Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Inside Takes Shape

We have made our fist visual progress on the house since installing the windows in December. It is incredibly difficult to find the time amidst projects for other people to work on our own house. Until this point we have put chunks of time into the house, rather than trying to work on evenings and weekends. The prospect of moving all the required tools to the house for a few hours of work is very unappealing. Perhaps when we are roughing in the wiring or doing the siding this will make more sense.

The chimney was completed about a month ago by our mason. I love the look of the recycled brick that came out of the mason's yard- also our neighbor. I think the irregularity of the brick and the roughness of the timbers is a great fit. This chimney adds so much texture to the open floor plan living area.

So far we have done a horrible job making any cheap decisions. Our tastes our just much more expensive than we can afford. That's where Craigslist comes in! I perused the internet for months looking for stainless appliances and one Friday I found a fridge, dishwasher and gas range for sale together in Portland. We jumped in the truck and drove down to pick them up. After stopping for the obligatory Sushi dinner while in the "big city", we headed home with our new kitchen.

Timber frames present a number of unique challenges. One such challenge is hiding the electrical wiring under the second floor decking. Since all the floor joists are visible from the first floor, channels have to be routed under the tongue and groove decking to put the wiring in for the first floor ceiling lights. The wires then run to stud walls on the second floor.

Another unique aspect of timber frames is that the rafters are visible from the upstairs rooms. As a result the stud walls on the second floor run all the way to the ceiling. Unlike in a typical house with 8' or so ceilings, each stud is cut on an angle and walls slope with the roof line. This will make for bedrooms that feel much larger than the same size room with a flat ceiling would, but the walls are much more time consuming to build.

The below picture is taken from what will be the middle bedroom/office. The chimney turns to block where it will be hidden in closets and then back to brick where it will be visible above. I am looking forward to setting up my desk and drafting table in this bright and inviting space.

This picture is taken from the master bedroom entrance looking out along the hall that accesses all the upstairs rooms and overlooks the entry.

Determined to take the passive solar orientation as far as we could, this is the sole window on the North side of the house- in an upstairs bathroom.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Barn House

I have been doing some design work for a client who wants a barn style house. In the process I have been looking at various images and have become increasingly impressed by the possibilities of this simple form. The straightforward lines a home of this style requires lead one to explore siding and window placements that are anything but boring. Below are some images I particularly enjoy.



Looking at all these cool homes, I said to Jence "What about using a vertical siding on the exterior of our house?" He just about fell off the ladder he was standing on and gave me a skeptical look. Our current plan is to use a wide exposure rough pine clapboard, and I imagine we will stick with that plan.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Saturday, January 29, 2011


Since timber frames are load bearing structures in themselves, there are many options for insulation beyond 2x walls with fiberglass or foam between the studs. Ideally you utilize a system that doesn’t involve the redundancy of another load bearing wall attached to the timber frame. We often install panels on timber frames we build, but wanted to explore other methods in our own house. Our plan was to build double stud walls and then blow in cellulose for insulation. This would allow us to use a recycled product to create a wall with a high r-value. Building our own insulation system would also mean using our labor, rather than paying the panel company to pre-build and cut the panels. In the end however, it seemed like we might never have walls if we didn’t go the panel route—so that is what we did and thirteen days after the panels arrived we had a weather tight structure. It is still a thrill for me to pull in the driveway and see a building with windows, but I imagine it is only a matter of time before the beauty of black felt paper and orange cap nails wears thin and I yearn for siding and a porch.