Monday, July 2, 2012

Week 4: Schedule Starting to Slip

After spending a weekend in Bellevue, we returned this week to see visible progress.  The lower level and main floor are all framed in, plumbed and the slab prepared with insulation, structural and in-floor heating.  Some of the backfill is done, and foundation forming is underway for the upper story, where it projects behind the main retaining wall at the back of the main level. 

Meetings we had the week before last yielded decisions on the fa├žade rock and the exterior painting scheme.  Here it is – hard to see, perhaps, but basically black semi-transparent stain on the body, Sierra bronze window mullions and a bronze roof, blue-black window/door trim, clear stained peeler poles/beams/soffits, and this lovely Montana stone for around the base and the retaining walls.

We didn't like any of these.  Too red!
Unfortunately, we were unable to decide on the finish for the concrete floors.   There are several choices for color and textural finish.  We are going with an acid-washed finish; they apply muriatic acid to the floors which opens them up and delivers whatever pigment you choose.  There is a brochure with a dozen colors.  But we visited a floor nearby and found it didn’t look at all like the photos.  So Nacho agreed to make some samples for us; this delayed the pour by a week, but we felt it was worth it to get it right.  Here are the samples Nacho made for us. 

1/3 the pigment, not really this red
Yesterday we picked the one in the right corner:  1/3 the normal amount of pigment and an acid wash to give the floors a little texture.  It looks pretty yellow in this photo (depending on your monitor), but we felt it would nicely complement the materials we’ve chosen thus far.  Plus, with the neighbor’s dogs walking over the samples, we were able to get a sense for how each color would handle dust and muddy footprints – this color is just about the same as the mud!

Building a home with structural concrete floors is new to us.  Unlike conventional framing, all of the locations for water and electrical supply, as well as drains and heating controls, have to be identified up front.  We learned this the hard way.  We haven’t yet settled on the kitchen layout, and learned the hard way what happens when you don’t ask those nagging little questions that linger in the back of your mind.  Luckily, we finally asked Leo how he knew where the kitchen sink drain was going if we hadn’t finalized the layout of the island yet.  Our plumber Dean saved the day and isn’t even going to charge us to move the drain pipe over a foot, even though he had to come out and dig it up to move it.

The floors are also structural; framing will be done right on top of these floors.  Here you can see the various water and power supply lines, and the drains are all in there, too.  This view is looking towards our master bedroom.

Here are various views of the floors going down last Friday, June 29.  The pour lasted about 2 1/2 hours, and required three concrete trucks worth of material.  It was like a dance, these guys are so good.  No wasted motion.

It's hand-troweled after a couple of hours.

Nacho is taking down the floor for our shower here.

The kitchen/dining area; there's the sink in the right spot!
Pour complete, concrete curing.  Looking across the great room to the view.

This coming week is the 4th of July, and not much will happen, other than Nacho applying the color to the floors this Friday.  Can’t wait to see what they look like!  Framing is scheduled to start June 9, putting us about 2 weeks behind.

Next Post:  Framing Begins!

Week 3.5: Foundations

Things get serious when the concrete starts going into the ground.  Taking out trees and moving dirt around are great big splashy things.  But pouring concrete into wooden forms with steel rebar in them means you're serious!

Here are the before, during and afters of some portions of the house, starting with the rear wall.

Looking behind the wall. 

And these views of the storage room below the great room, and how they had to design the structure to support the upper floor as it flies beyond the area below.

The far wall is a major shear wall; took two pours to make it.


Next post:  Floors!