Thursday, November 18, 2010

Choices, choices choices....

Well, framing is starting and I'm in panic mode......I have been procrastinating on designing the exterior building's finishes for a while now.  There are so many choices as what color is the fascia, roof, what are the soffits, windows, exterior trim, doors etc. And I'm also balancing the budget constraints and the promise I made to myself when I started this project that I wouldn't go typical, that I would keep my mind open. It's not easy folks.........So I headed down to the water, I have a thing for rocks, I'm always picking them up and putting them in my pockets carrying around like a ton of extra weight.....but I pretty much designed my color palette around these rocks from my mom's shoreline. 

So yesterday I finally sat down, turned on some music and started sketching away.  I really haven't gotten my markers and pencils out for quite some time (since school like 8 years ago) but I think it gives me some reassurance that its going to be what my mind has been working on for the last couple of weeks.  I have been really struggling with modern buildings lately.  Not because I don't love them, but because they are starting to all look the same.  They are beginning to become a common formula, or at least they are up here in the Northwest.  So my challenge was to create something similar but a little off the grid.......

There was one certain material that after seeing IT I knew it would be a yes right off. However figuring out how it has to be installed, waterproofed and trimmed out is another battle.
I have THREE exterior building materials:

1. Rusted Metal siding / rust and orange rocks from beach........ It's cool as hell and it's really maintenance free for a long time.  I have been letting a piece of metal rust outside my house for the last month to see how long the process will take to get to fully rusted The rusted metal element will be the lower part of the garage below the green living room. 

The green living roof was a great way to pay homage to the green building side for the environment, it allowed me to cut my square footage down for the living space, and not have a ugly metal roof in your view from the living room.......instead you will see a wonderful succulent garden.

2. Grey Cedar tongue and groove Wood / grey rocks from beach...........Everyone uses cedar siding up here, its readily available so the price is good, but by staining it grey its changing it up a little and makes me think of old used up barns, or beach cottage houses.  (I have to admit I saw a great modern house at the beach last weekend with grey siding and it rocked, so it definitely added to my curiosity) It is the horizontal stripes on the drawing and will be trimmed out around all the windows and doors.

3. Maxi Panel Cement 4 x 9 sheets painted / Yellowish rocks from beach.....Again it is a common material for modern design however, I was able to salvage it from my favorite place, Second Use, for half the cost!!!! It will be painted a nice golden yellow tone and is also a very low maintenance material that stands up well to the elements. Also, I bought my exterior front door for $50 dollars at Second Use as well.  Its a brand new Douglas Fir commercial rated door that has one baby scratch on the bottom, no biggie will sand it right out!

The white rocks represent my windows....I originally wanted aluminum windows but have changed my mind for cost and energy efficiency reasons.  These Milguard white vinyl windows are going to save me a ton of money and are really going to pop against the grey texture of the wood. That's the plan people, hope it all comes together, at least I have a plan!!!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Mucker Duties

 Probably to most it doesn't look like much, but all 25 yards of concrete you see before you "just didn't happen"........  I used to go out to job sites and it would magically be done, and I would think to myself It doest look like much, or why does that cost so much? But after being exposed to the entire process (and its only the first step) I see what goes into one of the most important parts of a building. Your foundation is your rock, if its not built right everything else will follow in its footsteps.

The steam is from the concrete.....yikes!!

 For those of you who know me personally, you would know that I couldn't just stand on the sidelines and watch.  And Don my foundation buddy (after week one of building forms) quickly caught on to my ways of wanting to work.  So sure enough as the concrete truck was backing into the driveway at 8 am he was yelling at me to get some boots on and get to work. I was officially given the tittle "Mucker".  As the mucker you are typically the grunt worker, moving concrete around trying to make it even on the slab. Its no easy task I assure you.  That concrete comes down off the truck and within seconds everyone is pulling and pushing mud around as fast as you can.  Then after a series of leveling techniques (two guys with a 2x4 and one girl filling in the holes) and your slab is complete.  Well not really, its takes a full day of finishing, going over and over the concrete, letting it set up and buffing out the bumps. I signed the concrete with my official logo and dated it in the corner.  Open Door Studio's first official design/build ya, next step is framing which should be starting in a week or two.  Hopefully my new framing buddy will let me strap on some bags and go to work.....we shall see!!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Hiding under the sheets

Sorry guys, I guess I just needed to slow down for a bit and re coupe.  Sometimes I get myself involved in so many things that I just crash after my body decides it needs a break. So I'm getting back on my feet, ready for the next round and wanted to show you what's been going on.  We are all poured and finished with the foundation but these shots were the day before the final concrete slab was poured.  There is so much prep work that happens before the pour, the waterproof membrane, gridded out the rebar, the rough plumbing installed under the get the drill.  Oh..... and aren't these old Sperry Top Slider rain boots amazing!!!! I found them thrifting before I moved up here and feel like I'm going to be living in them come winter time. 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Home away from Home

At the moment this little trailer is really our only form of a home right now.  We don't live in it full time......yet......but it really is the only space that has some of our things,, just super small. We completely gutted the ceiling and replaced the rotted wood with new wood. Repainted the cabinets a soft light blue, wallpapered the walls with a beige and white flower pattern and installed cork flooring on the ground. If that wasn't enough we pulled out all the windows and trim and for hours sat polishing each window by hand. I sewed new curtains, bedding and pillows and with a couple more finishing touches (countertops, backsplash and upholstery bench) she will be done! We have taken her out a couple of times this year but here are some shots from our last weekend camping. 

This is bruce our moose, he's my favorite......

Monday, November 1, 2010

Trailer Resurrected

My husband and I have a pretty healthy appetite for junk and old things. Things are usually never TOO far gone for our eyes so while scanning craigslist one weekend we stumbled on this little gem rotting away.  After a quick chat and a "yes" we were off to resurrect her and begin some traveling adventures.  She had been someones idea of a easy getaway for the family, but with water leaking in the ceiling through the vent and the entire interior a dull shade of dirty primer white, there dreams quickly vanished.  Not ours...... we sat inside her alone for a couple of minutes planning and designing in our heads what she could be.  $500 dollars later we were off, and after a winters long renovation she's almost finished.

Tomorrow will be her big interior debut..... Unfortunately I didn't take any interior before photos (she smelled, was rotted, and felt yuck) but here are a couple of redoing the wood ceiling.

Friday, October 29, 2010

A little dirt dont hurt

So I usually like to take myself on little photo shoots each week to keep me creative and laugh a little, but this week there was no time to dress up and feel girlie. The last couple of days have been down right dirty.  Concrete was poured yesterday for the footings and yes I was a happy when I'm not wearing thrift store / vintage items I'm wearing the latest trend in carhartt contractor wear......haaaaa. Happy Friday!

Thursday, October 28, 2010


This last weekend we wanted to get away from all the stress of this construction process so we decided to go camping.  Well it's not exactly camping season up here, (its starting to get into the rainy season) but we couldn't resist taking our trailer out.  So we packed up and headed to Seabeck a small little town on the hood canal.  We had a really nice time, the campground was completely empty minus the ranger so we got to enjoy the entire place to ourselves.  This camp ground was huge, it even had a homestead house built in 1910 that we got to walk around.  We hung out on the back porch for quite some time watching the rain fall  feeling a little homesick.

We are having a hard time transitioning from where we moved back in July, basically all of our belongs live in a storage unit and we are staying with my mother until we decide where we want to end up.  I needed to be available for the construction progress, so we are in limbo for awhile.  Its not so bad, feeling like a gypsy has its benefits, but it also makes it hard to feel comfortable.  I miss my sofa, my space, my record player but we uprooted our lives for the very reason that we wanted more then the life we had settled for. We had a wonderful life don't get me wrong, we own a house and an amazing apartment building both of which we have fully restored, good jobs, great friends, thrift store spending sprees whenever we wanted.  But we felt a little too plugged into the matrix I suppose.  I need adventure, big challenges I get restless........... so here we are homeless (not really but a little), a little miserable, but together growing and discovering our new world.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

And so it begins.....

I have been through QUITE a bit of political bullshit while attempting to get a permit to build this ADU. This small town is quite challenging to navigate into.  Its very much about who ya know and being the new girl in town I guess I had to go through my initiation period.........BUT........................ without further ado............I finally got my permit! So inspections start tomorrow and the little structure in my mind that developed onto these pieces of paper will finally become 3 dimensional before you know it! Yippy!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Cowboy Up

The amazing vintage store I found in Spokane housed this kick ass sweater that I knew would be mine even before I put in on.  You know how you just look at something and you know that it will be apart of your wardrobe forever.  Well, that's this sweater, living in the Northwest one doesn't live properly with out a sweater, and to have one as stylish to boot, well that's a bonus.  Does anyone else out there in blog land have items of clothes that kind of define them? Not in a superficial way, but well for me, I'm practical to some extent, (this sweater is warm and cozy), I'm pretty frugal on spending money for clothes, (sweater was $40), I'm a out of the box thinker, big ideas and dreams (stitching is jockey running full gallup towards unknown) I don't know maybe I'm reading into things to much, but it just makes you wonder why you feel so connected to things?

This barn is a bit of a funny story.  One of my husband's students who has lived here all his life told my husband about this barn.  We are a little obsessed with old barns and eventually want to restore one to live in, but the story was that we could go there and shoot and no one would care, it was abandoned and not in use........  Well......... it happened to be SOMEONE'S barn right in the front of there house!!!! No one was home so we decided to shoot quickly, we aren't ones for just going onto peoples property and acting like we own the place, but it was so beautiful and I couldn't help it!  Needless to say, we live in the country with the most friendly people, it probably would have been fine. Lets hope the next barn really is abandoned.....we hope!!!

Monday, October 18, 2010


This is an amazing salvage yard that I will be purchasing from for my current and future construction projects.  I have been to quite a few salvage/ building recycling places, but this one clearly has there crap together.  Its called Second Use, and they are located in Seattle.  It took only an hour or so of driving around in circles, back streets, Aggravated moments between me and my husband "no its this way I'm sure, trust me......crap dead end".  But it was worth the head ache.  There entire building and yard is full of every possible material from old antique to new commercial grade products.  Lines of doors old and new, windows, cabinets, wood molding, lights, hardware, tile, flooring must I still go on.....

My projects budget is getting smaller and smaller with all the added costs that spring up, but I'm not about to let my design suffer because I don't have a unlimited bunch of money at my disposal.  So, at Second Use I purchased a new commercial grade entry door lock set in the box for $15 dollars.....marked at regular cost for $130.  And, these amazing metal angle iron brackets that are going to be mounted on the exterior siding as wall supports for a metal / wood awning I'm designing.  Each metal piece was only $45 dollars!!!!  Now, I don't know if you know much about metal, but that pile on metal sitting there and the cost of construction would cost well over $800.  I'm so excited with my little treasures and will be back there quite often I can imagine.

Possible metal stairs to Treehouse, got to make sure it will work!

Love, love this sink, it is going to live in a my furture barn house dreams....