Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Steel Yourself


Monday brought the welding crew out to make the steel moment frame for the end of the porch.  It was really exciting.  I did have a moment’s pause (heh, heh) about whether or not it was okay to look at a welding torch through a camera lens.


Manpower was enough for the posts on the lower level: two to carry and three to raise it in to position.


But the steel I-beam to go across the top needed a little more oomph.  On solid ground, 3 men might have been able to carry it, but stepping from floor joist to floor joist and trying to position it just right on top of the posts seemed a bit much to ask.

So, we had to wait a moment until a crane could be brought in to do the heavy lifting.


The crane lowered the beam right into place and away they went with the welding torch:


Meanwhile, nobody asked this guy if he’d like a little help from a crane.


I’d really have to steel myself to go up there, especially with the sleet that was accumulating that day.


These guys are fearless, though. 

Now the roof work is mostly done and the framers are winding it up. 


Thursday, December 16, 2010

If You Give an Architect a Picture

I promised you a story, so here it is.  Has everybody read If You Give a Mouse a Cookie or If You Give a Moose a Muffin or any other books in the series?  I’m thinking of adding to the series with my very own book, If You Give an Architect a Picture.

It all started with a discussion of what kind of tub to put in the master bathroom.  I shared this inspiration picture with Justeen:



And the next thing I knew, this:


became this:


which ended up looking like this:


As I mentioned before, it balances the dining room bump out on the other side of the porch:


I like it!

Then, when I posted this picture of dear daughter’s bathroom and mentioned eliminating the window,


the creative juiced began flowing again, and this:


became this:


which lets us keep the window without the worry of water from the shower.  It also makes creative use of the space under the eaves.  After all how tall does the ceiling over your bathroom sink need to be?


Here’s the outside view with the roof of the side porch being framed out.  It will be great to get a little light into that bathroom.

Tomorrow, the architects, Denise and Justeen are coming out to visit and help us select the brick.  I’m excited and a little scared.  After all, if you give an architect a picture and they suggest changes, what happens when they come for a site visit?

Stay tuned!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

A Peak Experience


Everyone has told me that the framing is the most exciting part.  They were right!  It is so exciting to watch the house spring out of the ground.


Seeing each new part is so exciting.  The roof rafters really give the structure definition.


I was fascinated by the way they built little ladders to climb up and set the ridge pole on.


For the architects, this was a few pencil lines connecting these rooflines.  For the framers, it’s a high wire act.


From the view of the neighbors’ driveway, the house really does seem to just be growing in the ground.  I don’t think we need to worry about headlights in the master suite from this driveway unless we’re sleeping in the attic.


By yesterday evening, they had the rafters mostly in place, but the center section was bristling with lumber ready to go up on the roof.


The back was starting to take shape, too.


I’m so happy to have this magnolia there framing the master suite.


And here you can see the magnolia out of the living room windows.


Just for good measure, we left a magnolia at the entrance that hides the master suite quite nicely.



I really like the bump out in the master bathroom.  There’s a story there.  I think I’ll tell it tomorrow. 


See how well it balances the bump out in the dining room?

All those rafters kind of look like hair, don’t they?  They give the house a lot of personality!


Meanwhile back at the Bat Cave… okay, so it’s just the garage.  But, anyway they’ve got the gable end over the breakfast area framed out.


P1130467 Oh, and look ! Up in darling daughter’s bathroom, there is a window framed out.  Guess what?  There’s a story there, too.  In fact it’s part of the same story as the master bathroom. Stay tuned.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Raising the Roof


We’re starting to put the lid on this thing. 

It so exciting to see the roof go up!

Although, I think the framers are much more excited by the steel drum that Builder Gary delivered yesterday.  You can see them here warming their hands while they break for lunch.

While they were lunching and warming, I had an explore.  I have a healthy respect (fear) of nail guns, so I keep my distance while they are working.


Under this roofline will be the bathroom for our darling daughter.  It will be a funny little room just as wide as a bathtub is long and with a sloping ceiling.  There was going to be a window in the end, but we decided that the maintenance of having a window in a shower was too problematic and will put in a solar tube, instead.


This is what it looks like from the inside.  It needs decorating.  And walls.  It’s a good thing we nixed the window.  With a view like that, we’d never get her out of the shower!


From the back yard, the rooflines are beginning to take shape.  with the plywood sheathing up, you can start to see where the windows and doors will be. 



I like the way the top windows look crenellated right now.  Especially since the two left windows will be son #2’s room.  He has such a love for medieval warfare and history, that it’s neat to have his windows look like a battlement at this stage.


They’ll end up being dormers like this, though.


From the inside, the view is pretty spectacular.  If anyone did storm the castle from this side, it would be an uphill battle.



Not surprisingly, the living room windows below have the same view, but just not with quite the treetop perspective.


Meanwhile, dear daughter’s bedroom is too chaotic and messy to get a good sense of the view.  I wonder if that will be any different after she moves in….?


Here’s a comparison of plan vs. reality.  You never quite get the same perspective, since the plans are flat and have no perspective.


Things are starting to take shape!  I really hope they get some sheathing on the roof before the rain/sleet/snow in the forecast gets here.  I  know the framers hope so, too.  Then everyone can have a nice easy sheltered job like this fellow adding reinforcements to a supporting wall in the basement.


Now that’s what I call a supporting role!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A Room With a View



Today while they were busy nailing down the trusses on the 2nd floor, I crept into the master suite to check out the feel and  the views.  I have read about creating vistas and focal points in the landscape, but this really takes it to a whole new level.



And speaking of taking it to a whole new level, these guys were doing it.  I guess if they can put their trust in the trusses, I can, too.


One truly amazing thing was that they were hoisting those 4x8 sheets of plywood up to the 2nd floor without out using any machines, simple or otherwise. I guess real men don’t use pulleys (or inclined plains or levers).  But I’ll bet they also don’t need a gym membership.

Movin’ on Up!


Rain, rain, go away!  We have had so much rain while we were trying to get this faming done!  Still, they’ve been progressing slowly.


You can almost see the view that we will have from the screen porch.  I think it will be like  a tree house.  We’ll really be up in the air!


From the back the house is starting to take shape.  Every day brings a few more changes.


So many boards everywhere!  It’s hard to tell what’s going on.  In fact, it’s utter chaos. 

Imagine that.  Utter chaos in our house?!


The house is getting some clothes on as they sheath it with plywood.  The sheathing adds some rigidity as they continue to move on up. The idea is to get all the structural walls up and get the roof on as quickly as possible.  Then they can come back and finish up the details under shelter.


When I arrived today, they already had the exterior wall of our master suite underway.


As I stood there shivering in the cold, I noticed a slight problem.

Anyone else notice that they have framed around a 10ft tall pipe?  How on earth would they stand the wall up?

Well, since I’ve been around so much, I knew that the extra length was added for the inspection when the inspector wanted 10 feet of water in the pipes to make sure there were no leaks.  So, I told the head framer to cut it off.

But wait!

Let’s call builder Gary just to be sure.  Builder Gary said it was fine to cut it off, so it was done.  Only…

Did I mention that there was 10 feet of water in the pipe?


After I stopped laughing and hung up the phone with Builder Gary, I remembered that I had my camera.  I didn’t have the heart to take picture of the now soaked framer, so I just snapped the last of the fountain.


After that it was easy to raise the wall. 


I noticed that the AT&T guys were back on the job, so I walked back to check on them, taking a few pictures along the way. 

They have begun to frame the party/parking pavilion that will be under the screen porch.  I can’t wait to see it with brick arches.


And from the top of the curved retaining wall, you get a sense of the way the house will frame the back yard.


More brick arches will go in these openings.


By afternoon, they had the master suite mostly framed.


Just in time for another load of trusses. So …


Up on top of the first floor they went to lay the ground work for the second floor.  Talk about upward mobility!


I can’t wait to see the next bit go up!