Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Elevations, Sketches, Illustrations, Oh My!

Jon emailed us the elevations, some sketches and some more illustrations. Excellent! We've met with three builders in the past week; it's been hectic. We're just posting the pictures now, we'll type more later.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Picking a builder

My first comment on picking a builder is "yuck." This is not a task I enjoy and it is probably one of the biggest house decisions we will make. We met with one builder so far (more are scheduled) and then afterwards came up with this list of what we are looking for in a builder. Much like the architects, we will just post who we finally decide on.

What we want in a builder (in order):

1. Honest with personal integrity.

2. Interested in our vision of a "green home." This begs the question of what does green mean to us...
Minimize the impact of our home on our microcosm of 15 acres as well as on the broader scope. Earth friendly materials, maximize natural sources of energy, minimize construction and long term energy waste, build the room we need and not (much) more, and strive for excellent indoor air quality and low chemical use (low off gassing, waxed floors, no/minimum carpet, low VOC paints, etc).
3. Be willing to do something different. We are already embracing our "one room thick home" which isn't exactly typical. We are willing to sacrifice indoor luxuries (fancy fixtures, fancy lighting, commercial grade kitchen appliances, granite counter tops, paved driveway etc) in order to put as many systems for the long haul in place (solar, geothermal (?) metal roof, radiant floor heating...) as we can afford. We would like to be creative with our interior design and use recycled or unusual materials that are interesting and have minimum impact. Perhaps rustic modern chic type of feel? What that means we aren't quite sure.

4. Guide us through different green options. At the very minimum be willing to research these and provide their thoughts on their merits and down falls in an open minded fashion. For example, SIP vs. ICF vs. conventional building options.

5. We have to stay on budget. Isn't this the bane of all home builders? This should really be number 2 because without this we are SOL.

Wish us luck.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Email, before our next face to face meeting

Here are the thoughts we emailed to Jon and Kandy before our next meeting tomorrow.

1. Make back porch more open, little less timber work (also likely cheaper), perhaps some sort of horizontal wire railing. Both here, on porch off master bedroom, and the sleeping porch.

2. Screen in sleeping porch if not already done. How do we keep water/rain from shooting in here when windy?

3. Windows on back view of main living space need to be different. We think taller and perhaps with small window above or below main windows that could be left open at night without security concerns (tasha).

4. Open up that south east corner with light/windows. Maybe add one additional set of east facing windows in the living room?

5. Separate wall between garage and mudroom/laundry hall. We are still worried about this indoor air quality and leakage from the garage.

6. What do you think about a garage door that opens out the back side of garage as well? This could make access to back yard and granny shack easier and kind of give it an open car port feel if desired.

7. Is there a door off the screen porch on the same side as the entry way? We were thinking this might be a good place for a tiny patio/grill.

8. We really would like to have a murphy bed in the office for a guest bedroom that is first floor accessible for Joe's parents but are starting to think there isn't really enough room in there and perhaps it should just be a dedicated office with desk/bookcases/filing/computer space etc. This may not matter anyway if they move here soon. What do you think?

9. Will you have a new picture of the second floor and basement floor plans for us?

10. If there are any steps to any of the front entry ways we'll need a slight ramp. I think they're all at grade so it may not matter.

11. Rather than the 'L' bracket holding the awnings, could we try an angled piece?

12. Small high operable windows on south face of second floor above lower roof (I think this is the landing)

13. Sidelights on front door.

14. Sink in laundry room next to washer/dryer. Fold out ironing board. closet rod or something to hang clothes on. Laundry chute. (This is Joe, a little focused on laundry details)

15. Do you think there will be enough ventilation to make this single room thickness thing work?

16. There's something about the eastern elevation of the living wing that doesn't work for me (this is Joe now). I'm not sure if it's the stone that's missing. Maybe it's just too plain compared to the rest of it.

17. Anything other than the timber framing? Square stainless tubing?

Monday, March 3, 2008


Exterior renderings are here!

We think it looks great! Jon and Kandy have done swell with these, our first exterior drawings.

Tasha's not sure about the screened dining porch off of the front of the house, but she doesn't want the view to the east blocked by the porch either. I'm not sure what we can do about that. I'd be fine with it off of the back with a regular deck, like we had in the early floor plans. We'd have to see just how much view that would block or interfere with.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Entry Concept

Jon emailed us a design for the entry of the house. It moves the entry out of the corner to a more prominent spot under the sleeping porch. I was having a hard time envisioning what that might look like, but today, at the Home Products Show, Holley-Schink builders had a great looking entry way under a porch in one of their homes inspired by Greene and Greene.

Like the Greene and Greene homes Jon thinks we should be able to do something very nice with the stairs in the entry way. I'm quite excited about this design. Tasha and I both like the direction how it's all coming together; so much so, we've given Jon and Kandy the go ahead to start the exterior views. I can't wait for those!