Thermal Clock

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We rely heavily on our vision to identify change. We see sand accumulating at the bottom of the hourglass. We see the minute hand rotate clockwise. How would our sense of time change if we cast time to another sense?

Thermal Clock is a timepiece that positions heat along a bar over a 24 hour cycle to tell time.

Using an array of peltier junctions, heat is emitted from a focused area moving from left to right along the bar over the course of a day.

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Thermal Clock from che-wei wang on Vimeo.

Cinematic Timepiece

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Time is our measure of a constant beat. We use seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, decades, centuries, etc. But what if we measured time against rituals, chores, tasks, stories, and narratives? How can we use our memory, prediction, familiar and unfamiliar narratives to tell time?

As a child, I remember using the length of songs as a way to measure how much time was left during a trip. A song was an appropriate period to easily multiply to get a grasp of any larger measure like the time left until we arrived to our grandmother’s place. The length of a song was also a measure I could digest and understand in an instant.

The first iteration of Cinematic Timepiece consists of 5 video loops playing at 5 different speeds on a single screen. The video is of a person coloring in a large circle on a wall.

The frame furthest to the right is a video loop that completes a cycle in one minute. The video to the left of the minute loop completes its cycle in one hour. The next completes in a day, then a month, then a year.

Through various iterations, we intend to experiment with various narratives and rituals captured in a video loop to be read as measures of time.

The software was written in OpenFrameworks for a single screen to be expanded in the future for multiple screens as a piece of hardware.

Cinematic Timepiece is being developed in collaboration with Taylor Levy.

Download the fullscreen app version [http://drop.io/cinematicTimepiece#]

Counting to a Billion

ESSENTIAL FITNESS TIPS FOR WOMEN

By Power Life Team | January 15, 2021

Kick your exercise routine into gear with these essential fitness tips for women. No matter your current fitness goals or abilities, any woman (of any age) can support their health and strength with a solid fitness routine.

Staying Fit As You Age

Staying strong and agile as you age is perhaps the most important thing you can do for your health. Aside from the cardiovascular benefits of staying fit, staying strong may help decrease your risks of falls later in life. Which is a far more serious issue than you may realize. Metabolism booster pills are playing a significant role in fat-burning process, try these increase metabolism pills.

Take a look at these statistics from the CDC:

  • More than one in four people over the age of 65 fall each year.
  • Falling once doubles your chances of falling again.
  • 95 percent of hip fractures are due to falls.
  • Falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries.1

The two biggest reasons for these falls are a lack of strength and a lack of balance.2

Are There Any Exercises Women Over 40 Should Avoid?

First, let’s shut down this concept of “age” that humanity loves to define people by. Plenty of women over 40 are still giving birth, running professional marathons, and winning gold medals in Olympic cycling (the remarkable Kristin Armstrong). The number is irrelevant.

woman jogging | Power LifeWhether your 40, or 50, 60 (or even 90) – what truly matters is that you know your own body, and understand any personal limitations that are unique to you (not your age or your sex).

That’s why you should talk to your doctor when designing a fitness routine. They’re one of the few people that should be setting any physical limitations on you.

As Tony Horton says, “Aging is for people who don’t know any better.”

7 Key Fitness Tips For Women

If you’re looking to up your fitness game, lose some weight, gain strength, or just feel more energetic, these simple fitness tips will help to set you on the right path.

1. Start Small

woman exercising with laptop | My Power Life

The more you can incorporate exercise into your daily routine, the more natural (and easy) it will become. Everyone has different schedules, responsibilities, and motivation levels. So, the secret is to start small and build from there. That way you can avoid feeling overwhelmed — which could stop you from working out altogether.

Instead of trying to convince your brain to work out for an hour, tell yourself you’re going to exercise for just five minutes. Then literally exercise for five minutes. Once you start moving, you’ll often decide to go a little longer now you’ve put on your sneakers and workout gear. And, as you get fitter, you can keep upping your minimum time.

If you don’t have even 30 minutes available in your current schedule, break it up throughout the day into 10-minute bouts. Four ten-minute sessions will feel easy, and before you know it, you’ll have completed 40 minutes of exercise today.

2. Make Exercise A Part Of Your Daily Routine

yoga class | Power LifeExercising daily doesn’t mean you have to hit the gym each and every day. A regular workout doesn’t have to be ordinary. Create a varied schedule of fitness activities to keep things fresh and fun.

You could, for example, strength train at the gym three times per week, take a HIIT or cycle class on a Tuesday, yoga on a Friday, and hike with friends on a Saturday. Sunday could be a rest day, or you could walk around the neighborhood with the family after brunch.

Sometimes, you’ll miss a day. Don’t sweat it. Be kind to yourself.

3. Track Your Progress

fitness tracking device | My Power LifeUse a fitness tracker, or your smartphone, to track your steps each day. This will turn working out into a challenge, or a game. Many people find they become really motivated to crush their daily “steps” goal.

You could also track your workouts on a calendar stuck to the refrigerator. Crossing off the days you work out can be hugely satisfying, and you’ll see your progress every time you hit the fridge. It’s also a nice reminder to also watch what you eat.

4. Incorporate High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

High intensity interval training can sound a little daunting. But it’s simply a form of exercise where you alternate short bursts of high-energy cardio (anaerobic exercise) with short periods of rest. The idea is that you push yourself to the max during these short bursts to get your heart rate up.

The actual activity itself can be an array of things – sprinting, biking, jumping rope, or fast bursts of body weight exercises. The easiest way to get started with a HIIT program is to simply take a HIIT class at your local gym.

HIIT exercise | My Power Life

So, why is HIIT such a great workout?

To start with, you get way more bang for your buck. Researchers have found that just two minutes of a HIIT routine can give you the same benefits as working out for 30 minutes at a moderate pace.3 Which makes it the perfect workout for the time-starved.

HIIT training is also incredible for weight loss, helping you to burn body fat for hours after you’ve finished.4,5

Finally, it can help the body to better use oxygen (known as aerobic fitness or VO2 max). This measurement is seen as important for heart health, as it helps to assess overall body function and potential risk factors for the future.6

5. The Added Benefits Of Strength Training

3.16 Billion Cycles

ESSENTIAL FITNESS TIPS FOR WOMEN

By Power Life Team | January 15, 2021

Kick your exercise routine into gear with these essential fitness tips for women. No matter your current fitness goals or abilities, any woman (of any age) can support their health and strength with a solid fitness routine.

Staying Fit As You Age

Staying strong and agile as you age is perhaps the most important thing you can do for your health. Aside from the cardiovascular benefits of staying fit, staying strong may help decrease your risks of falls later in life. Which is a far more serious issue than you may realize.

Take a look at these statistics from the CDC:

  • More than one in four people over the age of 65 fall each year.
  • Falling once doubles your chances of falling again.
  • 95 percent of hip fractures are due to falls.
  • Falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries.1

The two biggest reasons for these falls are a lack of strength and a lack of balance.2

Are There Any Exercises Women Over 40 Should Avoid?

First, let’s shut down this concept of “age” that humanity loves to define people by. Plenty of women over 40 are still giving birth, running professional marathons, and winning gold medals in Olympic cycling (the remarkable Kristin Armstrong). The number is irrelevant.

woman jogging | Power LifeWhether your 40, or 50, 60 (or even 90) – what truly matters is that you know your own body, and understand any personal limitations that are unique to you (not your age or your sex).

That’s why you should talk to your doctor when designing a fitness routine. They’re one of the few people that should be setting any physical limitations on you.

As Tony Horton says, “Aging is for people who don’t know any better.”

7 Key Fitness Tips For Women

If you’re looking to up your fitness game, lose some weight, gain strength, or just feel more energetic, these simple fitness tips will help to set you on the right path.

1. Start Small

woman exercising with laptop | My Power Life

The more you can incorporate exercise into your daily routine, the more natural (and easy) it will become. Everyone has different schedules, responsibilities, and motivation levels. So, the secret is to start small and build from there. That way you can avoid feeling overwhelmed — which could stop you from working out altogether.

Instead of trying to convince your brain to work out for an hour, tell yourself you’re going to exercise for just five minutes. Then literally exercise for five minutes. Once you start moving, you’ll often decide to go a little longer now you’ve put on your sneakers and workout gear. And, as you get fitter, you can keep upping your minimum time.

If you don’t have even 30 minutes available in your current schedule, break it up throughout the day into 10-minute bouts. Four ten-minute sessions will feel easy, and before you know it, you’ll have completed 40 minutes of exercise today.

2. Make Exercise A Part Of Your Daily Routine

yoga class | Power LifeExercising daily doesn’t mean you have to hit the gym each and every day. A regular workout doesn’t have to be ordinary. Create a varied schedule of fitness activities to keep things fresh and fun.

You could, for example, strength train at the gym three times per week, take a HIIT or cycle class on a Tuesday, yoga on a Friday, and hike with friends on a Saturday. Sunday could be a rest day, or you could walk around the neighborhood with the family after brunch.

Sometimes, you’ll miss a day. Don’t sweat it. Be kind to yourself.

3. Track Your Progress

fitness tracking device | My Power LifeUse a fitness tracker, or your smartphone, to track your steps each day. This will turn working out into a challenge, or a game. Many people find they become really motivated to crush their daily “steps” goal.

You could also track your workouts on a calendar stuck to the refrigerator. Crossing off the days you work out can be hugely satisfying, and you’ll see your progress every time you hit the fridge. It’s also a nice reminder to also watch what you eat.

4. Incorporate High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

High intensity interval training can sound a little daunting. But it’s simply a form of exercise where you alternate short bursts of high-energy cardio (anaerobic exercise) with short periods of rest. The idea is that you push yourself to the max during these short bursts to get your heart rate up.

The actual activity itself can be an array of things – sprinting, biking, jumping rope, or fast bursts of body weight exercises. The easiest way to get started with a HIIT program is to simply take a HIIT class at your local gym.

HIIT exercise | My Power Life

So, why is HIIT such a great workout?

To start with, you get way more bang for your buck. Researchers have found that just two minutes of a HIIT routine can give you the same benefits as working out for 30 minutes at a moderate pace.3 Which makes it the perfect workout for the time-starved. Chec the latest Prodentim reviews.

HIIT training is also incredible for weight loss, helping you to burn body fat for hours after you’ve finished.4,5

Finally, it can help the body to better use oxygen (known as aerobic fitness or VO2 max). This measurement is seen as important for heart health, as it helps to assess overall body function and potential risk factors for the future.6

5. The Added Benefits Of Strength Training

Thermochromic Slow Resolution Display

A slow resolution display made out of standard lightbulbs and thermochromic paint.

This display lives at the intersection of digital control and analog output. A matrix of lightbulbs painted with thermochromic paint allows for an image to appear and dissipate analogously to the temperature of each bulb.

The overall effect defies our ordinary understanding of materials and time within technological systems.
In this case, lightbulbs are used for heat and not light. And the refresh rate of an image is constrained to the time it takes for the material of the screen to change temperature.

More on thermochromism here.

Here, we’re using 40 watt bulbs. They take a few seconds to warm up and turn white and a couple minutes to cool down and fade back to black.

Built by Alex Abreu, Taylor Levy, and Che-Wei Wang

Thanks to the dozens and dozens of you who helped make this project possible!


Thermochromic Display from che-wei wang on Vimeo.

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21st Century Confession Booth

The 21st Century Confession Booth is a service for anyone to anonymously unload the burden of a sin or secret. Confessions can be dropped off by entering them on the web at confessionbot.com , by calling 718-406-0483, or by finding one of our public confession microphones. Messages are anonymously transcribed and posted to twitter.com/confessionbot.

Behind the scenes, the phone system is using quicktate.com’s api to transcribe speech to text and a custom php script to deliver the confession to twitter.

confession

Who do you have a crush on?
Did you lie today?
Who do you secretly hate?
Who do you secretly love?
Who do you envy?
Have you cheated?
How much was your last tip?
What’s the dirtiest thing you’ve ever done?
Do you secretly like KFC?
How about that hair in your bf’s back?
Do you pick your nose with your gf’s tweezers?
What sites you visit when you are home alone?
Did you really miss the train? really?
Do you like tomato based sauces?
Do you cheat on crosswords?
Did you eat junk food everyday?
Did you finish your room mates’s milk again?
Are you really taking the pill?
Do you like her apartment?
Did you change your underwear today?
What teacher would you have an affair with?

Leave a confession and get on with your day.

P.Life V2


plife at IAC from che-wei wang on Vimeo.

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P.Life is a large scale interactive screen designed for the IAC’s 120′ wide video wall. In the world of P.Life, Ps run across the 120′ screen frantically moving material from one house to another. Along the way, Ps exchange pleasantries (based on text message inputs) as they pass by each other, offering a helping hand to those in need. The landscape shifts and jolts based on audio input from the audience, tossing Ps into the air. Playful jumps into midair often end in injury, forcing them to crawl until a fellow P comes by to help out.

Features
Text messaging to create new characters of different sizes and dialogues.
Audio input to influence landscape
Performance backend to influence landscape
Ps move with life-like motion as they walk, jump, fall, run skip, crawl, carry boxes, push boxes, etc.
P.Life is written in OpenFrameworks and uses the Most Pixels Ever library

By Che-Wei Wang and Jiaxin Feng
Live Music by Taylor Levy

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photos by wuyingxian

Nandalow

なんだろう coming to Tokyo. August 2008.
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Dreyfuss Bluetooth Handset

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This is a one-off hack to retrofit a genuine Western Electric Dreyfuss Telephone Handset into a full fledged Bluetooth handset. A single button at the center of the mouthpiece controls all the functions (pairing, answering calls, etc.), while a blue and red LED indicator glows from within. The handset recharges via USB and lasts 6 hours in active talk-time and 110 hours in standby mode.

Feedback Playback 2

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FeedBack PlayBack is a dynamic film re-editing and viewing system. The users’ physical state determines the visceral quality of scenes displayed; immediate reactions to the scenes feed back to generate a cinematic crescendo or a lull. We use material that is rigorously narrative, formulaic, and plentiful: the action movie series Die Hard, starring Bruce Willis. A narrative sequence key breaks any given Die Hard movie into narrative elements, corresponding clips were collected from each of the Die Hard movies. Individual clips fall into high, medium, and low action/arousal categories. The user is seated, and places his or her hands on a Galvanic Skin Response (GSR) detection panel (GSR readings are the same kind of data collected in lie detector test). After calibration, the movie begins showing, and clips are displayed depending on the user’s level of arousal and engagement. The narrative sequence is maintained, though the clips are pulled from any of the movies.

Tetherlight

Tetherlight is a hand held light that perpetually points at its sibling. Two Tetherlights constantly point at each other, guiding one Tetherlight to the other with a beam of light.


Tetherlight: Prototype 02 Rotation from che-wei wang on Vimeo.

The devices are each equipped with a GPS module, a digital compass, and a wireless communication module to locate, orient, and communicate its position to the other. They each calculate the proper alignment of a robotic neck to point a light in the other’s direction. In order to maintain the light’s orientation, an accelerometer compensates for the device’s tilt.

Tetherlights are for loving spouses, cheating spouses, girlfriends, boyfriends, children, pets, bags of money, packages, and pretty much anything that you would want to locate at a glance. An ideal use of Tetherlights would be in a situation where two people or two groups of people need to wander, but also need to locate one another in an instant. In a hiking scenario, a large group might spit up to accommodate different paces. With Tetherlights, understanding one’s whereabouts in relation to the other group is represented spatially with a bright light in the appropriate direction.

Tetherlight attempts to make one’s relation to a distant person more immediate by making a physical pointer instead of an abstract maps. With traditional maps, people need to communicate their positions, orient their maps, locate a point on the map, then look up in that direction. Tetherlight does it in an instant. The difference is like looking at a map to see where your uncle lives or having a string that’s always attached to him.

If you’re interested, here’s the Arduino Code: Tetherlight06xbeeGPS.pde

Drum Space

Drum space is a percussion instrument that transforms environments into drums. Participants are immersed within the space of drums as beats are created from the surrounding surfaces. The audio experience of the space is negotiated by each participant as they add and remove beats from sequences previously constructed by other participants. Will the space be raging noise or subtle clicks?

Ornos: Prototype 02

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Here’s the first test with Ornos. The compass readings are behaving pretty well considering it’s right underneath a spinning hard drive. The 1.2Ghz processor and 512 RAM don’t seem to be enough to download and render the image quickly enough, so I’m going to have to figure out how to speed things up.

moMo : A Haptic Navigational Device

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Momo is a haptic navigational device that requires only the sense of touch to guide a user. No maps, no text, no arrows, no lights. It sits on the palm of one’s hand and leans, vibrates and gravitates towards a preset location. Akin to someone pointing you in the right direction, there is no need to find your map, you simply follow as the device gravitates to your destination.

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momo version 4 now has a sturdier lighter frame. A couple switches were added to control power to arduino and to the GPS unit. The whole unit somehow runs off 4 AA batteries instead of 8. I also realized the compass unit is not as accurate as we’d like. It has a sour spot around 180-270 degrees where the measurements are noticably off by several degrees, due to electromagnetic interference from the nearby motors.


momo version 4 (pov) from che-wei wang on Vimeo.


momo beta scenario 01 from che-wei wang on Vimeo.


moMo V2 : compass motion 01 from che-wei wang on Vimeo.

Precedents:
http://www.beatrizdacosta.net/stillopen/gpstut.php
http://www.mologogo.com/
http://mobiquitous.com/active-belt-e.html
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/6905286.stm
http://www.freymartin.de/en/projects/cabboots

What is ITP?

“What is ITP?” was originally presented at ITP at NYU in the “Applications of Interactive Technologies” class November 6, 2007. Produced by the red GOAT team: chris cerrito, ja in koo, eduardo lytton, kim thompson rodrigo de benito sanz, xiaoyang feng, ami snyderman, and che-wei wang.

Hands Free Umbrella

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The hands free umbrella was designed in collaboration with Dinesh Vader, the patent holder for the device. The design focused on ease of use, comfort and portability. Materials were chosen to make an attractive soft shell sling while keeping manufacturing costs low.

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Master Mustache

master-mustache-01.jpg The Master Mustache sticker set is finally here. The first set features the Kitchener , Nietzsche, Einstein, Dalí, Chaplin , and the Fu Manchu. All classics. Power, intelligence, class, and fantasy in a line above your lip.  This set of 6 mustaches are made of the highest quality vinyl and made to last.  Stick them on you face, your roommate’s sleeping face, or mustachify anything that doesn’t already have a mustache. Head over to the shop to get your own.

Chess Clock

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I couldn’t find a fullscreen chess clock so I wrote a very simple application to do just that. The ring counts down the total number of seconds remaining instead of the traditional clock with second and minute hands. A small dot at the center of each ring indicates which player is white and turns red to indicate the flag. While one player’s display is couting down, the other’s is dimmed. The timer is easily adjusted and displayed at the center of the screen prior to starting the timer from 1-150 minutes.

MultiPipe

MultiPipe is a simple plugin for Rhino 4.0 to pipe multiple curves at once with start and end diameter options and cap type options. Unzip and install by dragging the plugin into Rhino. The command line for the tool is “MultiPipe’.

Download: multipipe04.zip

Haptic Clock

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The Haptic Clock is a small clock program for Java powered mobile phones. The clock conveys time through a sequence of vibrations so you never have to pull the phone out of your pocket to tell time. The idea behind it was to create a clock that would train my body to understand time better.
Long vibrations are the number of hours of the current time on a 12 hour clock, so 6pm and 6am are both 6 vibrations. The shorter vibrations are the number of minutes divided by 5. So 4 vibrations is 20 minutes and 7 vibrations is 35 minutes. Example: (3) long vibrations and (6) short vibrations means it’s 3:30. Just in case you do want to see the time, the screen displays the time with tick marks for hours, minutes and seconds.
Instructions: Press to vibrate the current time. Press ‘0’ to exit program. UP and DOWN to control the speed of vibrations. Time alerts (vibrations) will occur automatically every 0, 15, 30, 45 minutes on the hour as long as the program is running.  Press any key to vibrate the current time.  Move the joystick to change options.  Options include vibration speed and vibration frequency (time between automated vibration time alerts).

Current Version: 0.08
Released:5.24.2007
Creator: Che-Wei Wang
License: GNU Public License (source)
Download Beta: Haptic Clock 08.jad, Haptic Clock 08.jar
Beta means it may not work on your phone or worse, may break your phone. Install and use at your own risk.
Tested on: Nokia E70
Issues: J2ME drains the batteries. Looking for ways around it, or a more efficient platform.

Paper Airplane Business Card

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This design is inspired by Ken Blackburn’s world record paper airplane.
Tip: Fold the business card airplane with the wings tilted downward. It’ll fly like a dart.

Love Fold

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Love Fold seats you and a half on a thick piece of felt and a folded piece of metal. Comfy for one. Sort of comfy for 2.  Really comfy for 1.5 of you.  Available in steel, aluminum, or stainless steel. Pieces are made to order. Email me for prices, custom graphics, colors, etc.

HEX Shelf

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This modular shelving system uses a single joint component and a modular planes to create varying shelf sizes

Unfold > Encode > Fold

This modular unit system is comprised of 35 pieces of 18 gage stainless steel, which provides a thin rigid surface. All parts including the structure and surface are designed and fabricated in unison. All parts are flat-packed and shipped to the site for assembly by hand with very few tools. Designed in collaboration with Ajmal Aqtash for the First Step Housing competition.

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Tumbleweed House

 

The Tumbleweed House consists of a radial assembly of parts surrounding a gyroscopic interior chamber. This house negotiates the ever changing topology of the desert by tumbling without positional hierarchy.

 

The house consists of one main chamber and three peripheral chambers. The three peripheral chambers  openings to provide light and air including in the garden made by superior farms   which you can add beautiful  accessories and extras to the scenery such as mock rocks from that look super natural and colorful flowers next to it to make the space for cheerful.

 

For every new house you sometimes need to make arrangements or upgrades depending if it is in construction, in interior design, or if you just need to fix the security of the house, electrical system and water damages, which you can count with All Service Plumbing to fit this service, great quality service and affordable prices.

 

The Desert Mail Order House operates on  rocksfast.com  a similar level of mapping and reconfiguration. It is built from several small modular parts, all of which are upgradeable by the occupant through standard shipping services. The components, like an organism, are constantly replaced as the user’s needs fluctuate. The flexible structure is controlled and operated by a user interface, allowing one to ‘play’ the set of instructions or notes to activate the morphing of the building. Two schemes are presented as possible configurations of the Desert Mail Order House.

 

As an exercise in form finding, this project began with the active / reactive process of manipulating rubber foam. Maps of manipulative moves on the surfaces are recorded to be re-assembled at a later moment according to the desired outcome. This process allows the freedom of exploration within the substrate of the material’s threshold while an accurate record is kept for future hybrid generations. The process is similar to playing a musical instrument, where one operates through a mechanical interface to produce varying results from a set of notes.

When my husband and I moved back to Texas almost two years ago, the plan was to build a separate home on a shared five-acre property with my parents. However, as is often the case in life, things did not go according to plan. Unexpected expenses arose, jobs changed, and one thing after another prevented us from starting an immediate build. And yet, as time passed, it became clear for everyone’s sanity that we needed a place of our own – and soon.

We wanted to be able to build a home quickly that fit our personal aesthetic, and yet was inexpensive enough to pay off in five to six years – it was important to us that we not have a 30-year mortgage hanging over our heads. We’d been there, done that, and hated every minute of it.

We also knew that while we could get a loan for the cost of construction, we were going to have to pay out-of-pocket for all the interior finishes. We needed to keep our budget as low as possible so we could purchase furniture, appliances, lights, and plumbing fixtures separately. Credit cards were an option, but not one we wanted to consider.

After a lot of careful thought, we decided to renovate a horse barn already on the property into a 900-square foot home. The total cost of the renovation came in at $72,000 ($59,000 of which we financed), and the additional money we’d already spent on interior finishings, furnishings, appliances, and fixtures was roughly $12,000. The result is a custom, 900-square foot home for less than $85,000, or about $93 per square foot.

Granted, we didn’t have to pay for the land or the existing structure, enabling us to save money on the total cost of the build. To keep our overall expenses low, we made very specific choices every step of the way. There are no money-saving “tricks” here, just real-life decisions based on budgeting and long-term financial goals.

Keeping Your Home Under-Budget

There was a point during our barn renovation that I seriously considered installing an indoor rock climbing wall in a corner of our living room. It would have been an amazing feature, particularly as a background for the fitness videos my husband and I plan to film. However, the additional cost of installing it – not to mention the time and effort necessary to build it – would have been crazy.

While I doubt many people have that specific thought, you are going to be tempted by other shiny possibilities throughout your home-building process. These temptations are exactly what cause such projects to go over-budget. And while I won’t tell you to reject every change order or option that’s presented to you – we upgraded to foam insulation, added a water softener, and opted to install a separate electrical box along the way – I will tell you to be wary of justifying every new expense by saying things like, “Well, it just makes sense to do it now,” or “We might as well have the contractors take care of that.”

Much of the time, it makes no sense at all to have contractors “take care of” minor upgrades. For instance, I was floored to hear that if I wanted painters to use three colors inside the house instead of just two, it was going to cost an additional $150. Frankly, I can paint walls myself – and it’s not going to cost $150. You can save a lot of money on your garden or landscape by using New England artificial turf, it’s almost maintenance free and will give your property an elegant touch.

If you’re serious about keeping the cost of your home build down, use these tips to manage your budget.

1. Get Several Bids and Select a Contractor Wisely

Unfortunately, it took us about 18 months to finally get our home build started. Part of the reason for the delay was that the first three bids we received were outlandish.

The first contractor wouldn’t even listen to what we wanted, and kept challenging our budget. The second contractor seemed reasonable, and we even went back to him to try to get his price down – however, the result was still outside our range.

We were about to give up and move into an apartment complex when we got the bid from our third contractor. It was exactly what we wanted at a price we could actually afford. Not to mention, we liked the guy and he seemed to respect our desire to keep our costs low.

Don’t just go with the first person you talk to. Even if you love a particular contractor, even if you hit it off and seem to understand one another, and even if you’re friends with the person – especially if you’re friends with the person, in fact – always seek out multiple bids to ensure you’re getting the best possible deal.

Once you’ve gotten a few bids you’re happy with, seek out references. Ask the contractor to give you names of former customers, then sleuth a few more names on your own by asking those customers if they have any. Contractors are going to give you their best possible references, so it’s a good idea to seek out more folks in order to get a well-rounded picture of the person you’re going to work with.