Tuesday, March 23, 2010


I didn't want my first post here to be on a bit of a low note, but hey, this house is all about being real, authentic, honest, true, so this blog might as well be too. Don't cover up the real, good or bad, but express it; make it a special event. Also I like starting with something current, rather than a retrospective thought. There will be plenty of time for that. So here we go.

My builder called me today (I have a builder! - this is new this week also) to report that the county inspector will not approve my windows and doors. This is because I designed them myself, which means they would have to be tested by an independent company to be sure they would hold up under our high wind speed here at the NC coast (120 MPH, in my case). Standard window units, on the other hand, come with a sticker certifying that they have been tested and approved for this wind speed. Testing costs lots of money, so I can't have my custom windows tested. I am forced to toss my window and door designs and pick a design by some company.

What makes this about bureaucracy? I have a structural engineer who could calculate and certify that my windows meet the required wind load standards. But the inspector said he won't accept this; he has to see a sticker! I could build windows that withstand 350 MPH winds, but if they don't have a sticker they're no good as far as the County is concerned.

It says something about the state of construction regulation today when a man can't build his own windows. But here is part of the learning process I was looking for. From the beginning of this project I have thought that even if this house does nothing that I dream for it to do, is a complete failure in my eyes, at least I will have learned a lot along the way. This is the first opportunity I've had to build a design that emerged directly from a conversation - or better, dance - between me and God. I've seen other designs built, but they were mostly about the client I was working for. And of course the buildings I designed in school were not built. So some failure in this first is to be expected. But still of course I desire greater success than I have imagined. God can do it. That's the only way.

This window and door issue is a small hurdle, really. I actually prayed about this last night, because I knew we would find out something about it today. I asked that God would guide the whole process of bringing this house into being, particularly the things I have no control over, so that it is exactly what he wants it to be - not what I want it to be. So I see this as a response to that prayer. For some reason that I can't see yet, God doesn't want my custom windows in this (his) house.

Tomorrow a geotechnical specialist will test the soils on my lot to see if the foundations I've designed will be sufficient. Time to pray again.


  1. How very exciting- to be able to create every aspect of your home!

    Because I lack the ability to envision designs from even a detailed description- and because it'll be far more fun to see the home "come to life" through the building process- I'm not that interested in trying to imagine the intricacies of your design now. But I look forward to seeing it through many stages of the building process.

  2. The window/door problem is interesting. I agree that letting it go is the best solution. This is an important law that that saves many lives- there's no telling how many millions of people died in the 16th Century because their windows lacked stickers. People like you who want to design their own windows put all of us at risk. I will only forgive you because I'm amazing (and because I won the 5th game Friday night). ( :