Thursday, May 24, 2007

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Completed frame

There goes the neighborhood!

This short video clip gives a good feeling for the area surrounding our barn. I kind of think it enhances the character of the street...
...I wonder what the neighbors think?

Collage of completed frame

Going (all the way) up

I got an excited call around mid day today: "There's a triangle up there!" Good news. After a week's worth of rain and soggy timber, finally some activity.

When I drove by the site with my son on the way home from Cub Scouts, this is what we saw. A fully complete barn frame! The roof structure went up in one day ("A LONG day!" Leo reminded me...) and it really completes the picture. The frame now really looks the way it should; it just "feels" right. It felt so good walking around and seeing it from all its angles. There are so many wonderful details - I wish I could capture each one: certain intersections of beams, the joinery, the oak pegs, the web of timbers...I can't wait to show her off to all of you out there.

Sun setting. Once the barn gets completely enclosed we'll never see this great sight again.

From the downhill side the barn appears quite tall - much taller than it looks from the uphill side. And from up in the highest loft looking down it seems even higher. It's pretty dramatic.

We climbed up a series of ladders and then up onto the temporary scaffolding erected by the crew (the "catwalk" Ben W. calls it). We didn't get much farther than that - as you can probably tell by the expression...

Looking down from the 3rd floor loft into the future living/dining/kitchen areas.

This home-made wooden mallet is nicknamed "The Persuader". Hmmm, think it's a good idea for an 8 yr. old to be wieding such a tool?

Future location of kids' play loft with a future resident therein.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Third floor loft

When I climbed up to check out the third floor loft, I immediately realized that there was a problem. Standing under the loft, in the space that will someday be the back hallway, mudroom, and guest bathroom, it was apparent that the ceiling height was way too low. So I got out the tape measure to check...6'10". Yeah, that's pretty low. So I called Bud, he checked the plans, spoke with his guy on the job (Ben Walker) and they all agreed they had done just what the plans indicated....and concurred that it was too low as well. The nice thing is that we caught this in time and they can jack up the LVLs that support the loft floor a few inches to give us something a little more standard. All the ceilings in the house will be pretty low by modern day standards - with the exeption of the second floor which is open to the rafters. This is one of the results of trying to fit in two full floors in a building that was built for cows and hay. It's going to be great either way.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Going up...

This shot is taken from the level of the future floor 2.5. That's right, two and a half. Technically, the second floor (which is essentially one big, open space from floor to rafters) is divided into three levels: floor 2 (kitchen, dining, living areas + entry, mud room, back hall, guest bath), floor 2.5 (a few steps up from floor 2 and the future guest/media space), and floor 3 (kids' loft space overlooking the kitchen, dining, and living areas.) See the architects' floor plans by clicking here .

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


This is the view from the kitchen/dining/living area. Like being in a tree house.

This image and following: Leo and his crew working on framing the second floor.

From two-dimensions to three. For nearly a year I have been looking at these plans and imagining what it would be like to walk through the spaces they hint at. What a rush to begin to be able to do this. Finally!

I love the way the new infrastructure is taking shape within the old frame.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Barn Raising Video

For those of you who couldn't join us on the big day, here is a 10 minute video segment of the barn raising. Enjoy!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Old Meets New

The past week or so the builders have been making numerous "final adjustments" to the frame, making sure each timber was true and properly positioned. Late last week they began joining new framing materials to the old, as you can see in this picture and the following.

This shot was taken standing at the level of the second floor (in the small section that was completed by quitting time Friday). You can see the long horizontal beam of new material along the right. Beams like this will ring the frame at the level of the second floor and it is into these beams that the floor joists will be attached creating the second floor.

This is the small section of the second floor that was completed by Friday afternoon. You can see the opening in the floor where the stairs will descend to the first floor - right above the stairs to the basement.

In this detail you can see that the framers have created notches in the old barn frame and spliced in the new beams. In certain places, these beams will be supported by the addition of L-shaped brackets fashioned out of steel.

This is a *temporary* support bracket. The steel ones are being custom made (I'm told they're finished and ready to be delivered to the site...).

Some might look at all this splicing into the old frame as a degradation of the structure - aesthetically speaking. Actually, this is all a part of the design philosophy behind the whole project, a philosophy that can be summed up in a word: honesty. The basic idea was to bring together old materials and new - and not try to hide either. The parts of the building that are old will be left looking old, and no effort will be made to hide or cover up "imperfections" such as stains, nail holes, empty mortices, and the vestiges of centuries of honest use. Similarly, we will make little or no effort to hide the nature of the new materials that are to be incorporated into the structure in its adaptation to modern usage. For example, the use of the new beams of laminated wood: where these are tied into the old beams they create visual interest. More than simple functionality, the reflect the "honesty" of the building in its new incarnation. The farmers who designed and built the original structure chose their materials based on their functionality and availability, and the use of these honest materials resulted in a building that was aesthetically pleasing as well as functional. My strong opinion is that the beauty of a barn lies in its honesty: it is what it claims to be and nothing more. It is simple, strong, well-thought out and well-built. Materials are not chosen for their ability to impress or dazzle, but for their promise to do their job well and serve for many years. We have "reinvented" this building and given it a new use. Both histories will be showcased in the final product: farmer's sturdy barn and family's modern home. It is both of these stories that makes this building so rich, and both should be open to plain view. Some may like it, others won't. That's OK by me.