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Building a Dream: Roof Styles and Other Projects


Our building project has given me a whole new perspective of general contractors and their work. There is much planning and vision involved in home design. Our builder spent many hours last winter helping us design a house to fit our needs and family. Part of that process involved the type of roof to place on our home.

My original house vision included a second story with a couple of bedrooms for our girls. As we worked to incorporate all of the things we wanted in our house, it became apparent that a second story was not the most economical way to design our home. So the girl’s bedrooms went to the basement and my builder comforted me by saying he would raise the roofline so that my house didn’t look like a ranch. I tried to believe him, but when I got the first sketch of the exterior I was even more worried. The gable roof didn’t look like a ranch; the long roof line made my house look more like a barn. We returned to the drawing board and decided to use a hip roof style instead.


The hip roof style allows lifts the exterior roof height of our home and provides a vaulted ceiling in our great room.

We have watched the skeletal structure of our roof assemble over our house in the past two weeks. The hip roof joists increase in size as they approach the middle of the roof. One picture reveals the attention to detail our contractor uses to raise each joist into place. The joists are attached to the crane and a rope. Then the joists are lifted off of the ground and the rope is used to steady the joist. You can see the rope coming off the right of the joist as it approaches the house. The rope adds another element of control to get the joist in its proper position.

This week’s winds intensified the process of placing and securing roof joists. We noticed that the crew placed and secured joists in the morning and worked elsewhere as the winds increased during the day. I’m looking forward to having the roof sheeted and shingled to protect our new home from Nebraska’s weather.

Other recent items on our house to do list included attending the Street of Dreams in Omaha and working the land that surrounds our new home. The Street of Dreams is a yearly showcase of new homes in the Omaha Metro area. We began attending when Jim was in school at UNMC. In fact our kitchen, master bedroom and basement recreation areas were inspired by houses we walked through on the tour. I have more confidence in-house planning when I’m using concepts that I have actually experienced on home tours.

It was interesting to observe how our focus on the tour changed this year. Instead of looking at floor plans, we focused on the details of the homes. I took numerous pictures of tile, wood, and trim. Our main objectives were to select a trim style and to take note of the exterior fascia. There were eight houses on the tour and we found trim that we liked on the seventh house. Checking that item off of our to do list made our trip to Omaha worthwhile.

Finally, Jim has been working on his own pet project, the lawn. He had the alfalfa sprayed to prepare the yard for grass so the alfalfa matches the yellowing leaves of fall.  Then Jim had more dirt delivered to create two additional berms to the south of our driveway near the road. Once the dirt settles, Jim plans to plant trees on the berms to create a natural wind break.

Jim has also been plugging water into the ground along the foundation to encourage settling. He has a long pipe that is attached to a hose. He turns the water on, shoves the pipe into the ground and lets it run for a while. It is amazing to see how much the dirt settles. When the settling process is complete, we can backfill along the foundation so that water will flow away from, rather than into my basement. All of this dirt maneuvering has become a family affair as the older kids enjoy lending a hand with the “dirty work.”

Nora Ohrt



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