Thursday, November 23, 2006

Clearing the Lot

It was one of those perfect late fall days - sunny and just shy of cold, high 40s. Although Dad and I got a late start, we made short work of the many bushes and small trees that populated the level part of our lot. I am not an experienced chain saw-user and was quickly winded by the exertion. So we switched off and took turns dragging branches and stacking logs. With each bush and small tree that came down the view got more and more open and the lot looked more and more like a building site. As you can probably see from the images we are quite high up in elevation (at least by eastern Massachusetts standards) and with the leaves down, there is a pretty view of the hills to the south and west. Really, this is more than I could have hope for, given the limitations of our resources. (I feel a tangent coming...) For me, there is a spiritual lift that comes from any increase in elevation. The higher up I am the "loftier" my feelings become. The idea of building a house on some sort of rise has always appealed to me. When we stumbled across this lot I knew we had found something special. Anyway, after a few hours of sawing and dragging, we had cleared everything we could by ourselves. There is one large tree that needs to be taken down by a professional, and some large limbs off another. At about 2:00 our architect, Noah, showed up. He came bearing good news: the set of plans that had been stamped by the engineer had arrived from ENER. This means we are nearly ready to submit the permit application. After Dad left, Noah and I staked out the footprint of the house - which was also very exciting. Physically locating the house on the property sent my imagination to work and I could begin to visualize just what this house would look like next year. At the end of the day I was able to survey a clear lot and four tall stakes sticking out of the ground where a house will soon grow.

Saturday, November 18, 2006


All renerings ©Jasonoah Design Build

We have had a long period unseasonably warm days this November...which makes waiting all the harder! The plans have been waiting for the final stamp of approval by the engineer - a process that has been held up largely due to the fact that no one cares about our project as much as we do! The builder cannot apply for the building permit until the plans arrive and the bank cannot approve the builder until THEY get their stamped copy of the plans as well. So, I have been told that the engineer has finally been motivated to stamp and that the plans SHOULD be in the mail...set to arrive early next week. And so we wait, each beautiful late-fall day a reminder of how great it would be if we were already underway.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

New Photo Album Launched

The entire collection of photos pertaining to the Bare Hill Barn House are now available to the public through my Flickr page. If you want to view photos detailing the barn prior to dismantling, during the dismantling process, and all stages of the project, visit this site. Whenever I post a new batch of photos on Flickr I will make a brief announcement here. The link to Flickr is located under "Links" to the right. Enjoy! (And please feel free to comment!)

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Good News (at last)

After about two months of searching, we have hired a builder. His name is Bud Haworth and he is a local who has been working with timber frame structures (including barns) for many years. You can view his website here. We have wanted to hire Bud from the very first due to his expertise with antique timber frames as well as his interest in our project and willingness to work with us creatively to make it happen. Over the past two months we have gone back and forth about how, exactly, we were going to get Bud's price down to where we could say "yes" . In the end it was a combination of open-mindedness, flexibility, simplification of the original plans (which included some cuts), and a transfer of a number of tasks from Bud's crew to me. That he would be open to me taking such an active role in the construction and finishing of the house is another reason why we were eager to work with Bud. Many builders, I'm told, don't want the owner anywhere near the jobsite. Currently we are in the permitting process, awaiting bank approval of Bud as our builder and of our loan application...and hoping that we might have a mild December. If we do there is a chance we will have a hole in the ground and a barn raising before the end of the year. If not, it will have to wait 'till the Spring, which as I mentioned in the last post, wouldn't be all bad either.