Progress on the House


216 Fleming Street – August 18, 2014 from George Love

photo 1-3

Bathroom – August 21, 2014 – from Tamra Crane

photo 2-3

Kitchen Cabinets are in – - August 21, 2014 – from Tamra Crane

The house is almost done….

Brain Food

Brain_FoodAs part of a class I just finished at Johns Hopkins University, we built this website. The final project was to create an online magazine. We were divided into three groups to come up with proposals. The class voted and selected Brain Food, as the magazine concept to build. Brain Food includes articles on science, culture, politics, and breaking news.  Class members contributed articles to the magazine. My article is Boomer Mobile

House Cost and Timeline

While the cost and timeline for every house varies according to the size and specifications, here is a simple infographic that shows the relationship between the cost and timeline for the five phases of building a house.


Demolition Day

We filmed the demolition of the old house at Fleming on December 16, 2013.

Introduction to Upcoming Book: Boomer House

Here is an audio introduction to my upcoming book, Boomer House. The transcript of the audio is below.

Hi, my name is Bob Johnson. In 1998 my book Houses are Designed by Geniuses and Built by Gorillas was published. I wrote this book for people who wanted to design and build their own home. In it I provided insider information on how to do things like hiring subcontractors, designing efficiently, scheduling projects and estimating the costs. The book was well received and sold over 7500 copies. I’m quite sure I saved people thousands of dollars in avoiding the many pitfalls of building a house

Today I am designing and building my own house, a place that will be my final home, a place I hope will keep me out of a nursing home. I am not alone in this quest. According to a recent AARP poll, almost 90% of boomers want to remain in their house as long as possible. I’m guessing you are in that number and would be interested in me sharing my experiences in building a home to, what is now called, age in place.

OK, let me just put it out there-I am getting old, or, as I prefer to say it, older. I just turned 62 and at this age I have parents and in-laws who are in their 80s, a number I hope to hit in reasonably good health. I’ve noticed what happens to older people is that the design of their homes can help them or hurt them. In some cases, older people die in their homes from accidents typically caused by bad design and usually involve some sort of slipping, tripping or falling. I also know that older people’s homes can become hard to maintain on the outside, hard to clean on the inside and just get icky. Good design can overcome that.

So, as a writer and a builder, I want to share my experiences about the designing and building of my house, a home that I intend to age in place in. And by sharing, I think, like it did for the readers of my Gorillas book, it will help you in your project, save you money and make you feel much more in control. And as we get older, I believe, that is what we all want more than anything, control over our life.




The Future of Aging in Place

Great quote from Sarah Susanka in 7/8/14 WSJ feature on The Future of Everything

“What we are currently calling “aging in place” and universal design,” concepts of architecture that cater to all ages and abilities, will be come standard practice in all our structures, as well as in the design of our communities.The house of the future will be designed not only for the owner’s personal needs today, but for the long haul.”

Bath Vanities

Went shopping for a vanity for my small bath and discovered the market had changed since I was last in the market for a vanity. The shift was that now vanities are considered stand-alone furniture. This means all three sides are now finished, even if one side is pushed against a side wall as is typical i.e. right of vanity is wall, left is toilet, sometimes (wrongly) the tub. Aside from an awkward finish detail on the wall, the price has risen to cover the cost of the vanity.

Two other changes seemed to make sense though. One was a shallow vanity that was about 6” less deep with a sink that over hung the vanity to the typical 20” depth. The advantage here is that the bath, especially a small one, seems less crowded.

The other change was a hung sink with a cabinet below that does not touch the floor. Again, this arrangement reduces the clutter in a bath and exposes more floor space. This also reduces the finish detail of a cabinet against a sidewall. Kohler has a line called Jute that warrants a look.