Wednesday, October 24, 2012

What got done this week?

What got done? Lots!

 The ceiling joists over the kitchen are up.

A jumble of wall studs
The first floor interior walls are in place.

Under the stairs, looking from the LR into the mud room
I'm able to see the room layouts now and am getting a feel for how the spaces will work together.

Arial view!
Standing on the kitchen ceiling you can see a bit of the pantry (near right), then hall, bathroom, utility room, mudroom, and finally, garage. The hall will eventually have a small linen/utility closet and the back part will become the pantry's walk-in closet.

That boxed area is the stairwell
The LR is going to be cozy, but that suites the way we live. The TV will be upstairs in the playroom with games and DVD player attached. The LR is for conversation, reading, and watching the activity in the real heart of the home - the kitchen! When my family gathers we all end up in the kitchen or at the dining table and I've designed this house with that in mind.

The pantry
The pantry is huge. In fact, the plans say it is a future master bedroom. But I designed it as a pantry to store my cooking equipment, canned goods, and cook books. It will function as a combination storage area and office where I can plan meals and do the household accounts. I'm sure there is an official (and probably old) word for what this space will actually be, but for me it's an extension of the kitchen. I plan to decorate it, enjoy it, and make it as peaceful a space as possible.
View of the driveway exit
We had so much rain this past Friday that part of the yard turned into a quagmire in just a few hours. I drove the Cube in on solid ground. Chris backed out in the same tracks and buried the car to the hocks. We left it for a day and the soil drained to the point that some hard pushing succeeded in getting it out.


Fog rising
We got up early Saturday to sunshine and fog. Beautiful day. After a hike to enjoy the morning, we got started on the work:

Double header over the hallway

Joists over the dining area

Precarious perch

Protecting the floor from adhesive drips
I "carpeted" the slab with old packaging material so that we wouldn't have to worry about dripping subfloor adhesive onto it. Of course that meant that none got dropped.

Nailing subfloor

View from the second floor

Heavy garage beam
We have a 28 foot span in the garage and we didn't want any posts between the 16 foot bay and the 12 foot bay. So we had to put up a monster beam. Fortunately laminated (engineered) beams are designed to be grouped.  3 beams, each 1 3/4 inches by 24 inches, are put against each other to create one beam 5 1/4 inches across. Nailed appropriately the beam supports the upper garage deck and roofing. Awesome. And heavy.
Level? Yup, level.
Chris and Matt put up one beam at a time and they were heavy, ungainly, and heavy. But they did it.

Clamping the beams prior to nailing

Tractor assist
The beams bowed out a bit without joists to help keep the long expanse in line. So they used the tractor to help hold it straight before nailing. 

Lots got done last week and over the weekend. This week they'll finish up the floor joists and get started on the second floor walls. Whew!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Rain, rain, and more rain

These are pictures of our stream last year (August 2011). It's a seasonal stream as it slows to a trickle in the summer, flows steady during the winter, and surges during the spring melt.

Our waterfall?

At this point two streams actually come together and form a little pool when the water is higher.

The convergence of Matt's Stream and the Big Stream

And this is that same spot now. It rained hard for a full day and the steam swelled to snow melt stage.

Now that's a waterfall!
It was so beautiful that we decided to put off working (even though it was finally sunny) and go for a short hike.
The Big Stream
Matt's land shares a property line with ours so we walked up to check out his streams too. A perfect morning - cool, no wind, sun shining through the leaves, and an excellent excuse to be in the woods.

The stream coming down from the property behind Matt's

Full of rain run-off
These streams are normally fairly sedate. The burble happily most of the summer and slow nearly to a stop during August.

This fallen tree is new
 The rain had swollen them almost over night. We'll have to get a rain gauge so we can tell how much water comes down during the next storm like that.

Back on our property, toward the back edge
We didn't hike for long, but it was a wonderful way to start the day. I can hardly wait to get up there full time.

Matt's little stream
The house is positioned so that you can hear the water as it travels over the little falls. In the spring (and right now), it is loud enough that it obscures surrounding noise to the point that I can't hear the generator running 300 yards away. It's easier to hear from the Nest, but we actually moved the home site from the originally chosen position to one closer just so that we could hear the stream when we sit on the porch. We can't see it as the stream is down in a fold of the land, but the sound is enough to lull you into a state of total relaxation. Ah, looking forward to those afternoons on the porch!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Electric update

Guess who showed up on the property this week? Since you've read the post title, you've probably already guessed that it was National Grid. Apparently the utility easement was signed because they had a work order in hand! Woot! Now, they did not have a date when they would start working, but since I had completely given up on getting power until sometime next Spring, this is awesome news. Supposedly we'll have the poles up sometime in the next six weeks. 

To celebrate, a random picture of T'BD Mouse Killer. Don't let her toy box fool you - she's ruthless!

The mighty mouse killer in her snug
Since the move to the Nest, she has three documented kills. And since she usually eats them completely (except that one organ - what's up with that?), there may be many more. Let's hope so anyway.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Framing the first floor

And now, an update on the first full week of framing! So darn much progress despite rainy weather and freezing temperatures. Matt and Chris kicked serious butt. 

When we last left our intrepid duo (that would be Chris and I), they (we) had reached the East wall of the house. They (okay, I'll stop now)...

At the end of the first weekend
Replace me with my brother, Matt, and much more gets done, much more quickly. This is what they had done by the end of their first day of work.

North wall up; part of East wall too
Yup, that's still water on the slab. We keep squeegeeing it off (can you believe that passed spellcheck?!?) but it just keeps raining. Argh.

The entire East wall

For Rita's benefit...

How do people frame without a tractor?

Back door, door to garage, utilities looking strange

Looking into the kitchen
The kitchen windows are very high to accommodate my antique sink which has a 10 inch backsplash. I wanted all the windows the same height over the counters. This way I'll have room to store stuff on the counter without interfering with the windows. That's the idea anyway, we'll see how it actually works once everything is in place.

Chris and Matt - safety first!

Second to last wall. Woo-hoo!

Ominous sky and the mighty sledgehammer. Thor, where are you?

A rare moment of sunshine

What, you don't park your tractor on the porch?

The tractor came in handy several times. It kept a wall from tilting, it pushed walls to level them, and it made it's way into pictures that you just wouldn't expect to see a tractor in (look up at the kitchen picture - yup, that's the tractor peeking through the door).

The shower stall windows
Now that we've got the walls up I'm starting to be able to "see" my design in real life and I'm wildly excited about how it's turning out. Some things are just as I imagined, some are taking me by surprise (I have a 4 1/2 foot wide closet for heaven's sake - how did that happen??), and I'm loving the reveal. I can hardly wait to get the interior walls up.

Bundled up and ready to build
Frozen water. 24 degrees this morning
It got really cold by the weekend. Low 40 degree temps with a high wind on Friday made things a bit uncomfortable for working. Lots of hot liquid and food was needed to keep energy levels up. Nothing like a grilled buffalo chicken wrap to raise the internal temperature. Fortunately the wind died down Saturday as the temps dropped to 24 overnight. Some much missed sunshine helped make the day pleasant.

So much progress!

By noon Saturday the first floor walls were up, secured, and waiting for the last bits of sheathing. The garage door openings are huge and I'll finally be able to park the truck inside (our current garage door is too short - that what happens when you live in a 1930 house). Hmm, park inside during the winter, a very nice thought for upstate NY!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Framing, rain, and patience

Friday was day 1 of framing and it was a perfect autumn day - cool, sunny, no wind. Chris spent the week previous marking out the studs, constructing T boxes, and setting up the site. Since we haven't actually had 24 continuous hours without rain for the last two weeks, he set up the screen tent as rain cover.

Beautiful day!
We decided to start on the North wall of the garage as section 1 had no windows or doors, thus making it easier to frame. Figured we start with a win, ya know? 

Squaring up the wall

Everything was going great. Took about 45 minutes to get it all set up, nailed, squared, and skinned.

 We took a break for lunch and then came back to raise that wall! Now, I'm about 5' 2" and 120 lbs of accountant - not exactly in shape for lifting something this heavy. And believe me, a fully skinned wall of 2x6 timber is very heavy. But we managed it.

Not easy, but it went up
Unfortunately, that was only the beginning. Because now we had to lift it up onto the sill.
We have a wall! Now what...
We first tried to lift it on our own. Not a chance.

Then Chris demonstrated some mad skills by getting the tractor into the garage. We were going to try to lift it using the front loader.

Lining up the bucket
 Unfortunately, we couldn't get a good enough grip to lift the darn thing. So we tried the backhoe. Nope - still no go. Argh.

Eventually we decided that it was time to give up and just start on framing the next wall.

See the water on the slab? Lots of rain.

Small walls next to the garage doors
 Dad and Jeanne came by Saturday to give us a hand with the wall. No pictures of the raising as we were all on the wall. But we got it up, leveled, and secured.

Wall #2

Notice how wet the slab is? That's because it rained all night. And into the day. But we persevered and got two more sections of wall up and secured. Then we framed the rest of the North wall of the house. Had some issues with window and door sizes but we figured them out and got it done. We didn't manage to take pictures though as the darn camera battery died.

Chris and my brother are working on the framing this week. Can't wait to see how far they get.