There. I said it. A few of you locals that I've met in real life have encouraged this thread and I was against it for a while. I've seen other threads like this where all the Internet contractors come out of the woodwork and point out all the things that you've done wrong and say things like "that roof is going to cave in" and "I would have done it differently because I'm not an idiot. You should sue your contractor." Fact is that I need a bit of motivation and this thread might help. I lost my mother unexpectedly about a month ago and it's been hard. She was 63 and died of a head injury. Anyways- that's not what this is about, but that's where I'm coming from. My wife and I have been working on our 5 acre lot for a few years now pecking away at it. We've got the driveway roughed in. It all has a firm base of bank run gravel, and I've got 3" hardpack on top of that on about half of it. I'll work on "finishing" the 3" secondary base over the course of the project. It'll be finished off with 3/4" hardpack after all the heavy truck traffic is done. We've also got underground electric service installed and hooked up. Meter still reads "0000" but that'll soon change. We bought a used excavator and so far it's been a good choice. It's a John Deere 490E and while it has a little slop in the bucket pins it runs great and is a really strong digger. I spent the last day or two digging the foundation and now I've got a lot of hand digging to do. We've got a terrible ledge situation and have to take out all the organic/loamy stuff. Essentially the footings are going to be right on top of ledge, and we'll fill in the voids with compacted crushed stone. The idea is to get the footings poured in the next week and start building. So like the title implies the entire house is going to be built using ICFs- Insulated Concrete Forms. At first I was completely against the idea but after it settled in I think it's pretty good. Yes, there are some limitations, but I think the benefits far outweigh them. We found an ICF guy that's willing to show us the ropes and let us handle most of the project. He'll be around to help with bracing and pours. After that we've got a GC that's willing to take over and get it finished. The BEST part is that he too is letting us take on some projects- like pulling wires, rough plumbing, pre-painting trim, etc. He's a pretty cool guy and comes with great references. I think we are the poorest people he's worked for in a long time based on some of the reference homes we were allowed to visit. In New Hampshire home owners are allowed to install their own septic systems and I've started that. I dug the hole for the tanks (yes, two tanks- One is a standard tank and the other one acts as a pumping station up to the leach field.) Yep- we had to blast for that. For what it's worth you can find the house plans online if you go to www.rosschapin.com and click on "cottages and homes" and then click on "Morgan Hill House." It is essentially that house, but we bought the plans from Ross Chapin and paid one of his architects to stretch the house a bit. We added a pantry for the kitchen, widened the entry hallway, and changed the configuration of the stairs. No affiliation with Ross Chapin, but we're really impressed with his designs and he and his affiliate were a pleasure to work with and cost about 10% of what a local architect wanted. And without going into too much detail, here are a few other features that we'll get to down the road- -Marvin Integrity Windows and Doors -Fiber Cement siding (we think) -Hambro suspended slab flooring system (for radiant heat) -Hoping to do some thermal solar and some PV solar -Gonna build our own concrete countertops -Have a cabinet maker friend building custom cabinets for the same price as the home depot stuff -Would like to wire for whole house audio, and WILL need some advice on that -Already purchased a Woodstock Soapstone woodstove -Wife is going to manage a time-lapse photography setup to capture major portions of the project Ok, this has gotten long enough. I'll post up pictures and updates when I can. Thanks for reading and thanks for the support.