Sunday, January 31, 2010

Hand-Stitched with Love


Brendan's sister, Allison, has a tradition of creating beautiful crib quilts for each new baby shortly after his or her arrival. Each of our children have treasured their quilts which now reside on their big kid beds and often accompany them for a snuggle on the couch.

Allison has always wanted us to find out the gender of our expected baby so she would have an excuse to peruse patterns for their quilts, but we haven't ever given in to her requests. So Allison has been relegated to begin her sewing immediately after her newest niece or nephew makes his arrival.

The day our sweet Henry Blaise was born was no different. Her grief compelled her to make her way to the fabric store that day to create the perfect quilt for the nephew she had lost too soon. Through many tears she has created for our family a beautiful coverlet of love which we will treasure always.

She gave us this precious gift on Christmas Eve. The heart in the middle symbolizes Henry while the two hearts on the left symbolize Brendan and me. The four hearts to the right symbolize Henry's older sisters and brothers.

With walls and ceilings, a totally different house!


Well, all drywall, taping, and mudding has been completed (all in four days, which amazes me). The heat is on in the home and some of the windows are cracked open to get the dry air in so that all of the mudding dries over the weekend in time to start sealing and priming next week. Without further adieu, here's some exciting new interior shots:

(Click any pictures to enlarge)

Drywall has been installed on the East wall of the garage, and the spray foam insulation has now been installed on top of the mud room and storage room.

The kitchen (pic 1).

The kitchen (pic 2).

The dining room.

Looking down the "hallway" that runs along the front of the house, down towards the school room at the end.

Looking down the "hallway" from the kitchen down towards the family room at the end.

The school room (pic 1).

The school room (pic 2).

The family room (pic 1).

The family room (pic 2).

Looking down the north-facing window wall in the family room and library.

A central pic of the family room (my favorite of this whole set). It's a great view of how the home was designed to be a single room wide everywhere on the bottom floor, so you are surrounded by the outdoors on either side. You kind of feel like you are in a room that's an island unto itself. This pic also is starting to show just how much natural light will be in the family room (a true sense of the brightness of the room won't be had until we get paint on the walls). You can also see what is a surprising little twist that I wasn't expecting: the exposed flue above the fireplace looks like it just disappears into nowhere above the soffit :-). From this view, the eye is fooled into thinking that the soffit is flush with the wall behind the fireplace, when in actuality it sticks out about 12-18" (which was the solution we needed to implement for routing the flue around a truss in the ceiling). And finally, for those who have been following for a while, this view is the exact same one that my brother rendered of the family room when designing the home, and it looks remarkably similar (minus the design changes we've made).

The library side of the fireplace.

Going upstairs (still temporary stairs, but a lot less dangerous now that there is drywall beneath them).

My second favorite pic of this set, at the top of the stairs looking back. Another unexpected surprise: just how cool the indirect daylight looks coming from the family room and the fixed window up above.

Looking towards the hallway to the nursery and master bedroom.

The South-facing, warm, sunny nursery/guest bedroom.

Looking through the opening in the staircase wall down the hallway towards the master bedroom.

The master bedroom (pic 1).

The master bedroom (pic 2).

Looking down the hallway towards the boys' and girls' rooms.

The boys' room (luckily they don't live here yet, or they would be climbing and jumping off this scaffolding... repeatedly).

The girls room (pic 1).

The girls' room (pic 2, looking towards the girls' bathroom).

Looking back down the hallway from the girls' room.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Spray foam insulation installed in our roof


During our cost-cutting process after selecting our builder, we switched from using structural insulated panels for our roof to having parallel chord trusses with spray foam insulation. Even though we use SIP's for all of the other walls of the home, it made sense to make this switch for the roof because even SIP's need some additional structural beams in a roof application (at least ours) and this meant there would still be thermal bridges in the roof -- solid wood that would conduct some amount of heat out of the home. Using parallel chord trusses still allowed for the vaulted ceilings we were planning, and using spray foam insulation still provided an insulation level close to what could be achieved with SIP's in our roof, all while saving a significant amount of money.

Before I show you pics of the finished product, take a look at this 2-3 minute video that shows what it looks like when spray foam insulation is applied -- it's kind of mesmerizing.

Here's what it looks like in our house (click any picture to enlarge):

This pic shows the roof of the mechanical room, where they needed to plane off the foam to allow for the drywall to be installed.

Every nook and cranny was sprayed to eliminate any possible air leakage points. This pic shows how the foam was applied all around the SIP joints between the first and second floor.

Walking around in the second floor now feels like there's a big, cozy blanket on top of you!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Finally... new pictures


Good news! The home inspector ridiculousness is over, and he has finally given approval to move forward with the spray foam insulation on the roof. The spray foam is actually being applied tomorrow, meaning the heat is being turned on in the house tomorrow. Drywall installation starts on Friday. Also starting in the next few days: exterior siding installation and exterior brick installation. Things will finally start changing quickly!

Oh, and of course, the real reason you are reading this: more pictures! Since I mentioned that the heat is being turned on, that must mean all of the windows and exterior doors must have been installed (and you would be correct)...

(Click any pictures to enlarge)

The front of the home, with the lower level windows newly installed. The tarp over the mechanical room is for containing heat that was being applied for installation of the membrane over the flat roof in that area.

The front door (and all exterior doors for that matter) is a tan color because it is pre-primed and will eventually be painted white to match the windows.

The front door, with the wetland area behind the home viewable through the opposite door.

One of the lower-level front window units up close. The middle upper pane is the operable casement.

The front door from the interior.

The school room.

The dining room.

After the previous post, here's the first look at the installed fireplace and framing. I love how the flue turned out! You can also see how it was re-routed, per the plan, to be on-center above the fireplace.

A close-up of the flue, with a brushed steel finish. You can also see here the solution for the truss that was right in the way of the flue; the soffit for the the rope lighting was wrapped around above the fireplace, hiding a routing of the flue around the truss in the ceiling.

The fireplace from the library side.

The soffit wrap-around was repeated in the library on the East wall, which will also provide a better top termination for future bookcases in the library.

Oh, and of course, we can't forget the first look at the installed window wall!

I wish our camera was better, the pic doesn't really do it justice. But since the camera is focusing on the outside scene in this pic, you can really see the view well.

A little bit more even lighting in this pic with the fireplace in the frame. We are talking a ton of natural light in this room.

And now on to the outside...

Outside the kitchen, with the exterior door installed.

To finish, I drove around to the back of our property, and walked out to take a few pictures of what the house looks like from that perspective. Note: the first pic below even shows some animal footprints in the foreground, a regular occurrence I'm quite sure.