Friday, July 27, 2012

Designing the Details

So this week I thought that I would bombard you with a sampling of the images that I have held in my mind for the last year or so. These are images from my photo bank of ideas and inspirations. There aren't any that totally incapsulate any one room, so I thought I would walk you through each picture and explain how I feel its elements will fit into our house. 

The Kitchen


The island in this picture speaks to me. I love the live edge, the size, the shelves underneath. I like the stools and John really likes all the hanging pots. The colors of the cabinets are great. Really the only thing I don't like about this picture is the amount of exposed stuff. I like clean lines and limited visual clutter. John wants to see things, so we will have to come to a compromise on this. Generally, we both agree that this picture fits our ideal kitchen.



This kitchen is also great. I like these stools better. They just seem more comfortable for everyday eating.  The island is a bit boring but I really like cabinets in the back that have an old ice box feel to them. It's probably just the hardware. I also like the yellow walls with the dark trimmed windows and I love the  hanging lamps.
The Living Room



There is very little we do not love about this photo. All of the exposed beams, the natural wood and the open layout. I also dig this red club chair.

The Bathroom





These pictures have me thinking about bathroom tiles. We have this notion of lots of tile work in the bathroom with a Moroccan flavor. I have been collecting tiles from the salvage shops for the past year but have come up pretty dry in the interesting tile department. I am now thinking about painting my own tiles. There is a way to get cheap white tiles and prime them so you can paint over them and them seal them, but I think that is going to look bad. My next thought is getting bisque tiles ( unglazed), painting them and then having them fired. This is obviously a more expensive route but it may be worth it. I am going to do some samples. I will keep you updated.  Also, I love the shower head in the two bottom pictures.  


We have been imagining the shower with sculpted walls, not nearly as low as this, but this idea of the shower being a thick walled, tiled, formed area as opposed to a standard stall. 


I like this I -am -just-a -bowl approach to a bathroom sink and I like the fixture coming out of the wall, not the base. 


PENNY FLOOR! I adore this, however, our floors are the stained concrete so it won't really work anywhere..... except the shower floor!  I think i have convinced John that this should be the floor of the shower.  My concern is that the beauty of this lies largely in the shine and I will have to scuff it up to make it non slippery.

Greenhouse Bathtub


So out the back door , on the back porch , we have a drain for a bathtub. Several people have given us some peculiar looks on this decision. I have not been able to tell them exactly why I want an outdoor bathtub but this is what I have had in mind. A private greenhouse bathing oasis. I am thinking about fun random windows, not the large  glass panes, but the same feeling. I want lots of plants and a claw foot tub in its own separate space. 


The Nook

Off to the side of the house, near the back door, there is a nook that juts out from the house and has its own feel. We want to create a space that is cozy for reading, that feels private, and that serves as a guest bed. 



This is not exactly right, but it is kinda close. The "bed" will look more like a single cushion, but it will fold out into a queen bed. It will have the shelves underneath and more off to the side. I like the natural wood and the cozy feel in this picture. Our nook will not have the folding screens either.


If you look to the back of this photo you can see more of what the nook will be. Nestled into a window, with lots of cushions and fabric, but raised a bit and surrounded by shelves. I have been thinking about using piano shawls, like on this chair, as well.

Colorful Inspiration

A friend once described me , saying " christy sure is not afraid of color". That is true and I want this house to have lots of it. I like these pictures both for their general feel and their color palette. 




Thanks for taking a trip through my favorite photos! Only time will tell if we are able to nail it.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Keepin This Train a' Rollin...

We are well underway with the house!  You now have to enter via door shaped holes and look out window shaped holes!


I wrote recently that it felt like we were "cheating" by hiring framers and I would like to rescind that statement now. We are still working at this just as hard. For example, the framers are going through material so fast that it is nearly a full time job keeping them equipped. Nearly everyday we run into small problems that need our attention, or things we have to decide on quickly, like window heights, engineering specs, etc.

We also have the logs.


There are 17 logs, eight feet long and 8 inches in diameter, that must be debarked and planed and sanded. So I have been spending most of my time with the draw knife and an ipod filled with Radio Lab podcasts. ( click on the word to find the most amazing radio program about science and anthropology and music and your brain  and .... just listen to it. It makes you smart) So this week the framers told us that they cannot move forward without a log measuring 23 feet long and 12 inches in diameter that will be the exposed support for the loft. Everything else is going to be built on top of it. We had, in fact, ordered this log from our local mill but it had yet to arrive.  And once it did arrive we still needed to debark it and plane a flat top onto it. The log must have a flat surface on top so that the floor rests level on it. We had no idea how to do this , but we said "alright, We Are On It."

The local mill, Smyths, got a log to us within two days. ( you can click on that word too) And the log is GORGEOUS! Straight as an arrow and only tapers by one inch over the course of 23 feet!  We got right to work. The sap was still running since the tree had been cut just the night before, so the bark slid off in huge, satisfying chunks.  It only took us an hour and a half to skin it. Next, we found our center line on both ends and measured a 3 1/2 inch area across the top. Then, we snapped lines running all the way down the tree. This was the area that we would need to plane flat.  We used a power planer to shave down the log 1/16th of an inch at a time.





We also needed to ready the 8 ft logs that hold up the beast log.  Like I said, I have de-barked them all but I have been dragging my feet on the next steps because we had yet to decide how polished or rugged we wanted them to look. Now was the time to decide. I took it easy and planed them lightly. John used a chainsaw to shorten any nubs and  took off the cambrian layer with the draw knife.  That is the hard brown layer that clings to the wood after de-barking. It looks kinda cool and there is no reason, structurally or rot-related, to take it off.  It's an aesthetic choice.  We don't want all of the logs to look polished and shiny, but I also think the stripey brown cambrian that remains looks ugly.  We found a nice artistic middle ground that shows off it's hand peeled glory and also looks slightly polished.


You can see the difference from the logs on the ground and the log raised on sawhorses.  They will look different once we oil them, too. The logs won't look so white and the dark spots will grow darker. Each log seems to take about 3 hours start to finish.  Each log took nearly an hour to debark because they were dry and the sap was not running, another hour to skip peel, and a third to plane and sand. I am very happy with how they are looking. And the train keeps chuggin....

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Humble Pie

Yeah, what were we thinking?  Having spent the better part of today researching questions from our framers that would never in a million years have even occured to me, it's become very obvious that there is no way Christy and I would have been able to frame this house, correctly, this summer.  Sure, we would've figured it out eventually, but the time and money spent fixing mistakes would've been ridiculous.  I'm not still trying to justify outsourcing work, I think Christy laid that argument out pretty well already.  I'm just saying that, damn!  She's right.  It's humbling, and such a relief!



Today the crew started up where we left off.  I've been playing general contractor, picking up lumber, calling engineers and architects, while Christy keeps on peeling logs with the draw knife.  It feels good to pick up momentum again.  We've been spending a lot of our time working in the restaurant that we both accidently got jobs at.  Being a quiant, port town across the water from Seattle, Kingston gets kinda touristy and populous in the summer.  That's great news for the one real restaurant, which has a sunny back deck and makes some serious bank on sunny days.  It's not how we imagined spending our time after leaving the city, but we've come to the conclusion, at least for the moment, that making some extra money is getting us closer to living in a house than working in the garden or building a new bicycle-powered washing machine.  Once we live in a house, we can focus on the homesteading aspect of things.  In the meantime, cooking food and having my wife serve it in a friendly, local watering hole isn't such a horrible way to make a dime.