Our Blog Building. Better.

How time flies...custom house to home

We have been living in the house and enjoying the view, for six months. Lately we have tested it with a lingering Polar Vortex. The fireplace has been nice to have.
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But frankly, it is during these cold snaps that a homeowner realizes the impact that their decisions concerning energy efficient building products like insulation, windows, doors and other infrastructure come to roost. With so many considerations and choices that people have when building a custom house, it is easy to undervalue the impact of energy efficient products, along with their added costs, at the planning stages.
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Perhaps we use misleading terminology when we talk about energy efficiency, because what it really amounts to is COMFORT. An efficient house is more comfortable in the cold (and heat of summer, though that seems very far away at the moment).
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The finished product always comes with some surprises, even after building a custom house from the ground up and I know every square inch. But houses come alive when people move into the space. Even the first scratches and dings are part of this transformation.
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It is the people, kids and pets that makes the house start to have a feeling or an energy, and that is when we can experience the home rather than just the house.
Send us a note at Durango Developments Ltd. and find out how we can help you build your custom dream home, or modify your existing home into the perfect spot to stay.

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Finishing touches...but there are a lot of them

One of my favourite things about my job is how my work changes as the project progresses. It starts out rough with footings and foundation.
The framing feels more comfortable with even floors to walk on, although it's heavy.
Then the trades move in and it is problem solving and anticipating future uses. When it is time for finishing it is fun because everything comes flat and as we cut it up and put it in place it becomes a home not just a frame.
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Hanging doors, casing windows and doors, hardwood installation, architectural details and cabinets start and more careful measurements and touch is required. Each aspect of the project is so important because it leads to the next. Soon enough the place takes shape.
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We've been building for 8 months almost to the day. The painter has been though making his mess with his sprayer. Fireplace has rock on it, rooms have taken shape. I am ready to prep for tiling and soon some tiles will be set.
Contact us to start planning your improvements!

Finally...my overdue overview

Where are we at?
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The house has been going very well. After a summer of building, framing, digging, grading, retaining, roofing, prepping, installing, insulation and dry walling among other things, the custom built house in Montgomery is taking shape.
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It's hard for me to believe in my last update I was talking about the gorgeous spring that we had. Although our progress has been great we did have some hiccups; with an unusually wet summer, and Hardy, who worked with me for more than a decade, decided to change careers which was a big blow and then, even more rain.

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At last report we were just about to start framing the second floor. We did get to the second floor, the roof and windows and doors. The exterior finish of EIFS stucco and Board and Batten siding is about ½ way done at this point.
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We decided to have Beyond Foam insulate the house with BASF’s Walltite Eco® a revolutionary spray foam insulation. BASF utilizes recycled materials as well as renewable resources to make the first 2lb spray foam to be given the EcoLogo® and it is purple.

At Durango Developments we feel that durable and energy efficient homes are extremely important especially with Calgary's climate.
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Using high efficiency furnaces, appliances, ICF foundation walls, spray foam insulation and triple pane low E windows throughout will all help keep the warmth in during the winter months and help the house stay cool in the summer. Keeping the weather outside with these and other eco products and materials also help the structure of the house by not allowing air, which carries moisture, through the walls. Moisture issues are becoming quite common building problems due to air moving through walls and preventing this helps stop moulds and other moisture issues from occurring.
We are weather tight and warm with temporary heat. We do not use our new furnaces to heat the house until closer to completion so as not to prematurely age and/or damage the new equipment. The drywallers have been busy boarding and now they are doing the finishing touches with their mudslinging and tape.
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We are getting ready for the winter by completing some of the retaining walls and garage. After the weeks end we should have the garage framed and be back inside to start the finishing!

Give us a call to start planning your new custom project. We can make your current home better or start on a fresh set of plans...

White house progress report

Thought I better provide an update on our latest custom home.
We have had a gorgeous spring in Calgary and have been building away on our latest custom home.
The sloping lot started to take shape with the energy efficient ICF foundation blocks. The concrete was poured on a cloudless day.
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But it wasn't really until the main floor subfloor went on and we backfilled around the house that the lot and house took shape.
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Most of our main floor walls are now up showing window and door openings. The very large opening on the front will have an impressive 14' Kolbe folding door system that will open the wall of windows up onto the not yet present deck.
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We are now ready for the second floor engineered floor system to be delivered and in a few days we will be able to walk on the second floor! I can hardly wait to see the view from a little higher up.
Contact us now to start discussing your project ideas.

Here we go!

Let the building begin.
Let the building begin.
After 8+ months grinding through City Hall we now we have made some forward moves.
First step was to have the surveyor come and layout the elevation and basic location of the house on the lot. On April 19 we broke ground. We didn't have much topsoil- we basically have a sand pit and after the top layers are removed- the digging really begins. Because of the sandy soil and due to our intended house location closer to the east property line and the fact that neighbouring property has some structural issues we have had to shore up the east slope for safety and so that we do not undermine the neighbours' house. This shoring has taking a little more than a week of delays and a lot of dough ($).
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Kent has been a very skilled excavator operator. He has been patient and actively problem solving. It is quite mesmerizing watching a skilled earth mover. Once the lot has been carved out the surveyor returns to mark out the corner locations for the footings.

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Footings are the connection point for every house to the earth. Footings are placed on undisturbed native soil and in this case they have an engineered design. They are placed and designed to support the foundation and they resist any pressures from soil, water and the freeze/ thaw cycle that we have to contend with in Calgary homes.
Contact us to talk about your dream project.

It's no joke...we have permission to build

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After 8 months of grinding through city hall we now have a development permit and all necessary building permits.
We have faced all of the scrutiny that the city planning department could throw at us. No comments at all about the house we intend to build. But we had to make sure the house fits into the overall community plan, respect the privacy of our neighbours, analyze the soil and slope we are building on and prove we are building a house that meets the current building code requirements.
The whole process took about 5+ months longer than we anticipated but now we are good to go! Let the building begin.