Welcome! This is probably a good place to start:

About Us & This Site

Hi there…my name is J Scott. You may know me from such real estate websites as and (where I’m a moderator). In that video above is my awesome wife, Carol.

Together, we run a real estate business flipping houses, building new construction homes and holding rental properties. We have two little boys, and last summer, we moved from Atlanta, GA to the suburbs of Washington, DC. We found a neighborhood we loved, but were having trouble finding a house we loved. As luck would have it, an old house on a great lot became available, and given our renovation experience, we weren’t scared to buy the fixer-upper and turn it into something we could love.

Unfortunately, due to zoning regulations related to this specific lot layout, we found that we weren’t allowed to build an addition on the existing house and we also weren’t allowed to build a second story. Given that the house is only 1000 square feet in size — and given that we’re a bit spoiled and would like more space than that — it didn’t leave many options. So, we decided that we would tear it down and build our dream house (yes, the zoning department WOULD allow us to do that :).

Carol has been looking for a new personal project, so she decided that she’d design the house from scratch. And I never shy from a challenge, so I decided that I’d quickly build a team of contractors in this area and GC the project myself.

Basically, our goal is to transform:


We’ve found that the best way for us to learn is by teaching, so the goal of this website is to provide a transparent view into our construction project to let others learn from our successes and mistakes (hopefully more of the former and fewer of the latter, but I’ll guess we’ll see). I’ve promised Carol that we’ll be able to have Thanksgiving at our house this year, leaving us about five-and-a-half months to build from start to finish. It’s going to be a tight schedule, but we’re up for the challenge!

How To Use This Website

We realize that there are a lot of people looking at this site, and not everyone wants the same type/amount of information. So, we’re trying to segment things as much as possible, and trying to make it easy for people to find the type of information they’re looking for. That said, here’s a quick reference to each of the Menu tabs and the information they provide:

Home: This page…

Backstory:: Do you want a summary narrative of the backstory to quickly catch you up to speed? If so, start here.

Daily Updates:: This is the blog, and we’ll try to update it on a daily basis so you know exactly what’s going on with the house build. Also contains an archive of all blog posts…for the detailed story, start at the beginning…

Plans/Specs:: Check out all of the engineering plans, architectural plans, 3D floor plans, elevations, interior finish plans, site plans, etc. for our new home.

Budget:: A chart of each construction component, along with the contractor we’re using and our estimate/bid/final cost for that work. Contains links to posts about each component, links to our contractor websites (if you want to contact them for your own project) and links to the detailed contractor bids for each component. If you’re a detail person and want to know the details of the construction and the budget, this is the page for you.

Schedule:: We’re hoping to be in the new house by Thanksgiving, and here we lay out the detailed schedule for the build that will get us there. Check here to see where we stand and whether we’re tracking to our goal or not.

Gallery/Video:: For those who just want the multi-media…we have a video diary of the backstory, time-lapse video of the construction, video updates, etc.

Links:: Links to our favorite things, including blogs, websites, contractors, resources…and even our favorite wines and TV shows!

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Seth Williams June 16, 2014 at 2:51 pm

This is gonna be awesome – can’t wait to see more!


Antonio June 22, 2014 at 6:49 am

I see that your framing estimate is at $58k. What does that include?


J Scott June 22, 2014 at 7:31 am

Hi Antonio,

The $58K includes labor and materials to frame the entire structure, including walls, floor systems, roof trusses, sheathing, subfloor, etc. It doesn’t include house wrap, windows, doors or any trim work.


J. Finn June 22, 2014 at 9:10 pm

This is awesome. I’m curious what attracted you to this neighborhood and if you foresee any future investment opportunities there. Best of luck with the house!


J Scott June 22, 2014 at 9:56 pm

Hi J. Finn,

The big thing for us was the school district (we have two little kids). This is one of the best school systems in the country, and the high school that this feeds into is the specific high school we were hoping to get. From there, we were open to any of the neighborhoods in the immediate area, but this particular neighborhood was where our best friends live, so that was an added bonus. When this house came available (literally across the street from our friends), we jumped on it.

I don’t think there is a lot of investment opportunity in the immediate area. Given the school district, homeowners are willing to pay over market value when something comes available, so it’s hard for investors to compete. We were VERY lucky with this house…I’m not sure we could find another deal like this anytime soon (though we’d love to!).


Keith Buckner June 29, 2014 at 7:59 am

Hi J, your familys project is perfect timing for me because I just finished my last remodel and im tired of fixing up old and ready to start building from the ground up. I recently purchased a shop for my mowing business and on the extra land I am building 2 duplexes. I was curious as to what are you guys doing for income now, and when in Atlanta does the 60 per sq. Ft. Include the purchase price of the land, or just material and labor? Also what price per sq. Ft. Did you sale the house for?


J Scott June 29, 2014 at 8:24 am

Hey Keith,

The Atlanta builds are about $60/sf for the pre-construction (drawings, surveys, permits, etc) and construction components, not the land. Most people I know are building in Atlanta for closer to $80/sf, but we have some long term relationships with contractors and suppliers, and my partner is really good at keeping costs down. In terms of resale values, it’s all over the map — for the lower-end builds, $90-110/sf is pretty typical in the areas where we build.


Randolph J Cockrell Jr July 22, 2014 at 8:15 am

Wow! What an awesome concept; allowing others to watch your dream house take shape! I’m impressed by your idea, and your generosity. Awesome!


Teresa July 22, 2014 at 1:33 pm

My dream is to build a home so this helps in my research


ezra August 29, 2014 at 4:51 pm

Just to be clear, your goal is to transform an actual house into a two dimensional sketch?


Tom Greene September 3, 2014 at 8:08 pm


When is the siding going to be done?


J Scott September 3, 2014 at 9:47 pm

Hey Tom,

The vinyl siding can’t go on until the stone is done, and we’ve been having difficulty finding a good stone contractor. That said, I think we made an executive decision yesterday that we’re going to forgo the stone and just do wood columns and all vinyl siding — this will save some cost and also the headache of having to find a stone contractor.


Rodney Robinson November 2, 2014 at 4:50 am

What an inspirational story. It is great to see what hard work and teamwork can accomplish. Great job guys and making your family business successful.


Tom Greene November 26, 2014 at 6:40 pm

Hey! I hope y’all are going to be able to enjoy Thanksgiving Dinner in your new home!


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