Saturday, August 31, 2013

insulation and drywall

After months of walking through walls through the framing process, when we got back from Bear Lake we had insulation.  

It felt so weird that it was becoming more of a house than just some boards.

Since Max's summer job (over HERE) involved all sorts of odd-jobs around the house, one thing he did along with the insulation stuff was seal all the floor boards.  This is a horrible picture, but see all that gooey stuff along the bottom?
That is to keep scorpions and other not-so-fun desert creatures from creeping into our house.

I sure hope it works!

Here's the living room all insulated:

And because our bedroom backs the game room, they had so do some special whiz-bang stuff in there.

Next was drywall.

Now that's when it really started looking like a home.

This is the dining nook:
 ...and the kitchen:
It was fun for me to see those transoms come together after all that hard work measuring and agonizing about where to put them and how big they should be.
 Game room:
 Family room:
 Dining room:
 Front office:

Isn't that a lovely laundry room, complete with a toilet?
Ha!  We still have quite a few of those things hanging around the site.

Soffits were also such a big strain on my brain (back HERE) so it was fun to see them come together and to really like where we placed them.

How they installed windows and drywalled around them was dependent on how our trim would be, so we had to decide that ages before.  This window is one that will be painted black and have no trim.

After the initial drywall we got to hang out with these guys for a week or so while they mudded the whole thing.
I wish I would have had him pose for me, or that I would have taken a picture of all five or so of them together walking around, but I was too embarrassed so all I have is that shot taken as incognito as possible.

But just imagine them walking around on those things.  They were so cool.  I want some of my own!

Instead of fancy trim we opted for very plain drywall in most places like this:
So to watch it come together was pretty cool.

The only problem was that in a moment of sheer heat exhaustion over there one day I had the electricians put lights all along the kitchen soffits:

They didn't look right so we had to get the electricians to come back and take them out.

The first of many things those nice electricians have had to come back and do for us!

Friday, August 30, 2013

building love and meaning into the walls

This was originally posted on our family blog, but I figured it 
needed to be here as well to help tell the story of our build.

Once upon a time in a hot, hot, hot desert far, far away a family had the opportunity to build themselves a home.

The mother of that family wanted to find a way to make that home special.  To make it theirs.  To invite the spirit into it and to have her children help.

So one day, while she was trying to measure where to put lights and trying to be at ease with the fact that sweat was dripping down her back, an idea popped into her mind.  Maybe inspired by something someone said.  Maybe inspired by the activity she and her family got to do back here.  However that little idea got there, it planted itself firmly into her heart and made those lights and sweat not feel quite so ominous.

She told her family the idea: they were to think carefully of their favorite scripture or spiritual thought and were going to get the chance to write it on the walls of their new home.

I know, super exciting right?

But really, whether those children's eyes sparkled in glee or whether it was just a reflection of their mother's eyes sparkling because she was so excited, they sparkled.

The trouble was that the summer was nutty.  There were far too many things going on and that mother couldn't seem to gather that family of hers together for long enough to put her plan into action before the drywall was scheduled to be put in.  So one morning before they left on a trip she packed her middle three girls (the only ones available) into the car along with some fat permanent markers from Home Depot and they set to work.

The oldest daughter wrote their family motto on the wall of the family room.

The second daughter's scripture took her a while.
Boy, that was long...

...and oh so good.

The mother wrote her very favorite as well.
(Isaiah 41:10, 13 is the best ever.)

A week or two later when that family could get their act together for Family Home Evening, they visited the house all together and found a few more blank spots on the walls where these who weren't there the first time could add some thoughts.

The door to that mother's office:

They even added some things from their "organize yourselves" scripture FHE (back here).
Of course, Rainbow Dash had to join in as well.
That mother watched, and as her family wrote things from their hearts to become the core of their home, her heart swelled and her eyes welled.

She hoped they would all think of those things they wrote every so often when their future selves were walking those halls and living in those rooms.

And she hoped that they would remember that words are powerful.  They can be just as much of a foundation for a home as beams and concrete are.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

game room and second guesses on the back porch

At so many points in the building process you re-adjust your vision.  

You get these grand ideas in your mind and as you work to make them come to fruition they change and meld into other things according to parameters, finances, timing, etc.  Some things turn out better than expected.  Some turn out different and you learn to live with them...and eventually fall in love.

We decided to bring back the family room wall a little more than planned because there was a porch there anyway and I didn't want that to take away from the light we could get in there.  This is right before they moved it out:

Here's the part of the back right before we added on the game room:
 We are so excited about that game room.  

When we started out on that thing we envisioned a contemporary home with a basement.  We are still working on the contemporary part, but the basement was scrapped long ago.   We LOVE basements and here in the desert they are so awesome because they are so nice and cool, such a refuge from the heat.  But we couldn't make that work within the parameters we were working with so we went to the next best option, which has turned out to be one of the things we look forward to most:  

a game room right off the kitchen where all the teenagers can hang out.  

I love that it will be close to the kitchen so they can come get a snack when they want it and we can interact more with the kids that come over.

We wanted to have walls on both sides of our back porch so that we won't get Western sun and we can have a great outside gathering spot.

The only problem was that we didn't tweak that back porch plans very well before the beams were already bought and the house was engineered structure-wise to need them.

Had I looked more closely and done more research I would have changed this design speedy quick.  I think it's so cool, but it's not the same more contemporary look we were going for in the rest of the house.  

My heart sunk when I saw all those giant rough-hewn beams lined up in the back yard ready to be put up (I have no clue where they got the rough-hewn idea from...I mean, I love rough-hewn up in the mountains or for a more rustic house, but just so not the look I was going for here).  

At that point there was no going back.  Too much sunk cost in those suckers.  So they started the construction of the porch.
 So cool, but so not what I had envisioned.  

Had I thought about it more I would have done a straight-across flat, high ceiling since it's North facing and won't get direct sunlight anyway. 

I took one look at that thing and thought it was so cool, but for a ski lodge, not a light and airy contemporary home in the desert.

But again, by that point there was no turning back.  (Don't think I didn't try...)

I figured it wouldn't be that hard to transform it into something like this:

The tongue and groove wood to go inside was even rough-hewn.

Again, not what we were going for.  We had them turn it over and use the smooth side even though it wasn't really supposed to show like that.

Closer to being done:

We have some ideas up our sleeves to make it look more contemporary to match the rest of the house but I'd love input if anyone has any great ideas.

It really is pretty cool and I envision great things going on in there, it is just all dependent on how we finish it off to make it match into the rest of the house a little better.

The next decision had to do with these "tails" coming off the sides: 
 To me, they made it look much more lodge-y.

So my "pretty committee" talked it through with me a hundred times I swear, and we decided rather than having those things blend in more with the roofline, we would cut them off:
 Sooooooo much better in my opinion.

Max got to work jack-hammering out a left over post from the old house (this is Max's summer job).
That is hard work, I tell you!  (I know because I tried it...if Max ever gets bulging arm muscles it will be because of that :)

Here's the plan for the back of the house...trying to figure out finishing products that will make it look more contemporary.  Maybe add some steel?  Maybe paint it lighter color?  We did decide to do the actual roof in metal.  Hoping that will make it look a little more sleek.

Getting ready for stucco:

How it looks with an added chimney: 

In the end I think we will love this space, rough-hewn beams, no basement and all.   Now when I look at those things I just envision the people we love gathered there and it makes me happy.