Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Snow, Heat, Wiring, Gutters, Marriage

Hi everyone. Sorry we haven't posted in a while, but things have been a bit crazy around here, and we hadn't been up to the house in three weeks. There's been quite a bit of progress, so here we go...

The above pictures show the downspouts that have been applied to the corners of the house. We were really looking forward to seeing the gutter detail Nina designed, but all the snow blocked the view (Walter has not yet installed the snow guards). In the top picture, the area enclosed in plastic is our second floor deck, where they have begun to install the ipe decking. Below are a couple of pictures - the first shows the wood before installation, and the second shows the work done so far...

Here's a shot of our living/dining/kitchen area, looking toward the kitchen. The five light fixtures in the center of the room will be over the dining table. In the distance, you can see the duct for the vent hood that will be over the range in the island. Almost all of the duct work, plumbing and wiring is done, and the house now has electric and heat. The piles of wood in the below picture are our floors, which they started installing on Saturday. Don't worry - they'll be covered up when they spray the insulation and close up the walls in a few weeks.

Here's a shot of the eastern view from the living room. The views really open up when the leaves are down...

Here's a shot of the southern view from the living room, followed by a close up of the rocks in the first picture...

And here's a shot of our kitchen cabinets. They're beautiful, and so well made, but they'll really shine once they are assembled. That's because the grain of the walnut will continue across multiple cabinets.

That's all for this week. We've got family coming to Brooklyn next weekend, so we may not make it up to the house. Expect the next update just after New Years.

Oh yeah, in case you haven't heard, we're engaged. Woo hoo!

Saturday, November 17, 2007


Apologies, I couldn't come up with a better name for the post. My creative well is running low, as I'm scrambling to finish up all the last-minute details + specifications that I put off because I had "so much time" to make those decisions. Well, that time is running out as you can see from the above photo. The outside of the house is nearing completion, which means it will be completely sealed up and insulated and heated within the next few weeks! Speaking of heating...

Above are is our localized radiant system that we'll have for the floors in both bathrooms upstairs. For those unfamiliar with how radiant heat for floors works, there are many methods. In this one, hot water is run through plastic tubes in a closed-circuit system. The tubes are run under the subfloor (this is the view from the first floor looking up into the floor cavity above) and affixed to these metal plates which distribute the heat through the subfloor and finished tile floor above. And speaking of finished floors...

Above is our wood flooring! And it's freaking perfect! We got a "character-grade," sometimes known as "rustic," wide-plank white oak floor that will go throughout the house. We like the wide planks because they come in longer lengths so overall you can really see all the beauty inherent in the wood. It's got tons of knots, checks, and wormholes, which sounds like a bad thing, but it's a really good thing. At least we think so. As soon as the house is insulated and heated, the wood needs to acclimate to what will be a pretty constant temperature + level of humidity inside the house for at least a week. Then moisture readings of both the planks and the subfloor are taken to insure that the materials are at a stable enough level (not too much moisture or dryness - not sure of the exact percentage) to install and finish.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Siding, Roof

Not much time for a post today, but I wanted to get these photos up. Our siding is being installed now, and it is sweet. We went with a Benjamin Moore semi-solid black stain on knotty red cedar planks. It came out perfectly, with the grain of the wood still very visible, but with a consistent black color. Check out some more photos of the siding below...

Check out the below window - notice the contrast between the siding and the frame. Also note how there is no trim - we were able to run the siding right up to the windows for a very clean, minimal finish.

In the below photo, notice the clean corner of the house. Nina wanted to ensure that there was no "cap" trim on the corner, so she stopped the siding a few inches early so the corner trim could be installed flush with the siding.

Below is a shot from the backyard. The workers have begun siding the first level on this side of the house, which can be seen between the window bays. Also note that our roof has been installed. It will look even better once the snow bar is installed.

Next post will be the week of November 19th. We hope that all the siding will be up by then, along with some other significant progress. See ya.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Stain, HVAC, Plumbing

Hello. Check out the above shot of the house. We haven't taken any pictures of the house from this location - we think it looks pretty cool.

We've had a pretty busy week so far. Nina and I went up to the house on Sunday to check out the above stain samples. We didn't like any of them - the semi-transparent and semi-solid stains were all too blotchy, and they all had a purple tint. The two samples on the right are a solid stain, meaning they don't allow any of the grain to show. This made the color more consistent, but it covered up the beauty of the wood.

With winter around the corner, Walter and crew really want to get the siding up ASAP. They put together some additional samples, and Nina and I went to check them out yesterday. We considered going with a clear finish, but opted against it as the house might appear too "freckled" due to the knots in the cedar. We thought about the Barn Red stain above, but thought the color is a bit too literal for our barn-influenced house. Ultimately, we decided to stick with our original color choice - black. The blacks above look pretty blue, but that's just the photo. If you can guess which black we chose, you get a gold star.

Above you can see the holes cut in our first floor for the heat/ac registers. There's going to be a very cool detail here - stay tuned for a photo when our floors are installed.

The plumber is busy installing all the copper pipes that will provide our water. Above is a shot of our powder room.

And here's a picture of Sarah and me from Sunday. The leaves are really starting to come down, and the views are opening up. Fall is pretty amazing up there.

We'll be up again on Saturday with family, and hopefully we'll see enough progress to justify another post next week!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Leaf Peeping

Hi all. This weekend, we went upstate with our friends Larry and RJ, who are building a house over in Sullivan county. On Saturday, we drove up to their property, which is on a beautiful hillside not far the Delaware River. Unfortunately, we neglected to take any photos while we were there.

The leaves upstate are peaking right now, and the drive was great. We took the amazing route 97, which I had never been on before (check out a picture here). We spent Saturday night at my mother's place, and on Sunday morning, Nina demanded that we go pick some pumpkins. Above is a shot from the Jenkins-Leuken farm in New Paltz. The ridge is in the background.

Sunday, we made our way over to our house. The roof has finally arrived and is in the process of being installed. It is a galvalume standing seam roof, and it should be completely on by next weekend (weather permitting). We're really happy with the way it looks.

Our siding has also arrived, and is currently in our garage. Walter put together a few stain samples for us, and we weren't really thrilled with any of them. The original intention was to stain the siding black, but we're learning that some parts of the cedar don't absorb the stain as well as others, resulting in an uneven finish. This looks fine from a distance, but up close, it's not as attractive. Over time, it would probably weather and look good, but we're still looking into our options.

We also approved the stone cladding for our foundation on Sunday. The masons should start cutting and applying the stone soon.

OK, hopefully we'll have an update next week.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Update and Kitchen Plans

Hi all. There hasn't been much progress over the last couple of weeks, due to delays in receiving materials. Last time we posted, we mentioned that we would soon have our roof and siding, but neither have arrived. This coming weekend, we'll approve the stain for our siding, and Walter and crew will begin installation the following week (assuming it arrives by then). We'll also approve the stone that will clad the foundation, and hopefully the mason will be able to start work immediately. We expect a garage door soon, too. It will be clad in clear red cedar to match the ceiling of the covered porch above.

In the meantime, the plumber and electrician are working on the interior. We've specified every plumbing fixture in the house, so the plumbing can be roughed in. We're still working on the light fixtures, but we're pretty certain of their locations, so the electrician can get started too.

We didn't want to leave our beloved readers hanging for too long, so in lieu of progress pics, we'll give you some plans. Below are images that show the plan for our Henrybuilt kitchen, which is being built in Seattle right now. For those of you that have never heard of Henrybuilt, check out their website here. We looked at dozens of cabinet makers, and none compared to the quality or aesthetic of Henrybuilt. This really will be the center of the home, and because the kitchen, living room, and dining room are open to one another, a lot of thought went into its design. When you check out their website, notice the kitchens in walnut - that's the material we've chosen. First, the plan...

The plan above shows the refrigerator and base cabinets against the north wall, and the island to the south. The primary sink, diswasher and trash will be in the north cabinets, while the range, microwave and prep sink will be in the island. On either end of the island are hidden cabinets with doors on touch latches. One will hold cookbooks and the other will hold liquor. Between those cabinets is an open space for the legs of those sitting on stools watching the chefs in action.

Above is the north wall elevation. The refrigerator and diswasher will be paneled in walnut and will be flush with the surrounding cabinets. This should help us achieve the furniture look we're going for.

Above is the island elevation. On the left is a small prep sink. In the middle is a beautiful Bluestar range, that will probably be painted black. On the right is the microwave, which will be hidden behind a door when not in use. Who goes to farm country to use a microwave anyway?

And here's what the kitchen will look like from the living/dining room. Clean and simple.

Hopefully, we'll have more progress for you next week. Thanks for tuning in.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

More Windows, Weatherproofing

Hi all. This past week, all remaining windows were installed, and the roof was weatherproofed. We're hoping that our siding and roof panels arrive this week so Walter and his team can begin installation, but there are no guarantees. Not too much to explain this week, so just enjoy the photos.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

more windows, beams, stairs...

hello. so above you can barely see it, but walter and his guys carved "country crib 07" into the foundation for our front stairs, which you see below. please note that each stair will be clad in bluestone, so this little note will be a time capsule piece for someone else to discover many moons down the road.

above is a shot of the poured steps. more earth will be brought in to fill beside them, so no need for a railing.

as you can see here, more windows have been installed, and hopefully all will be in while the weather stays dry. we had a bit of a misting today, but nothing that would cause the wood windows too much harm.

above are the beams that tie into our rafters (and thus help secure the roof), and also help prevent the walls from splaying outward due to the weight of the roof. These will be exposed in all the bedrooms with a cathedral ceiling above, which is why walter has protected them with this wrap.

here's a shot of the west wall in our main living space on the first floor. each bay has two awning windows in the middle for cross ventilation. that's why the frames on the middle two windows are wider than those on either side.

and above you can see how the windows will frame the fireplace. below is the view out the window to the left of the fireplace. it's really gorgeous in reality, but the picture doesn't do it too much justice. we chose a roof today, and we hope it will be installed sometime in the next couple of weeks. that's all for now folks.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Our windows were delivered yesterday, and Walter and his crew have begun installation. The four largest bays have been installed, as you can see above. They are incredible. The outside of the window frames is a clear anodized aluminum, which simply means, they look like unpainted aluminum. The insides are douglas fir, and look beautiful.

Above is a shot from the backyard.

Above is a shot from the kitchen area of the main room. Notice that each bay has a sliding door. The fir will be left unpainted, finished with some sort of polyurethane I think.

And these windows are in the den. That's all that's been installed so far - hopefully we'll have the rest in by this weekend. We should also have our front steps poured and our 2nd floor ceiling beams in by then. Soon, a steel roof and cedar siding. This thing is really becoming a house!

Look for another post Sunday or Monday.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

senor hausbot

hey. check out our HOUSE! doesn't the north facade look like a sad robot?

this week the front stairs progressed, and we're still trying to find the tastiest recipe for lemonade. the stairs will look great, and they will be a very comfortable climb, but the land is so steep! we trust walter, though, and we'll all figure something out, and it will be beautiful.

and, once they climb those comfortable steps, this is what our guests will see when they enter the front door. straight ahead is a window with a view to the back yard. to the right are the stairs that will take you to the second floor (bedrooms, covered porch). to the left will be two coat closets with a bench in the middle. this is also where we'll have two floor to ceiling sliding partitions that close off the den when we need to use it as an extra bedroom. when it's not a bedroom, the sliding partitions will serve as the coat closet doors.

above is a shot of our rainy day covered porch on the second floor. instead of traditional wood collar ties here (usually bolted to the rafters, to pull the walls in, as the weight of the roof wants to push them out), we opted to use a 3/4" steel rod with staggered turnbuckles. they serve the same purpose as the wooden ones that will be used inside the house (and will be exposed in the bedrooms - see next week's post for pics of those), but are more appropriate for outside, and also just look pretty cool.

DEFINITELY stay tuned next week, as our windows, interior collar tie beams, and roof arrive this week. over the next couple of weeks, we'll see some pretty major steps. cheers.