Big Elk Update – July 2016

Things are getting really exciting up at the mountain place!  The REAL living space is going to start on August 1st!  (and should be completed by early October…  Hopefully before any REAL snow happens up there.)  Keep in mind our builder is only doing the outside walls, doors, windows, roof, stairs.  (there will be plumbing and electrical wiring already but still more to do when we get started.)  We’re doing all the interior work ourselves – Scott is VERY HANDY and has done all this kind of work before!  Wow, it’s so sexy, having a husband who knows how to do EVERYTHING, isn’t it?!  And something else awesome about doing it ourselves?  The boys are going to be very involved and learning the whole time!

So just because I think it’s interesting, below is a before and after shot of the land directly behind the original house.  You can see on the left, before the landslide that it looks like there had been a previous slide…  you can already see a path between the trees…

And then on the right, 3 weeks after the landslide.  It took out a lot more trees and made a huge canyon.


And then here’s how it looked last weekend, almost 3 years after the landslide, below.  Beautiful again, isn’t it?  Our geological team assured us that where we’re building now is WAY safer than the old house location, having been right in the middle of this pre-existing landslide path.  They’ve told us, for continued safety that we have to keep this path well-defined.  Water follows the path of least resistance…  So our canyon is a permanent landmark.  My hope is that the seed dispersal will continue and I may augment with poppies and more wildflowers next year!


So let’s talk about what’s done already!

The drain field:


The picture below is looking up at the drain field…  The retaining wall was built from rock all located on our property.  (*more on that later.)


The septic tank:

(which I hope is going to be completely buried when our excavators leave…  Scott?)


The ground floor:

The front is walk-out.  The back is below grade.  It is unbelievable all that goes into building a cement foundation:  radon mitigation, plumbing, electrical, drainage, structural considerations for the above portion – I had no idea!

On the front right, will be an 8 ft. Egress window where the boys’ bedroom will be.  Where my Mom and Scott are standing is where there will be a large bathroom.  And on the front left will be a den/playroom with french doors leading outside.  Staircase in the back middle and back left will be a storage room.

We’re going to stain and polish the cement floor and put a few rugs where we want a cozy feel.


Below is a picture looking down.  You can see how the  whole structure is set into the side of the mountain from this angle.


Lots of work has been done on our lone survivor.  This poor, little garage lived through an awful, scary ordeal and stayed standing.  It was, however filled with 3-4 feet of mud, debris and boulders and a couple boulders went through the ceiling, but IT SURVIVED!

Scott and the boys have done a lot of the work on this building, including replacing all that siding, installing the new doors, installing proper waterproofing.  We’re going to lose the beaten up gutters and it’ll eventually be painted red to match the house.  White door will be the tan trim color.  And we’re looking into some stone accents for around the bottom.  It’s going to look brand new when we get done!  (our happy, little garage!)


The picture below shows our patio area in the lower portion and the dog run will be on the upper portion.  There’ll be stairs on the far right, leading up to the dog run and the patio area will be cobblestone or flagstone – haven’t decided on that yet, I don’t think… *All these rocks were already located on our property.


The picture below shows the cement posts for the upper deck.  We’ll have cobblestone on the ground level.


Cement posts for the back deck/sunroom:

Most of what was going to be a back deck is now going to be an enclosed sunroom, leading to the dog run, on the far end, where Scott’s standing. (you have to have a fully enclosed dog run up here.  Mountain lions can jump 15 ft!)


Below is another retaining wall being built to carve out a parking place.  There’ll be pretty steps leading up to the back door that will enter into the back of the kitchen.

*So, I mentioned that all these rocks were located on our property already.  When we first started talking to builders, they wanted to quote us a price for bringing in boulders because they didn’t believe we’d have enough.  We tried to tell them that the whole house was destroyed by boulders coming down the mountain…  There are rocks EVERY-FUCKING-WHERE!  So far, they’ve built three retaining walls, we’re giving some boulders to the neighbor to build a retaining wall and there’ll be a mountain of them leftover at the foot of the old driveway…  Needless to say we didn’t have to pay to bring in boulders!


We’ll be ordering beautiful wood floors in a few weeks that we’re going to install in the main floor and the loft, which will be our master bedroom.

The lower section of the fence is up and looking beautiful too.  Thank you, Jerry Dickinson!  Just a little more work and the fence will be done!


As soon as we have a working bathroom, a Keurig and the dog run is complete, we’re planning on staying overnight!  We’ll be on air mattresses but it’s going to be AWESOME!  Then the REAL work begins!




3 thoughts on “Big Elk Update – July 2016

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