Sunday, September 23, 2007

Some miscellaneous details

Stairs complete

I'm absolutely crazy about the exterior staircase. Another design coup by Noah of Jasonoah Design Build as far as I'm concerned. One of the very earliest concepts that evolved in my mind back in the beginning was flipping the traditional roles of upstairs and downstairs in our barn house. Instead of having the main living spaces on the first floor where we knew we would not have the views of the roof structure, we decided that we wanted the living spaces on the second floor where we could take advantage of the height, lofts, and exposed roof beams. Noah's innovation was both practical and aesthetic. By having the main access come in on the second floor we would not only save valuable space inside, but we would not have to bring our guests in through the "private" living spaces of bedrooms and bath. In the end what he gave us was a sculptural piece that will certainly be one of the most distinctive features of the exterior of the house.

The decking of the landing and the stairs is Brazilian mahogany - which I think is beautiful and offers a rich contrast to the gray exterior walls. I also like how you can see light through the cracks - kind of makes you feel like you're in a tree house...or on a ship, I guess. Both seem appropriate to me.

We decided to add a mahogany cap to the railing, and a more traditional hand rail on the inside for the kids.

The metal cladding is key. Great tie-in with the roof and completes the sculptural quality of the entire structure. Love it!

This shot gives you a good sense of the effect created by the single cement column which holds up the entire structure. The builder had to ask me if I was SURE this is how we wanted it -- given that it's just not how you typically support stairs. "Not typical" has become one of the most commonly uttered phrases around this job site...which I love. Of course, it's PERFECT. By having one singe column I think you can see that the effect is almost disconcerting. It certainly makes the whole thing "pop". Sure it's perfectly stable. Like other aspects of this project, it makes you stop and take a closer look.

Electrical nearing completion (rough anyway...)

The installation of the recessed lighting (which is everywhere we have hung ceilings) went pretty quickly, as did the running of the wires. Then the electrician went on vacation...

...seriously, though. We have a GREAT electrician. He takes great pride in his work and is very friendly and professional. I know we are getting the best from him. He made a very good case for spending a little more money and getting all Lightolier lighting. Makes sense. You can always rip out cheap cabinets (for example) but chaging out recessed lighting that fails after a few years is much harder. So many choices have to be made in this kind of job - all of them shaped by financial concerns. One of the lessons I have been learning is that it really makes sense to pay more for CERTAIN things, even if it hurts right now.

Plumbing nearly complete (rough, anyway)

One of the fun parts of this job (for me, anyway!) has been watching the facial expressions of the contractors when they ponder the job before them -- having never seen ANYTHING like this before. (Actually, that's not entirely true, since each of them has worked with our builder before and therefore has probably had to deal with timber frame structures at some point.) In the case of the plumber, how to run the vent stacks up to the roof was a particular challenge since due to the SIPs panels we have no exterior stud walls to run them in...and then there are the huge timbers to work around. Here in the corner of the kitchen you can see the solution to one such case: in order to get this stack up from the bathroom below it had to be run up through the floor, then across laterally in the studs, then up through a 4x4 nailer and then through a 10x10 tie beam and finally turning to head toward the roof. Much of this run will be covered by cabinets or backsplash, but where it is exposed I will have to do some disguising of the PVC. I'll either box it in or sheathe it in something more attractive to look at.
This is the tiny shower stall in the upstairs bathroom...

...and the washer hook-up in the laundry room downstairs.

This is cool: in the master bath shower I asked the plumber to route the shower line through the ceiling of the shower stall so that it drops straight down above the shower-er. I'm going to put in a wide diameter shower head with the intended effect being that of standing under a waterfall or something like that. I don't know, I've always liked to be totally engulfed in my shower...seems like a cheap luxury.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Getting there...

©Jasonoah Design Build
I am through priming, spackling, caulking, sanding, and painting three and a half of the four sides of the house: just finished the front this evening. I am very pleased with how it's looking. I have to say, it's better than I had imagined. Can't wait till the pump jacks come down... the way, I do NOT like standing up there reaching for the highest points on the soffit and trim. Those things wiggle and jiggle way too much for my liking and the builder never put up the back braces so you really feel like you're hanging out there. I still have to finish painting the trim, but I may opt for the 40' ladder instead. Not sure which is better.

One of the neighors stopped by this evening while I was painting. Very curious. No one really knows quite what to make of it. Most people think the MDO is not the final siding and that we are going to continue with the barn board right across the rest of the house. I am getting better at giving my response, but it's a sell most of the time. According to the neighbor, there are a LOT of people who are ...curious...and eager to see where this goes. Pretty much every car that goes by slows down -- I would love to hear what they are saying!!! Nevertheless I am very proud of this creation; I like the fact that she's a head-turner and a conversation starter. When we are finally in I think we'll have an open house for the neighbors so that they can see what the inside looks like. That'll be fun...

The other question everyone seems to ask is: when will it be done? WOULD'T I LOVE TO KNOW!!! The builder surprised me the other day by saying "by the end of the month" -- a seemingly audacious claim given the state of the place and the "speed" with which work progresses. But the basic breakdown looks like this:

- between one to two weeks 'till rough inspection (plumbing, heating, electrical)
- another few days before the insulation inspection
- sheetrockers and plasterers: one week or so
- finish work: floors, cabinets, appliances, etc. (maybe a couple of weeks?)

total: 4-6 weeks????

Pray for glitch-free progress!

Saturday, September 01, 2007