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0 Boating Adventures | "To Decide or Not to Decide" by Vicki Totten

ASUL Steel Frame Construction
I am both highly suspicious and at the same time envious of people who can make snap decisions. I suppose this is because - other than during a brief period in my 20's when I made decisions without any thought to their consequences - my decision making is typically fraught with second guessing, intense research, many discussions with trusted friends or family, and lots and lots of time invested. We are talking lots and lots. Did I mention there is often copious amounts of time invested?

The Problem
To be honest (and to prevent the scoffing that may be occurring as you read this), this isn't true of every decision. It is just those that have too many options and that cost money. You might correctly guess that means that I don't hang out at too many shopping malls. But since it is winter in Texas and there are not as many boating adventures occurring in my life at the moment, this seems like a good time to try and nail down a big decision my husband and I have been needing to make. This translates to one of us starting to exhibit what - to some people - might look like an obsession. I prefer to think of it as laser focus. This new obsession I am referring to involves finding the perfect design and builder for a small 600 square foot house we want to build on our land in Rockport.

The Choices
Who knew there were so many options? Our search began by looking at pre-fab and modular builders. Our thinking was that it would require less waste, be less expensive, and quicker. There is just one drawback I've discovered to this choice. It actually is not less expensive per square foot. Did I mention that those decisions that involve money are the toughest for me? The good news is that there seems to be a renewed interest in downsizing, so there are some truly beautiful examples out there. Lots and lots of them. Which takes me back to my initial statement.

Reclaimed Spaces - Interior

Reclaimed Space Pre-Fab Construction

Modern Shed - Twin Shed Structure
Lake Flato Porch House


My husband's style of decision making is often the direct opposite of mine. I once went couch shopping with him and because the first place we went to happened to be a futon store, we ended up with two futons in our house. What I learned from that experience is that just because he sounds absolutely certain that an item is exactly what we need, it's not always to be trusted. What he may be really saying is something like "this is less expensive than I expected, and if we buy it we won't have to go to any more stores." I also learned that, unfortunately for me, futons last for an incredibly long time.

The Good Deal
I have discovered, from too many times of doing so, that choosing the least expensive option does not always end well.  There is often a reason why it was the least expensive option.  But I can't imagine choosing the most expensive option either.  That reveals one part of my decision making that often gets me stuck.  I want to make sure I'm getting a good deal.  Sometimes this means that I lose my ability to think rationally about a particular option and sometimes it means I drive myself  - and possibly anyone within a few feet of me - crazy, as I search for "that good deal." 

Narrowing the Choices
Hopefully my discoveries can, however, be beneficial to others who have my same malady.  In the case of finding a builder, it is helpful to determine a style you are looking for - so that you can begin narrowing your choices. You have your modern pre-fab choices, your traditional or steel beam options, your reclaimed wood and metal options, and - well, you get the idea.  Narrow it down.  I confess that in my case, every time I think we have narrowed down our options - yet another option seems to present itself.  But I have faith that at some point - hopefully that point will come fairly soon - the choices will have narrowed and it will become clear which choice we need to make.  

Making a Choice
In the meantime, I need to remember that this type of due diligence has always paid off in the past.  And all of the conversations and advice I have gotten (and continue to get) from friends and family will begin to help us get to the point where we are ready to build.   That's the point when moving forward begins to feel effortless, and when things begin to fall together.  And that's how you know you are on the right track.  I am looking forward to that day.  But in the meantime, I am looking forward to the weather clearing enough to get back out on the water - since that's a decision that is always easy to make.

Pre-Fab Housing Resources 
For those of you interested in knowing about some of the options out there, below are some really interesting options out of the more than a dozen I have discovered.
ASUL, http://www.asul.us/- Steel frame construction, based in Arizona
Reclaimed Spaces, http://www.reclaimedspace.com - pre-fab construction based in Austin
Modern Shed, http://www.modern-shed.com/ - smaller pre-fab units
Lake Flato Porch House. http://www.lakeflatoporchhouse.com/ - San Antonio based

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Vicki and husband, ceramic artist Stan Irvin, are both retired professors who have discovered the joys of Rockport and living part-time on their 33' sailboat, while exploring new sailing destinations and adventures.

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