Sustainable Tennessee Farmhouse: Unexpected Green Building Expenses

| 4/20/2010 5:08:50 PM

Like many people who build a home, we started with a budget that included a margin for predictable uncalculated overruns. As our project nears completion, we know we have exceeded that margin for error. Hopefully you can learn from our three overruns and do better at staying within your budget when building your green dream home.

1. Reclaimed wood has cost us a little more. 

kitchen cabinets
Reclaimed barn oak cabinetry add warmth to the kitchen. Photo By Rebecca Selove.

We knew the reclaimed barn oak we’re using for our kitchen cabinets would cost more than wood from the lumber yard because there are extra steps involved in taking apart barns and sorting wood to take out that which is too damaged for reuse. Our conscientious cabinetmaker told us the wood, which he bought directly from the harvester, had to be dehydrated. He constructed a storage tent, where he stacked the wood with a dehumidifier. He also bought a meter for measuring the water in the wood, and waited almost three weeks to start construction of the cabinets until the wood was below 10 percent humidity. He graciously passed on only a portion of the extra cost to us, which we decided we could cover before we signed our contract with him and before we had many other unexpected expenses. 

2. Poplar paneling has cost us three times as much.

poplar paneling
A skilled carpenter installed this poplar paneling. Photo By Rebecca Selove.