Sunday, December 23, 2007


After 2 1/2 days of heating the concrete slab, 4 out of 5 zones have warmed up enough to achieve ambient air temps. of 68 degrees. Only the Master Bedroom at the far end of the bedroom wing is lagging - at 64 degrees. This might be because it's both the longest run of tubing (probably almost 600 linear feet, due mostly to an error in laying out the tubing on my part...) and because of air leaks around the doors and attic access hatch opening.

Feliz Navidad...

Friday, December 21, 2007


Looking ever the part of a back room boiler / A-bomb, our cobbled together radiant system went online Thursday evening. 24 hours later the 6" thick concrete slab temperature was finally rising. The inside temperature had risen from the mid 30s to 53 degrees by the end of the day. (Not having the cold concrete beneath your feet makes a HUGE difference, regardless of the ambient air temperature).

In other developments:

-The insulation guys finished their work by blowing r-50 cellulose insulation into the attic over the bedroom wing. The remainder of the house has R38 batts.

-The vaulted living room ceiling now has 1x6 T&G pine boards nailed in place.

Up next - interior plaster & fun with kitchens (IKEA style)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Adios, strawbales...

Sheet rock has all been hung. First photograph shows our oft-photographed bedroom bookshelf hallway (looking back from just inside the master bedroom).

Of greater interest, stucco work commenced this morning. Adios, strawbales. The goal is to get the scratch coat and brown coat done by Christmas. We'll let that cure over the winter, and in spring we'll apply the final color coat of lime plaster.

Of even greater interest - Christie is expecting (a baby!) in may. (See picture below - she's glowing!)

All interior stucco work will have to wait until January, when we get back from Christmas vacation in Boulder.

Other happenings - the power company pulled the wires from the transformer to the house., if we can just get that boiler hooked up the the radiant heat.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

movin' along...

Insulation is going in and sheetrock is going up. It would have been nice if 100% insulation could be installed, followed by 100% sheetrock, but things seldom work the way they should on paper. The framing inspector called for some additional hurricane clips on the porch rafters, pushing back our insulation contractors by 2 days. Meanwhile, our sheetrockers had to get on the job because they're going out of town for another job early next week. So..since the sheetrockers were willing to work weekends, they and the insulation contractors can play leap frog on the schedule for a couple of days. They both should be done by Wednesday.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

sheetrock delivery

This is hopefully the last of many boom trucks to visit the site. Homebuilding is an amazing energy intensive enterprise. While not necessarily any less expensive, it probably would have been much more efficient to buy an existing house and retrofit it with higher insulation, tighter windows and doors, more efficient appliances and solar hot water and P.V.

Unfortunately the delivery truck got stuck in the rain and mud on its previous delivery and didn't arrive until the end of the day. Installation was postponed until Friday.

-Insulation contractors set to begin work today.
-Final framing inspection is nearly complete - only a few pieces of hardware to install and they can sign everything off.
- Weather has postponed the exterior plastering. (The good news is all this rain has helped confirm that the roof is solid and doesn't leak)

Saturday, December 1, 2007

one fake beam...

The last two interior windows yet to be 'plaster ready' - the dining room windows (where the built in bench goes) and door, and the kitchen windows (where we had to finish our plumbing wall beneath the window). As of Friday, the bench was roughed in and a little wing wall was built to give the kitchen counter and lower cabinets a place to stop. Architects, avert your eyes - a fake beam was bolted above the dining room windows and door for aesthetic reasons. For all the beams we have criss-crossing the house, this is the only one that isn't actually structural in some way or another. Yet, I like how it looks. The interior is starting to come together. And, as you can see, Ruby seems to like the glass door.