Note: Underlined titles are links.


I realized as I was writing the little blurbs for each supplier that a common theme was "good people." I can't stress this enough. We shopped around a lot for all the major items and subcontractors. We had choices. While price was always a consideration, the main thing that sold us over and over again was the attitude of the people we dealt with. Too many people in the construction business simply fail to return phone calls, or treat you like a idiot if you don't know exactly what you need or how to specify it. Often, after our initial contract with these folks was over, I returned to them for additional work and didn't worry about competitive bids. Good people and good service pay off.


Enercept supplied the Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) for both the house and the garage. They are excellent people to work with and have a very well designed product.

Prairie Foam Insulators

Excellent Icynene(tm) contractor in Central Iowa. Ken Wiggers, owner, is one of the most helpful people I've run into during the course of this project.

H.L Munn Lumber Company

Our main building materials supplier. Super people to work with all around. Larry Williams, our main contact has been great, as have all the delivery people, and even the billing folks!

Caruth Construction (no web site, 515-268-8762)

Our foundation contractor. Good work, delivered on time, within budget. Showed up when they promised.

Jones Brothers Concrete (no web site, 515-233-1919)

Our flat-work concrete contractor of choice. Solid work, reliable, but very busy.

Kapaun and Brown, Inc (no web site, 515-232-0955)

Our HVAC contractor. Flexible, knowledgeable, easy to work with, fair price.

Paul Kingery (no web site, (515) 707-0061)

Our plumber. I met Paul on a Habitat project. He's good guy, does nice work.

KCI Landscape Supply (no web site (515-232-1208)

KCI supplied the rock for our retaining wall and the cultured stone brick for the fireplace. They are helpful people who are easy to work with.

"How To" and Other Articles

Installing Tongue-and-Groove Porch Flooring

Well illustrated and reasonably complete. It does not, unfortunately, address the unique challenges of building a 22 foot on a site miter.

Being Responsible For Your Design

An excellent article about designing with SIPs, especially with respect to moisture issues.

The Compass DeRose Guide To Ethernet Computer Network Wiring

A thorough and understandable guide to everything you would want to know about wiring your house for Ethernet networking. Steve DeRose is a very bright fellow and a heck of nice guy, to boot. I knew when a few years ago when I worked a great deal with Electronic Book Technologies, a software company that Steve co-founded.

Some Notes On Christopher Alexander

Background on the influential architect and author of "A Pattern Language".

Overhang Design

A super cool interactive tool for playing around with the size of overhangs and how they shade a building. A good example what you can do with Flash.

Structural Insulated Panel Association

General information about SIPs, links to suppliers, etc.

Other Octagons

Inventory of Older Octagon, Hexagon, and Round Houses

A large site dedicated to exactly what the title says. Organized by state.

Round Barns & Covered Bridges

Another large collection of just what the title says. The site's author, Dale Travis, stopped by one afternoon on his way from someplace to someplace else. We had a nice visit. I hope we will stop by again when I have more time and the house is more finished. The site is mostly about barns, but for each state there is also a sizable collection of houses.

Crazy Eight

The owner/builders of this beautiful, under construction octagon got in touch with us after finding our site on the net. We have enjoyed sharing each other's experiences and plans through a series of mail notes. I am now looking forward to visiting their site frequently to see it take shape.