Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Model Building

Back in Canada, on this cold winter weekend, JD and I decided to build a scaled model. We have designed and redesigned the structure with endless changes and modifications but are now confident our architectural plans are sufficient.  However, we wanted to see what it will truly look like, how the beams will go together, how much of an overhang we want, and whether we like what we have designed.  These are the details that we enjoy playing with.
Armed with foamcore, an exacto knife, and a glue gun we began our craft project with gusto.  Even though we were working together it was like a race; neither of us wanted the other to do more or get ahead.

When I had to go out to do some errands, I made JD promise not to cut or glue anything while I was away. True to his promise he did not touch the model but went instead to the shop and cut scaled wood beams to build a realistic roof.

Our effort was justly rewarding.
How cool is that model!

Most of the windows are high so as to be in the shade of the roof.  The pop top roof will be half a loft and half an open space to allow hot air to rise up and out the windows.  The area at the front, set back under the roof, is the kitchen window.  It will have stools to sit up to the countertop when the windows are open.

January, 2015

Monday, December 19, 2016

The Crew

Having the site work being done I must say I am thrilled.   While watching and admiring the progress being made I am daydreaming of the house we will build.   Standing not to far away from me, and also watching the work was a young man in clean clothes with a clip board in his hand.   I struck up a conversation with him and learned that he was the supervisor.  He had recently graduated from college for engineering - or something similar as best I could make out.   I shared with him my ideas of our future structure and he asked me who was going to build it.   Hmm, I paused....we had not yet got that far in our planning.  In fact, we didn't even know what we wanted.  Up until this point Carol-Ann and I have been sketching and playing with different shapes, and ideas.  

This young man introduced himself as Axell Diaz Sandino, and he said his family were builders. I remember taking this with a grain of salt because everyone says this sort of thing in a place where work is scarce. I thanked him and took his number. 

Fast forward a couple of months:   I returned with our finalized building plans and a determination to start the foundations.   I started the work by myself and was assisted by a couple of local kids.  I did not get far and realized that this was not going to get me the quality I was looking for.

I called Axell and we spoke at length.  His step father, cousin, brother in law, and nephews were all builders and are available for hire.

Here is Reynaldo, my favourite of the crew.  He is a master carpenter.  Essentially, he is my equivalent in terms of skills and knowledge in the building trade.  
January, 2015

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Site Preparation

It seems we have been doing a lot of site prep already... a well, the septic, our awesome hut of functionality...but now the big stuff has begun. 
It sort of makes us nervous.  Everything else up to this point has been manageable and relatively small.  
Oscar was the man we hired to help with the site prep.  I was fully impressed with the equipment that arrived. Tandem axle trucks and a full size backhoe but my personal favourite was the Wiley coyote style steam roller.  These guys are used to building roads.  Close enough I thought. 
Since our property is low lying, and in very close proximity to the river and the ocean, we either need to build our structure on elevated piers, or raise the grade.   We chose the latter.  
What we found when we started digging was that the rich delta top soil was super deep. After pulling out all the stumps and roots I still had not found the subsoil that I was looking for.   

Finally we came to a layer of what might be called black sand but we also hit the water table. At this point I decided to start filling the huge hole back in. 

It took 34 truck loads of local clay to get a level site that was 18"above the surrounding grade .

December, 2014