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i’m a lumberjack

September 3rd, 2012 by

It was a little warm for flannel shirts. Heck, it was too warm for clothes, period, or even just moving at all.  But my sweetie and his friend Scott hauled the logs left from a big beautiful poplar we had to take down (or else the house might have ended up, after being built, with an unwanted exterior/interior feature that would’ve given us fresh air somewhere between the kitchen and the master bath).

photo of two guys on top of big logs

I'm a lumberjack and I'm OK

Some part of one of these logs will become the desk in my office at some future date.  Meantime Scott will help us by providing his milling services and kiln-drying expertise so a once-beautiful tree will become beautiful, usable hardwood.

keep ‘er footin’

August 31st, 2012 by

That headline is an obscure reference probably only one person still in my life would get–it has to do with a skipper on a racing sailboat, something they called an Ensign back in the day, who used to exhort his crew to “keep ‘er footin'” when they were on an upwind leg. “Footing” referred to the ability to sail faster by dropping a bit off the wind, taking the chance that even though your line to the mark in a race wasn’t as tight as the boat next to you you’d make up the time in faster hull speed.

It almost works here, too.  Our indefatigable builder, Leon, and his superintendent Myron have done a bangup job of keepin’ us footin’.  The house is only 10 days old, as far as construction goes, and we have our footings.  (Another word meaning there–see number 3–but still sort of applicable.)  Which are, for those of us who are ignorant of construction terms, the very basis of the house; the foundation to the foundation, as it were.  The hard parts that dig into the dirt, like your toes would into the sand if you were walking on the beach.

digging it

August 27th, 2012 by

A few new photos, as the big yellow machines dig our foundation.  First you see the beginning of our driveway, then several shots of the house site with the carved-out sections for foundation and crawl space.

It’s starting to look like a house!

the first stake is driven!

August 24th, 2012 by

It was just coincidence that your blogger showed up at the site today when the first stake was about to be driven into the ground, marking the exact location of our house-to-be. The stake is right at our front door, at the corner marking the transition to the garage.

Surveyor Jonathan Fleener handed me the flag and showed me how to spot the location (though he actually did it, so we’re sure it was correct). Here’s the sequence:

First I act like I know what I’m doing with modern (very cool) surveying equipment, then I take the flag on a wire and stick it into the ground.  The ground, being red clay, was very hard and Jonathan had to come over after the photo shoot and hammer the flag into the ground.

Laura sticks flag in ground

Siting our front door!

Laura plays surveyor

Fred's mom pretending she's a surveyor

let’s give them something to talk about

August 21st, 2012 by


It’s really real today!  The earth movers (and shakers?) started tearing out trees and clearing the space for our driveway today.  Fred is being born!

The pains of childbirth are probably worse–I’ll never know about that–but the time it’s taken to get to this day suddenly seems much less now that actual physical evidence of our soon-to-be-house is there to see.

Here are a couple still photos:

on our marks; get set…

July 6th, 2012 by

Within a couple of months, we’ll begin construction–and start seeing concrete (sorry, Leon, for the builder joke) evidence of all the hours of prep work we’ve put in in the last year and a half..  Thanks today to our architects, the folks at in situ studio, for sending this rendering of Fred to us on the eve of our vacation.

We’ve ironed out most of the details–down to, yes, the red wall you see here–and the color of the seamed-steel exteriLovely rendering of a house named Fredor, as well as the bathtub for me, the shower for him, and the cat facilities.

I do appreciate how gorgeous Matt et al at in situ have made both of us look in this rendering.  Need to find a red dress like that to wear for the photo once we’re finished.


wow…for real?

June 15th, 2012 by

We now have construction documents and specs, which gives me a shiver and a thrill at the same time–we’re really doing this!  It’s a HOUSE!  (named Fred)

From said CDs, the overall house plan:






It’s down to the details, now, like deciding which decking material to use (Trex?  Azek?), whether to substitute the really cool Euro-style sink Alape sinkfor the more mundane Kohler in the powder room, and do we use engineered hardwood flooring or the real stuff?

I’m actually thinking now about the housewarming party we’ll throw about the time I get my graduate degree.  There will be much to celebrate.

getting closer

May 16th, 2012 by
View from the south

How a house named Fred will look from the South

Graphic of front door design for a house named Fred

Pulling up our driveway to the front door

Yesterday we decided not to rush the groundbreaking.  We’ll be going out of town soon for a while (pardon the vagueness but we’re not interested in inviting thieves to come visit while we’re away), and the way things had been looking the construction crew would break ground right before we headed out.  Not wanting to have our vacation made a tense time by worrying that we’d get a phone call while we were away–“Hey, Mr. Fred, when we dug for the well we hit granite instead; where do you want us to put it now?”–we decided to push back the date of actually starting to BUILD this thing to when we get back.

But that’s still big news: we are, finally, that close to beginning to put a hole in the ground.  Then we’ll actually have photos to share of the progress of AHNF, my pet term for a house named Fred.  In the meantime, here are a couple screen grabs from the latest Sketchup.  It’s coming along, folks.  We’re picking tiles and finding new appliances (wall-hung toilets to save room, rather than the floor-standers we had chosen) and looking at Flor for the closet.

house school…not school house

April 27th, 2012 by

Ever notice how the different things in your life sometimes converge in ways you might not have expected?  One of us decided to go back to school upon arriving here in our new home town, and the purpose had nothing to do with building a house.  But as it’s turned out, the two intertwined when this one needed a topic for a multimedia project–something she could videotape interviews about, create Flash graphics about (you don’t want to know what a pain that is, if you don’t already know), design a website about.  Here’s the more-or-less final result, which will–when you get to the About page–send you right back here.  Life is just full of endless loops.

As a teaser, though, here’s one of the still (not Flash) graphics you’ll see there:

JPG graphic of house exterior

Fred 2.0 from the east

fun with details

March 15th, 2012 by

Funky glass tile for bathroom

Yes, I’m the same human in this family who just posted about the silliness of being concerned about silverware-drawer-location issues.  Yes, I frequently bitch and moan (internally, if not vocally) about the tedium of dealing with the details.  But some of them are fun.

It’s been a few months since we first traveled to Best Tile to look at stuff we might put on our walls and floors, so it took some time to find the photos we’d saved on the computer.  But when we did, it was just as cool to see some of these interesting shapes–and this one was still our favorite, as an accent in the shower or around the bathroom wall.

(That is my handsome husband’s face peeking out above the sample.)

We are at that point where we’re choosing these things–which wood will panel our hallway walls, what color the quartz composite countertops will be.

It can be the fun stuff, but I have to admit to still getting impatient–why can’t we just start BUILDING this house?–and wanting to get past the small stuff to the big thing of having a house of our own.