Where to begin? I started this blog as a way to have a source for accurate information about the house project. It was a big undertaking, garnering quite a bit of unexpected local attention. Lots of people stop by regularly to look at it or take pictures. They often ask questions, usually the same questions, so the blog was a way to consolidate all of the info. People don’t understand the volume of onlookers until they stop by, even for a few minutes, and experience it. I never did it for attention and I have turned down numerous media requests since this is not my livelihood and I don’t need the exposure. Most people that take the time to comment are very nice and like the project, especially if they see it in person. But I’ve said before that it is not everyone’s cup of tea and there are surely some detractors who don’t like it or don’t get it.
Now that more sites have picked up my blog, reposted pictures (some that are old) and even used the content to write something of a story; I’m finding that I am having to defend this project, mostly from people who probably do very little and think that sitting behind a keyboard somehow makes their opinion count. I’m a doer and not a commentary type person, who shares my opinion about others work. I’m not an artist but I always wondered what it was like when artists mention getting frustrated because their work is misunderstood. I get it now. I didn’t seek out these media outlets, some just ripped off my content, others asked if they could use it. I had no input into any of them and with a big part of the content being derived from the KHOU story, over 18 months ago while major construction was occurring, there is a lot of misinformation. Let’s see if we can clear the air and answer some recent questions.
- The whole project is considered a three story single family residence. But since I had to fund this myself, the intent was to build something that could be lived in and work on the rest. I could have built a one story that would have been just fine for short to long term living within the budget. However not knowing what will be built in the vacant lot next door in the future and having to put a roof on it that would have to be removed to expand, both made for potential challenges. I made the decision to assemble the structure entirely and only finish what would have been the first floor.
- Now that you know this is an ongoing work in progress, it might make more sense why most of the pics only show part of the interior. In the master plan, the first floor is set up as a media room, bar, guest area, and studio. I’m currently using it as a 600 sq ft living, kitchen, bedroom. The main window in that area has a motorized screen on it for use with a projector, but mostly stays down, controlling the light. The bedroom or studio has 12 feet of glass and plenty of natural light. Eventually there will be an open loft style living / kitchen on one floor and a master suite on another. Those aren’t done!
- There is insulation on all walls and ceilings. I think people are lazy and don’t actually read the blog, which is fine. But I’m constantly baffled when they comment about the insulation, of which they assume there is none. Seriously? It’s a metal structure in Houston, of course there is insulation, just like EVERY other home built. I used closed cell spray foam and there is between 2-3″ on every surface. The ceiling also has an extra 6″ of acoustic insulation. The spray foam acts as a moisture barrier and moves the condensation point into the space, so the metal can’t sweat. It’s insulated and stays perfectly neutral on the temperature by using the dual zone mini split AC.
- The structure is up but the second floor is barely touched outside of some temporary paint, the third floor has only the structural done, the rooftop deck has joists but nothing else. Two thirds of the house is incomplete. If I had unlimited money, I would do it all. But I am working as I have time and funds to devote to it. Since I am doing it almost entirely by myself, that means it takes longer. I’m not in a hurry, but at the same time, the assumption that it’s complete is far from true. I even posted the 3D model, so that those who take the time to look into it know what it will look like when it is complete. I have the doors and windows for the second, third, and crows nest fourth floor. I haven’t put them in because it requires framing and time to do it. My goal was to move in and then do these kinds of tasks as I go. I have built a balcony and put in two sets of doors / windows on the second floor since many of the posted pictures were taken. But since I don’t live on those floors, the container doors do a perfectly fine job of keeping out the weather. When those doors open to reveal the rest of the glass on the front of the house, there is loads of natural light.
- I posted this blog. I did not post any of the other content. Full stop. I didn’t go around advertising and asking for various media to draw attention here. It was the other way around. I don’t care if people don’t like the project. I didn’t put anything out there to have my house rated or graded. I’m not asking for opinions from keyboard jockeys who know nothing about this. It’s nice to get compliments, I really don’t care about the negativity. Media is constantly surprised when I don’t have a media kit for the house. Do you have one for your house?
- I will likely paint the outside. I have done the front of the first and second floors. But that is 100% cosmetic. I don’t need to do it for any other reason than to make it look consistent. I do plan on doing this, when I have the bandwidth to get it done. But you’d be surprised at how many people think that I should leave it the way it is. I considered that.
- My neighbors don’t hate me. I know many of them and a majority like the place or are ambivalent about it. I actually owned the property years before any of them did, when the neighborhood was at its worst. I almost put a sign out front of what would be built one day. Do a few of them hate it? Maybe. Probably. The ones I know don’t and don’t see it as a negative. We have the beer can house and many other unique builds in Houston. Every area that is not historic should have something to break up the monotony of the grey townhouses that often get built.
- The only thing I ask is don’t be stupid. You can’t build anything in any city without it being up to code and having safety inspections, especially something this visible on the edge of downtown. Not only did this project pass, it met or exceeded code in every regard, including third party steel inspection. Compared to most homes, it is way over engineered. It is more structurally sound, more resistant to fire or hurricanes, and has a foundation that would be nearly impossible to move. But code and restrictions are two very different things. Houston has no zoning and this neighborhood has no association or deed restrictions. As a result, if you buy a house here and there is a vacant lot or tear down next door, you don’t know what you will get. Cosmetically, it can be whatever the builder / designer / architect / owner desires. If you don’t like that, don’t buy or live in an unrestricted neighborhood.
- Why? Why not?
That’s what I have for now. Maybe I’ll update this as I think of other things or as more dumb questions get asked. Check out a couple of interior pics of the other unfinished parts (just in case you didn’t already see them posted elsewhere).