This past year I was asked to draw up plans for a cabin that a client wanted to build for themselves in Donnelly, Idaho. They asked me to help them build the home and act as their construction manager. Progress is going well and we plan on being completed by the first of October this year. Take a look at the photo diary of the Sargent Cabin to see the progress of this beautiful home.

I have been a little slow about adding some additional pictures of the home I completed this last fall. I added about a dozen more pictures showing more of the finished product.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)

Check out the FAQ's we recently added to our website. You will find it as the rightmost tab under the header.

As a home builder, our least favorite question to answer is "What is your price per square foot?". Click on our FAQ's to learn why it makes us cringe to get that question...and we even answer the question...kind of.

Do you have a question for us? Please ask it in the comments or email us!

What we really need in business and industry today...

What we really need is people and workers who can focus. The ability to focus on the task at hand is what employers should be after, not that false sense of multitasking. The fact of the matter is that you cannot listen to a podcast and analyze your company's latest financial reports and do both well at the same time. Either you will focus on one or the other...or your brain flips channels rapidly so that you focus on one briefly than the other briefly. So in reality you do both poorly.

I've attended a few leadership training seminars in which developing the ability to focus was taught. Once you get the mind and body focused intently, it is truly amazing what we can accomplish both physically and mentally. I witnessed and experienced for myself some pretty awesome stuff as a result of focus.

Premier athletes talk about the ability to get "in the zone". I experienced being "in the zone" powerfully once during high school wrestling. I was going up against a guy from Boise High that had beaten me twice previously that season by a narrow margin. As I warmed up, I focused on my breathing and stretching...kinda yoga-like; before I even knew what yoga was. In my mind I could foresee the entire match and exactly what I would do in each situation...what moves I would make, what counter-moves I'd make...even counters to counters. When the ref's whistle blew to start the match I was still "in the zone" - a perfect synchronization of mind and body. My poor opponent didn't stand a chance. I racked up so many points that I won in the second round by technical fall.

We need contributors to society and business that are zoned-in, not zoned-out. We face such a huge variety of distractions in life that often carry over into our work. We are so often distracted by our quest to be entertained that we infringe on our time and ability to contribute to the good of the real world.

I'm not saying that watching a hilarious video clip on YouTube during the work day is a bad thing. There is a time and place for it. What I'm recommending is that when we sit down to work on a project or complete a task that we focus on it, and only that task until it is complete. You'll be surprised at home much more you can accomplish is much less time when you work "in the zone."

I'm as guilty as anyone of my generation. I get distracted so easily. I might be going to the web to look something up for work and I notice that I have a half dozen tweets, a couple Google+ notifications, an invitation on LinkedIn, news articles that are begging to be read, and some comments on my blog. Some strange and anxious feeling irrupts inside me and I feel like each item needs my attention right this very minute. That's when I need to take a breath, relax, focus on the task at hand knowing that I can always come back later to that non-life-changing stuff.

Here are some recommendations for myself and those of my generation and younger to help with our focus and productivity in today's world:
  • Make a conscious decision to focus on the task at hand and only that task.
  • Eliminate all the distractions you possibly can.
    • Facebook friends can wait. Most emails can wait. Most phone calls can wait.
  • Take a minute or two before beginning that task to focus on your breathing and clear the mind.
  • Start each day by tackling the biggest gnarliest thing on your to-do list. Once you complete it in record time you will get an endorphin rush that will carry your productively throughout the rest of the day.
    • Sometimes a big gnarly task can be complicated and overwhelming. When this is the case, break the task down into manageable baby-steps on your to-do list. Then attack those small steps one by one.
  • Apply the one-touch principle. If you pick up a paper or open an email, address it and complete whatever it is you need to do with it. Then file or round-round file it. Don't let items linger partially done and don't let a huge to-do list paralyze you.
  • Once you've completed a task, feel free to reward yourself by checking your favorite Facebook page for a few minutes, or even better, get up and take a walk and get some fresh air or text a love note to that special someone in your life.
  • Approach the next task or project by starting over on this list.
Leave multitasking to computers. We want human focus. The world needs your amazing contributions born of your incredible ability to focus.

Quick Fix - Remodel in Meridian

 A friend of the Mortensen family discovered that water was rotting out the sub-floor along one side of the home. He contracted us to remove and replace the rotted wood and insulation along with the tub and surround.
Part of the challenge was figuring out where the water was coming from. At first we thought it might be a leak in an irrigation line that was added through the crawlspace. That wasn't it. After tearing open the floor and the wall in the hall bath we discovered that the water was wicking up through the outside of the foundation through the sill plate and into the sub-floor and up into the wall. Behind the tub we found ice two feet up the wall sheeting. 

To prevent this in the future, we will be foam sealing and re-nailing the bottom row of siding all around the home. Another part of the fix will be to ensure that the home is positively pressurized. We want homes to be pushing air to the outside, not pulling it in from the outside along with moisture.
Because the wall and flooring behind the tub/shower unit was rotted out, we removed the existing unit, made the repairs and replaced it with a cast iron tub and a custom made cultured marble surround.
The homeowner did his own painting and vinyl installation...and being a retired machinist, he's a perfectionist and did a great job with that tasks he took upon himself. 

We'll be wrapping up this job later this week when our plumber trims out the tub/shower faucet.

Sneak Peek

Mortensen Construction is fast approaching it's 35th Anniversary. We're preparing our once-monthly newsletter with some fun photos following the history of this company, but I thought I'd give you all a sneak peek at one photo...
Here are Kent and Dave Mortensen during their framing days in the 1980's. A detailed look at this photo brings back a lot of memories for us...

  • The Ford Truck behind the guys was in a much newer condition than I remember it. We Mortensen kids affectionately referred to it as "The Green Beast". This truck served us well for many years, through many drivers, and for a couple hundred thousand miles, and helped us build many homes in the Treasure Valley and surrounding areas. Kent refurbished it once, but finally sold it off.
  • Dave's awesome Grizzly Adams beard. He may not have that full beard anymore, but if you know Dave, you know that he is still a mountain man.
  • It looks like Dave is wearing a Sta-Rite Truss trucker hat. Sta-Rite Truss, out of Kuna, provided trusses for all of our homes for many years and we have long enjoyed our relationship with the Young family that ran it.
  • Kent looks to be wearing a BYU football stocking cap, obviously proud of the 1984 National Championship season.
  • Kent has worn that same belt buckle as long as I have known him. Bonus points if you can tell me what the symbol on his belt buckle is and what it represents.
  • A mustache is missing on Kent's upper lip, so he must have been serving in an LDS bishopric in Nampa at the time. That is one of the very few times his face has ever gone hairless. He'd often wear a beard in the winter and would come home with icicles hanging off it.
  • Sweet plaid flannel shirts. I think they're a timeless fashion.
Stay tuned for more gems like this!