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August 13, 2005

General Contractors / Clan Korte

So today was a big vineyard day. Started off by interviewing a general contractor for the upcoming tasting room / house construction. Very exciting to finally be embarking upon this grand affair! Although I'm sure the construction process will be fraught with headaches, once it's done it will be absolutely spectacular. Our first interview was with Mike Shores of ML Shores Construction. A veteran carpenter/builder, Mike is nicknamed "Spanky" due to the fact that he could pass for the Little Rascal all grown up. I got Mike's info from another project on our road that he is completing - an 8,000 sq. ft. custom home. Shannon and I actually got a tour and what can we say but WOW. Amazing work. We both felt really good about Mike, and we're hopeful that his bid comes back within our budget.

Once Mike left, Shannon headed back home with Tristan and I headed out to the vineyard for some gate maintenance and more vine tying. Just as I was preparing to work on the gate, I had the unexpected pleasure of some friends dropping by - my old colleague Brian Korte along with his new girlfriend, parents, and brother w/ sister-in-law. Dan was visiting from out of town and they were doing a winery tour and stopped by. So I got to give my first official vineyard tour! Lots of questions/answers - they were so curious and encouraging, it was a really great time. Have a look.

Once they left it was back to the chores...

So anyway, the left gate post had begun to lean away from the gate a bit, due to the tension from the fence. Not a big deal, I just needed to tighten the bracing wire holding the structure together, but as I found out it was very challenging trying to twist the twitch stick around with the nylon fencing in place. Mashed up my hand pretty good, but managed to get a few more twists on the wire which brought the post back in line. Then I installed a tension spring on the gate hinge to prevent it from swinging open too wide/quickly and damaging the hinges. Hotter than hell out here today - nearing 100.

Once the fence was tweaked, I had about an hour before the next contractor meeting, so I headed over to tie some more vines. Baked in the sun for a while and felt myself starting to overheat, so I finished up a row and went back to the house to take a shower to cool down. Timing worked out great, because just as I was finishing up Mike Runey, our second contractor showed up. And happily enough I really liked him as well! Again he has 30+ years in the business and has worked on several large custom homes in Loudoun County. Self-described as "I'm not real expensive, but I'm not cheap" he seems like a straight-shooter. We are scheduling a meeting next weekend to check out one of his current projects, and I've faxed both of them the latest revision of floor plans and 3D renderings so they can get back to us with estimates.

Now don't think these are the only two contractors I've contacted - I interviewed two others, one of which was way too self-important for my taste (and kept trying to sell me on his timberframe partner even though I repeatedly told him I was happy with my existing bids...) The other one was a total football bat who claimed "I've never built a timberframe home but I sure want to. Can you call me back on Thursday?" Eat me jackass. And two other contractors were too busy to even return my calls.

So ending up with two contractors that we really like is a great position to be in. Thus it begins - getting back their estimates, striking line items to get the budget in place, then choosing between the two, and getting this project moving. Things seem to be accelerating, and we're looking to break ground by April 2006.

This is going to be so awesome! Will post our plans and 3D renderings once we have finalized everything - don't wanna get any bad joojoo now by blabbing before all the "adults" have signed off (lender/county/contractor) - keep your fingers crossed for us!

Posted by Stephen at August 13, 2005 3:12 PM

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