I’m Launching a New Blog Today: “A House By The Park”

Today marks the launch of my second blog, and first new one in over four years: A House By The Park. Please head over and have a look-see!

Why a second blog when I only post to Mike Industries a few times a month? Well, I’m building a house, together with Build LLC.

The first thing I noticed after deciding to build a house is that there aren’t any well-written, well-designed, detail-oriented blogs about building a house from the perspective of someone who has never done it before. There are a number of books on the subject, several of which I’ve purchased and zero of which I’ve opened, as well as random articles and photos from people at various points in their construction, but nowhere could I find a start-to-finish, real-time chronology of the entire process. That ends today.

Ahousebythepark.com will cover searching for the right property, dealing with real estate agents, interviewing and choosing an architect, making your way through the design and build process, and probably a thousand other things… all with the goal of helping future custom home builders better prepare for their own projects. I’ve backdated a bunch of entries before pushing the site live so there are already 26 posts to thumb through.

Somebody told me once that every human being should go through the home building process once in their lifetime. I don’t know if I agree with that, but if you feel you may ever decide to build a home for yourself, I invite you to subscribe to A House By The Park’s RSS feed and follow passively until something strikes your interest. I can’t guarantee the same highly intellectual nuggets of thought that fill the pages of Mike Industries, but I will try to write with the same level of detail and accuracy. For instance, I’m making my entire spreadsheet of expenses available online and within the blog posts themselves so readers can get a specific idea of what everything costs (Yay EditGrid! Separate post on this coming soon).

Finally, please feel free to link to or write about A House By The Park on your own site or other places of interest. Every little link helps. I estimate there are somewhere between 5,000 and 10,000 subscribers to Mike Industries so there are always great comments here, but on launch day, A House By The Park will have zero. Writing stuff is no fun until intelligent discussion and/or controversy ensues.

So that’s the pitch. Head on over, the water’s warm. I’ve even published a top-to-bottom complete chronology page to get you all caught up from the beginning without having to jump from page to page.

28 comments on “I’m Launching a New Blog Today: “A House By The Park””. Leave your own?
  1. Paul says:

    Wow. That’s awesome. I’m not even interested in building my own house, but it seems fascinating to read about.

  2. Mykola says:

    Wow Mike, I’ve been reading the catch-up post for the past who knows how long and it’s really edge-of-my-seat exciting. Maybe it’s because me and Ryan have spent the summer looking at houses, but I found it really easy to get into and empathize with.

    I’m glad you found something this cool to do with your Newsvine success!

    I’ll be looking forward to your updates and hopefully you’ll have a big housewarming party for all of newsvine when you’re done. ;)

  3. Drew Pickard says:


    As an aspiring future custom home-builder, this is awesome.
    Really excited that you’re doing this.

  4. Blair Millen says:

    Wow, it looks like an exciting project Mike! It’ll be interesting to foolow your progress. Good luck!

  5. Mike D. says:

    Mykola: Definite party potential… but it’s going to be like a year and a half away. :(

  6. Dan says:

    Mike, I just read through all of the pre-dated posts on the new blog. That’s gotta say something about how engaging it is. It’s fascinating, even though I can’t directly relate to the experience you’re going through, outside of “hey, I’d like to build a house someday.” I can’t wait to follow the future happenings.

  7. Nick says:

    I’m a long time reader catching up on my RSS feeds from the summer, and my wife and I are right in the midst of starting this process too, so I’m just plowing through all the posts right now.

    Good information, really good tips, well-written, exciting, and most importantly, I know to expect a fine design sense that I can relate with.

    Thank you.

  8. When I was in 5th grade my family moved out of 15-year-old house into an apartment. And it sucked. And I also switched to a new elementary school. That sucked too.

    The Good part was the “why”.

    My parents decided to build their own home. The company they worked with was Homes Now or some such. And my parents played the role of general contractors. So for about 9-months, everyday after school and on the weekends we drove over to the building site and worked.

    I witnessed every last bit of construction from excavation to moving the furniture. And anything my parents felt they could do themselves I got to help with. Sub-flooring, sheet-rock mud, rain-drains, linoleum, staircase construction, finish molding, etc, etc.

    It was a lot of hard rock, late nights and pure bliss. Congratulations Mike.

    Here’s to a smooth process!

  9. William Bay says:

    I’ll definitely be checking it out. My day job is as an Architect (well almost… I have my professional exams to finish up).
    I think it will be interesting to see how you translate your usability intelligence in the web design world into the living space.
    I did the opposite.
    It has strengthened how I view usability and interact in the world. I’m sure this will have a similar impact with you. Especially if you get a good Architect that can communicate the different concepts clearly, and not too esoterically.

    I’ll be checking in, and hope you have fun! It’ll be stressful, but very rewarding in the end.

  10. Devon Shaw says:

    Oh man, having done frequent consulting on the technology side on unfinished basements and retrofits, I can only imagine the playground of being able to plan out a complete solution from start to finish… and without having to knock out any drywall.

    Stunning design on that blog, by the way.

  11. Devon Shaw says:

    PS: This is fascinating stuff, and the reason why “blogging” should exist in the first place: For one person to cover a topic as obsessively and comprehensively as possible. One of the best reads on the web in quite some time, and the added bonus of new content still on the way. You should really polish this up and wrap it into a book when you’re finished. And I sincerely hope you’re documenting the shit out of this with pictures. Well done.

  12. James says:

    Well I did not build from the ground up but I bought a house and gutted it. Only things left standing were the external walls. I am in the UK so my conversion to $’s is an estimate.

    I spent £42,000 roughly $80,000 – the end result even though it was tough getting there is a home far bigger than I ever could have afforded and one where my 2 children have a room each.

    Would I do it again, yes but this time I would build from scratch ;)

    Lesson learned though, detail everything with the builder even down to who is paying for what materials etc. This caught me out once and stung me for about $2,500…

  13. Ali Reid says:


    Any chance you could do a favicon to improve my bookmarks??

  14. roj says:

    Slightly unrelated question:

    Given the previously made comment why wordpress and not expression engine for the new site?

  15. Jeff Jones says:


    My wife and I will be looking to build a house within the next two years and this blog will be a great help for all the things you need to know and that nobody teaches you.

    Way to go!


  16. Daryn says:

    This is really awesome, thanks for sharing all of this, Mike!

  17. William Bay says:

    Until you get it built you should write a blog entitled:
    “A Van Down By The River”
    In which you chronicle how expensive it is to build the house, and how you’ve had to cut back on all living expenses…

  18. Mike D. says:

    Devon: Yeah, that’s a good idea. Wrapping it up into a book eventually. We’ll see. I hear book publishing is a pretty thankless process, but if everything’s already written, maybe it will be a lot easier (on me, at least).

    James: Wow, $80,000 is a pretty affordable gut-job! Congratulations. If I could gut this thing for that price, I certainly would. I think it would be more like a half mil though.

    Ali: Good idea… thanks for the reminder. Will try and do that today or tomorrow.

    roj: Good question. I guess it was mainly because I’m so comfortable with WordPress now and I didn’t want to maintain two blogging engines for my two blogs. Not really an excuse, but that’s the reason.

  19. Kevin says:

    Hey Mike.

    Great blog, I have been fixing my home for the last 2 months after a huge Maple tree fell on half of my second story. I can relate with a lot of your posts. Good luck in the process!


  20. For instance, I’m making my entire spreadsheet of expenses available online and within the blog posts themselves so readers can get a specific idea of what everything costs (Yay EditGrid! Separate post on this coming soon).

    Can I just say thank you for this. As someone who keeps track of his own finances to an extreme (lets say German) detail, I find this type of stuff fascinating.

    I keep a record online of my entire spending every year. I mainly do this because of two reasons I will not detail here because it would take too long and is irrelevant.

    I have never built a house from the ground up – although one day I’d like to – and I would love to see start to finish what the process requires financially.

  21. Ali Reid says:

    Nice Favicon for AHBTP Mike!

  22. Hi Mike, I was just sent a link to your blog.

    I take issue with your comment; “there aren’t any well-written, well-designed, detail-oriented blogs about building a house from the perspective of someone who has never done it before.”

    I have spent 27 years teaching people to build their own home.

    My site, http://www.byoh.com (also, http://www.buildyourownhouse.com) is for people who have never “done it before”.

    I also have a blog where I answer questions from readers.

    I put my soul into this site and am still building it day by day. It is 100% free, including spreadsheet software, forms, eBook, etc.

    I’m in my mid sixties now and racing to get as much info on my web site as quickly as I can, but unfortunately, I still have to work around my “day job”, which is a construction loan consulting firm for credit unions who make loans to owner/builders.

    I will look forward to seeing your home building project be successful.

    If I can help, please let me know

    Carl Heldmann

  23. Mike D. says:

    Carl: Thanks for the link. There’s some good info there. I stand by my statement though — most of your site is not a blog and the part that is a blog is not well designed. It’s just a standard blogspot template. Additionally, it’s not written from the perspective of someone who has never built a house before. It’s written from the perspective of an expert which is trying to help people build, as well as sell books and Google ads. Nothing wrong with that, of course.

    Anyway, I don’t mean to diss. I’m sure your site is great for what it is. Just backing up my comment that you “take issue with”.

  24. Mark says:

    Hey Mike — not sure if you came across http://www.360winnett.com when doing your research on blogs about house building. It went live a couple months back. Thought you may appreciate it


  25. Mike D. says:

    Hi Mark. Thanks for the heads-up. 360winnett.com is great!

    Great great stuff there… and well designed too.

  26. Well Mike, you are right!

    Most of my site is not a blog. I am not a blogger, per se.
    I only use the blog to answer questions and post items of interest to my readers, such as products, services, and how to estimate the actual cost to build in various states with various house designs.

    The web site, http://www.byoh.com, is definitely written from the perspective of an expert who is trying to help people build. I am an expert and that’s what I’ve been doing since 1981, helping people build, WITHOUT a builder (a General Contractor).

    As for the books, I really don’t try to sell books. That’s my publisher’s job. Besides, the income per book from Amazon and from my publishers, when they are sold by Amazon is miniscule.

    I have my books on my site for credibility and to let people know that I’m not a “one house wonder”, as so many of these homebuilding web site creators are these days.

    By the way, I give away my eBook when I could easily sell it. It’s a great 85 page, “step by step” guide with color photos.

    As for Google ads, if it weren’t for Google, I would not be able to give away eBooks, the spreadsheet software, and a hell of a lot of my time. I may be altruistic, but I have my limits.

    Besides, potential owner/builders enjoy learning about the homebuilding products and services available. I still do.

    If it weren’t for advertising, we wouldn’t know much about anything.

    If I sound defensive, I am.

    Thanks for your time and good luck with your building project.
    Carl Heldmann

  27. Dunk says:


    you might also want to check out Darren Barefoot up in Victoria (just north of you!):


    he’s also home-building, and blogging the whole thing (“building our house” in the sidebar).

    Cheers from Australia,


  28. […] I’m thinking about building for our next house, so this is a good blog to follow [From Mike Davidson – I’m Launching a New Blog Today: “A House By The Park”] […]

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