So…we got our bids in on 1566 Sanchez.

…and we were knocked on our (sadly generous) butts.

Even with us paying for all the bathroom and light fixtures, all the appliances, all the tile, the kitchen counters and the landscaping, the bids came in at $400 to $500 per square foot.


Time to (a) cut cut cut and (b) cut some more and (c) rebid.

So we clarified our target budget for the project and went back out to bid with a couple of new contractors and we started to revise the specs. The challenge, of course, is to try to maintain as much of the character and Green qualities of the home that we were hoping to build while shrinking the budget.


To meet the target budget goals, in addition to securing lower overall contractor bids, we had to cut:

  • Central vacuum  (great for air quality and convenience, but can’t justify the cost)
  • Rainwater capture and reuse (would love to reuse all the water that lands on the property, but pricey)
  • Some Green Roofing (forward-looking, great insulation, great for the earth…but costly – we’ll use planters and pots)


But we also had to change some of the specified finishes…

  • Recycled Fireclay subway tile (like we used below at 394 Frederick) is out

    and instead we’ll just use classic white subway tile (still pretty, but much less Green and vibrant)
  • Awesome AirKrete foam and UltraTouch denim insulation options had to go in favor of formaldehyde-free fiberglass batts (also pretty Green)
  • Patios of gorgeous recycled granite pavers had to go, becoming pea gravel (still pretty and classic, but way less expensive…)
  • Elaborate system for indoor re-use of grey water was just too expensive to design, permit and implement right now, so we tweaked down to simpler Aqua2Use that still captures bath/shower/washer grey water, but just for garden use

became the simpler…

At the end of the day, some places we’d hoped to use FSC wood will still work out (i.e. doors, floors) while some others may not (framing lumber), but at the end of the day, we should still have an ultra-efficient, sustainable, non-toxic LEED-certified home even if it’s not 100% of everything we’d hoped.

Net net?

We now have a budget we can live with and should be under construction before you can say Jack-o’lantern!