Monday, February 22, 2010

Dried In!

Things have been happening so quickly, we haven't had time to post anything. The frame is dried in now, with tarpaper on the roof and Hardiboard siding around the side and back:

The Hardiboard will be painted later on. This shot shows the south side:

On the upper deck, the plans had stairs from the top deck to the bottom. When I noticed how close the ground was to the top deck, I asked Don about having a ramp to that upper level near the garage instead of stairs. He not only delivered the ramp, but a nice roof over it. We expect to be using it when we let Kuma out.

This shot shows the front wall of the living room:


The fireplace will be in the middle and the TV will be under the right set of windows. The video didn't come out the best, but it scans from this front wall to the kitchen.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Advanced Framing Techniques

Don, our builder, had done his research and proposed using the National Association of Home Builder's 7 green framing principles. Unfortunately, the building inspector required an engineering letter to verify the feasibility of these principles in our case. Such a letter would have cost more than the what we would have saved.

The inspector was willing to accept the 2 stud corner, which allows better insulation and saves lumber, and 24" spacing for studs on the top non-load bearing walls. So, we were able to use just 2 of the 7 principles.

I appreciate that inspectors and building codes provide a safety net to ensure the quality of our home. But, it is disconcerting that it takes years for the industry to accept practices that are safe, better for the comfort of the home, less expensive, and last but not least--better for the environment. I was curious as to how long these practices had been available, and I found this document, with a publication from October 2000. Then, this page on the Austin Green Building website states optimum value engineering principles have been available for 20 years. 

The green building website states:
"A study conducted by the National Association of Home Builders Research Center (NAHBRC) found that OVE methods saved $0.24 to $1.20 per square foot in framing wood compared with conventionally built houses (NRDC, "Efficient Wood Use in Residential Construction," 1998)".


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Framing and Sheathing

Last week was cold and rainy. We stopped by the house Saturday at about 5, and the crew was still working.

Here is a still shot of the front:

This is the north side of the house. It will have a few windows for natural light (they look like doors at this point, but there is only one door on the lower level).

This is the south side of the house, which will have most of the windows.

And finally, the west side.

The windows should arrive next week.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Garage and Lower Floor Framed

Monday it rained, but Don told us that Jose, the framing contractor covered the lumber. Thanks Jose! Today is Wednesday and we got our first chance to check on progress. The garage was framed!

And, so was the lower floor. The open area is for the stairway.

And, here is a video 180.

Sunday, February 7, 2010


This video shows the sidewalk and approach to the front porch:

While we were checking out the property, Don stopped by. He said that the framing lumber will be delivered tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Slabs Finished!

In spite of rainy weather, the top slab got poured Monday:

And the top of the driveway too!