, yet. You can see an A/C unit on the far side... don't know where it came from, but it eventually disappeared as mysteriously as it showed up. Mis-TEER-ious. (wiggles fingers)

The master bedroom, with the two other bedrooms behind it. This place has a fair number of windows. Lets a lot of light in, but it meant a lot of window coverings to arrange later.

Nice sunset shot here. They're very inconsiderate about where they place their dumpsters. Don't they know people are trying to take photos? :) At least the place is standing on its own now.

As far as the external scenery goes, this one is my favorite. A long profile shot with a nice view of the clouds ahead, before there were any other homes to get in the way. Arizona sunsets rule. There's that old A/C unit again, too.

This gives you some feel of how big my backyard is - it's about 25'x45'. And construction machinery is still using it as a pathway. Guess the patio umbrella is going to have to wait a while. Pay no attention to the lurking A/C unit to the left. It's trying to hide.

Roofing materials are being piled on the roof. I suppose that's a good a place as any.

Now they're starting to staple the foam sheeting to the house. I didn't really like the idea of stucco bonded to foam, after what I've read about mold/mildew problems. This stuff is heavily treated for insects and mold, though, and there's not really a lot I can do about it _anyway_, so I just made myself get used to it.

They put the stuff up fast, too.

Not sure where that board came from, or the mountain of dirt. Maybe they're related?

And the kitchen side of my house, in all of its vented and roofed glory. I'm standing on a slab that's two lots over from my house, while I still can.

They've finished foaming (that doesn't really sound right, does it), and are now putting up chicken wire, probably to make sure the stucco holds the correct shape. The big pile of dirt is also in my driveway, now. Seems like a lot of work just to interfere with my photos, honestly.

If I remember correctly, it had rained fairly hard earlier, and I was growing about two inches taller from all the dirt sticking to my boots. The vehicle tracks and construction debris stand out quite clearly.

A shot of the kitchen window, standing just outside the other home's tensioned frame. Nice dirt splatters on the wall. Maybe they were having a mudfight?

This was rather neat. The majority of my upgrade options were spraypainted or drawn on the slab itself. I never considered my house being used as a giant notepad, but since flooring will be put over it anyway, it's just neat to see.

Poof! There goes the dirt again. Off to the left, you can see the tension cables they pour the concrete over to keep it from cracking. And no, I don't know what 'corner aid' means either.

Here's another sunset view, and you can even see a bit of it through the house. They're also putting in the frame of another house next to mine.

The backyard again. They like magenta spraypaint, that's for sure. They're marking almost everything that will have to go through the foam, except for above the sliding door - I'm not sure what those were for.

Another lengthwise shot. The other home being built has made it difficult to take these shots anymore. My electrical meter is also being installed, but it'll be a while before there's internal power.

Ahh, the main living-room network pull. There's a story behind this. To summarize, I could not get the network cabling upgrade I specifically wanted, and was told I could pull my own cable in the showroom. Since I was skeptical, I brought it up with the site engineer before they started construction, and he agreed that I couldn't do that (conductive wiring not on the blueprints makes the electrician liable. Irritating, but understandable). So they agreed to let me run pull-string. However, one of the holes was not big enough, so I brought in a ladder, drill, bit set, and bored a 3/4-inch hole through those two beams. I made one godawful racket, and no one ever bothered me. Either they recognized my car and left me alone after all the spray-foam insulation incidents, or they were oblivious. While I'm glad I wasn't disturbed, it's a little unsettling. The wiring to the right of the hole is my surround system prewiring. And I've gotta tell you, for the price they wanted, it should have been Monster cable or something.

I actually ran pull-string to every bedroom, and had them all meet around a joist in the attic. I'd used thin string the first time, and decided I wanted something a little heavier-duty. Lots of knots, too - I was not going to accept an 'it accidentally came loose' scenario while insulation was being blown in. I could darn near pull a boat with that thick nylon rope.

Mr. Bud Light, hiding in a medicine cabinet frame. I didn't hold the workers responsible for this, since weird people wander through homes while they're being built. As long as they go away. You can also see the bathroom stalls being installed. In-stall-ed. Heh.

More Beer. This is in the tiny gap between the two bathrooms. The other end leads out to the kitchen. This has a disgusting story, too. Suffice it to say that when the insulation was put up, but before the drywall covered it, I discovered that the cans had been left inside. While trying to remove them, I found a ball of tinfoil. While trying to remove it with the aid of my Mag-Light for extra reach, it started to open, revealing the remains of some sort of cooked chicken. It would have been sealed into the wall behind the stove, if I'd not pulled it out. You _really_ have to keep an eye on these places.

New Home, now with 100% more Beer! These treasures were lying under the water heater platform. When this was sealed in with insulation, I found that these were also going to be built into the house, if I'd not removed them. Sorry, but my place is not a pyramid.

The laundry room plumbing. Lots of pipes. There's a natural gas outlet for the dryer, too.

A morning shot, after my rush to take photos of the place before the drywall was installed. I'd missed the frame walk-through, and I really wanted to know where everything was in the walls before it was sealed over for good. I had to make arrangements to come in late to work that day to catch them on time.

Big sheets of insulation. This was my reference of how far down the speaker loops were, if I wanted to use the top mount instead of the coiled wire at the bottom. I had to come back after work to do this, because I'd forgotten in the morning rush.

The driveway's all torn up again. The slab adjacent to me is curing, and the wood framing for it is being piled up in their backyard. As long as it's not mine. Jeez, I don't even offically own the house yet and I'm already possessive. :)

Another shot of the porch side, with the piles of blocks that will become my fence.

They finally poured my outdoor patio. It's amazing how any flat surface quickly becomes a landfill while the house is under construction. You can also see sheets of drywall laying around inside the house. Yes, that's right - all that rush to get my photos before they put it up, and it was still more than a week before they finally did so.

Even more streaks of mud on the foam, now. You can see it's been raining, too.

Now I have an inconsiderately-placed dumpster _and_ a large pile of dirt. These people sure try hard. :) Actually, that's sand, to start laying out for the driveway. You can also see a large wad of plans stuffed in the water heater nook inside the garage. I poked thorugh those several times, but they weren't for my house, so I left them. They're also starting to put up the stucco.

More stucco-covered foam. They move fast, that's for sure. And now my other neighbor's slab has been poured, which is what I'm standing on. I never saw anyone else checking out their homes any of the times I was there.

More backyard, more construction debris. Off to the left you can see the curled hooks of rebar that will reinforce the block wall that they're going to be putting up.

Several more hooks, and lots of bricks. They'd actually bent some of those pretty badly, but the wall was built okay, so I guess they just bent them back.

It's really looking like a house now. Aside from the sidewalks, driveway, and landscaping, it really just needs to be painted to finish the exterior. You can see I have an unpainted front door installed, too. From that point on, I had to borrow keys to check out the interior.

Another lengthwise side of the house. You can see both the neighboring pads that are being built, too.

Now the rear of the house is also stucco'd. You can see the A/C tubing coming out of the house like a large snake.

Getting closer. From here it was a little less than a month away from being finished.

Ah-hah. Now there's more interesting stuff to be seen inside the house. This is the kitchen cabinetry being installed, and you can see the recessed lighting I have in the ceiling.

Painted! Well, mostly. The trim and the doorways (including the garage door) still need to be painted. And, of course, they've put in the driveway and walkways.

Here's the long stretch of path to the porch. The've also painted the trim around the street-side window, which ended up being my guest bedroom.

I'm amused that they _now_ put up a barrier in front of the driveway so no one would park on it while it cures. My water heater's installed, too.

Here come the appliances. The free ones, anyway. I didn't buy any appliances through the developer, so everything you see was included with the house (specifically, the gas stove, the dishwasher, and the garbage disposal). Everything's covered with plastic sheeting because they're working on texturing and painting the house. That's not my soda can in the corner, either.

Another shot of the backyard. Now my A/C tower has been installed, and they've graded the dirt for drainage, so water wouldn't collect against my house. Didn't pay for landscaping, though - that'll be up to me.

This is taken from me standing in the utility room, taking a shot down the hallway to the living room. They finally have electricity hooked up.

Another street shot. Not much has changed, except they've put up more trim paint.

Ditto for this side.

You can see the two-story home being built adjacent to mine. It provides a nice length of shade in the morning over my house. My brick wall is also completed.

The front door has been painted! I could just about live in it now. You might also pick out the sploshes of paint on the porch - I was pretty firm about forcing them to clean it off first.

The garage door's now finished, and they've painted the decorative attic vents.

Not really much to see here that's new, honestly. The scaffolding for working on the second story of the adjacent house is visible, too.

More of the kitchen! I also opened the pantry door. Now, while electricity was hooked up, running water was not. Seems that they'd run over the water main during construction, and they were waiting on a replacement for quite a long time. Still, it was finished before I took ownership of the house. You can also see the pattern of linoleum flooring I picked out. Tile would have been nice, but that was out of my budget.

In these homes, the heating/cooling unit is installed in the attic, rather than somewhere inside the house. They also put a drip pan underneath it with its own drain, in case something goes badly wrong.

This is a lengthwise shot down to the front of the living room. Running the network cable down there when I'm ready will be extremely easy.

Another from-street shot, about a week later. I'd taken enough of them by now that I'd decided to take one every time I dropped by, if nothing else, just to see the progression. But the exterior stuff is just about finished, so there isn't really much new to see.

They're finally installing the lowered desk in the corner, that at first was unclear if I was going to be getting. You can see the pattern of the countertop here, but there's a much closer one two photos away.

The kitchen is finished, and I had running water by now. That lowered countertop became my 'dinner table', since it _is_ just me living there, and I don't have a dining room table of my own. :)

Here's a close-up of the countertop pattern. It was called 'red granite', I think. I really like how it came out, and it matches the oak cabinets perfectly.

The last photo! Now that I had water, the landscaping was finally put in. Someone else had parked their truck there, so I had to go with this angle instead. From the date of this photo, I closed 8 days later, on April 20th. Mine at last. That's all, folks!