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February 28, 2007

suspense and drama

we had another inspection today.  I wasn't aware it was scheduled and we hadn't yet tackled a few minor items on the list.  a few frantic phone calls and faxings etc and it was mostly smoothed over again.  we are hoping that we can get the same inspector from now on.  the problem with two is that they have differing opinions on what needs attention to pass. 


inspector decided he didn't want us to pour retaining walls w/o approval from the engineer (the same one that drew up the specs for the wall).  this was caused me a great deal of stress since this was at 3.30 and the concrete was scheduled to start arriving at 3.  it was close but we did get through to the engineer and he gave us the go-ahead to pour just before the trucks started to arrive.


it was a tight squeeze.

bobcat helped to shuttle around the oaks


they were short two yards of concrete.  a third truck was quickly dispatched.  we didn't stick around to wait as the sun was gone. 

pocket door frames are in to get ready for the drywall that is creeping up on us.


first drywall is up and has been taped/floated

some evening shots



 this structure is now "the animal rescue center"



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February 27, 2007

that wall is very dry

drywall going up.


the concrete crew has the rebar dropped down and was trimming it all to fit.  Bobby (GC) is a bit nervous at how fast they are moving and may have them delay the pouring of the retaining wall for 2 weeks.


speaking of being nervous.  I finally had to ask the kids to stop this game of balance.  it was not a popular decision.  yes, he's about to drop a boulder onto the pile of rusty nail imbedded lumber. 

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February 26, 2007

another hurdle behind us

it was low 80's and sunny today.  GREAT weather!  winter in central texas.

there were so many trucks and cars on site today that the street seemed clogged.  it's great to see so much happening for the $ being spent.  somebody should create a construction clock that goes by thousand dollar increments.  it would've been spinning like mad today!


retaining wall crew was getting the rebar ready and making trenches, piping to allow for utilities to get through the wall.

Tom from A.M.S. showed up with his driller.  each orange flag seen here represents a 220 ft pipe straight into the earth where I will harness its power to keep my family comfortable (geothermal heat pump).

the smile on Jeff's face is due to this being the LAST box.  just as he announced this moment, the inspector pulled into the driveway.

here you see the beginning of a 2+ hr inspection.  there was a LOT of finger pointing etc.  in the end he gave us the go ahead to start sheetrock and issued a short list of things he wanted to see done before sheetrock completion. 



concrete crew is making real progress on the driveway.  


shannon is testing the placement of the new toilet pipe.  every thing seems to be aligned correctly.



parting shot.  ford f250/f350 powerstroke seems to be the truck of choice. 


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no flat landers here

another off topic weekend post.  I inserted a mapping device to the home page, austinmodhouse.com

 it shows me where folks who get to the blog from that URL are located.  in the past few days I've seen paris, ontario and all over the US. 


I used to travel quite a bit.  I was often annoyed by folks who assumed texas was all flat desert land occupied by backwards cowboys.   so below I offer a pic from a weekend outing we made with the local bmwcca chapter


click image to see larger version 

we had great fun on quite a spirited drive on roads that were just as twisty and up-downy as those we enjoyed in the santa cruz mountians, definitely not flat or straight.


the drive concluded at the flat creek estate winery where we tasted some italian varietal wines made by an australian winemaker and a nice lunch with new friends.


later today I'll give you a house update.  I spent some time there yesterday but neglected to take the camera with me.  I found that the retaining wall forms are nearly complete.  we also expect and inspector to come by and give us the go ahead for drywall. 



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February 23, 2007

another call for inspection

we have requested the insulation and electrical rough-in inspections for monday.  this should clear the path towards drywall.  the structural engineer came by today and was quite pleased.  he was all smiles and said "this house is going to be here for a LONG time".


siding is back up around the box seat.  


 new concrete crew has started the forming for the retaining walls.


spray in insulation foam guys returned.  they have a big trailer, the street is narrow and steep.  our driveway has it's own challenges.  it took a good long time and several attempts to get in.  the trailer did have a brief meeting with those rocks protecting the tree.  damage looked like it could be reversed with a few precise whacks from a rubber mallet and some new trim screws.  I'm sure it didn't make him any less anxious to have four of us yelling "turn your wheel the other way!!!  WHOA, now go forward, NO! FORWARD."   later, when leaving, I found his mudflap in laying in the driveway.  meanwhile down at the spare parts pile....


mark meyer (architect) has been a real inspiration for my daughter.  she's intrigued with the idea of becoming an architect AND an artist.  back when we were in the design phase mark was at our house weekly.  she'd proudly bring out her latest lego house and explain to him the various features.  today it started to drizzle so she made this shelter, complete with pink umbrella sky-light.


the temprary stairs of death are down!  welder is to start early next week on the permanent stairs.

a big thanks to Ed over at modhampton for inspiration on our stairs design.   He is building a ralph rapson greenbelt home; one of the first designs kat and I seriously considered.


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February 21, 2007

yep, it's green

this stuff is for the green deck
new FP flue pieces solved the install puzzle.
flue heading towards the roof penetration
next week looks like another busy one.  we should have retaining walls started for the back side of the house.  steel fabricator should start on the permanent stairs.  temporary stairs come down tomorrow since the foam guys need to get more scaffolding to reach the top parts of the tower.  we are also expecting holes to be drilled for the geothermal hvac.  all that and we hope drywall will start by end of next week.

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February 20, 2007

foaming at the house

foam mess is everywhere.  those guys will have a lot of cleanup.  they now expect to be done thursday. 
showers are ready for bathtub test.
today we finalized the last major component to the build.  driveway curbing, front ramp and retaining wall.  here you can see the marking paint, along with some debris that is starting to pile accumulate.

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field trip

we are increasingly unimpressed with MDO.  it has started to warp and pull away at several spots and the caulked joints have seperated.  shelter is pledging to get this fixed today.
spray foam insulation crew worked into the night.  it was very windy yesterday so a job they figured to be quick turned into a long battle with their masking and prep.
we made a field trip to shreveport louisiana to research a cluster of fabulous MCM homes there.  not the 2k sq foot variety, but these are 4k sq ft homes on huge lots built in the 50's.  we are thinking our railing will be inspired by this one.  btw, it's for sale at 449k (around $100 per sq ft)
this one has a metal exterior of vertical panels.  I went to high school in this area so it's intersting for me to go back and see that many of the homes I was familiar with then have obviously left their mark on me.
and we also stumbled upon this magical chair and things got a bit fuzzy.  btw shreveport is also a great location to find recliners along the side of the rd.  kids caught lots of beads and my hair grew at an amazing rate.  (see pix below)
kids had fun too.  they were beadazzled.  and on sunday we threw them all back.
we ran out of beads to throw so we tossed out crayons, taco bell fire salsa, sonic ketchup packs and even the emptied containers from the treats we'd thrown out.  some lucky folks got candy made from ugly fruit that we found at the asian grocery.  (pic below was taken via mirror)

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February 15, 2007

thumbs up

inspection went well, excepting a bit of electrical that is undone.  the inspector went ahead and gave the green light to move forward on the spray foam insulation that will go under the master suite and any other crack or crevice we can find.   he has to come back to inspect the insulation and will catch up w/ a few items that fell off todays list.
below is a pic of the fireplace install that has stalled.  we need some shorter sections of flue.  they keep those pieces in Kentucky.  we wait for the truck from KY to arrive.

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February 14, 2007

call for inspection

we've requested our framing inspection for tomorrow.  flashing is up around the polygal.

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February 13, 2007

butter up my corners

foundation guys FINALLY came back to fix some of the corners from back in the structural steel days.
both indoor and outdoor fireplaces are out of the box.  it almost looks like a reflection of the indoor fireplace, but that is indeed a seperate unit for the screen room.
the water line comfortably enjoying the utility trench.  no more leaks inside.
shelter did a great job on the metal siding install. 
they then got busy applying flashing to the tower/polygal areas.

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tension is mounting

still making the push to get everything ready for inspectors.  the plumbers have wrapped it up.  most fixtures are installed, all lines are capped and pressurized with city water! 
the pic below is the fixture that will fill our starck tub in the master bath.
the compression fitting in the kitchen island sprung a leak.  better now than later.
the shower pans have been fiberglassed and ready to be filled with water to show inspector their waterproofness.
and the puzzle of the siding continues.

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February 09, 2007

the new look

seeing adam down there cutting siding gives a better indication of scale

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February 08, 2007

it's a two blog entry sorta day

mud is in the shower pans.
stub out for the gas line
front is almost completely sided
there is something so pleasing about new plumbing fixtures, this is for the kids bath.

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framing to prepare for the mud and fiberglass shower pans.  they were mixing mud when I left.  this all has to be done by monday.  we have several inspections set.
downstairs shower bing prepped
toilet tube has been relocated to meet code
laundry actions will occur here
shelter crew and rented boom were making progress on the siding.  the blue section is growing on me.   eventually all the red iron will be painted a lite gray and I think that will really help our pallette.

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February 07, 2007

out of the blue

today's weather was as beautiful as any I've ever seen anywhere.  was mid 70's, low humidty and sunny.  kat is very busy at work so I'm sad she couldn't share the fine weather and appreciate the hard hours she's putting in lately. 
so the guys got busy on exterior metal siding.
there are a few baby blue sections as "accent colors". 
original plans called for red but later I was given a choice of a limited pallete I chose blue.  we'll see how it turns out.  left to my own devices it'd all been dark grey.  but I'm open to trying new things.  I won't really be able to form an opinion until it's all up and I've lived in the house for a while.
went to ruggles for happy hour (fed the kids on half price appetizers).  since the house is no longer a big white box I was unable to pick it out of the hillside.  but I know it's in there.

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February 06, 2007

getting to the insides

the front door is trimmed and sided.
in fact most of the trim work around the cedar siding is wrapping up.  the metal siding is scheduled to begin it's leap up to the wall surfaces.
plumbers are nearly done and ready for inspections.  I can see that the electrician is maybe half way done....  I don't think it's humanly possible for him to wire the entire upstairs in one day. 

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February 05, 2007

another side

the metal siding arrived today. 

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February 03, 2007

I am the key holder, this is my homing device (beacon)

we are sealed!  all the doors are up and nobody can legally gain entry without the key I hold in my pocket.
I finally caught a sunset.
the polygal wall was all orangey and purplish with the glow of evening creeping onto the house.
and I did return in the evening to light up the inside and run out to take in the lighthouse effect.
keeping warm inside the house.

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February 02, 2007

afterburner and the clamdiggers

we are closed in enough that the crew can finally get a little burst of heat.
we got the sheet metal to wrap the window box.  can you see any problems here?
trimming out the sliding glass doors.
most of the doors have handles and rollers installed.  I hope they return today to finish up the rest of the job so we can be closed up for the weekend.
fireplaces getting ready for install
the metal siding order is ready for pick up.  they have been busy installing a few last minute trim pieces, like the frame in this opening.

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