Monday, July 20, 2015

First batch of chapel construction photos!


Construction of the chapel indeed began on July 6, 2015 with a brief visit from our contractor and a first removal of some siding where the door of the chapel will go.

July 6

From that point, I was a little prepared for the hole that would ensue in our backyard in order to place the frost footings and foundation. A little more grass planting will need to happen than I was planning! 

July 7

You need to go at least 42 inches down in Minnesota if you don't want your house to move after winter! 

Next the concrete pouring began, and boy do the kids love to watch everything as it happens. Kind of a fun side benefit of the whole project.

Now on to laying the footings. Virtually all of this will be below ground.

July 9

Insulation is laid in preparation for the hydronic radiant heat installation (which is an extension of the radiant heat we have in the rest of the first floor). 

July 15

All that dirt now goes back where it belongs and the radiant heat tubing can be installed (I remember installing the radiant heat tubing with Molly and my brother in the original house construction :-).

The concrete floor is then finished over the tubing (a tile floor will eventually be installed on the concrete when I do the interior work).

July 17

Which brings us to today, the start of framing! Previously for the main house we used Structural Insulated Panels (SIP's) for the framing of the house (see here and here), and it's been a great choice. SIP's are very energy efficient and cost effective for a new house. However, for this small addition, the economy of scale just isn't there for the SIP's and it's more cost effective to go with 2x6 stick framing and spray foam insulation. The room itself is still going to be very energy efficient with the radiant heat and not as many windows as elsewhere in the house. 

July 20

To walk into this unfinished space for the first time is truly exciting! It's going to be awesome.

Here you can see the siding cut off where the roof will intersect with the house.

Here is one of the roof trusses that will start being installed in the next couple days. This part is going to go very quickly!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

After a long wait... our chapel build starts July 6, 2015!

(Brendan and Molly)

It has been a long wait while we saved to add the chapel that was originally designed as part of our home. In fact, so long that we've grown our family in the meantime! Molly and I are now blessed with seven children here with us on earth, our latest additions being Oliver (who will be 3 in August) and Zélie (who will be 1 also in August, on the same day as Oliver). Zélie is named after Blessed Zélie Martin, who incidentally is being canonized this October!

The last time the chapel was designed by my brother, the architect, it looked like this in the design prints.

It took us a while to get to that design previously (see this history here), and we still wanted to keep that final design, with the exception of making it slightly wider and longer by a couple feet. I was able to make the modifications to my brother's original design using in SketchUp software. This is how the design of the chapel looks now, drafted up by our builders Chuba Company (it's great to work with them again!). 

Note in that last pic the roof line will not be quite that close to the edge of the larger volume of the house, it will be a little lower. 

What you see above is the structure of the chapel that Chuba Company will build, there is much further design of the interior that I am doing myself (both the design and construction work). I will also be doing the exterior and interior painting, so the final product will be white just like the rest of the house. That's going to take some significant time to complete, and we can leave those details for another post. For now we're just excited to get the structure built and, by the grace of God, to make progress on something that we hope will enhance our family prayer life! Don't forget also, my youngest brother (see here) is a priest, now with three years under his belt, and I think he is looking forward to this as much as we are. The ability for him to say mass on occasion in the chapel will be truly a blessing! 

Thursday, May 31, 2012

A gift for Father Evan


Knowing many years ago that my brother's ordination to the priesthood would one day come, I often thought that creating a painting for him would be a special gift. To that end, I transitioned from drawing to painting over the last year with the creation of a painting for Fr. Evan being one of the chief motivations (in addition to creating a painting as a gift my sister and her new husband). For Evan I selected an image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus that I found online and set about creating an original painting of the image, with some purposeful modifications to improve it in some areas.

This would be my first painting in color, with all the travails of learning how to mix color on the fly (one is supposed to transition much more slowly to painting in color in the classical tradition, but this was a baptism by fire and necessity). The great thing was, despite painting this image in color, the process of creating this painting took less time than the one I did for my sister and brother-in-law; I am learning as I go and everything is getting much more comfortable and proceeding more quickly.

This painting is a gift from both myself and Molly, who again generously donated the time to get the painting done and has always been extremely supporting of my learning to draw and paint in the classical tradition (no matter how crazy that sounded at first). I titled the painting Ego Sum, which is Latin for "I am" or "I am he," a reference to  Christ's response when Judas and the soldiers said they sought "Jesus of Nazareth" in the Garden of Olives before his passion and death on the cross (Jn 18:1-8), and also a reference to the name of God. 

Click any image to enlarge.

Ego Sum
by Brendan Koop
Oil on canvas
16 x 20"
Closer view of the overall painting
Close-up of the eyes
Closer view of Christ's left hand, pointing to his Sacred Heart.
Closer view of Christ's right hand in blessing.
Here's a different view of the painting in different light, where you can see the paint on the canvas.
I hope that the painting will prove to be a great aid in prayer for Fr. Evan for all of his priesthood.

A truly blessed weekend...


By the grace of God, my youngest brother, Evan, was ordained to the holy priesthood by Archbishop John Nienstedt this past Saturday (May 26th) at the Cathedral of St. Paul in St. Paul, MN! It was a truly blessed weekend and an almost incomprehensible grace for our family, and indeed for the whole Church. For the sake of documenting this wonderful event on our blog I wanted to make sure and post some pictures. A few of these are pictures I took, and a lot of them were taken by my sister who has a much better camera :-) Click any picture to enlarge.

Deacon Evan in prayer before the ordination mass.
Molly and me and the kids (minus Francis, who at 22 months wasn't going to make it through a 2 1/2 hour mass), seated with the rest of our family.
Evan processing in with the other men to be ordained priests.
Archbishop John Nienstedt
In prayer during the Litany of the Saints.

The laying on of hands
Our oldest, Clara (Evan's Goddaughter), was one of three to bring up the gifts.
Fr. Evan concelebrating his first mass
After the mass, Fr. Evan gives his priestly blessing to our parents.
We receive our Fr. Evan's blessing
An extended family picture
Later at the reception, Molly and I get a picture with Fr. Evan and our family. (We have another blessing on the way as well! Due at the end of August -- prayers always appreciated).
Fr. Evan's vestments, designed by my Dad with input from Evan and made by a very talented lady who makes priestly vestments in Coon Rapids, MN.
Fr. Evan's chalice
The next day is Fr. Evan's first mass of thanksgiving at the parish where we grew up, St. Rita's in Cottage Grove, MN. The Handmaids of the Heart of Jesus, a wonderful order of sisters from New Ulm, MN arrive for the mass to support Fr. Evan in prayer and with sung sacred music during the mass.
The consecration
Fr. Evan blesses our grandparents, who celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary the same week.
On Memorial Day we attended daily mass celebrated by Fr. Evan in the chapel of the Companions of Christ house near the St. Paul Seminary. Fr. Evan offered the mass for our Henry Blaise.
Fr. Evan was assigned by Archbishop Nienstedt to St. Stephen's parish in Anoka, MN, which is not far from where we live on the North side of the Twin Cities. We are very excited to attend mass on occasion at St. Stephen's when Fr. Evan is presiding, and have Evan over to our house for lots of visits!