This will be the record of Phase II of our construction project. Phase I has its own chronicle that can be accessed by clicking on the link to the “Studio” in the blog roll to the right. Although it’s officially phase II, work on the house really began long before the studio construction started.
[I should explain that the way wordpress works, in order to keep the flow of design and construction in one place, all posts will bear an arbitrary posting date and will appear on the first page. When you reach the bottom of the first screen, click on “older posts.” In reality, they will be logged as newer, but they will continue construction in chronological order. The end of the project will be at the end of the page.]
A lot of planning and time has gone into this building. While Susan and I designed the space, since we submitted it to our General Contractor, The Neil Kelly Company in Portland, Oregon, we’ve had a lot of help with the engineering. We appreciate their support and their willingness to change the way they approach their work. They are a “design/build” company that agreed to work with our design. I believe they took on the project because they have a commitment to building green but would like to become known more widely as also building efficient whole house systems. That’s what Susan and I tried to produce – we think we succeeded, but only time will tell. What NK brought to the table was access to up-to-date materials, knowledgeable people, and a remarkable willingness to experiment along with us. If you’ve kept track of the Studio’s progress, you’ll find a novel approach to radiant floor heat which we installed there as a test before committing to using it in the house to temper the concrete floors. When they couldn’t find a subcontractor willing to install it, they agreed to let us work on it ourselves. It may sound strange that the owner has to negotiate to be allowed on the job, but there are many reasons, on both sides, why that’s not a good idea. We think we’ve been model “subs.” We’ve never been late, we’ve never gone over budget, and our work has passed inspections and the test of being practical. Both of us take pride in the fact that we’ll continue working on the much more complex residence.
So, welcome to our new home. From this point on, we’ll step back a couple of years and work our way forward, day by day. If you have questions about what we’ve done or why we did it, post a comment and we’ll try to respond. One of the reasons we’re “going public” is that we believe in the technology as well as the method of integrating complimentary systems in a single building. We hope we can, by example, persuade others to follow us and, with Neil Kelly’s help, change the attitude of the building industry, from Architects to County Building Departments, toward both energy efficient design and construction to use of “Universal Access” principles. We know that can happen: my folks built a passive solar home in Carson City, Nevada back in the 1970’s. It was a real problem for the County even though there was solid engineering behind the design. When it was finished, the County Commissioners toured the building and promptly adopted a resolution in the planning department to encourage and be receptive to similar projects in the future.