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Posted to sevenpeacksicf by Craig in Clio, CA on 10/20/2015

We have now both retired so here is what we have been working on.

Photos

Flowers
Entry siding
Tower window detail
Entry siding 2
Patio cover



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Posted to sevenpeacksicf by Craig in Clio, CA on 8/22/2014

We have watched with joy the setting of fruit in the newly planted peach and nectarine trees as well as the established apple trees. The grapes have also set some fruit. We returned from a two-week time away to find the local bear had gone through the deer fence and eaten just about everything. Then followed and browsed many of the branches. Looks like the permanent fencing needs to go in and we need to move in with the dogs before we will really get any type of harvest. Does demoralize one a bit. I can understand from the wildlife point of view that the drought has made food scarce so maybe it's all for the better for now. Will concentrate on keeping the trees alive until we move in.


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Posted to sevenpeacksicf by Craig in Clio, CA on 7/9/2014

This is the summer for the finish plumbing. That means all plumbing except top out. It included the solar panels for water heating, the controls and pumps for the in-floor heating system, propane hookup and hot water heater. This all will be expensive but will nice to have hot/cold water, a working toilet and the ability to heat the structure for the winter.

Next is to get the shower pan inspections done. This is critical to keeping the building permit alive for another year.

As the cash is gone, finish electrical and the upstairs tile work will need to wait until next summer. Would like to get the wall texture done and the upstairs painted. Then I can concentrate on trimming out the windows up there. We'll see how the summer goes.

Photos

Heating System controls, pumps and system works
In-floor system controls



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Posted to sevenpeacksicf by Craig in Clio, CA on 11/18/2013

Getting ready for snow season. The gutters are now on the front entrance cover and the heavy beams mounted on their columns. It took four of us to lift them up the 8 feet and set them on the bolts. Each of the two beams measure 8x10 inches by 18 feet in length and I would guess weigh about 300 pounds.

Photos

Heavy beam and supports
Heavy beams at connection point. Hope to get a roof on it next summer.



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Posted to sevenpeacksicf by Craig in Clio, CA on 8/15/2013

Drywall is installed. Seams and dimples still need to be finished and we need to decide on a texture. Something for later, as I am not doing very well on the finish. Anyway, it now looks more like a house. We also added the covered entryway, main, and garage doors.

Photos

First floor
Trim in the living room
Beckworth BR
Tower windows
Garage with window casing boards started
New front door installed
Close-up of the door
Shingles will go on next, so the three roof profiles will now match.
Shingles are on the covered entryway and the new door all trimmed out. Almost ready for winter. Gutters and garage door this week.
Pre-finished door
Door after seal coat, dye, gel stain and two coats of polyurethane
Gotta have at least a couple of dog pics.
Siding going on
Garage door



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Posted to sevenpeacksicf by Craig in Clio, CA on 6/16/2013

Looks like we have some time off this summer. We will be devoting that time to making some more progress. These photos are of the west second floor siding. Cheri chose the colors, and I think they will be quite suitable.

Goal for the season is to sheetrock, do the last three windows in the tower, install garage and front doors, and if time allows build the covered entryway and the roof on the back patio.

Photos

Paint on fiber cement siding.
Same from a different angle.
One more, need to build scaffold to complete the soffit.
Fruit trees starting to mature.



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Posted to sevenpeacksicf by Craig in Clio, CA on 12/11/2012

A couple of shots showing the HardiePlank siding and the 8040 window in the tower.  Okay, just for some more fill - a couple of shots of the dining room and island lights.

Photos

Siding and window 1
Siding and window 2
Dining room light
Pendant lights for the islands
Ours have the arms rather then the side chairs.



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Posted to sevenpeacksicf by Craig in Clio, CA on 6/28/2012

We are in a high fire danger zone with little chance of rescue if a fire does occur. Hence our choice of building materials. Check out player.vimeo.com/video/22751346 to see what you need to be aware of if you build in the woods.


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Posted to sevenpeacksicf by Craig in Clio, CA on 5/30/2012 7:50:29 PM

Taking some advice, we are capturing all the in-wall mechanicals prior to them being covered up by sheetrock. Note that all the interior walls have been insulated with R-11 to R-19 as sound barriers. A little extra money up front, but we can already tell the difference in sound dampening.

Photos

Master bath shower. As seen before, adding a connection for a steam generator.
Master bath sinks
Guest shower hand-held sprayer



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Posted to sevenpeacksicf by Craig in Clio, CA on 4/30/2012

I must admit that sometimes my wife does come up with some good ideas. She suggested adding a single small window in each of the guest bedrooms. The south BR would have a NW view and the north BR would have a SW view. It worked. And since we hiked through two feet of snow to get there, enjoy the pic of Frazer Falls when it is roaring.

Photos

Two new windows above the LR
South BR window - thin one on the right
View from the new window


Videos




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Posted to sevenpeacksicf by Craig in Clio, CA on 4/11/2012

We're finally at the point of the next big-ticket item - insulation. Since we wanted closed soffits due to fire danger in the woods, we need to use spray-on insulation. To keep the cost down we are using a 'flash and batt' hybrid system. We chose closed cell, as it also acts as a vapor barrier and waterproofing system. The ceilings will get three+ inches and the exterior framed walls will get two inches. On top of that, the ceilings will get R-30 unfaced batt, and the walls an R-13. That makes us superinsulated with total R-factors of R-50 and R-25 respectively.

Last summer I was able to find a Craigslist deal on 3/8"x2x4-foot rigid insulation for $.25 each. This will be applied to the entire exterior and a 'rain curtain' style siding solution added on top of that. It does not add a great deal more insulation (R-2 or R-3), but it does ensure there are no air gaps that allow infiltration of cold/hot air and lessens any chance of water intrusion.

A note on the insulation, the closed cell is soy based and the batt is made of sand and recycled glass. Read more on the EcoBatt at ecobatt.us.

Photos

Closed-cell insulation sprayed on exterior wall. The gap in the wall is where a new window will be installed.
Spray-on soy-based insulation on the ceiling.
Foam application
R-30 batt application. Note the ridge plate is also insulated to prevent air infiltration.
EcoBatt
Master BR before insulation.
MBR after insulation



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Posted to sevenpeacksicf by Craig in Clio, CA on 10/17/2011

The front door covered entry now has the main beam in  place. The backyard terrace has been started. We also moved the viewing deck to take advantage of the river view.

Photos

Front door beam
The beam
Terrace and log retaining wall started.
Just a random shot.
River view



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Posted to sevenpeacksicf by Craig in Clio, CA on 10/9/2011

Winter is on its way. Time to get in this year's wood.

Photos

First snow
Filling the bin



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Posted to sevenpeacksicf by Craig in Clio, CA on 9/23/2011

Lots of activity in our lives has kept us from making any large progress on the house. In preparation for shingles, we added two tube skylights. One in the guest bath and one in the master bedroom closet. We were able to save up enough to order and install the balance of the roof shingles and ridge cap. Hate to say it, but I'm about three shingles short of a full roof, so will need to order one more bundle. 

One other low-cost project was to move the outside deck to a new location that has a view of the river. So, little by little we are making progress to our finished project. 

Next steps for this year - finish the heavy beams for the covered entryways and complete the accessway and northwest terraces so I can use the backhoe to get the beams in place.

Photos

Finished roof
Finished roof showing tube sky lights
Relocated deck



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Posted to sevenpeacksicf by Craig in Clio, CA on 3/4/2011

Hi everyone. Well, we got about half the finish roof done; the important parts, that is. Above the tower and living room. Still need to complete the area above the MBR and BR2.

We again celebrated Christmas in the house. Cold, but nice to have space for everyone. Lots of snow this year. The pictures are from our latest storm the first week of March, 2011.

Photos

March, 2011
Really need to protect from those icicles.
A place to warm up.



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Posted to sevenpeacksicf by Craig in Clio, CA on 9/1/2010

In the last installment, we had decided to take things slowly.  Well, we haven't.  Instead we felt compelled to keep moving forward on the project despite the costs. The plumbers are back after a two-year layover. Barb the electrician has also been busy wiring the second floor, downstairs laundry room and library. All this in preparation for the next inspection to keep our permit alive. We did have some speed bumps this summer. I was very apprehensive about cutting the hole in the living-room ceiling for the chimney so I asked our roof framer to help out. Somehow he got the impression that the hole needed to be in a different place then we discussed. I ended up having to mill and stain new 2x7 lap boards for the hole he cut. Luckily, it turned out OK.  The chimney is in and watertight. 

The plumbers had to core through the second-floor cement to reposition drain and supply lines. Even with pictures of pipe locations, we managed to hit one of the in-floor heating tubes. All this will add to the price. We decided rather than buy prefab tubs and showers that I will custom-build tile showers for all the baths. This should save some money and give a more custom look to the house.

The utility/mechanical room was still leaking from the ceiling, so we did a slate tile overlay on the deck above. This fixed the problem, however the grout seal came out very dull. I'll try a wet-look sealer next to see if that helps darken the grout and bring out the tiles. 

We received numerous recycled synthetic roof slates. Steel and some recycled plastic types. All are costly, so we have not yet made up our minds. We are still working on the exterior color palette, but are getting closer.

Photos

Furring strips in preparation for gas lines, electric, and drywall
Dutch door
Living-room plaster base coat
Recessed lighting upstairs
Tile on the MBR deck
Stair light to the tower
Plumbers at work
MBR recessed lighting
MBR plumbing lines



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Posted to sevenpeacksicf by Craig in Clio, CA on 7/13/2010

Still making some progress on the house, although most of our resources are going to pay off expenses getting the house closed in and secure.

Work includes staining woodwork, base coats on the walls, installing a wood stove, and getting the second floor wired.

Photos

Stained fiberglass doors
White knuckle work- painting the facia on the 2nd floor
Plaster base coat in the utility room
Mills peak fire lookout inspired our tower.
view looking down on us from the fire lookout
snow play on Mills
Jaxx looking for something to drink after an afternoon of play.



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Posted to sevenpeacksicf by Craig in Clio, CA on 11/9/2009

Installing windows - thanks, Bob, for the help.

Photos

LR windows
Craig installing last LR window
MBR windows
Kitchen and family room
LR windows to SW
Installing
MBR
Family room



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Posted to sevenpeacksicf by Craig in Clio, CA on 10/5/2009

Yep, it's starting to look like home...

Photos

Vaulted ceiling in the living room.
Note the extra window at the end of the 6x16 beams. Someday a home for stained glass?
LR showing where the stairs will go to second floor (left side).
A different angle.
LR looking toward the DR and kitchen.
Time to clear out the excess building materials from the house and make ready to install windows and doors.



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Posted to sevenpeacksicf by Craig in Clio, CA on 10/5/2009

The roof framers are done, and the final exterior profile is in place, minus a few canopy roofs and the grand entrance.

Photos

Looking at the kitchen and second floor family room windows.
Moving to the west, the kitchen windows and dining room doors to the left.
Looking up at the LR windows and cathedral ceiling over them.
Looking up at the west facing LR windows. Lines are interesting when you include the tower in the view
Standing back on the NW side. The MBR is on the left and BR2 on the right side of the second floor. The door on the right goes to the LR.
The pillars will support the roof of the covered patio.



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Posted to sevenpeacksicf by Craig in Clio, CA on 10/5/2009

Winter is on its way. We had our first snowflakes of the season on Sunday.  Hurry, hurry little dragon!

Photos

Feltex underlayment over the LR
LR Feltex
Ice dam on the sheathing
more ice dam 30" above and below the exterior wall lines and on either side of the valleys. As there are overlaps in the roofs, we needed to apply the ice dam material, then Feltex and finally a few rows of shingles on the lower roof, then nail the sheathing over it and finally do the same on the overlapping section.
Ice and water shield -- ice dam and high wind protection.
View from the tower looking NW.
Slug in a chair.
More slug.
Framing and stairs leading up to the tower
Mr. Slug if you please!
Feltex going on.
Feltex over ice/water shield.
Feltex.
More Feltex
MBR now watertight.
Nailing off the Feltex -- 6" on all the edges with a 50% overlap horizontally.
Looking west at the tower. The fascia has been painted to finish color.
Whatever were we thinking? Need more money, less wind, more time!



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Posted to sevenpeacksicf by Craig in Clio, CA on 10/1/2009 1:35:28 PM

Another inspection passed.  Next is to layout the felt paper, or rather the Feltex material that does not rot under UV exposure.  Then we're set for the winter.  Hoping somehow to raise enough cash to do the windows.

Photos

the soffet's are all closed in, the facia is on. Really starting to look like a house now



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Posted to sevenpeacksicf by Craig in Clio, CA on 9/8/2009 12:39:57 PM

Taking a couple weeks vacation and having a framing crew on the job has really moved us forward.  Ross, Matt and Bob are doing great work.  I've spent most of my time finish sanding the 2x6 lap ceiling for the living room.  Many hours of sand yet to do then the die, seal, stain and finish seal to have that ceiling look like polished furniture.  Last evening I couldn't resist have mounting one of our sky chairs in the tower and just let the breeze sway me as I enjoyed the view.

Photos

Roof top view towards the tower
Looking west through the tower with the sky chair
look back from the tower to the roof over the master bedroom
MBR looking at closet and bath rough framming
View from the family room look through the guest bath into the MBR
Standing on the roof looking past the tower to the west



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Posted to sevenpeacksicf by Craig in Clio, CA on 9/2/2009 10:36:33 AM

Work has progressed to the point that the lines on the roof are starting to take shape and it looks like we have a house! Many potential home builders in the past have told us that it couldn't be done, as the roof was too complicated. Again, patience and having the right friends has prevailed in our favor!

Photos




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Posted to sevenpeacksicf by Craig in Clio, CA on 8/19/2009 6:55:14 PM

We've  been hard at it preping for the roof framing.  I took 3 bids on this section of the house. Ross and Matt won both on price but also on reputation.

It's been a flury of phone calls, ordering material, lining up everything.  Monday was layout and stacked roof materials delivery.  Tuesday the trusses were delivered and set on the roof's.  While we had the crane we also placed the heavy LVL's and the glulam in the guest bath.  Today the tower and master bedroom rafters were placed and the one of 3 ledger boards to hold up the stacked roof to the tower.

Photos

Block walls leveled for the mudsile
Roof framing material
precision cutting the heavy LVL's
cat walk in the master BR to aid in setting trusses
Setting tower trusses
The crane
More tower trusses
Setting the 6x16x12 glulam beam in the guest bath
Stting LVL's - they are heavy!
Trusses over the MBR
Wednesday's work. Trusses laid up
Different angle



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Posted to sevenpeacksicf by Craig in Clio, CA on 7/31/2009 8:48:37 AM

Finally we are done with the concrete work!  The walls are poured and flat work completed.  Yesterdays pour was the smoothest to date.  No issues blow out or problems.  My friend Bob had the idea that seemed to work well for numerous reasons.  We placed a plywood ring around the top row of block.  This gives us an almost perfectly flat and level service for the mud sile/sole plate that will support the roof.  It also held the block in place and straightened up the wall. 

The weekend will be cleanup and staging the lumber to the second floor.

Photos

The back patio with new columns and the walls to the garage and master bedroom.
Looking into a cleaned up second floor
Framing for the support of the viewing tower.



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Posted to sevenpeacksicf by Craig in Clio, CA on 7/27/2009 8:32:41 AM

As usual the past few weekends have been busy.  The weather has been hot so we start early in the morning, take an afternoon  break and return when it cools off in the evening.  The 1st lift on the second floor is done as well as the framing for the tower load bearing walls and subfloor. 

I also through in some pictures of the local scenes.

Photos

These pictures are showing the walls going up after the the second floor first lift pour.
Entrance to MBR
MBR looking in
BR2
BR1
Looking at LR from tower
MBR from tower
Beckworth peak with thunderheads moving in
Swiming hole
Middle fork of the Feather River



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Posted to sevenpeacksicf by Craig in Clio, CA on 7/14/2009

Joel and friend Erin arrived from Santa Barbara to lend a needed hand to the old man.  It's really nice to have the extra help!

We've been busy and buying materials from Craigslist when ever possible.  Big savings on GluLams and demensional lumber.  Although there is work involved and more waste it feels good to recycle where possible.  Also working the engineer to see if we can use TJI's rather then LVL's for the stacked roof.  Should save us some $$$.  We are now taking bids on the roof framing.  It is way to complex for me to handle alone.  More cost but on some things you just need to hire compitant help.  There is a reason why the motto for this house is "Do It Twice".

Photos

Joel and Erin
Master bedroom looking north at the west wall
Southern elevation as we lay up the ICF block in preparation for the next pour next week Friday. Then just one more and we are done with the walls and the major concrete work. :}
Staging the ICF blocks.
Jaxx is all excited about his new digs.
I know I left my hammer somewhere, here?
You can see the 2nd floor west wall which is the only exterior wood framed wall in the house.
Second floor entry to the master bedroom it's private deck.
Looking east towards the living room windows.
Dry stacking more block. Thanks for the pictures Cheri!



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Posted to sevenpeacksicf by Craig in Clio, CA on 5/19/2009

The past few weeks work has been directed towards completion of the finish grade.  This includes both log and stone retaining walls.  The backhoe is getting quite a workout.

Photos

Prep'ing for the ferrocement rain water catchment tank/retaining wall.
Looking SW at the terraces to be.
Log retaining walls.
log retaining walls
more logs
flower beds to be....
Stone walls going up
Stones
stones
Concord grapes planted around the future water feature for shade and fruit
MacIntosh apple trees are in. Getting a jump start so they producing when we move in. (in therory)
Jaxx takes it all in stride
Future steps and outdoor kitchen



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Posted to sevenpeacksicf by Craig in Clio, CA on 2/3/2009 2:12:55 PM

It looks like the animals are taking over.  The doe and her yearling fawns have no fear.  Cheri brings home a surprise.  And Tundra Swans stop during their migration.

Photos

Doe and two fawns about 20 feet from the house.
Our new spanial
Puppy close up
Tundra Swans on the Middle Fork of the Feather River below the house



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Posted to sevenpeacksicf by Craig in Clio, CA on 1/12/2009

We had a nice surprise yesterday.  The  vultures are not the only ones to seem to enjoy the old cedar snag.

Photos

Winter visitor
Young bald eagle
This eagle is about 2 years old and is beginning to change coloration. We hope he visits often!



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Posted to sevenpeacksicf by Craig in Clio, CA on 11/25/2008

The house is now wrapped on top with tarps, the windows covered with clear vinyl and the doors with plywood and tarps.  All the major beams and posts are also wrapped in plastic. Ready for the snow there. Although we did get some water in prior to the second floor pour we suffered no damage! Yeah!

Cheri is planning on having Christmas dinner up here with the family.  Guess I better get the temporary heater up and running.

We did find one problem.  Somehow the second floor bathroom can-in for the tub was misplaced about 3 feet from where it should be located.  We also decided to frame in an additional wall thickness to carry the vents to the roof.  Unfortunately the plumber who drilled the water supply lines put them about 4 inches into the bedroom rather then into the new wall.  I spoke with the plumbers and we are all at a lose as to how this got past us especially since we redrew the plans to show the new layout.  They have agreed to fix the issues but we have not bottomed out on any additional charges. If there is a charge I will have to decide whether or not to retain these guys.  The good news is that I took plenty of pictures so drilling holes and missing the in-floor tubing should be easier.  

As I review the work on the 2nd floor plumbing I not entirely satisfied with some of the decision that have been made.  I will probably be redoing the work that has been done to get the vent stacks to run inside the block walls.  This means carving out the block walls to accommodate the move.  This saves me the time, expense and loss of space involved in framing out a faux wall the entire length of the master bath. All this fun and 14 can-in pipes for the price of $1,000.  I'm finding the tradesmen are about getting in, doing the least possible and getting paid the most they can as soon as they can.  Luckily, with the exception of roof framing, I'm done with subbing out major work tasks.

On a lighter note, I thought I'd add some pictures of our driveway, all 1,100 feet of it.

Photos

Misplace tub can in. The block of wood should be on the other side of the sill plate (moved left).
Living room with temp roof.
Looking west from entry to the living room.
Site milled wood moved into the garage waiting to be planed smooth for ceiling and finish work.
Tarps over the temp living room roof.
Tarps on the second floor.
More second floor tarp protection.
Driveway entrance.
Driveway.
Driveway.
Driveway.
Driveway.
Driveway.
Driveway.
Firesafe turnout, looking back.
Driveway.
Top of the driveway.



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Posted to sevenpeacksicf by Craig in Clio, CA on 11/12/2008

Ron and crew finished the 4" slab on the second floor yesterday.  We're so close to buttoning up for the winter!

The previous weekend was getting ready for this pour.  Activities included putting up the Hambro steel  and plywood forms above the utility shed and bridge linking it to the master bedroom.  I hired a laborer to help out and to ensure the work got done on time.  Money well spent. 

I spent Sunday placing the first row of Faswall blocks on the second floor.  These were notched to allow rebar on the top and on the side to allow the concrete floor to be fully integrated into the wall.  Before doing this I had to remove the protective tarps and the two inches of water that had accumulated on them.  It is so much fun working in the cold when your boots and pants are soaked with water. :). 

The final prep step was to plastic wrap the heavy beams supporting the second floor to protect them from cement spills.  These beams are 8x18 #1 Doug fir and will be visible when the house is complete.  They need to be really pretty to support the overall "Prairie Style" of architecture influencing this house.

Next steps will be to seal the structure for the snow to come.  That means putting clear vinyl sheeting over the windows, tarps over doors, and building a temporary roof over the living room.  I also want to install a temporary wood stove for heating the work area.

Photos

first floor slab protection
Insulation on slab looking from MBR
Second floor plumbing can-in
Radiant for second floor
River view from the second floor
Second floor from MBR to utility shed roof (insulated)



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Posted to sevenpeacksicf by Craig in Clio, CA on 11/6/2008

The weather had to break sooner or later and so it did last weekend.   A few inches of rain and an inch of snow.  For some reason this was psychologically difficult.  I guess it was watching water getting to our heavy posts and beams.  I was not able to get back to the project site before the rain began.  So on Friday we laid out tarps over the plywood forms and concrete mesh as best we could.  Cheri bought some very large (expensive) tarps and so on Saturday we added a second layer.  This helped greatly but water still gets through.

Our plumbers were over booked and were not able to make it prior to the weather moving in.  They paid the price for that this week.  They arrived on Wednesday to find a couple inches of ice on the tarps. Although I was not here they did let me know how much they had to struggle.  It was a shame that they had to put us off for a week while the weather was good.  In any event the second floor rough in is done and the in floor hydronic heating PEX is in as well. 

Ron, our concrete guy was good enough to help me out today in prep'ing for tomorrows pour.  We'll do the area over the garage then the rest of the house next week.  Tomorrow's pour will also include the second lift on the utility shed as the last part.  We will use a 4" slump for the slab then water it down to a 6" slump for the walls.  Any left over will be used for sidewalk extension.

Photos

Second floor hydronics
more
more
more
more
Second floor view
more view
more view
more view
wet wood
wet wood



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Posted to sevenpeacksicf by Craig in Clio, CA on 10/27/2008

We have been very blessed with good weather!  Will it last for another week or two?  We (Ivan, Matt and Bob) spent the weekend getting the house ready for the second floor plumbing.  Unfortunately, we had our first accident/injury on the site.  Bob stepped on a sheet of plywood before it was fully braced.  He caught himself before going all the way through but bruised his ribs badly.  He's ok but sore.

Last weekend was spent putting up the steel joists and beginning the plywood inserts.  We finished both this weekend.  All the plywood (to support the concrete pour is down and fully braced.  It also has a thin coat of veggie oil to allow easy removal once the concrete is sufficiently cured.  The bad news is that the plumbers are overbooked and bumping us out a week.  At 4,766 feet of elevation and as late into the season as we are it is getting scary as to whether or not we can get the slab poured.  The long range forecast is for rain this weekend then clearing next week.  The concrete contractor has insulated blankets to cover and we can also put in some heat below.  I guess we'll just keep moving forward using the extra time to plastic over the windows and doors, tidy up the job site, get all tools covered and further prep for the pour.  Enjoy the pics. - Craig

Photos

Ivan laying in a header
Bob testing the braced plywood
Matt and Bob bracing more plywood
Living room looking back east toward the main entrance
Craig installing 2x4 joist bottom cord bracing furing strip in the garage
looking west from the 2nd floor decking
Our friend Stan from Longfellow Lumber



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Posted to sevenpeacksicf by Craig in Clio, CA on 10/20/2008

Looks like the plumbing and slab pour will have to wait another week. We found some issues with the last lift pour. Seems like rebar, vents and misaligned blocks prevented some of the wall cells from being completely filled. This is critical under major load bearing areas (i.e. those blocks acting as columns for beams). I've cut out sections of the block that sound hollow and will fill them in by hand during the next pour. Also, we ran out of concrete and time so the utility shed blocks did not get fixed. Somehow solutions do seem to happen. When the concrete guys come to do the floor, they will need two days in order to get an area done to get a better working area for finish. I'll have them pour over the garage first, then thin the mud to a six-inch slump and fill the shed walls. I'll do this next Friday and pour the rest of the slab the following Monday. 

Other things that slowed us down this past week include the inevitable learning curve working with steel floor joists. Again great for square buildings but difficult to lay out on an octagon. We did get some help from a couple of my Lion's Club buddies. Matt and Bob did a great job of framing walls and helping to get the steel floor joists in place. Having four people to get the plywood onto the second floor was really nice. It was nice to stand on the second floor and see the views open up above and between the trees. If you're interested in seeing the floor joists go to arcat.com/arcatcos and check out the D500 Composite Floor System.

Next steps will be to cut all the plywood that holds up the concrete floor, install the rest of the bolts in the timbers, lay up one more row of block to hold in the concrete floor and build blocking to form in the floor pour that is not adjacent to Faswall blocks, install and brace ledger boards under weak plywood connections, then do a final pickup to make sure everything is solid prior to the plumbers arriving and the slab pour. Lots to do in one weekend.

Photos

Hambro Steel
Posts and heavy Steel beam set to support Hambro/cement floor load to roof
Site milled logs prepared as posts
First floor framing



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Posted to sevenpeacksicf by Craig in Clio, CA on 10/14/2008

We've been working our butt's off!  Both Cheri and I have taken some vacation time to try to get the second floor/floor poured before the snow flies and it gets to cold.  Sorry not to have more timely posts but quite frankly, by the time the sun goes down and we have dinner all I can think of is taking a hot tub and heading off to bed.  Word to those who should attempt to build their own retirement home.  Be prepared to wake up early (0300) and mentally run through all the things that need to be done that day and eternity.  Also, listen to your wife.  Yesterday we ran into the problem where the local welder did not have access to a trailer that could do 8000 pounds of steel.  We were at the lumber yard measuring the steel floof joists (Canam/Hambro500 joists) and Stan (the owner) mentioned he had a truck going to Quincy that afternoon.  I never gave it a thought but Cheri said what if.....

Voila, problem solved. I have no idea what it will cost but the truck was there and picked up the I-beams and delivered them today.  Your spouse (sig. other) will have lots of good ideas (and some bad ones as well) so sort them out and use what you can talk through why others may not work.

Ok, so where the heck are we today.  We pushed out the the second 1st floor lift by a week.   We just were not ready.  The walls were not plumb as needed, the the I-beams were not in place etc, so I called it off until tomorrow.  At that I need to call the concrete folks and push out from 10am to noon.  We still need to lay up the block over the garage door, cut more rebar and brace any vulnerable corners. 

So kind reader, what have we been doing the last week or so while on vacation?  Setting the 12x12 post, plumbing the walls, framing the load bearing walls and generally pulling out our hair.  I'll post more pictures so you can see our progress.  Until then, drive safe and watch out for the crazies. - Craig


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Posted to sevenpeacksicf by Craig in Clio, CA on 10/2/2008

The completion of the first lift pour was a great emotional boost.  Our eldest son Joel arrived for a weekend visit and to help raise the next portion of the block walls.  Dennis, Joel and I continued the same process of laying block as before.  The main difference is that we are now working from ladders and scaffolding.  It was nice to see the utility shed raised to finish height and covered on top with a tarp.  Good place to store tools and equipment as we approach the winter season.  As we were doing block Cheri got familiar with Mr. Electric Planer using it and a belt sander to smooth out the rough cut 12x12 Doug fir columns that will help hold up the second floor.

Next steps will be to set the columns and steel beams then pour the blocks with the second grout lift.

Photos

Joel and me
Joel completing the living room window buck extentions
Laying up more blocks on the west wall
Looking west at the walls. Note the table is to the right of where the dining room will be.
Dusk and the framed view from the living room looking west
Sunday sunsest after a long hard weekend of work. Thanks for the pizza Janine, it was great!
block
block
Office wall
Scaffolding- highly recomended!



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Posted to sevenpeacksicf by Craig in Clio, CA on 9/27/2008

Rush, rush, rush.  Long days preparing the walls for the pour.  Laying block and rebar, bracing windows and doors and bracing the wall corners all in cold mornings and hot afternoons.  Now sporting a rather dark tan.

We passed our county inspection and ordered our concrete grout.  Besides Cheri I recruited some frieds, John P., Dennis W, and Mike M. to help us as pour day is always hectic.  This proved to be the same.  We spent the morning staging blocks two layers high to form a walking platform along all the walls.  This allowed us a good foundation to stand on and see what we were doing. Of course the building inspector moved our job to late morning rather then first thing.  Then the pump and concrete trucks got lost. Our pour would now be in the heat of the day.  The pumper truck did not have the 2" nozzle I had asked for so we had to use the three-inch and try to slow the speed as best we could.  Additionally the hose would continue to empty the hose even after you stopped pumping. The nozzle also had some knobs on it which got hung up on the rebar.  All of this made for some pretty good frustration due to the difficulty in controlling the rate of pour and the amount of over spill.  I was glad that Cheri insisted we place tarps across the entire floor in order to protect the stamped concrete.  Cleanup was much easier.  In a little over 2 hours we were done with the pour and concentrated fine tuning, adding a slab section to use up left over cement and on clean up. We had two blocks break and blow out.  Dennis was right there to control them and did a great job of it.  John's cement skills shone as he finished the slab without the proper tools.  Thanks guys!  We finished the day with a discussion on what we could do better next time while having a beer and chips.

Photos

Bracing for the pour.
Pouring the garage wall. Note the pumper operator using a remote control.
Pumper truck
Our friend John
Our friend Mike
Dennis at work.
Murphy taking it all in stride
Clean up the details
Slab protection and staged block walkway
Cement truck loading pumper
The fist lift pour
Murpyy showing her excitement about the house



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Posted to sevenpeacksicf by Craig in Clio, CA on 9/27/2008

With 3 weeks of vacation scheduled it was time to start getting the project to look like a house.  Our first task was to verify that the walls would be in the right place.  With a nice flat surface  this was much easier to do.  We did find out that we were off by a little which we corrected by pulling measurements and diagonals.  East/west walls were spot on while the north/south walls were off on the diagonals by 1 1/2 inch.  Starting from our key point spot at the front door we began dry stacking the Faswall ICF's.  It soon became apparent that doing miter cuts was a pain.  We moved to the utility shed and garage to get some practice with the block.  Once we got the hang of it we found that laying up square structures was quite easy and fast.  The time consumer here was plumbing and squaring the walls, working around the rebar and adding more rebar as we went.  The engineering requires #5 rebar 12 inches on center vertically and 16 inches horizontally.  Every other course of block is place upside down in order to create the bond beam of cement when filled. If you stripped away the ICF's it would look like a giant waffle made of cement.  We used some shims to get us going then checked the plumb and wall lengths every other course to stay true.  At 8 courses high we fine tuned the walls using a block of wood and a hammer to adjust the block. 

As I concentrated on block laying our friend Ivan built the window and door bucks.  The bucks are just open square boxes used to fill the wall position for the doors and windows.  We made these out of 2x12's on the top (to keep cement from flowing out of the blocks during the pour), 2x10s on the sides for strength and a single 2x6 on the bottom to allow access to the block cells during the pour.  Cheri had the great idea of replacing the dining room 4060 windows with doors.  We got the ok from the building department and decided we could do over sized 3668 glass doors that will open out.  This should be great for summer entertaining as we can open these doors for easy access to the terraced patios from the dining room.  We added the bucks as needed, bracing them with 2x4's screwed to concrete stakes then laying block around them.  We did make minor adjustment to door and window locations so they aligned to block placement.  This was done to minimize any more cuts then needed.

Essentially we used the same process to build the house walls. It would have been nice to have a 24 inch saw to make all the miter cuts.  We ended up using a Skill saw and a reciprocating saw which meant two cuts then joining those cuts with the reciprocating saw.  Not very accurate and each corner required at least 6 cuts per block.  I would not recommend Faswall block for any other structure that is not square.  Just too frustrating getting those cuts right.

It took about a half day to fine tune all the walls.  My long time friend Dennis and I moved from wall to wall and after making any corrections applied full 4x8 plywood to all the exterior corners.  These would be the weak points subject to blow outs when the concrete grout would be poured into the blocks from the pumper truck.

Photos

Block with bracing
Block with bracing
Cutting Faswall blocks
Footing for a future water feature outside the living room



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Posted to sevenpeacksicf by Craig in Clio, CA on 9/25/2008

Cheri was concerned that we not ruin our new stamped concrete floor, so we covered it in tarps each time we had another pour.

Photos

protective tarps over the garage slab
tarps
tarps



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Posted to sevenpeacksicf by Craig in Clio, CA on 9/16/2008

With the rough in under slab plumbing and electric rough ins complete it was time to prepare for the first major slab pour.  There were 3 major areas of work that needed to be done for the pour; backfill the foundation walls inside and out, layout insulation, steel mesh and rebar and install the in-floor radiant heat tubing.

The amount of backfill was daunting.  The plans specified a minimum of four inches of gravel as a base.  Over the gravel we placed a layer of foil-bubble-bubble-poly insulation.  We chose that rather then rigid foam insulation as the price was about the same but it would be easier to work with, not damage as easy, provide an R-value of ~10, and act as vapor barrier.  Basically the stuff is two layers of bubble wrap covered with polyester vinyl on one side and aluminum foil on the other.  It's applied foil side down.  We placed a 2 inch layer of sand on the insulation just to protect it and allow the cement a good bonding surface.  A special thanks to my friend Mike M. who loaned me his Kabuto tractor!  Moving 112 tons of gravel and 24 tons of sand would have taken a much greater time had I not had the use of it.  Yes, it took that much to bring the interior grade up to where it needed to be.  We used 6x6 wire mesh that came in one large roll.  We will use flat mat's of mesh next time as the rolls are rather hard to work with.  We also tied in #3 rebar around the edges and in strategic places within the house to hold the mesh in place and provide a stable surface to attach the in-floor hydronic tubes.  Doing this work saved us $4,500 from the bid price offered by the concrete contractor.  The  plumbers arrived on the 6th and completed the tube layout in a day and a half.  Friday the 12th we passed county inspection and our concrete crew completed the first half of the pour.  This half required a pumper truck as our site only allows access to one side of the house.  The second half of the pour was completed the following Monday.  The stamping looks good!

The original plans called for a covered entry way.  We expanded this to have a covered porch on the northwest side as well and a walkway connecting the front and back of the house.  Excluding the garage we decided to have all the first floor slabs to be stamp to look like slate.  Later these surfaces will be acid stained to look like the natural rock from the area.  While our daughter was home for the summer we hiked up to an area above Plumas Eureka State Park and collected rock samples.  The intent is to have the house look like it is built on and rising out of the hill top.  These extras did end up costing us though.  The slab pour came in at $13,000. 

Next is laying up the ICF walls to five feet for the first lift pour.

 

Photos

Infloor tubing
Hydronic heating tubing being installed
more tubing
Mike's tractor
The pour
More pour



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Posted to sevenpeacksicf by Craig in Clio, CA on 9/3/2008 12:50:55 PM

Well, it's been a while since our last update.  The foundation walls have been built.  Thanks to my good friend Ivan who helped me mix and pour the concrete to fill the cores!  It took a day and a half to fill these cores, about 10 tons of gravel and 21 bags of cement. It was a rich mixture but we wanted it stronger since we used a high slump mix to ensure all cores were filled properly.  Perforations were include for plumbing and exterior electrical runs.  The top row of block is KX Faswall.  This row will have finish grade 2 inches from the bottom and the interior floor grade at their top.  As these block are insulated and self draining this works well for the exterior functions. 

After the wall was completed, the plumbers (Nevada County Plumbing, Auburn CA) installed the sub-slab plumbing.  This plumbing included drain lines, water lines from the utility shed, supply lines to the second floor chase in the garage and in-floor heat lines to the shed which also includes lines to the wood fired water heater.  We should have had them involved a bit soon as the 4" drain line exiting the house was not as deep as they would have liked.  They were able to work around this constraint.  

Once the plumbers were finished I ran the electric conduit from the interior wall locations to the wall perforations.  These included a 1 1/2-inch for the outdoor kitchen, and two 3/4-inch one for speakers and one for the low voltage lighting system/water feature.   

The building sequence proceeded with building up the inside pad to slab grade.  It took 9 truck loads of gravel to do this.  One of my friends from the Graeagle Lion's Club lent me his Kabuto tracktor with bucket and box grader.  Without that I'd stll be shoveling gravel!  The roadbase gravel supplies drainage and sufficient compaction to support the slab.  Requirements were a minimum of 6 inches gravel that ended six inches from the top of the Faswall block and two inches from the bottom of it.  Above the gravel we rolled out foil/bubble/bubble/vinyl combination insulation and vapor barrier.  This was about $680 from FarmTek supply of Iowa.  The seams were taped with vinyl tape to give a good seal.  We used this product rather then rigid foam as the R values was about the same ~R7 but without the need for a seperate vapor barrior and less risk of breakage or damage.  The insulation met the walls at the two-inch mark so the entire slab is insulated sides and bottom. 

Above the insulation we added 2 inches of sand.  There were a couple of spots that the gravel was a little high.  This was unfortunate as the samd is in place to protect the insulation from compression or puncture damage.  Above the sand we placed 6x6 steel mesh to tie the cement pad together and allow the plumbers to anchor the infloor radiant heat tubing.  We also added #3 rebar around the parimater and serveral lines across the field to help hold the mesh down and in place.

Yesterday the plumbers returned and laid the infloor radient heat pex for the two heat circuits of the first floor.  One in the garage/utility shed and the other in the living area.  There will be two more circuits up stairs.

There have been a couple of changes to the plan.  My wife Cheri suggested replacing the dining room windows with 4 foot wide doors that would open  to the exterior.  Great idea for entertaining as guests will be able to access the house directly from the southern terrace.  Our concrete contractor also suggested cutting off some of the faswall block in the doorways to allow a continuous pour over the treshhold.  This eliminates having to do some type of cover up of the Faswall which is 12 inches wide and door treds are only 6 inches.  We will maintain most of the insulation as doors are mounted flush with exterior so only the interior block surfice will be cut down and covered with the floor pour. 

Our inspection is set for Thursday and the pour starts at 08:30 Friday.  All floors that need to be pumped will be completed Friday and non-pumped areas will be done on Monday. 

Photos

Sub grade plumbing.
Sub grade plumbing
Plumbing to the utility shed
Plumbing to the 2nd floor via garage corner chase



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Posted to sevenpeacksicf by Craig in Clio, CA on 7/14/2008

The last three weeks have not been as productive as I would have liked.  However, the stem walls are just about completed.  That is, the corners are all marked and the corner blocks placed for the main house (garage and utility shed still to be done). The plumbers are finishing the water lines, drainage pipes and initial runs for the hydronic heat system and will pressure test it all today.

 

The electric coop hit us with a change.  The 220-amp service box cannot be located where I wanted it to be.  It must be on the driveway side of the utility building.  This means I need to remove about one sq ft of footing for a new sweep.  In addition, the line is about 2 feet short so they will need to splice in a section.  The new sweep must be a 4” pipe for that to happen.  Oh yes and I will need to sink another grounding rod. 

 

Next steps are to pick up the steel posts for the garage, finish the stem walls then get the county to inspect and approve all that work.  Then it’s filling the stem wall cores, back filling the outside with natural soil and the inside with road base, compacting both as we go.  With the backfill complete its laying out the slab insulation/vapor barrier covering it with two inches of sand, laying out #3 rebar on 18 inch grids, attaching the PEX heating coils, forming out the patio slabs, another inspection (if required) then pouring the slab.  It will be so good to have the house apron and terraces done.  Then up with the walls.

Photos

Working with Faswall block
Blocks and butt



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Posted to sevenpeacksicf by Craig in Clio, CA on 7/14/2008

6/16/08- What a chore.  I thought putting in the septic system would be straightforward.  Due to the hill slope, the 20x60 foot field is quite deep on the high side.  Should have done multiple terraces rather then just two.  Oh well.  About 80% done with the field with the finish leveling yet to be completed.  Next will be cutting in a section for the tank, clean up the field then trench to the house.  Should take most of next weekend, especially if I need to take the snow blower back to the shop, as it still does not run.

 

6/25/08- The septic tank is in and the trench to the house is complete with the first 60 feet of pipe in the ground.  Our friend Dennis has been helping with the pipe run.  We called the county environmental health to see if the pipe needed to be inspected.  No, it does not but Dave was not happy with the depth of the field, as it cannot be deeper then the perk test, which was 30 inches.  During the preliminary site inspection, Dave told me to move the field to where it has been dug and I would not need a new perk test.  I think the combination of distance and depth together triggered the need for a new perk. Another learning experience.  Next time I will trench with the contour of the hill.  I have contacted our neighbor Burkhart and he will be over at nine next Monday morning.  So looks like I will be laying up the block stem walls this weekend rather then completing the septic system.

 

7/14/08- Bottom line on the septic system is it is a no go.  Contacted a friend and neighbor Tobe to do the septic system.  He will be out in a couple of weeks to complete. Estimate is $4k. 

Photos

septic system
septic
septic
septic



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Posted to sevenpeacksicf by Craig in Clio, CA on 6/13/2008

6/2/08- after substantial deliberation, I contacted a concrete contractor out of Loyalton and although the price (16k) is steep, we will have him and his crew pours the footings. The price is all-inclusive.

 

6/10/08- The footings are in.  Ron’s crew used 45 yards of concrete and lots of steel to complete the pour.  Only one small issue in that the pipes running from the utility shed to the garage did not go in under the footings.  I will need to come up with a solution.  May require digging out the space between the buildings and “tunneling” under the footings to set the pipes.  Not to happy about that nor were the footings as “perfect” as I was expecting.  Not all that smooth, rebar that floated up etc.  I will be much more thorough in communicating my expectations for the slabs.  Ron did mention held like to help (free?) lay up some of the block walls after the slab is poured.  He is also willing to trade some labor for firewood.  That works for me.

 

6/13/08- I helped Dickens drilling (Quincy) drop the water pump.  When we sent the probe down to locate the water and bottom we hit at 335 feet.  Looks like 35 feet of well caved in.  The good news seems to be that after hooking up the pump it is setting under ~five feet of water that is of good quality.  Looks like we hit that underground stream after all.  Also, found out that we have a talking well, one of the few around.  Seems that our underground stream also produces an air current.  That would explain why we heard what we thought was wind whistling out of the cover last winter.  I’m debating on whether or not to contact our original drilling company to find out why they did not case the well all the way done.  Probably should.  After a couple of calls it appears that they hit fractured rock and could not case any deeper.  Keeping my fingers crossed that we will be ok.  Will get the biggest pressure tank I can so as not to ware out the pump prematurely.

Photos

Footing layout
#5 rebar for footings
Vertical rebar from the footings
Plumbing trench from garage to utility shed



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Posted to sevenpeacksicf by Craig in Clio, CA on 5/3/2008

10/28/07- The backhoe has proven to be a wise purchase.  We have pulled the stumps, moved the road, leveled the building site and roughed in the terraces.  Additionally we have used it to pull logs and brush up the hill while thinning and moving the bunked logs into position for the sawmill.  Yet to come is the septic system install.

 

4/12/08- Cheri and I dug trenches for the footings.  We were having the dickens of a time re-laying out where the footings should go.  We had several constraints to contend with; the location of the well, site slope drop offs, view orientation and solar orientation.  In order to simplify this I bought enough PVC electric conduits to make three rectangles.  These formed the garage outline, and as an octagon is two rectangles intersecting each other in the middle and their corners connected the connections worked out to be 20 feet each.  The octagon is 12x20x12x20x12x20x12x20 for the eight sides. Confusing but geometrically it all works out.  The point was that we could easily move each rectangle to get a rough but close estimate of where the footings should go.  Once placed we used marking spray paint to mark lines on each side of the pipe as guides to the backhoe.  Our laser level paid for itself today.  Our backhoe driver (me) showed his lack of experience but eventually got the job done.  It was a good night for the hot tub.

 

4/18/08- Our ICF block had been delivered to Longfellow lumber in Deliker.  Stan was great in letting us do that and renting out his lift truck and driver to unload the two semis’ (47 pallets) of block.  He also transferred the pallets to the job site along with our rebar and footing form materials.  Everything is now in place including the first layer of road base on the drive.  This first layer of three-inch minus for the new section and ¾ inch minus for the rest cost ~$3,000.  We only hope there will be some left showing after all the trucks finish running over it.  If nothing else, it defines and stabilizes the drive and keeps the dust down.

 

4/21/08- Temporary power pole did not pass initial inspection.  Therefore, I pounded the grounding rod to within 2 inches of the finish grade and installed a 20amp GFCI breaker and outlet.

 

4/25/08- Sub-con update.  I’ve gotten quotes for concrete 45k, plumbing 10k, roof trusses 6k, and waiting for windows and electric (the most difficult so far).  I will get a second quote on the concrete, as all I really need is the flatwork, as we cannot fit the 45k into our budget.  As I get these bids, I am finding more details in our plan that need to be explained or explored.  I will need to find a welder who can make some custom parts and weld the rebar to the top of the garage door I-beam. 

 

4/28/08- The Rural Electric Coop team arrived and ran the power to the site.

 

4/29/08- Dave returned to mill the lasts of our logs today.  I had cut a large cedar whose function was to become three posts that would support the second floor.  However when we made the first cuts it became apparent that they were not structurally sound.  The core of the tree was filled with ants and was probably hit by lightening sometime in its life.  We cut this tree into 1-x boards to be used in closets and hopefully a sauna some day.  Fortunately I had one Doug fir in the stack and its logs were sufficient to provide us three 12x12x10 foot posts.  Just barely.  Two of them will have rounded corners, which should provide a little extra character and show their local heritage.  The total for all the lumber ~7,000 board feet was just under $3,000.  I am not sure it was a savings but the satisfaction of using our own trees in our house is priceless.

 

Our first perspective plumber showed up to view the site, lie in the location of his rough-ins and provide us his estimate.  This did not include the in floor hydronic or solar panels.  I was also reminded of the trade off we made when we decided to change the roof line on the southern roof in order to provide symmetry.  We lost the 45-degree angle needed to flush mount the solar hot water panels.  After reviewing the plans and roof elevations, we should be able to use raised brackets to get the panels to the proper solar elevation while not obstructing the view from the tower.

 

5/3/08- Our neighbor and friend of 20 years Ivan Gossage and I begin the exact layout and construction of the batter boards in preparation for pouring the foundation.  Another friend, John Preshutti dropped by to pick up saw up some firewood and stuck around to help.  Our complex eight-sided house with attached garage was a challenge but I think we got the garage squared and stringed to the batter boards.  Our corner-to-corner measurements on the 20x28 garage were under a ¼ inch off.  Good enough for the footings.

 

Next, will be to string off the house portion and mark where the trenches need to be widened to get to the full 30-inch footings.  Speaking of footings, we came up with what we hope will be an easier method to form them.  We will suspend 2x6 boards from concrete stakes with their bottoms at the level of the top of the footing.  A screed board will be constructed with a 2x2 on top of a 2x6 so we can quickly level the pour.  Additionally, we will mark the tops of the 2x6’s to indicate where the vertical rebar needs to be placed and put 2x4 bridges on them to suspend the horizontal rebar.  The suspension tie wire on these will be cut once the footings have been poured and set up so we can smooth out any high spots while the cement is still green.  We will test this method by first pouring the garage and utility building footings.  If successful, we will use it on the rest of the house footings.

Photos

KX Faswall block from Shelterworks. The block is made of recycled wood pallets that are shredded then mineralized and formed into 12x24x8 inch hollow blocks. These are dry stacked then filled with rebar and concrete.
Batter boards going in.



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Posted to sevenpeacksicf by Craig in Clio, CA on 10/28/2007

The Planning Phase

 

Although the concept and ideas for our new house had been taking shape for the last 30 years, it was time to shift into a higher gear. First step was to upgrade our living conditions in the cabin. With change card in hand, we pushed out the garage door adjacent area by three feet in order to expand the kitchen and bath. We removed the sleeping cubbies and framed in a small bedroom. Then added kitchen, bedroom and miscellaneous storage cabinets. With not being able to move all our belongings from our 2,500 sq ft house to a 600 sq ft one, we also rented a couple of storage sheds.

 

Having drafted up our previous plans, I started on our new dream house... As our design was unique and the materials we wanted to use were as well, I soon realized there was a much greater degree of difficulty this time around. Once again, a friend mentioned a drafting/design/engineering firm that he knew of. After some discussions, we decided savings in materials and labor later as well as costs due to poor planning decisions could offset the additional cost. The cost of the service would be $5 per square foot, which puts us at $15,000.

 

During the years we had developed a philosophy as to what we wanted this house to be. These include the following guidelines:

  • Prairie Style inspiration, especially the work of Green and Green
  • Use local materials wherever possible
  • Build to match the site
  • Minimum maintenance and upkeep – old people-friendly
  • Life expectancy - 300 years
  • Green building techniques and materials
  • Energy self sufficiency

10/28/07 - working with Rural Electric Coop to get easement rights. We are fortunate to have good neighbors.

 

10/29/07 - Finally, the plans have been resubmitted. We were charged an extra $2,500 due to the number of changes we made and the extra drafting and engineering charges. The design service did give us 6 infiltrators for the septic system, but $17,000 for a set of engineered plans approved by the county seems excessive. My advice to others: Find your own draftsman and engineer and get all three parties together (include your spouse to save on future changes and get full buy-in) after the initial plans are drawn. This gets everyone on the same page resolves questions and gets to a final set of drawings quicker. Doing this yourself also saves on the markup that a firm will charge you. Considering the price I paid, I think I would buy my own CAD software and do it myself.

Photos

Vulture roosting tree
Mills Peak
View of Graeagle Meadows golf course
View looking west


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Posted to sevenpeacksicf by Craig in Clio, CA on 9/9/2007

The Groundwork Phase

 

December 2006 -- Our site is in the mountains of Northern California.  Due to high fire danger we have spent five years thinning and clearing brush and trees.  In preparation for the rough grading we hired a forester with a rubber-tired skidder to help cut and bunk the larger trees to be milled and used in the house (see photo of pre-thinned woods).

 

During the spring, we took bids on the groundwork.  These ranged from $25,000 to $62,000 dollars.  These prices include the materials and installation of the septic, pulling the stumps and moving the driveway and applying road base.  With that in mind, we bought a large backhoe in August of 2007.  The backhoe was purchased from Nevada Power Equipment in Reno.  The machine cost us $25,000 which we financed the majority of the cost.  This was our second bid on a machine. The first try was an old “Long” backhoe we found in West Sacramento.  This old machine looked ok and the price was right, $5,000.  I put down $500 but walked away from it when we found that replacement parts were none existent.  Should have demanded our deposit back as the owner lied about getting parts. Oh well with hindsight it was the right thing to do.

 

8/28/07- Our original sawyer was hospitalized by a leg infection.  Nice person but this caused him to have to sell his mill to cover his medical expenses.  Milling the logs was done by Dave Amos.  Dave had bought his mill from another man who had done the milling for the Episcopal Church in Quincy so I was familiar the saw.  This was a fixed blade mill rather then a band saw machine.  You lose lumber due to the size of the kerfs but it can handle larger and longer logs. Unfortunately, we needed to mill before we had a final lumber list.  We ended up cutting all the 2x6’s for the living room ceiling, the 1x cedar for the closets, 1x pine for finish work and the major beams for the covered entryway and back patio.  We got ~6000 board feet of lumber in a week for just over $2,500.  It was hard heavy work but very fulfilling. The lumber is now stacked, stickered and covered to dry before next summers use.  All of it will need to be planed and worked for smoothness and final finish.  We are struggling with the finish color for the woodwork.  One idea that I liked is taken from an old issue of Fine Homebuilding where they mixed yellow oxide with boiled linseed oil and rubbed it in.  This finish made the T&G Doug fir ceiling match redwood beams for a rich and warm wood feeling.  An added benefit is that these materials are natural and none toxic. More work to come and stain samples to test.

 

9/9/07- Scott from the REC helped map out the new electric run.  Between the two of us, we were able to get our neighbor to allow an easement across their land to lay the new line underground.  Using our new backhoe I have completed the trench, 48 inches deep and 850 feet long laying in the three-inch conduit and backfilling.  The quote for trenching had been $6 per foot.  You can see the savings here. That was a long dig and scary at time going up the hill.  I also took great care in smoothing the area across the neighbor’s property.  I will plow their drive for them as well this coming winter to show my appreciation.

 

 

Photos

Power line trench
Building pad
Logs awaiting milling
Major posts from site, milled logs
View prior to thining
Logged building pad
Pad after stump removal
My friend and helper
Well head on cleared pad
The log



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