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!