How To Build A Love Nest

.: A blog about building our home in Colorado :.


Bear Adventures

Times I’ve encountered a bear hiking/camping= 0. Times a bear has visited me at home = 2. This was NOT in the budget 10,000 nails later, ammonia cups all around, and a live bear

A beautiful day in the mountains

I feel like we are just now reaching that turning point of recovery from the stress to really enjoying daily life. It’s been surprising to find that even after finishing six months ago, the

Birthday reflections

Year 37 was no joke with big amazing wonderful things like eloping, excelling at work, and finishing our house. But it was also full of crushing anxiety, falling out of good physical shape and

August side by side

It’s amazing how much you can do in a year. August 2017 August 2018

We did it!

We were right down to the wire, but we did it.  We got the certificate of occupancy and rolled over to a mortgage with only a day to spare. Time to celebrate, relax, reconnect

That sky, tho.

Eyes on the prize.  Hold it together a little bit longer. Calling this beautiful place home is the goal.

Copper countertops

Most of our beautiful successes are built on blood, sweat, tears, and swear words. Not necessarily in that order.    


The incredible Kate and Zach came up to help us install the floors. Electric radiant heat under engineered bamboo, with a tile genkan/mud”room” by the door.  

It isn’t always glamorous

People ask how do you build a house having never done it before. Part of it is having the heart of this guy: outside in the snow on a Saturday night, making sure this

the not as pretty part

Not everything about this project is pretty.  Sometimes there’s plenty of things to take to the dump.


Not to sound princess-y or anything y’all, but I’m excited as $$&# to have a flushing toilet!  The port-a-john blue splash in the morning has worn off it’s charm. Comments from my friends: “how

Finishing the deck

The dream team came from California and S Dakota and we got a deck done. Weather ranged from sunny 70 degrees to snowing, because this is what spring in Colorado high country looks like.

Three months to go.

It’s coming along beautifully, no doubt. The kitchen has an island and running water. Next week, we’ll get it tested and then have running drinking water. The hard part of the deck is done.

Kitchen progress

It’s gonna be a kitchen shaped kitchen! Most cabinets scored from Ikea’s ‘As-Is’/’Nick and Dent’ corner. Trash compactor from ReStore. Sink from Wayfair’s extra discount corner.

Bedroom concrete floor

Richard is in love with the idea of having a concrete floor, a la Dwell magazine chic. Now that we have water from the well– yay!  no more hauling water up in containers! And

Cement mixer

… and also so much depends on an orange cement mixer dusted with snow… The Red Wheelbarrow BY WILLIAM CARLOS WILLIAMS so much depends upon a red wheel barrow glazed with rain water beside

Waterline finished

Another beautiful day of being desperately outside my comfort zone. But the water line is almost finished being buried!!! Dirt and pipes wise, we’re ready to turn on the water! Just another hour or

Drywall drama

It is currently slow, behind schedule, above budget, frustrating and terribly stressful as deadlines approach. But won’t it be nice to sit in that sunlight, curled up on a couch one day? At this

We have power!

After 9 months of generators and charging Ryobi batteries at friends’ houses.  WE HAVE POWER. Lessons learned:  OMG, get temp power.

All I want for Christmas

All I want for Christmas is electricity and heat. But look! It’s gonna be such a pretty house!!

11/30/17 – it’s a wrap

Here are some pictures of our house today – it’s finally been wrapped!!!!! The whole house feels unified in its white plastic sheeting as the first could of windows went in.  We are eagerly

Inspection Photos – Roof Panels

All of the roof panels have been installed as follows: RayCore structural panels with internal 2×8 cut to size to fit over each set of beams Minimum of 6 lag screws (per manufacturer) through

Inspection Photos – Shear-Wall Sheathing

These are the inspection photos for our shear-wall sheathing. 1/2″ OSB Nail schedule 6″ O.C. on the edge, 12″ O.C. in the field 8d 2-1/2″ ring-shank nails Proper gap maintained with Simpson 20-Gauge Plywood


Below are pictures of the soffits we built as roof extensions. The insulated roof panels are only located directly over the living areas. These soffits extend up to 5 feet on the front of

Inspection Photos – Beams

These are the inspection photos for the beam installations.     BEAM PLACEMENT PHOTOS   Pockets for beams created in walls.   All beams in place.   All beams in place.   All beams

11/21/17 – Electrical Soffit Lights

The electrical installation has finally begun with the addition of can lights to our soffits. These lights needed to get installed so the siding contractor can cut out the soffit panels with openings in

The cold never stopped me. Nov 18

High of 38 degrees today didn’t make construction work super fun, but, little by little, we’re gonna have a house. (I don’t know if it’s a boy, girl, or anything else)


We got contractors out for this one. At a cost of approximately 37 overtime shifts, I’m still gonna say it’s beautiful and worth it.

Shedlife snow.

Thanks shedlife!  All this October snow has been…fun. Time for vacation. “My shoes, I remember, Were lost in the snowbank As if I planned never to walk again” Anne Sexton Vacation in the sun. 

The bears are not yet asleep

Well, hello bear. Hope you enjoyed the yogurts. The snuffling at the shed door was exciting thank you for not coming inside. Three days until vacation. Shedlife adventures.

Make your own road… or waterline

Sometimes you take the road less traveled by, sometimes you learn how to use heavy machinery and build your own road, sometimes you dig a 6ft trench for a water line through your road.

Roof and dirt

If any one wants to spend this beautiful weekend with Richard, his dad, and me finishing putting up plywood, building extensions for the roof, and moving dirt around we’ll teach cool stuff and give

October Snow

The weather forecast called for an inch of snow. That looks more like 3 or 4 to me. It calls for 75F weather this weekend. Richard both got tons of work done and tarped

Roof Re-do

  After the week of 40F rain, we realized this weekend that we’d need to rip out and replace a third of the beautiful ceiling we’d put in. In some future year, we’ll have

Frosty September

Shedlife construction zone was a little demoralizing with 40F rain all weekend, but we’ve put some insulation in the shed and are excited to get a roof on the house. Someday, I’ll have my

Inspection Photos – Foundation Perimeter

Below are the photos and info for 2 inspections: “Perimeter foundation drain” and “foundation damp-proofing”. Perimeter foundation drain 4″ of 3/4″ gravel in base of wall 3″ perforated pipe with 2 sets of holes

9/15/17 – Roof Beams

13 beams raised. No major injuries. One beautiful house-to-be. Success. Today we got our roof beams installed. Quite a feat as our helpers dropped out; but Kori rocked the tag line and became an

One nail at a time

Getting ready for another big weekend of putting in the roof beams and then roof.

Shed life: two months in

We’ve been living tiny without running water or power for about two months now and things are remarkably easy.  We still manage to show up to our professional careers clean and shiny.  We have

9/3/17 – More Walls

Building your dreams is hard work. I suggest buying a heavy duty winch. It makes it better. We continue to slowly build our walls and watch our house come together. We are now in

Painful progress

That time we dropped a wall on my dad who was too deaf to hear us yell to get out of the way and he probably had broken ribs but refused to go to

Steel Beam

One of the fun items we got to install in our floor system is a steel beam where our bedroom wall ends. This aligns with one edge of our flat roof so it needed


We have begun the installation of our subfloor I-joists. We used TJIs be Weyerhaeuser which were fairly straightforward to install.  Because our foundation wall comes above the floor level in the bedroom we installed

Shed life pro tip:

Remember to shake off the spiders from your freshly dry dishes in the morning. Also, bungees keep everything from blowing away in the wind.

Amazing friends make it happen.

It’s amazing what a crew of friends and family can get done in a long weekend. A floor, and half the walls of a house, to be exact. (A third wall between those is

The shed has a roof!

We made such a good start on the shed back in April.  We cut all the pieces of wood, color coded them for which wall they were destined for, bought materials and got them

Septic comes together

After many long days of digging rock, exploding rock, digging more rock, pick-axing rock, then digging more rock (get enough idea yet)… we’ve finally begun the construction phase on our septic system. We’ve filled

5/22/17 – Excavation Continues

Well were finally back at it  the snow has mostly melted and septic excavation resumes. Spent most of the day jack hammering rock. Don’t know if you know this but it’s really hard stuff!

5/21/17 – Tile

As we find ourselves stymied for another day by nature’s snowy goodness — we took this opportunity to check out another used building supply store.  This one was amazing – and overwhelming in choices.

5/19/17 – Building Permit

I am suuuuppppper excited today. After much fretting about schedules and timing and building and nature — we got our BUILDING PERMIT !!!!! Our driveway passed it’s rough-and-tumble inspection and the house plans are

5/18/17 – Nature !!!

Sometimes your best laid plans are blocked by mother nature. Who am I kidding – mother nature always ruins plans !!!! This is particularly true in the high mountains of Colorado where a spring

5/17/17 – Septic System 1

Today we started digging the septic system leech field. This is some challenging terrain because we have to dig 5′ down on the low side of the hill and up to 7′ down on

5/14/17 – Well Road

Kori did an amazing job digging out a temporary road for our upcoming well digging activity. The truck that is coming in needs an almost flat road that’s 8 feet wide because its 14′

5/13/17 – Driveway 4

Driveway day 4 was a doozy! Kori’s dad dropped by and Kori moved all the tree stumps I so lovingly abandoned on the side of the road. Quite a task for her first time

5/6/17 – Driveway 2

Day 2 of driveway-pa-looza. Jayme came out to help which greatly sped things up — until the massive thunderstorm rolled in and we ducked for cover. After a while we saw a blue patch,

5/5/17 – Driveway 1

This is day 1 of digging our new driveway. I received the backhoe just before this video and had to learn how to use it first! Then I got down to the busy work

Shed Progress

Here’s a video of our shed building progress over the last couple of days.

The right tool

There’s an old adage about “using the right tool for the job”. There’s also one about “time is money”. Occasionally these intersect at “right tool for the time”. We hit this intersection while building

Growing our strengths

Let me just say this, not all of this project plays to my strengths.  A project of this size can’t possibly play to all of my (many!  ahem…. ) strengths.  In fact, the beauty

Permits and plans and papers

And this week the paperwork tide shifted.  This was the week that the paperwork that so intimidates me –I’m coming to terms with the fact that I don’t have a lot of trust in

It’s a House !

Today was a busy day for the LoveNest household. We filed an updated driveway plan with the county (and discovered we immediately need to do a 3rd filing), then we filed for our building

Vent Hoods

I LOVE vent hoods! This is not an overstatement or hyperbole. There’s something amazing about a well-designed vent hood that effectively whisks away the smoke emanating from a perfectly crisping item in a pan,

Erosion control

Before major excavation, we are required to put in erosion control.  The internet made it seem so easy, so with out brand-new-to-us-certified-pre-dented truck, we rented the largest trencher Home Depot carried and headed up

One discounted tile at a time: the bathroom

Personally, I don’t understand why people what huge bathrooms, or two his/hers sinks (or other non-herteronormative equivalents).  Things I want in my bathroom are warmth, light, and a towel within reach.  And to not

Certified pre-dented truck

As Richard said, we just bought  a truck.  A certified pre-dented truck.  It is also canary yellow.  Or perhaps 35mph-turn-ahead-sign yellow.  Or perhaps daffodil yellow.  And let’s hope it’s not lemon yellow.   Here’s

It’s Truck Time!

There was hemming… There was hawign… Gears shifted and grinded and then it happened. We bought a truck! A truck has been one of our major house-related purchases that we knew needed to be

Light Switches

You know one thing I never expected to disagree with Kori about on this project? Light switches. But we found ourselves at an interesting impass a few weeks back and it led to some

Latest House Plan Update

Here’s a visual update to our latest house plans. We have played with dimensions a lot moving things around as we placed windows, and debated the fine points of deck size and commode gappage.

Making Stakes

Today I decided to make some stakes for marking out various locations on the property. Locations that need to be marked include the septic field, well, driveway, and house. 3 ft. Pine Grade Stakes

Under-Counter Appliances

We got our first appliance and drum-roll …… its a microwave !!!!! Why am I so excited? Because this isn’t just any old microwave – its an under-counter microwave. A what you ask? Let

Closets? Scmosets!

One of our newsletter subscribers (you have subscribed have you not – click here) asked a very astute question the other day – where are the closets? It’s a good question and one I’m

Chainsaw Head-to-Head

We have trees and those trees (unfortunately) need to find their way into our bonfires (and hopefully shelves). So what is a guy to do – except buy a chainsaw! Did I mention a

The Floorplan

It has come to our attention that we don’t have a floorplan of our house yet. But wait – we do !!!!! Below is our current plan which results in about a 900 sq.

North? or North?

One of the fancy new techniques we can do with technology is to take out AutoCad drawings and overlay them onto satellite imagery like that seen in Google maps. This requires setting a point

When 2 become 1

Previously we posted about the possibility of redrawing our property lines to maintain two having two properties but better orientated for setbacks. We have gone around and around on this idea but finally made

Windows !

Our first purchase for the new home is complete and it’s …. WINDOWS !!!! Kori and I rolled down to our local Habitat for Humanity ReStore (ReStore) because they were having a 25% off

First contoured sitemap

Today I finally got contour data imported into Revit and was able to create a 3D sitemap. Below is the first picture I’ve created showing the sloped hill, flattened area for driveway, and the

Man is the only animal to borrow tools

Today we joined the Denver Tool Library. This is really a very cool option for those who need use of a variety of tools but don’t have the space, money, or allowance of a

Let there be light

One of the things Richard and I agree most clearly on is: lots of windows. I would say that at heart I am a desert child, growing up on the California/Nevada border with a

Italian kitchens

It’s hard to say what small things will leave an impression and inspire you for years to come. In 2009, I lived out of a backpack, spent many months bumming around S. America and

Initial survey, April 2nd

All full of nerves and excitement, one week before we were scheduled to close, with our offer accepted and only paperwork to wait on, we drove up to do an initial survey of the

Plans and soup

Over the last month or so we’ve been soaking up the excitement of being land owners and on the way to building our little dream home. So, what do we want?  Well, we love


One of the many factors we’re trying to decipher is the lay of our land for a septic system. Ideally we would like the leach field to be downhill of the house and septic

Property Lines – To Be or Not To Be

Our two properties are approximately 4 acres each and are both long and skinny. Naturally the preferred views have our house pressed right up into a corner with 30′ setbacks (as required by zoning).