We're Building a Custom House + Champion Generator Review

Friday, January 25, 2019
A look at the contemporary modern house plans we are going to build ourselves and a review of the reliable Champion 4750 3800 Watt generator 

*This post is sponsored by Champion Power Equipment. I have been compensated for my time and provided with product or payment in exchange. All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. 

I want to tell you guys about a dream come true. Are you ready for a story?

First I should tell you I was a weird kid. My mom worked full time so my brother and I spent most of the summer wandering around the neighborhood, fighting each other, and watching basic cable. As anyone who has had a sick day knows, daytime TV is the worst. Especially back in the early 90's, choices were limited. My daily routine would consist of waking up, catch the end of The Price Is Right, then I would click over to PBS and settle in. I was raised on  Bob Ross, This Old House, and New Yankee Workshop. I'm not exaggerating when I say, I have dreamed of building a custom house since I was probably 8 or 9 years old.

I have never wanted the largest house on the street, or even the most impressive. I just always wanted a space that completely reflected my style, and could meet my family's specific need in a way that no other house could.

When I married my husband 11 years ago, he was a contractor who specialized in building custom homes. Of course I was going to get my custom house!... right? Well, the economic recession had other plans, and our dream got sidelined for a long time. Some of you know our story and know financially devastated we were for several years. My husband ended up back in college for 7 years and I ended up cutting hair in my kitchen to get by. One bright side of the "tough times" is that they pushed me to start building and selling furniture for extra money, and that's how I ended up here. Thankfully, my husband eventually graduated and found a stable job as a civil engineer for a city in our area and I am so blessed to be making a living from my work now as well. So, our situation is much less scary than I has been in the past but the dream of building a house still seemed out of reach.

Miraculously, we were able to hang on to our first house through the recession (we bought a foreclosure in a very distant suburb). We put in a lot of sweat equity and fixed it up a good deal. We made a little money and invested ALL of it into our second, current home. We've remodeled our entire house and are very lucky to be in a situation where we have some equity. Even still, land in our area of Arizona is very expensive (like $200k -300k for an acre). Most people who can purchase land around here and build are fairly wealthy. We are solidly middle-class. 

My very kind and generous in-laws came to us last year and offered to loan us the money if we could find a piece of land in our budget. After a VERY LONG and convoluted search, we amazingly found a lot we could potentially afford (right next door to the lot my in-laws purchased to build their new home on interestingly). I had a really hard time finding pricing information when I was doing research, so I'm going to give you guys all the numbers as I go. I'll be honest, talking money with strangers is really scary. As I mentioned before, we've struggled in the past, so I am super sensitive to the perception of wealth and entitlement. I recognize my family is EXTREMELY BLESSED to have this opportunity which many others may never have. I also acknowledge if it wasn't for the generosity and support of others (that includes you guys!), the dream of building a home would never happen for us.

So... What to see what we spent $120,000 on?

Look at that blank slate! It's totally ready for us to build something awesome.

My friends from Champion Power Equipment found out we were going to be building and wanted to hook me up with an essential tool for the job, a sweet new Dual Fuel power generator. I'll going to tell you a little about the 4750 model and what makes it so great.

* If you just want to see the proposed house design and floor plan, keep scrolling *

We won't have any utilities hooked up to our land for several more months. So that means anytime we need to run lights or tools, or basically anything electrical at the job site, we'll need to rely on a generator

In the meantime, before we start building, I can have peace of mind knowing we have access to reliable power anywhere (camping, outdoor events, or even at home during a power outage). 

There are several reasons which make the Champion 4750-3800 Watt generator perfect for us, the first being the fact that its Duel-Fuel, which means it can be powered by either unleaded gasoline or propane.

If I don't have a gas can on hand, I can slide the fuel selector switch over and hook up the very same propane tank which fuels my outdoor grill and have up to 10-1/2 hours of run time.

I didn't realize how much I'd love the electric start feature. With one push of a button, I literally have power at my fingertips.

This Champion power generator has multiple different outlets, which all feature Volt Guard™, a built-in surge protector which prevents overloads and helps keep my equipment safe. As I've mentioned in the past, my husband is a Maker and we often fight over tools. At least we won't have to fight over outlets. 

I'm already stoked about all the ways a reliable generator will come in handy during the building process. I'm sure it's going to be well-used over the next year. Here's a Home Depot link if you are interested in checking out a Champion 4750-3800 Watt generator for yourself.

Okay, so without further adieu, here's what we're building!

We found our plans online (here). This is the way the floor plan comes standard. 

 I think the upstairs game room is one of the things I'm most excited about. My kids are getting bigger and are ready for a dedicate space of their own. We didn't want a two-story house, but trying to cram everything we wanted in only around 2,600 sqft was getting challenging. Basically, this plan lives like a one-story, but just an upstairs loft.

We don't have our paper plans yet, since the architect who drew them is making our modifications. We are making several small-ish changes which I'll go into greater detail in another blog post down the road, but I made a really rough sketch to visualize what's going to be different. The most significant changes are the tandem garage and the 4' extension to the master bedroom. Those will need a different foundation and roof line.  Everything else are under-roof modifications. 

Okay, and now for the part of the build that really matters. The true "heart of the home" - our shop. 

I actually found the plans for the detached RV garage on a whole separate website, but look at the skillion roof! The two buildings look like they were designed for one another.

The dimensions are going to be 30' x 40' like you see on the floor plan below, but we are raising the wall height to accommodate a 14' door and larger RV (which we don't own, but maybe one day).

I'll give you guys all the details once the finally edited plans come in. I'll cover stuff like foundations, framing, and exterior finishes. In the meantime, here's a look how it will look on our property. I made a SUPER rough and not to scale drawing, but you get the idea. The house and shop will both face south. 

So the big question I keep getting asked: When are you going to break ground?

Well, it's going to be a few months. We still have to sell our current house to be able to pay for permits. Once the permits are approved (3-6 weeks), then we have to wait for financing (another 30-60 days). As soon as our financing clears, we can start moving dirt around. It's going to be a slow process, but it will be worth it and I promise to keep you guys up to date!

Another question some of you may have is: Where are you building?

We are building in the far south east corner of a Phoenix suburb named Mesa (actually the 3rd largest city in Arizona). Technically, we are within city limits, but in a county island, not annexed by the city.

Feel free to ask any questions you have and I'll try to give you the most current information. I will be documenting the whole build process extensively, including a professionally shot video series for my YouTube channel. For all the play-by-play action, make sure to follow me on Instagram and check out my stories. Thanks being being such awesome supporters and helping to make this nerdy kid's dream come true!

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Let's be friends! Follow along so you don't miss a thing!

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