Friday, June 29, 2007

We have a box

So, now we have a box. Windows are supposedly on order...Nobody showed up to work yesterday or today...this is moving so painfully slow...apparently it's pretty typical but it's bugging the (*&^ out of me...we seem to be low on the totem pole of priorities...I am trying not to get too uptight about the pace of this job and I keep reminding myself, "this is your life-long dream", we wait, and wait, and wait.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Summer Days (daze?)

Not our home anymore...
That's the new owner's car in the drive. Seems strange. Sounds trite but there are so many memories tied up with a house. Still, at the same time it's exciting b/c selling that house moves us one step closer to the next.

One last book in the one last chair left on moving day. Our youngest will never remember this place...another strange thought.

...on the other hand, this is what we have inherited as a result of selling our house before the new one is ready! This was our first dinner together. My kids were actually BETTER behaved than when we eat alone. There's some odd law at work here having to do with numbers and family interactions...

SIPs going up. Today there were TWO workers on the site. TWO! The fact that these two guys were attempting to muscle the SIPs around by themselves (they weigh a ton) made me nervous enough that I called Bud and appraised him of the situation. I am hoping that he will call Ben (the forman, I guess) and get some more hands on deck...

Monday, June 25, 2007

You're doing WHAT?!!?

Living with our friends for the summer. You know, the ones who also have four kids? Yeah, yeah, call us crazy, but so far so good. As I mentioned in the previous post, we have officially sold our house, our first home, paying off the mortgage as well as the mammoth home equity line of credit we took out to build the second home. (That alone is cause for some serious celebration! What a relief.) Anyway, back when we were putting our house on the market (Craig's List and - no brokers for us) our best friends (the ones with the four kids...) offered us their home to live in if selling one and moving into another should happen not to correspond (of course it didn't).

This past week has been one of almost non stop packing. We ordered five of those storage pods and emptied the entire house into them, having first saved out everything we thought we would need for the summer. Saturday we moved into our friends' house, Sunday was a final sweep through the old house, and this morning we handed over the keys. Feelings are mixed, esp. for the kids. But so far it has been great. You know, living with another family actually is EASIER. There are two more adult hands and the kids are largely distracted by their buddies. Plus, having the close up view of how another family does things makes you aware of the good and the bad sides of your own and therefore is a chance for self-improvement. This is especially true if the other parents are really GOOD ones - ones I want to emulate in many ways.

So, long term here's how it's going to go down: we live together, all 12 of us, for two weeks. The other family then heads off to Maine for the rest of the summer, leaving us to our own devices for the remainder of July and August (a good opportunity to put into practice all the lessons learned from the weeks of cohabitation). If the barn house is NOT done by the time they return at the end of August (again, I am not holding my breath...) then it's "Cheaper by the Dozen" all over again.

Speaking of the barn house, here's the update: The SIPs are almost completely installed (about 1/4 left as of the end of the day today). I met with Bud the Builder (go on, sing the tune: "Can he fix it?" "He damn well better!@#!") and we looked at some windows. He is ready to place the order (we are going with Marvin) and will have them in two weeks. In the meantime, the crew will cut the rough openings into the SIPs. (Because SIPs are structural, there is no framing around the windows necessary, literally just cut the hole and insert windows.) Also due to arrive this week is the metal roof. Can't wait to see that go up. On the morning of July 2, the trailer is being picked up and (lastly) we are working on those deck plans you saw in an earlier post. So I guess things are moving along nicely, although not so nicely as to have us in by the end of August, I fear.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Movin' right along

Finally, SIPs delivered. These are the structural insulated panels (SIPs) that will form the walls of our house. SIPs are basically the equivalent in a typical new construction of stud walls and the insulation combined. The SIPs created a super-insulated "shell" around the outside of the barn frame, at the same time allowing the full depth of the frame's timbers to remain visible. If we had built stud walls in between the barn timbers and then filled them in with insulation and covered them with drywall and plaster, there would be barely half of the original depth of the timbers remaining.

The SIPs go up pretty quickly. Because they are structural, there is no need to frame in windows. When they are ready to install the windows, they simply cut out a hole with a saw and insert the window. Voila!

SIPs are a sandwich of rigid insulation and two "slices" of OSB (oriented strand board - particle board, basically). They are screwed into the frame with long screws and then the seams are sealed.

Inisde, the framing of the interior walls is pretty much done. Anyone who has ever built a house knows how exciting this part is since you can really walk through rooms and get a sense of space. I have heard that it is usually at this point that people think the rooms are too small. Well, I guess that's true, except that we knew from the beginning that many rooms on the first floor would be small, so it's no big shock. I remain a believer in the idea that small doesn't necessarily = cramped and unwelcoming. Our architects have designed some really fantastic (small) spaces - especially the kids' rooms.

The antique floor is completed upstairs and MAN does it look GOOD! I convinced the workers to hang sheets of plastic to protect the floor from the rain until the SIPs go up in this section.

A detail of some of the fancy framing that had to be done around the existing timbers of the frame.

The truck is scheduled to be removed at the end of the month. I am looking forward to have an unobstructed view of the site.

We are officially receiving mail at the site as of today. I installed the mailbox yesterday which gave me a thrill. For those of you who aren't up to date on this minor detail, we close on the sale of our current home Monday and (obviously) the barnhouse is not ready to receive us. So we are moving in with friends in town for the summer...and perhaps beyond. We will all be living together for about two weeks before they leave for summer vacation. They are due back at the end of August and if the house is not ready by then (make your best guess...) we will have to negotiate life together for some time. If there were any family in the world that this would be likely to work out with, it would be these guys (you know who you are!!!) We are really thankful for their generosity!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

The latest...

The crew began laying out the "footprint" of the rooms on the first floor (in the next post I will upload images of the now-framed in walls themselves). After laying out and nailing down this footprint, they will begin framing the walls themselves and then standing them up on top of this base (reasons for this in a later post).

I like this view. It's taken standing at the bottom of the basement stairs looking up two stories to the underside of the 3rd floor loft. Once the stairs from floor one to two are in, this view will be lost. I am aware of the fact that at each stage of the process there are views - wonderful views - which are available for only a fleeting moment, only to be covered up in plywood, sheetrock, and plaster.

These guys don't look hurried, do they? Sometimes I wonder what they DO all day... (for a clue, scroll down to the third picture on the post dated Thursday May 24.)

It is exciting to see the antique floor begin going down upstairs. This is the old barn planking that we bought along with the barn over a year ago now. Scot Hanning pulled it out of another barn somewhere in Maine. It's pine (soft - not great), thick (1 1/2" - great!), and full of beautiful variations in color, width, and character. I requested that it be blind-nailed so you get a really nice clean look. Once it is cleaned, sanded, and finished, it will be stunning (already is, I think).

You get a good sense of the age and color of the flooring in this shot. What appear to be black "stains" are just that: places where old nails used to live.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Deck proposal, v. 1.0

All renerings ©Jasonoah Design Build
The officials at the building department called our architects the other day and told them that we were not in compliance with building codes with regard to the number of egresses from the building. As it turns out, code requires two egresses from the main living floor of any house in town. We HAD two egresses from the "first floor", but as those of you who have been following this blog and know the design of our house, the main living floor is actually on the SECOND floor. So, the long and the short of it is that we had to add a second door on the second floor...which means we needed a second set of stairs...and since we were going to have to go ahead and pay for a second set of stairs down the back side of the house...we figured we might as well consider moving the plans for the deck up in the order of sequence. What you see here is our architect's first stab at that deck.
Way back when, we had mentioned to Noah (of Jasonoah Design) that we wanted a deck off the back of the house SOMEDAY (we figured we couldn't afford it right away...which still could be true) and they, of course, came up with some really cool ideas for a kind of deck that would "fit" the house and take maximum advantage of the topography of the site. Instead of simply tacking on a rectangular deck along the back side of the house, they invisioned one that was detached from the house, perhaps built onto one of the large trees just off the back, and connected to the house with some kind of bridge or catwalk. Well, sadly, we won't be able to keep the one tree that this might possibly have worked with - not to mention the finiancial piece. So, Noah came up with this modified design. As you can see from the images above, the deck still does not "stick" to the back of the house, but juts out at an angle. What you really can't see from this illustration is that it will really be dramatic in the way it thrusts out literally into the trees and over the dropoff. Standing in that corner will be kind of like standing on the prow of a ship. Another beautiful design from Jasonoah!

Now if we can just PAY for it....

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Roof progress

The roof system consists of the following: reclaimed barn boards + tar paper (so when you look up through the cracks between the boards you see black not the foil from the insulation) + two layers of rigid insulation panels + strapping + plywood. On top of that will come another course of strapping and then the corrugated metal roof (later).

Monday, June 04, 2007

Roof shots

Pizza picnic on site.