Saturday, October 11, 2008

It's a House!

Geothermal Installation

This is the geothermal stuff. It comes in a ball and rolls out in this pattern. David says to tell you it is a refrigerator backwards. You bury the pipes in the ground deeply and the ground warms the liquid in the pipes to about 64 degrees. This goes into a pump and the heat is transferred in a closed system to the loops of underfloor heating pipe. (We have to top up that temperature with some electricity to make it warmer.) It heats the water for other household uses too.

Top-floor Framing

The top framing happened so quickly. Ben had a bigger team out this week to work on the top floor. Usually he has three people including himself, but for this stick framing he doubled the team and they did this in almost one day! The pictures are James' bedroom and the stairwell. Ray designed that to be very open-- bigger than just the stairs. We also said if we could avoid it we wanted no halls and he made everything open onto a landing upstairs.


These are roof trusses. This is an end roof truss. The middle has storage trusses-- that is they are framed in such a way that you can use the attic space. We won't finish it properly-- just plywood floor, but Claire and I can throw a couple of paste tables up there and put our scrapbook and other craft stuff in the attic and use it permanently-- leave it out. We are very excited about that space.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Doors, Doors and More Doors

These are the fabulous old doors that we got in Walla Walla 2 summers ago. We just went down to visit Jan and Cliff (with Sean's truck.) David dropped me off at a lovely antique store and when he came back I'd purchased eleven 100-year-old doors from a Whitman college building!! (not sure he will ever leave me in an antique store on my own.) I didn't mean too exactly. The antique dealer had all this furniture made out of old doors and I jokingly said, "What I need is THE DOORS." and he sold them to me. I didn't even know if it was a good price-- $36 a door. We went back to Jan's and she looked on line at Home Depot and a new solid wooden door was around $200 a door-- for nothing too special. Of course, they haven't entirely ended up $36 doors. There is a lot of stripper and steel wool involved here!

The white door we bought in Seattle at a great place called Earthwise Salvage. It is an actual HOUSE front door from about the 20's. What we love love love about it is that it came with the original, mechanical doorbell-- that works wonderfully! The top door is James' bedroom door--Tardis. Yes I stripped AND REPAINTED A DOOR! It wasn't as painful as you might imagine, because one of the Walla Walla doors had a layer of terrible green stain on it after layers of paint. I am not sure I could have gotten rid of that stain even with the electric sander! So I painted over that door.

Then to make the doors complete we went shopping at various antique and salvage places for wonderful door knobs. (I much prefer salvage places -- cooler stuff at better prices!) We have found a wide selection of glass, brass, and black porcelain. Every door is different.

I have now stripped seventeen doors- I think. (I am really ready to be done with doors!)

Main Floor

Some pictures of framing the main floor, the big beams and James crouching in the entry window. Finally it looks like a box with a lid on it when the top floor goes on. My sister refers to it as the giant beer cooler! Is this better than Kate's name for the derelict house, "The banjo shack?"

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Big Rock

The plumber made a ten inch mistake with one of the pipes set in the concrete basement floor. This called for a complete move of one of the walls. (Ben had figured how to sort this BEFORE he told me about it even though this was not his mistake!) However, this put the wall right under the fireplace upstairs. I looked at this and decided the mistake was meant to be!! I asked Ben if BIG ROCK could go IN the house and be a part of the fireplace with the extra support of the moved wall. Ben measured it and calculated the weight.

He waited until the crane guy had lifted all the beams up and into place, then casually asked if he would lift the rock INTO the house. The crane guy was not to happy about this, but when we assured him that we would take liability if it fell through the floor, he agreed. Ben's uncle was concerned I'd change my mind and how would I get it out of the house. Ben said, "I guess she'll cut it up." What really made me laugh was that we set it on the subfloor-- the underfloor heating isn't in-- the gypcrete isn't in!! I asked Ben about this and he said,"They just have to cement around it!"

I think the really funny thing about the whole operation was that the guys did it in almost complete silence. I think this might have been because I was standing there the whole time. I finally asked them how many beers they were going to get out of this story tonight to make them talk.


These are various pictures of framing the basement and then framing the next floor.
You can see the start of the deck off the master bedroom. Picture number four is the south facing wall. On the right is the front door (not that you can access it yet as it isn't back filled-- there is just a big hole under it,) with lance like windows. It will have an entry porch with a roof.

The Rock Pile and The Big Rock

This is the big rock pile that the kids and I collected painstakingly in the hot sun this summer for hours and hours. Some of them we pick axed out of the ground!! As I write this the geothermal guy covered half of it with a huge pile of dirt and I am going to be so cross if he dumps my rocks back into the ground on Monday. I left a long convoluted answer phone message to them and called Ben who is out at the land on monday.

James is standing on THE BIG ROCK. This rock is our favourite. It is perfect to sit on and when the plumber made a mistake .... (go to next section for the thrilling conclusion of Big Rock.)

Basement Floor

This was really cool. The first picture here is gravel being shot into the spaces where it is needed. Once the walls were up to the first floor level, Ben poured gravel into building space, smoothed it and then made trenches for pipe work. The third picture the plumber laid out pipe, then insulation followed and more rebar, and the pipes for the underfloor heating and then cement got poured over all of it.


ICF stands for insulated concrete form. The above picture is what it looks like before you put in rebar and concrete. We call it lego. It snaps together just like that. Next time we build we plan to use James. These are pictures of the start of the basement walls going up.

Here Comes the Cement

This is pouring the foundation. Everyone turns out to watch (except David who had to work that day.) I put the picture in too small of the cement pump truck. You should click on it and see it big. It has extended arms that lift it off the ground like something out of Howls moving Castle! The man in the hard hat in the picturing guiding the cement into the foundation is our fabulous builder, Ben. The two people smoothing the cement are his dad and uncle, (family business.)

Prepare to Build

Finally, we get planning permission and get rid of the derelict house. Ben the builder gets ready for the real house. This is the famous facility(rented for the duration of the build) on the land-- otherwise known as the honey bucket. The other two pictures are the foundation. We had our first spot of trouble with the foundation. One corner was clay-- we had to get the geotech from the DDES in, dig down deeper than planned, and add gravel, but it worked out.