13 January 2013

The Woodworking

I know...
You would have thought that I'd had more than enough of wood working building the stairs.
And yes, I have had enough for a lifetime.
But we still needed a bookcase for the study, and the big sliding barn doors for all our closets.

And honestly, the only reason that we are tackling more projects at this point is because:
a. part of the original plan and budget was for us to build these on our own and,
b. we looked into having someone build both of these things for us, the way we wanted, and it was just too expensive for the amount of labor involved (or so we thought before we started building)

So first we had to decide on wood.

We looked at using just normal spruce lumber but it was just too soft, and had too many knots, and just looked like an amateur arts and crafts project type wood.
I wanted nice wood, not the most budget (even though it's all getting painted, I'm nuts like that).
We settled on clear fir.
And although a little 70's (and like three times the price), I have to admit, I kind of love the fir.

Anyway, once we had spent over $2K on wood, we started with the sliding barn doors for our back entry closet, pantry, and linen closet*.

Building doors (well, any wood working for that matter) is not my favorite job.
So finicky.
And things have to be perfect because what you are working with is the finished product (see the post about the stairs for more on this).
And the sanding...don't get me started on the sanding.
And there is wood glue everywhere.
And well, frankly, we don't really have the right tools (a planer, a sanding table, a huge table saw, a router table), or the right space (we are working in our newly drywalled house and making a MESS).
Woodworking is a different craft entirely from building a house and totally not my cup of tea.

Anyway, they are 5-panel shaker, just like our other interior doors, and I think they came out pretty good.
There is my hot husband...sanding.

Like the stairs, we built them in our dining room

So then it was onto the bookcase.

This was totally a labor of love for me.
I had a vision for the bookcase from the inception of this project.
I knew I wanted it to be big, and substantial, and that I wanted the frame to be really chunky and thick.
And if I haven't said it enough, I am totally a bibliophile (which I know, I'm becoming obselete) and the study is something I am passssssssionate about (like more passionate than the rest of this house).
So it had to be just right.
Which made my standards waaaaaaay higher than they need to be (even higher than the impossible standards I had already).
Which in turn makes the job, so, so, so, much more difficult and time consuming than it needs to be.

The first step was cutting all the shelves.
Once they were cut, we had to make the slots for the biscuits, using a biscuit joiner (aptly named), in both sides of each shelf.
All the shelves with the slots for the biscuits

Then my loving husband spent DAYS, sanding each one.

We made the corresponding holes in the up and down pieces on either side of the shelves (and then sanded those).
Then with the biscuits and a lot of glue and clamps, we put it all together (totally did not go as smooth as I made that sound...)
3 sections down, 1 to go
(And then more sanding to make all the intersections perfectly flush).
But now...

I am in LOVE.
I think it came out perfect.
(I totally should have taken closer pictures so you could have seen the detail...)

I can. not. wait. to see it painted (the wall color by the way) and filled with books.
(It will go up against that wall behind it, the the left of the door)
We're awesome.

*We are actually having the walnut sliding barn doors for the front entry, and the art room and study built for us because after building the first 5, we realized that it was just taking too long and that having them made was economical after all

07 January 2013

The Meantime

Hello blog.
It's been a long time.

We've been working.
Every weekend we've been working.
Odds and ends are getting finished all over the place.
I think I'm just kind of lazy when it comes to taking my camera to the other house and taking pictures.

But here's what we've been up to...

In anticipation of paint (which will be really exciting if we ever get there...) we put up all the window casings:
Casing = Trim

We used finger jointed pine, not MDF.
I know it seems minor but I really think intuitively you can tell.

And just like our windows themselves (and our exterior doors), we chose the most simple shape we could.
Anything any more fussy or with more layers or angles would just not have seemed casual and laid back enough for our cabin/farmhouse/beach house/pacific northwest/loft.

Okay, so then we installed all the interior doors (there were 14 of them in total):
The upstairs

Again, solid wood and super simple shaker profile like the exterior doors.
I think these look super farmhouse and I love, love, love that.

Then we spent some time adding a second sub floor on the entire main floor:
Still loving that red door...

This was necessary because the tile we fell in love with and bought for the front and back entry (somewhat on a whim and without considering this fact) is super thick and the hardwood would have been shorter than the tile.
So we built up everywhere under where the hardwood will go, and now once they are in, the tile and the hardwood will be the same height.

We also put another layer of subfloor upstairs.
This time, only in the places where tile is going because the tile we are using upstairs is shorter than the hardwood.

In a super fun turn of events, we realized that our plumber didn't put in a drain for our tub (I know, awesome), so they ripped out the floor in the kids bathroom.
While they were in there, we had to notch one of our joists so that the drain would fit (that part was our oversight).
Then we had to rip out more floor to get at more of the joist so we could re-enforce the notching so that the tub doesn't end up in the front entry one day.
Then we put the floor back on.

Okay, still with me?
In the art room and study we put strapping (the thin pieces of wood) on the ceilings:

We did this so that we have something other than drywall (because that wouldn't hold) to attach this awesome cedar panelling to:

Yes, we are putting cedar tongue and groove panelling on the ceiling (we are also putting it on the lower half of the half bath and on the dividing walls in our main space, but that is another blog post).

I know, a little 70's, but I think it is actually going to look pretty modern and cool.
In the study we are leaving it as is (cabiny, love), but in the art room we are painting it blue! (more on that later).

The exterior is a little more exciting.
We sided the garage with board and batten (which I love and would have done on the house if I wasn't such a chicken):
View from the back door to the garage

The deck is also new (and attached to the back porch)

The battons went on top of big panels of siding with nails.
And then we caulked every. single. tiny. nail hole, which took for-ever.

Then we put up the posts and beams for the back porch and built all the cedar decks and paths.
Back Porch
The bar-b-que deck off the kitchen door
The Front Path and Deck
So much cedar!
I love it.

The longest part of the process was digging all the holes (7 of them), four feet deep in soil that used to be a river bed (yep, so, so, many HUGE rocks).

On the same note, we installed the soffit (under the back and front porch roofs).
(that is the same panelling that will go in the study...yummy)

Oh, and we put up our house numbers!
Which felt like a super big step.
They are actually more visible from the street than they appear in this picture.
And I think they look really cabin or cottage, which, of course,  I love.
Makes us feel legit.

Now you are up to date.

11 September 2012

The WhiteWash

Our drywall is in!
And our house looks SOOOOO different.
Like a house.
With rooms.
It's amazingly awesome!

I'm going to try and walk you though it and I haven't decided yet if this post is going to be really cool, or really long and just confusing but here we go...
(I debated removing the framing pictures in the name of simplicity, but the progress image was just too cool to leave out)

Here's the big map of the main floor to get you situated:

The letters are where I stood to take each photo, and the arrow is the direction I was facing when I took the photo.

Got it?
Alright, heeeeeeeere we go!

The first picture is exactly what you will see when you walk through the front door and turn right.
It is looking through the front entry and into the living room
(it is so much easier to conceptualize with the drywall in)

This one is the exact opposite of the one before.
Looking through the living room, into the front entry:

Still with me?

Okay, this is standing at the back of the study, looking through the study, into the main space

And the opposite.
Looking into the study when you enter it from the main space
(the door on the left is the door to the art room - there will be a wooden screen door there (like from a lake house))

This is standing in the art room, looking through the art room, into the main space

And again, the opposite.
Looking into the art room when you enter it from the main space
(the door on the right is the door to the study - from this side)

Now looking into the dining room from the hallway.
Aaaahh, the dining room (I'm loving the dining room).
With those amazing windows.
And that amazing red door in the kitchen!

And looking from those dining room windows, towards (from left to right) the stairwell, the hallway, and the pantry

Almost done.

This is my favorite one.
This is looking through the back entry, into the kitchen

And then through the kitchen (from the red door), into the back entry

This is standing at the back of the living room looking through the entire house (towards the kitchen)

And this is standing at the back of the kitchen, looking through the house, to the living room (the doors to either side in the living room are to the art room and the study)

We made it.

Awesome right?

And that is just the main floor...

27 August 2012

The Cabin in the Woods

Goodbye Tyvek we've been looking at for like 10 months.
Our siding is on!

And our house is starting to look like our home.
(The awesome grass doesn't hurt things either)

I know the landscaping still looks like a construction site (the blue fence and piles of lumber totally give it away),  the trees need some serious TLC, and the decks have to be finished, but...the siding is on!

Poor trees - didn't weather construction well - but we'll nurse them back to their previous glory

Grey was pretty much the choice from the beginning.
The study in the house we live in now is grey and it is our favorite room.
And it felt like our house more than like brown or green or something common and safe and contemporary.

And now that it's on, I'm really loving the color choice.
It really is natural and earthy feeling.
I especially love how it kinda makes the house blend, and if not blend, recede, into the surroundings.
Very cabin-esque I think.

And I think I've discussed before why our trim isn't white (too English Cottage (or contemporary I suppose)).
And it is not black because that is too contemporary.
And neither were the right feeling.
We really wanted casual, and unfussy.
And from an architectural perspective, we wanted to draw attention to the pattern of the windows and the shape of the house, and not necessarily the windows themselves, and for sure not the trim.
So, grey trim too.
(Once all the decks and pathways are up, cedar will be our contrast color to break up the grey a little)

And why siding?
For a split second at the beginning of this project, we thought maybe we would have stucco (like every other house built in this decade).
But really quickly, as soon as we got off modern, and onto rustic, we decided on siding.
Way more cabin/beach/farmhouse/cottage feeling.
Stucco would just not have felt the same at all.

And we knew that we didn't want vinyl siding (really not the right feeling - even if you add the ubiquitous cedar shingles on the front).
Wood siding would have been the right feeling, but too, too, much maintenance (anything I have to paint every 3 years for the next lifetime just isn't realistic).

So, we ended up going with Hardie Siding.

It is fiber cement but it kinda looks like wood.
Except with pretty much no work.
No work = perfect.

A lot of change in a short amount of time feels awesome.

It is becoming our home.
Our home.

28 July 2012

The Acceptance

My hot husband and I have been doing some pretty major soul searching and existential thinking lately.

We LOVE working on our house together.
We have SO much fun (with only occasional arguing and only a couple all out fights so far) and we LOVE being outdoors and building our home and we are SO, SO grateful to be able to share the experience and spend so much time together.
In rare and unseen footage, here we are, working on the house

In fact, as much as it will be nice to actually live in our house, we are so not sick of building it that we would just continue on as we are, regardless of how many more seasons pass.
Those are our single selves talking.

And as much as we love the house, we love spending time with Goose and Coconut more.
Our new daughter is amazing!

Goose loves being at the house too!

We are so smitten by her and don't want to miss a second.
Which makes it so so hard to leave her every weekend and on some weeknights and go to work (even if that work is on our dream home that we will all have years and years of amazing moments in).

So, as much as it pains me to say it, we have contracted out some more of the work.
(I still feel a little bit of regret just typing that).

Here is how things will go from this point forward:

-window and door trim and baseboards
-installing tile
-installing hardwood

-drywall (we had always knew we would contract this out so this is not new)
-siding (this one pains us)
-painting (mostly because there are 41 wood windows that need to be painstakingly done)
-finishing the stairs (will gladly to let this go)

We've comes to terms with it and I suppose are okay with the decision.
And, when it is not us, the work gets done so much faster.
(Net positive only if I don't think of the money also going out I suppose).

So that is where we are.
And now I have to change the sub-heading on this blog...

26 July 2012

The Green

We have grass on our lot again.

It is amazing the difference a $10K lot grade and some $15 grass seed can make to how the yard feels.

I almost forgot how awesome my lot looks when it is not a construction site.

01 July 2012

The Test

We passed our pre-board inspection!
First try.
No conditions.
No deficiencies.

I never would have thought the city would let us pass on the first go.
Usually there is at least one arbitrary, bureaucratic, redtape, bullsh*t hoop to jump through first.
(It must be because they were awed by the spectacular framing).

This means...
Drywall and siding in the next couple weeks.
Hold on to your hats!

13 June 2012

The Rise And The Run

Our stairs are in:

I'm amazed (but not sure why) at how much these ended up looking like the plan
From the main floor
Blackened steel angles and bolts* and underside of run heading to the top floor

Thank flipping goodness.
That was a looooooooong time coming.
Hands down the most laborious and time consuming piece of this house to date (and remember, I framed an entire two story house with just my husband).
But in spite of all that, we are pretty excited about how they turned out.

The only thing left to do is stain the treads.
But that can wait for another day...

Now, we can finally get our framing inspection, and finally move on with this project.

*I'm not sure I've talked about how we ended up with these awesome blackened steel angles, but the point is, everything custom or black powder coated was like $3000.  Anything less than that was galvanized. So Patrick had a metal supplier cut the angles to length from cheap angle stock, and we drilled the holes.  Including drill bits, and shipping on all that heavy metal, the angles and bolts ended up costing us $300 and 5 hours of my dad's time.

01 June 2012

The White Oak

I would have never thought I would have had a post with that title.
I was almost cateogorically against oak, thinking it was too our parents generation and contemporary.
But hear me out...

As you know, we have had a long evolution with the style of this house and correspondingly the floors.
Until not too long ago (I suck, I already gave away the surprise) , after a lengthy affair with maple, we had our hearts set on walnut.

But then...
(yeah, I know, maybe a little late in the game (or maybe not because we are so slow anyway), but those are the kinds of spontaneous decisions you get to make when you are building things yourself)

A friend of mine is building a house just a couple blocks away from us (but on a much bigger and nicer lot on the river...swoon).
And I'm not sure whether to thank her or hate her, but she sent me a link to the floors she is considering installing and I fell seriously in love (this is why you should not discuss finishings with someone with a substantially bigger budget than you).

They are the perfect amount of rustic/reclaimed/cabin we were very, very initially searching for (but gave up on because we couldn't find anything even remotely in our budget).
Here they are:

They are actually a little lighter than it seems in this picture but you get the idea.

Awesome right?
We love the color, the width (almost 8 inches), the knots, the dents, the scratches...pretty much everything about them.

But the straw that broke the camels back is that they are oiled and waxed (sunflower, soybean and thistle oil + natural waxes carnauba and canella apparently) and not polyurethaned.

So, no shiny finish (awesome), you can feel the wood grain (although not enough to make walking on them uncomfortable), and although a little less durable than poly, scratches and dents will just blend right in (oh, I should mention they are smoked and not stained, so the color is all the way through the wood), and if wear is visible, you just re-wax (you don't have to sand down and re-poly a big section).

And, although pretty similar in color, far less contemporary and more reclaimed seeming than the walnut we had originally chosen.
Love, love, love.

They just feel like they belong in our rustic cabin/beach house/farmhouse.
And that is our final answer.

25 May 2012

The Tin

In another post about work we totally didn't do ourselves...our roof is finished!
And it looks awesome.

I think in the past I've alluded to but not explicitly talked about our roof.
But I have to now because I am seriously digging it and loving myself (and my hot husband of course) for making such a wise and savvy design choice.

We knew really early on that the roof would be metal.
Although really early on when hot husband suggested metal in a modern industrial context and I basically told him to go %$&* himself, I totally warmed to it when we started looking at it in a farmhouse/cabin frame of reference:
Hot Damn

And now I totally cannot fathom having a farmhouse/cabin/cottage/beach house with any other roof.
(Maaaaaybe cedar (if I didn't care about cost or maintenance), but definitely not asphalt).

We first contacted Interloc (really, the only visible company in Canada for metal roofing) for a quote.
And that came back at something totally ridiculous like $35/sq ft.

So we got creative, and contacted our local UFA (yes, the farm supply place), who get their metal roof product from Westform Metals.
Once we explained what we were looking for, the lady on the phone told us that the very expensive stuff (not the stuff she has on her house but the high grade stuff) was $2/sq ft.

So we went with that.

Then after we bought our roof, and we put up the trusses, and spent an un-proportionally loooong time bracing everything as specified by the truss manufacturer, when we stopped working on that part of our build and hired professionals to get up on our 9/12 (i.e. 37 degree angle) roof.
In the winter.

First they put sheathing (OSB) down on top of the trusses.
This is a view from the top floor of our house looking straight up at the sheathing:

Then the roofing material got delivered.
To the middle of the street:

What the hell?
On a tangent, as I was taking this picture, I noticed that, despite the fact that it is a story and a roof higher than our neighbors, our house doesn't seem ridiculous.
I think it is the trees.
Thank god for the trees.

Anyway, here are the roofers, roofing:

And here, is the epitome of awesome (minus the Tyvek and the ridiculously messy yard (oh, and the garage we haven't put siding on yet)):

I have a little crush on my roof.
Can you blame me?