Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Buxton Paint Company -- "Dream Team"

The Buxton Paint Company "Dream Team" was on site for two days this week, slapping down a total of 20 gallons of paint! It was a hard fought battle, but the team prevailed by using masterful brushstrokes and fanatical rolling. The "Dream Team" consisted of the following individuals:

Leadoff Hitter, Mary Dance -- She's small, but packs a punch. She edges, she rolls, and isn't afraid to take on any color! Honed her skills at Sweet Briar College.
Batting Second, Melissa Berry -- UVA graduate with a mastery of Sedate Grey, Liveable Green and many other colors. Doesn't let the bugs get in her paint when shes rollin' the Jersey Cream!
Batting Third, Carolee Berry -- The team leader...picks the colors, directs the players and is known for her edging mastery! Don't be messing with her favorite weapon, the 2" edging brush! Veteran player from Ohio State.
Cleanup, Stephen Berry -- A rolling fanatic in a constant state of motion. In his rookie year from Hampden-Sydney, but signed a big free agent contract with Wake Forest for '09!
Batting Fifth, Michael Shveima -- This 6'6" Notre Dame grad knows how to use the big lumber. Broke out the roller extension in the late innings and knocked out a couple of 11 and half foot walls in Sleepy Blue.
Batting Sixth, Gene Berry -- Another Ohio State grad who is known for his solid, consistent rolling. Only knows one color, Jersey Cream, but has it mastered!

Sunday, December 21, 2008


Our driveway was poured last more indication that we are getting closer and closer to a finished product. The paint colors have been selected and The Buxton Paint Company is getting its brushes, rollers and paint trays ready for the big trip next week!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Bathroom Tile

The tile is currently being installed in the bathrooms. Drywall is being finished and painting of the interior trim is just starting. We are heading down to Hatteras with the kids after Christmas to do some interior painting of our own.

Friday, December 5, 2008


The drywall is being installed and the interior is really starting to take shape!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


In case you didn't notice (look to your left), an availability calendar has been added to the blog. We are in the process of getting all the family dates reserved for 2009. July is already looking like a blockbuster month, with only five days remaining!

Monday, November 24, 2008


The top floor screened porch is nearing that view! The trim to the main entrance porch is almost done as well. The drywall has been delivered and should be completed during the first week of December.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Looking Good?

The exterior is almost finished...just a few minor trim items. So what do you think? Looking good?

Monday, November 17, 2008


It has rained a lot this month, which has created problems finishing the exterior and getting drywall delivered. The weather is supposed to cooperate this week (sunny, but windy) and we are hoping the exterior will soon be finished. The attached pictures are not real exciting, but it is what it is. Insulation has been the name of the game recently, so I am posting a few shots of the fluffy pink stuff! The last couple of pictures show the foam seal that is used to increase energy efficiency. The foam also helps the roof resist uplift during a storm, while keeping the rain out (i.e., the attic is unvented).

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Interior Selections

Carolee has been busy picking out faucets, kitchen counters and flooring. A few of the selections are attached.

Monday, November 3, 2008


Inspections for elevations, structure, mechanical, electrical, windows, etc. were signed off on last week which clears the way for insulation. Trim work on the deck continues and the fish cleaning table and rear lattice work have been completed.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Completion Date

As you can tell by the pictures the house is coming together quickly. The completion date has been moved up to March 1, 2009...only 4 more months to go!!

Monday, October 27, 2008

October Visit

Carolee and I made the trek to Buxton this past weekend for a progress check-up. We took a quick tour of the property on Saturday morning with Dennis and Alita before heading north to Kellogg Design Center to make kitchen and bathroom decisions. The property looks great! The deck has been installed and the balcony and stair trim work is coming along nicely.

The meeting with the Kellogg people went well and Alita has worked with them to design a very nice kitchen. Carolee made kitchen counter, kitchen cabinet, bath vanity and flooring decisions, and we were pretty worn out by the time we left.

After watching the Buckeyes fumble away a victory against Penn State on Saturday night, we met with Dennis early Sunday to go over miscellaneous items. We also met with Trent again to review lighting and electrical decisions, and finished up with another meeting to review the layout of the cabinets and shelves in the family room. We actually got to take a 10 minute walk on the beach before packing up the car and heading home!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Deck Work Continues

The decks are coming along nicely. An additional 30 boards will be delivered this morning giving the crew the materials they need to finish the job. We are heading down to Buxton on Friday to inspect the house and meet with kitchen, bath and flooring designers.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Composite Decking

Work has started on the composite decking. We are using Azek decking material and a concealed fastener system. Azek is supposed to hold up very well in coastal areas and should achieve our goal of a maintenance free deck.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Looking Good!

From the outside the house is really looking good, with the siding and trim nearing completion. The siding/trim should be complete next week and the decking construction should start within the next couple of days. Banker Norm is doing another inspection today and we are slowly turning our attention to the interior details (faucets, flooring, etc.).

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Siding Progress

Good progress continues to be made on the siding, with the west side looking better every day.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Cedar Shake Siding

We're using white cedar shake for the siding. It will slowly weather to the color of gray during the next several years, creating a different look from today.

Friday, September 19, 2008


The roof, windows and doors have been completed. There are no hurricanes currently brewing, but we should stay dry inside from this point forward. Plumbing has been roughed in, and the HVAC, electrical and siding are next on the agenda.

Friday, September 12, 2008


The rain from Hanna and lingering storms have made the going slow during the last week. Windows and roof shingles are being installed as the weather permits.

Friday, September 5, 2008

The Calm Before the Storm(s)!

Hanna, Ike and who knows who are coming for a visit. We're not talking about Hannah Montana (missing an "h") or Ike Turner (he's dead!). Nope, we're talking about hurricane season! Dennis says we are structurally sound and as ready as we can be to take whatever Mother Earth decides to dish out. Windows and plumbing are being installed, and the roofer is putting down the protective coating that goes on before the roof shingles. Wish us luck as we watch the storms roll in during the next few weeks.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Labor Day Visit

Carolee and I spent Labor Day weekend in Buxton. We met Dennis and Alita for a tour of the house Saturday morning and followed that with some shop talk regarding the great room layout. Apple uglies were on the breakfast menu Sunday morning after a run for Carolee and a bike ride for me. We also met with the Dennis and Trent (the electrician) for 3 hours on Sunday to go over lights, switches, fans, etc. We had great weather and were able to spend a lot of time at the beach. Casey (our Aussie) made her first trip to the beach and only had one wave get her the entire weekend!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Framing - Part V

Framing continues and the roof is starting to take shape. Pilings for the decks will be washed in tomorrow and installation of the windows will start after Labor Day!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Septic System Installed

The septic system is installed and inspected.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Framing - Part IV

Framing continues, with the top floor walls almost complete. The septic tank is scheduled to be installed this week and the roofers should start within the next couple of days.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


That blue stuff on the horizon would be the Atlantic Ocean. This will be our view from the screened in porch.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Construction Loan / Framing - Part III

We are signing the papers today for our construction loan. Of all the mortgage loans I've completed in my lifetime, this one gets the prize for taking the longest amount of time. Everyone has been very pleasant to work with, but it has been a slow process. Anyway, the latest framing pictures are attached. The weather has been good and excellent progress continues to be made!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Framing - Part Deux

Framing continues, with the first floor platform in place and the walls taking shape!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Pouring Cement

Cement was poured under the house on Friday, July 25 and Monday, July 28. The framers were back on the job on Tuesday.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Framing - Part I

Framing started on Monday, July 21. Mark Jordan and his crew have banded the pilings together and prepared the site for concrete. Due to inclement weather yesterday (July 24), the concrete will be poured on Friday and Monday. Once the concrete is poured the framers will be back on site working full tilt.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Dennis & Alita

A lot was accomplished last week due to the efforts of Dennis and Alita Carroll. They kept our project moving forward and the entire family enjoyed all of the activity on the lot. The only bummer was Dennis' speeding ticket while driving to Kitty Hawk to secure our building permit!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


If you are looking to play Lincoln Logs or Pick Up Sticks, you probably wouldn't want to choose these puppies. Forty piles were delivered, washed in and set last week. Overall it was an extremely busy week, with the lot being cleared and filled, temporary power installed, building and septic permits issued, and piles set and inspected.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Golden Shovels

On Monday of Beach Week our entire group gathered for a formal groundbreaking ceremony, complete with golden shovels (thanks Melissa & UVA!). The real thanks go to Carolee's mom, Carolee (think they are related?), for organizing the event. It is a real blessing to have the entire extended family supporting us on this project and we are looking forward to many more sunny days on the Carolina coast!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Bobcat Magic

Look at this bad boy! He's a lean, mean, lot clearing machine! Knocking down the scrub brush and bringing in the fill dirt. Makes the testosterone flow!!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Beach Week

We leave Saturday for our annual pilgrimage to Buxton. Lots to do during the upcoming week between spending time with family and finalizing construction plans. We also plan to meet our banker Norm (reminds me of Cheers) from East Carolina Bank. With a little luck this should be the last year we rent!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Ground Breaking

My mother-in-law wants to have a ground breaking ceremony (complete with golden shovels) sometime during our family beach week of July 12. I don't think it is going to happen...the lot is getting cleared next week and the fill will be added the week we are at Cape Hatteras. Things are moving along, which means I'm writing checks!!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Interior Renderings

Double click on the picture to view the slide show in full screen mode.

Sunday, June 22, 2008


The floor plans are set and the preliminary budget looks good (as good as it can!). I know construction dates are normally a moving target, but it appears we are officially kicking off construction on August 1...with a tentative completion date of May 1, 2009. Worst case should be June 1, 2009 if all goes well. Just in time for next summer!!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Updated Views

We've been out of town at the U.S. Open watching Tiger win (again), and are a little behind on the blog. Progress continues to be made and several views are attached (double click on the picture to view the slide show in full screen mode)!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Septic Approval

If the only news I have to share is that the county approved our septic tank plan, it is pretty obvious there is not much going on these days (that is exciting enough to report on). Actually we are in a bit of a hold mode waiting for a rough estimate of the cost to erect the house based on the latest design. Numbers should come shortly, which could mean design changes or a forward ho!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Revised First Floor Layout

We are getting a little bit out of control on the size of this house and will probably have to rein things back in after the cost estimates are developed, but this layout provides for an office/bunk bed/exercise area under the kitchen.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

4.57 Square Feet - Part Deux

The new survey has been completed and we are still 4.57 square feet shy of what we need. This is really no surprise since the new survey was completed by the same person who did the last one. At this point we are moving forward with the design using an average roof height of 35 feet or less.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Slideshow Added

The most current exterior renderings and floor plans have been posted using a slideshow.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

4.57 Square Feet

Our lot is supposed to be 7500 sq. ft., but the surveyor says it is a slight parallelogram (yes, that Geometry you studied in high school is good for something) which reduces the square footage to 7495.43! Those extra 4.57 sq. ft. make a big difference to the building inspectors when in comes to the height of the building they will approve. Apparently the inspectors have recently decided to enforce this provision, which explains why I have several neighbors who have homes on smaller lots that exceed the 35 foot height restriction. We are getting another survey done (doesn't look promising), considering a variance request (looks less promising) and forging ahead with an adjusted home design that will meet the current building code (probably our best bet)!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Floor Plans - 1st Cut

Feedback is welcome! Double click on any one of the three images to get a closer look!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Buxton Visit

Carolee and I traveled to Buxton on April 19 to meet Dennis Carroll and his wife Alita. We walked our property and toured several homes that Dennis and Alita have built or remodeled. We were impressed with the craftsmanship and attention to detail of each property we looked at, and came away from the day feeling extremely comfortable with our decision to work Dennis and Alita. After reviewing our initial plans for several hours we ended the day with a nice lunch and a game plan of what needs to happen next.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Dennis Carroll

We've decided we really need someone located in Buxton to run our project since we are 7 hours away in Roanoke and still have to work for a living. That's why we really want to talk with Dennis Carroll. He comes highly recommended and lives locally. I call Dennis out of the blue to gauge his interest in helping us with our project and try to determine if this guy is the "real deal". About 10 minutes into the conversation Dennis tells me he is an Ohio State graduate and I figure this is a really good sign...since Buckeyes are much smarter, better looking, talented, etc. than the average college graduate (take that Michigan fans!). Dennis is a semi-retired P&G engineer who only takes on 1 or 2 projects at a time and he's not so sure he has the time for our project (bummer!), but he decides to send me information about his services and a few references. After reading his literature and talking again on the phone Dennis warms to the idea of taking us on as clients and we decide to meet in Buxton on April 19, 2008.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Finding A Builder

We have never built a home before and don't know any builders on the Outer Banks. So we decide to look for one on the Outer Banks Home Builders Association web site. What a bad idea...there are 500 builders listed on the site and another 250 associate members. How is a person supposed to figure out who to hire?

Plan B. We talk to Carolee's parents and they give us the number of a family friend who lives in Buxton. I call her out of the blue and we talk for 30 minutes (thanks Betsy!). Best 30 minute phone conversation I've had in a long time. I've got a short list of names and numbers, and least a place to start. One name on the list seems to have everything we are looking for (design, permits, construction management) and we decide to talk with him first. Things are looking up!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Decision to Build

Fast forward to January 2008. After some serious number crunching we come to the conclusion (right or wrong) that we can finally afford to build a house on the lot and not have to rent it out (one of our goals!). With only one year of Stephen's college left, by the time the project is done we will have only one child left in college (Eric..who subsequently tells us in March that he is leaving school to pursue other interests).

We also decide this time to be a bit more expeditious about breaking the news to the kids and let them all know within a month. Everyone in the family is excited and we even find plans on the Internet (see picture above) that seem to have almost everything we are looking for in a beach house.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Breaking the news…

Just how do you tell your kids, family and others that you bought beach property? We really didn’t know how to tactfully do it, so we didn’t tell anyone for four months. When we finally told our kids Melissa (23), Stephen (21) and Eric (19), they were excited but were a little taken back that we didn’t tell them sooner…I guess we get a D- for how we handled this one. The one consistent question we did receive was, when are you going to build? The one consistent answer…as soon as we’re done paying for the kids college tuition!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Let's Buy Some Land!

So, after vacationing on the Outer Banks each July for close to 30 years, Carolee and I get the bright idea in early 2006 to buy some land and build a beach house. Using my outstanding Internet skills, I scour the Dare County, North Carolina website GIS to find all of the empty lots on the street where we rent a cottage each year. I write all of the owners and get only one reply from some guy who wants to totally rip me off!

Back to the drawing board! In July of 2006 we make our annual pilgrimage to Buxton with an army of relatives and lo and behold, the lot across the street from our rented cottage is for sale. I contact the real estate agent who promptly tells us the owner no longer wants to sell, BUT she has a lot for sale one street over that is beaucoup bucks cheaper!

Next thing we know it is September of 2006 and we own 7500 sq. ft. of oceanside property that is 450 feet from the beach! Who knew that a lot filled with sand and scrub brush could cost so much...but we're pumped!