01 February 2010


Building a custom house is a bit like...well, like something that needs a 12-step program.

For many of the cosmetic items, R calculated our contract price using allowances (estimates of how much we might spend on things like tile, door hardware, and appliances). He was very reasonable -- even generous -- in his estimates, but our tastes have apparently become fancier as we have started making selections, and most of the pricing we've been getting has exceeded the corresponding allowances. Not to mention the additional cost we incurred when we decided to go for the geothermal heat pump (which increased our outlay by roughly the cost of a new Kia).

For the last couple of weeks, I've been on a quest to bring the overages down. If we have a choice between two similar items, the less expensive one has generally been winning. This has been going pretty well and has helped us to bring some of our allowances back in line with the figures in the contract. One day last week, we learned that we were able to save at least $500 by eliminating the back porch grill vent hood and also that we are getting an unexpected $500 for an insurance claim from UPS. That was a good day for the budget. So the last couple of weeks have been good in that regard.

Until today. Today I fell off the wagon.

I had to choose a new master tub spout (our first choice turned out to be too short to reach into the tub). I was successful in finding one that would work, and the plumbing shop even offered to swap the new one at the (lower) cost of the old one. But then, while I was there, I decided to revisit the toilets. Leaning toward a less expensive version of the same toilet, I started looking up reviews online and was persuaded to go for the brand that everyone in the toilet world agrees is the best (Toto). Which will surely cost more.

And then R e-mailed me a quote for our front door unit (door, sidelights, and transom). I had asked for this quote because I thought it would be less than the two other door units we're considering, but it wasn't. So the fancier stained glass options were back on the table...and then I started poking around the Simpson website and found an even fancier option, which I absolutely LOVE:

It's called California Poppy, and we would pair it with a simple transom and sidelights. It'll probably be too expensive to work for us, but either way, today was definitely a bad day for the budget.

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