Monday, July 31, 2006

Friday Framing Fantastic

The roof trusses were delivered and raised onto the top of the second floor walls. They haven't been positioned yet, but just having the bundles of trusses sitting on top of the house is pretty impressive.

The interior walls of the second floor have all been framed now. There's a lot of bracing in place, which is necessary until the trusses have been positioned and nailed into place.

Clockwise from bottom: Bo, Marty and Cary had fun climbing around in the rafters like a bunch of monkeys.

Here's the view from the SW corner of the house, you can get a sense of how big it will look once the roof is all framed. Don't worry if you can't make sense of the roofline, I'll have better pictures tomorrow - because they're placing the trusses and hopefully sheeting the roof today!

Friday, July 28, 2006

Upstairs & Stairs Framed

First the Stairs:
I got a little carried away with pictures from the outside last night. I'm just really excited (I bet you couldn't tell), it's like Christmas every day when I go see what they've finished. And, just for a little extra fun, I've labeled the rooms on these shots so the folks at home can see it taking shape like I do. :)
As you can see if you look closely at these photos, only the exterior walls were framed on the second floor. I expect that they'll finish the interior wall framing today, and also start framing up the porch roof. After that, I think we're just waiting for the trusses to arrive and the roof will go on. Wow.

Meanwhile, I got the quote back for the cabinets, and if we take our whole wish list of options and upgrades we'll be about $200 over budget. So now we have to decide if it's worth going a teensy bit over budget (dangerous thinking, I know) or if we should trim *something* from the order to bring it under budget. Which, it goes without saying, is a real conundrum. Cary and I will have to think it over through the weekend, if not longer. Functional stuff has priority, but it's also hard to put the extra-pretty finishing flourishes on the chopping block.

Bonus pictures from Mark

Mark was kind enough to e-mail me a couple pictures which actually feature some of the crew at work! Since I don't usually get off work myself and out to the site in time catch the guys before they go home for the day, I thought these picture were really fun.

I don't know their names (yet!) but these guys are doing great work and I appreciate all their effort. A big, heartfelt "Thankyou" to the framing crew!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Framing Day 2

Plywood sheeting is up on almost all the first floor exterior, and the ceiling/second-floor-floor is also done. It's really looking like a house! Here's the view from the NE:

View from the SW:

Bo checks out the interior (he's in the kitchen):
Cary & Bo take in the view out over the top of the hardhack (Spiraea douglasii). From the ground this plant forms an impenetrable thicket about 8 ft high, but from above it is surprisingly beautiful, with its pink flower spikes scattered across the marsh. Turns out there's no view of Mt. Baker, but that's ok. It was a slim chance and we knew it. The views of the fields, trees and marsh are beautiful in their own right.

Today they will be building the stairs and framing the upstairs walls. I'll have more pictures for you tomorrow!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

First Floor Framed

WOW!!! It's simply amazing how much they did in 1 day. Yesterday there was just the slab and a load of lumber. Today, there's a house taking shape. :) You really have to see it in person to get the scope of my excitement, the full coolness of all of this doesn't really come through in the pictures. Nonetheless, here are a couple of pics to give you an idea. This view is from the NE: View from the inside across the kitchen to the sunroom:

I can hardly wait to get out there this evening to see what they accomplish today! Maybe the second floor...

Cabinet Selection

Cary and I met with Robin at the Cabinet Shop yesterday afternoon. It was fun. We decided on Shaker-style (example at right) cabinets in Cherry for the kitchen and bathrooms. The kitchen island will be different, with an antiqued black stain so it will stand out from the rest of the cabinets. The laundry/craft room will have plain painted cabinets, we didn't feel like we needed the classiness (or the expense) of cherry in that space. The bedroom windowseats will have cabinets underneath as well for a little built-in storage.

So now we wait to hear back whether we went way over budget and have to tone things down or not...

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Shingle Dipping

Last night Cary and I started dipping the shingles. It took a while to get everything set up, but once we had all the equipment (ladders, clothesline, buckets, gutters, and weights - it's like some kind of Goldberg contraption) in place, the actual dipping went pretty quickly. We dipped a whole bundle of them, and left them hanging to dry overnight. The stain color is more or less the grey of naturally wheathered cedar.
I think it will look nice on the house, the rest of the siding will be dark green, the roof will be dark grey, and the trim will be white. Here's a close up of the shingle stain color:

I've got pictures, but I'm still having trouble uploading them for some reason. I'll try again later.

Update: aparently it's not just me, everybody's having trouble posting pictures. They're working on fixing it. Hopefully it'll be fixed by tomorrow, so I can put up pictures of the framing that went up today.

Update 7/26: fixed now!

Monday, July 24, 2006

19 people, 3 dogs and a Baby...

Made Saturday's Slab Party a whole lot of fun. Thanks to everybody who came out; the rest of you don't worry, we'll have more parties later! For some reason Blogger isn't allowing me to upload a picture of the festivities right now, but I'll try again tomorrow. (update 7/26: as you can see, picture-loading now fixed!)

No shingles were dipped thisweekend, the heat was such that the only reasonable course of action Sunday (after cleaning up from the night before) was to go swimming at Whatcom Falls. Followed by a nice siesta.

Friday, July 21, 2006


Since the framing won't begin until next week, this Saturday is the perfect time to throw a Foundation Warming Party. The site is currently safe for - and from - drunken people, children and/or dogs. Those of you in the area should bring something to grill or a potluck dish, some beer or other beverages, and come out around 7 pm. We'll build a fire and just hang out and enjoy the evening. Bring a tent if you'd like to stay the night, there's lots of room. Any questions, give me a call, otherwise I'll just see you there!

Thursday, July 20, 2006


So it looks like the framing won't begin until next Tuesday. In the meantime, I'm meeting with Robin to select stain and paint colors. If I select the stain today, I might get to spend the weekend dipping shingles! I bet that's a real hoot. (Actually I'm looking forward to it. Ralph Wiggins voice: I'm helping!)

I've had a couple of meetings already with Robin (Schramer, Mark's wife & partner who is an interior designer) to select materials and design stuff for the house. It's pretty fun to pick things out, although it would be totally overwhelming without Robin's help. She knows what stuff costs, which of the 7 million not-quite-but-almost-the-same choices is the best deal, how long it lasts, how well it wears, what it's made from, where it comes from, what it looks good with, and all that important stuff. Which means I show up and she's already got a handful of colors or tiles or carpet swatches set out for me, and I don't have to go through the whole entire universe of options before I make a decision.

Earlier this week we did light fixtures. It's pretty amazing how much the price difference can be between two (or twenty) fixtures that look almost identical. One thing I'm sure of in this life: I will never think to myself "Damn, I sure wish I had a handblown Italian glass shade on the porch light."

Cheapskate that I am, I came in underbudget on light fixtures. Which is good, because we're sure to go overbudget somewhere else.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Whoops, that's not going to fit.

Today we encountered our first problem with the plans. (I understand this sort of thing is very common.) The bedroom on the north/front side of the house has a kind of fancy custom window, shaped like this:Well, what I didn't notice before is that the window is too tall with that little half-circle on top. Mark noticed it when he was reviewing the framing and trussing plans. We can't lower it because it's already sitting right above the porch roof in front. The ceiling inside is 8 ft. high and has a dormer (on the east side) which starts just a few feet from the north wall, so we can't raise the whole thing. We've already ordered the window, it's on it's way here. There's nowhere else on the house that this window would fit. Drat!

So, the solution I've decided on, after discussion with Mark, is to have a bump-up in the ceiling behind that window, so it'll let in the light and then the ceiling will drop back down to the normal level. This requires some changes to a couple of the trusses for the roof, but shouldn't be too much of a hassle. It'll be a little funky but I think it'll work out fine. And it'll add a little bit of character, which new houses often lack. Wouldn't want that! :)

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Slab Poured!

Yesterday, as promised, the slab was poured. The foundation is now finished! I'm no expert, but it looks pretty good to me. It's nice and smooth inside the house, and the porch has a nice swept finish and a subtle gradient sloping away from the house. The porch also has sidewalk-style grooves which "cut" it into squares, which looks nice and controls cracking. The fixtures for the plumbing and the radiant heat all seem to have behaved well, no floating or tilting at all.

We had an impromptu slab cristening (we poured beer on it) last night, as the ladies from Juicebox showed up while we were showing Nick & Brad around the site.

Left to Right: Nick, Brad, Cary, Iris, Tricia, Aimee, me.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Comments Wide Open

I think I've opened the coments up completely now, so you won't even have to register if you want to leave some kind words or snide remarks (I'm looking at you, Dad!). When click on "comments" after a post, it will pop up a little window and ask you for your identity. If you don't want to set up a permanent user ID/blogger account, just select "other". A space will appear and you can type in your name.

The only potential problem with making it so you don't have to log in to leave a comment is spam (it's not just for e-mail anymore!). I might have to change some things later if it becomes a problem, but hopefully it won't.

Oh, and about the house... they're pouring the slab today! Look for new pictures tomorrow. :)

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Ready for the Slab

Radiant heat tubes, pipes and conduits for water, waste, propane and electricity, the vent for the stove, and everything else that needs to travel through the floor have been placed into the foundation footprint, ready to be entombed in concrete. The wire mesh will keep everything in place when the concrete is poured. The pink foam insulation will keep the heat circulating up into the house instead of traveling down into the pea gravel & dirt below.

Looks like a lot of work to set up, doesn't it?

Here's a close-up of the Tube Junction for the radiant heat. When the house is finished, this will be in a small closet under the stairs, accessible from the bathroom. The rest of the apparatus will be in the Mechanical Room on the other side of the wall. Pressure gauges are cool.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Backfill and peafill

Friday the stemwalls were filled with pea gravel. You can also see the pink foam insulation which is strapped to the stem walls all around the interior of the space to be heated. Cary wants to know when we're going to install the slide and the swingset.

Here's a shot where I can really start to see the floorplan taking shape. I've labeled it to help you see it too. Before you ask, the mechanical room is the place where we'll have the water shutoff, electrical box, propane valves, phone & cable lines, controls & hookups for the radiant floor, etc. Since we won't have a basement or an attached garage we made a little room especially for that kind of stuff.