Monday, August 20, 2012

By Golly, It's a House!

The house as viewed from the Pease's driveway. 

The last two weeks have been a whirlwind of activity, focusing primarily on two things:  framing and rockeries.  The exterior shell of the home is now completely framed in, and you can really get a sense of what the house is; it will scale back down when it's painted black, but this is it, folks.  After the interior framing, they'll move on to putting up overhangs, soffits posts, etc.  Windows will be delayed, so that will delay the application of siding, so for a month or so, it will have this bright wood coloring.
Along with the framing they've built significant rockeries to create level terraces on both side of the house.  These areas are very important to us, because they give us the ability to walk out on grade from the house at all levels.  Being on a hill means you're always climbing up or down, and we just didn't want to feel like mountain goats in our old age.  We asked the team for 'Big-Ass' rocks, and that's what we got (Be careful what you wish for . . .).  As well, they've buried the 1500 gallon water cistern, which will meet the house demands and provide a water supply in the event of fire (made all the more crucial after last week's big fire in Cle Elum); and buried a similiar-sized septic tank at the base of one of the rockeries.

We wished for a real summer over the last 2-3 years, when our summers here on the west side were non-events - so cool and wet.  Seattle just experienced 29 days without rain and temperatures up into the 90s.  The east side has been toasty, too - 101 in Leavenworth yesterday.  The crews working on our house have been working in 95+ temperatures, and we know that's very hard on them.  But they're doing great work, and we are really happy with the house as it takes shape.

In the middle of that, I took a trip to San Diego to visit our daughter, Barrie.  Look for photos of that trip on my Facebook page.

All for now!  Here are photos from this weekend.

Testing out the framing for the mudroom/pantry/powder

The view from Wally's studio, looking over the entry hall

Looking through the great room, patio door on the left, then windows over the woodstove, then the main window assembly at the southeast corner of the living room.  Lots of sun here!

Master Bedroom. You'll never actually see this view because the closet will occupy the middle of the space.  That's the shower in the far corner, and the door to the hot tub outside.

View from the master bedroom.  Again, the closet is taped off in blue on the floor so the bedroom will be cozy. The windows open to the northeast, right where the sun comes up.

View from the bed in the guest bedroom.  My office will occupy the right side of this space. And that's the door to the upper terrace on the left.

Kitchen.  The worktable and the plywood on the floor mark off the island.  The far wall is for pantry and stove, etc.

A nice view in the morning; Dave's watering his big pasture.

The Pease's cool copper weathervane.

And here's Dave mowing his upper pasture - Dave mows a LOT!

Sunrise from the trailer.  Right about here we heard a bear greeting the day with a huge roar.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Let’s Catch Up, Shall We?

A rare Sunday at home gives me the chance to catch up; it’s been a month since the last post!  But first, can we just acknowledge what a special day it is?  It’s the fortieth anniversary of arriving in Washington state with my family.  It’s Seafair Sunday.  It’s 93 degrees outside, and I swam in the pool earlier today.  Would I be jinxing things if I said out loud, “Hey everybody, it’s SUMMER!”

Yes, it’s been four weeks, and in that time, the harvest has come and gone, and the house has been framed up.  This stage of construction is my favorite.  After such a long time getting into and then back up out of the ground, it’s amazing how quickly the house frames up.  It’s as if it’s assembling before your eyes.  We only see it on the weekends, and it’s just astounding how much these guys can get done in 4-5 days.  Especially when it gets up into the nineties.

What makes this stage my favorite is all the different elements that come into focus; the house becomes a house, not a plan for a house.  Here are some of the ways this part of the process is so satisfying:
Entry Hall looking north
  • You can now see what was hard to envision from plans.  For example, the situation with the entry is now clearer.  The entry hall tops out at over 22 feet at one end, ten feet at the other, and is 6’ 6” wide.  We plan to clad the interior of the entry hall with exterior siding, 8-inch cedar channel siding, stained Slate Gray (nearly black).   The thought of all that black siding in this space is a bit scary, although there are several openings in these walls at the ground level and at the loft, including several windows, which will reduce the amount of siding surface.  Do we leave that open floor-to-ceiling, or go ahead and install the cross ties the architect spec’d at the level of the floor above? Hmmm. This picture illustrates the condition.
The view from the living room.
  • You now see how views from the home will be framed.  No longer do we enjoy the panoramic view of the whole canyon that we’d gotten used to, sitting on the floors before the framing went up.  Now we can see what we’ll see out of each and every window.  

  • We now have the true sense of this home’s scale.  Although it’s small in square footage, this home is pretty large in scale.  From the bottom storage level to the top of the loft looks like 35 feet.  

  • We can read the “T”, and see how this configuration created two level terraces to expand living area in season. 
On this side is the kitchen garden terrace
  • Scale actually has many ramifications, such as how the house sits in its terrain.  This week we did more clearing and re-grading, and in the process created a way to walk or drive around the whole house – this will make it more defensible in the case of fire. 
Room for the greenhouse!
  • An on another aspect of scale, the framed-in house allows us to determine the location and slope of retaining rockeries, as well as the size of the rock.  And Nick was able to source a bunch of “Big-Ass” rocks, which will be placed this coming week.
  • You move on to the next exciting set of decisions; we think we’re going to select the copper metal roofing. 
 Here are some photos to update the last month’s progress.  
View from the master bedroom

This opening is for the triple sliding door (dining room)

Guest bedroom view