Sunday, July 22, 2007


Framing has begun! Our first floor trusses, subfloor and shear walls are now in place. Above, you can see the shear walls - these metal units are required as we have large expanses of glass that cannot support the weight of the materials above. There's a massive header that rests on top of the shear walls and distributes the weight evenly (it was installed after our visit, so it's not in the picture). In the above shot, the near wall with three shear walls will face our backyard/pool - the three large openings along that wall will be floor to ceiling windows.

Above is a view toward the house from the backyard. You can see where the three sets of windows will be between the shear walls - each set of windows contains a sliding door that will open onto a stone patio. The ground will then be terraced down to the driveway on the right.

Above, framers installing the outer wall near our pantry.

Above, a view into our garage (near) and basement (far). There will be a wall, stairway and mechanicals between the two spaces. Our garage will get light through windows in the door, but the basement will unfortunately have no windows as the house is nestled into the hill. We'll have an air exchange unit down there to keep the air fresh. Can't have a bar/pool room with stale air.

Above, we've got squatters! There are a couple of bird's nests in the floor trusses. Apparently this is very common during construction, and our framers actually keep an eye out to make sure the eggs hatch undisturbed.

On our way out of town, this guy was in front of us. Gonna have to get me one of them.

We're hopefully going back up toward the end of this week - might even have a second floor by then! This part of the construction process is supposed to fly, so expect significant activity over the coming months.

See ya.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

big concrete box

hello again. we officially have a foundation! this bad boy is what will keep our house anchored to the ground should a big bad wolf ever cause us any trouble. in a nutshell the next steps after this are pouring the basement floor, and waterproofing the outside of the concrete. then framing begins in a week or two, with laying the floor trusses for the main floor. after a good amount of framing happens, a good amount of weight will then be sitting on the concrete, and walter will begin to backfill the gaps around the foundation with a mix of special backfill dirt, and some dirt dug out from the excavation.

below is what the approach will look like from the driveway - you can see the concrete peeking up from the hill.

next picture is a closeup of the top of the wall. these anchor bolts that were cast into the concrete is what the framing gets screwed into. you'll also notice that we stepped the wall in order to use a bottom-bearing open web truss joist system for the floor. which, to keep it simple, allows us to have a larger open span, and also bring the finished floor inside lower to ground level.

above you can see our primary electric inside the basement. walter (right) and the electrician are trying to figure out where to locate our main electrical panel. below is a picture of the well. bill and i got a little nervous when we noticed the electrical wires sharing a conduit with the well water pipe, until walter explained that the pump for the well uses a special water-proof wire.

and this is the septic tank where all the poop goes. all the waste water in the house from sinks, showers + toilets gets flushed into this tank. the solids collect at the bottom (ew), while the water rises to the top and spills out into a pipe carrying it to our leech field (in the distance), where it is distributed evenly over the whole field through a series of pipes, and evaporates. and because the water from the waste is so rich in nitrates, it's the perfect irrigation system for the lush wildflowers that will populate the field.

class dismissed.