The house Humanity built |

The house Humanity built

After nearly two years the Marchman family has a place to call home

Kelly Silva

Nearly two years ago, Neil Marchman told his wife Beverly he didn’t think they would get the house.

Living in a mobile home with a leaky roof and four children, the Marchmans were one of 17 applicants for a Habitat for Humanity home in Steamboat Springs.

“When we knew Habitat was coming, we wanted to help. That was before we knew we were going to apply,” Marchman said. “I kept telling my wife ‘there’s no way we’re getting it.’ She kept saying, ‘I think we will.'”

They waited about three months before hearing they would be the first family to own a Habitat home in Steamboat.

Larry Oman, Habitat board president, said of all the applicants, the Marchman’s had the appropriate income level and housing situation to be considered. However, the four children probably secured them the house.

“We had one person living in the trailer of a semi-tractor trailer, another who lived in a log cabin with a dirt floor,” Oman said of other applicants.

After designating the house for the Marchmans, the Habitat board searched for property and raised money to purchase the $60,000 parcel of land at Pioneer Village with the help of Yampa Valley Community Foundation.

On Wednesday night, nearly two years after the news of meeting the requirements for a Habitat house, the Marchmans made their first mortgage payment and received the keys to their first home.

Marchman, a 49-year-old first-time homeowner, and his family will move into the three-bedroom, two-bathroom house at 1560 Conestoga Circle, Oct. 1.

“I’m more excited about owning the home than moving,” Marchman said. “We’ve moved so many times, it will be nice just getting established.”

The 1,110-square foot home still needs appliances hooked up and a finished coat of paint before a certificate of occupancy can be accredited and they can move in.

A dedication celebration Wednesday gave the board and the Marchmans the opportunity to thank the more than 300 volunteers who lent helping hands.

“We did this with volunteers. It’s pretty remarkable we completed it in that length of time,” Oman said of the four-month long project that started May 15.

For those who volunteered, steps in the process of making the house a home did not go unnoticed. And the Steamboat Pilot & Today was at the site documenting each stage.

Scott MacDonald, construction manager for the Habitat house, said the crew of volunteers that showed up at 8 a.m. Saturday, which ran between 12 and 30 members, developed teams to complete certain tasks.

“It’s easier to set things up that way,” MacDonald said.

Construction began with excavating a 6-foot trench in the ground to build a foundation in order to store the mechanics of the house.

“It’s where the boiler system is, sort of like the guts, or the heart, of the house,” MacDonald said.

The ground stays at a constant temperature of about 55 degrees, allowing a natural insulation system for the boiler room.

Once the foundation was built, the floor system and walls were built while the trusses were put in place on the roof.

Before rough-in the mechanics systems of the house, including plumbing, electric and fire sprinkler systems the house undergoes dry-in.

This is when windows are installed in the framed walls and a tarp-like protectant is put on the roof, called bituthene.

Following the rough-in, workers can insulate, texture and paint the interior of the house. The exterior of the house undergoes siding.

The Habitat house was sided with a wood-style paneling that is high quality and long lasting, MacDonald said.

From there, the guts of the house are installed including cabinets, countertops, accessories and appliances.

Flooring is the last process in building a home, MacDonald said.

“I’m trying to set standards for the next Habitat house. It would be neat if someone would like to step up to the plate,” MacDonald said.

MacDonald worked 13 of the 15 weekends it took to build the house and said he’s learned much about the concept of synergy and of maintaining his patience.

“We learned how to keep things simple. I found myself being a motivator,” MacDonald said.

The first Habitat house in Steamboat has warranted a search for more affordable housing through the nonprofit organization.

Oman said the board hopes to purchase a parcel of land to build a duplex for the next Habitat house next summer.

And Marchman said he would be right there pounding nails and digging ditches for the

next house.

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