Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Stay tuned...

Money is rolling again. The logjam with the bank has been broken and we should see work resuming on the house within a week or so. The guys at ENER are looking to clear up some space on their lot, so we will be receiving the trailer on the property before too long. Bud is ordering materials to build the deck and is eager to get back to work. Won't be long now before something reselmbling a house will sit atop that lonely old foundation.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Snowed in

According to our builder, the slow down in financing came at a good time - working outside in the kind of weather we have been experiencing the past couple of weeks would have been next to impossible. Today, however, it is sunny and in the mid-thirties; hardly balmy but definitely workable. The thaw in the weather looks like it is coinciding with a thaw in the bank as well. Money should be rolling again as soon as early next week.

Meanwhile, we just received the final invoice from Early New England Restorations, which means the restoration, repair, adjustments, and cleaning of the frame is done! In the end, this work more than DOUBLED the cost of what we paid for the barn and went significantly over the initial estimate given us back in the fall. When you are working with antique structures such as these you just can't predict what you will discover once the frame is dismantled. The repairs it ended up needing were not drastic, but went well beyond what was originally estimated. Oh well. As our architects said months ago (I'm paraphrasing), I hope you weren't planning on *saving* money by going the barn route. Yeah, no kidding. Everyone else who has ever built a house or addition warned us that it *always* costs more than you think. We knew this going into the project, but I guess we never could have known HOW much more. Still, we are optimistic. With money guaranteed from the bank to complete the project (we've spent nearly all of our own!) it sort of feels out of my hands at this point (in a good way). I keep telling myself that no matter what, we will close out the year in a new home. And what a sense of accomplishment we will have. Can't wait.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Akira Sakamoto

Increasingly over the past couple of years, I have been turning to modern minimalist Japanese architecture for inspiration and ideas. Akira Sakamoto is one of *the* reigning superstars of Japanese minimalism. You can see more images of his residential work at his website. Sakamoto's architecture is a reinterpretation of traditional Japanese architecture based on the principles of modern, minimalist design. Our barn house is, in some fashion, its own kind of reinterpretation.

Modernist Barn Renovation

This barn was featured in the August 27, 2000 edition of the New York Times Magazine. It was created by architect Hut Sachs for a family on Long Island. He took an 18th century Vermont barn frame (probably from The Barn People) and used it as a "great room" addition containing living, dining, and kitchen spaces. The author of the article calls it "architectural revivalism" and "an old barn slipcovered in modernism". See more pictures of the barn by going to the Hut Sachs website and clicking on "Residential" at the bottom right side of the main page.

I like this particular reuse of a barn frame because I think it avoids any hint of Country Home Style and does a pretty good job of integrating the antique with the modern. We hope that our project will have similar success.