Monday, January 31, 2011

Rain rain go away...

Just kidding......the rain actually hasn't been that bad this winter.  Coming from a desert "dry" environment you would think I would be depressed and all miserable, but we are doing just fine, a little cold...... but fine.  We have started our first phase in taking over the project (by this I mean my husband and I are getting our hands dirty and taking some things over)  We are BIG do it yourselfers and this is a great middle ground to save some budget costs and learn some new skills.  So........ we begin by waterproofing the exterior siding. 

You know what FedEx packages that you receive in the mail are made of???? Tyvek......Strange to think that we wrap our houses in the same material but it basically acts as a water barrier keeping moisture out.  By completing this step it allows us some time to "dry" in the house so that windows, electrical, plumbing and sheet rock can begin inside.  Being that it is winter time right now, painting and siding are better spring time projects, so the tyvek can act as a temporary exterior protector for a couple of months till things warm up.

We started on the first floor and then worked our way up.  Each roll was roughly 150' x 9'. It was extremely awkward at first having such a large size to stretch across the sheeting.  The material is rolled out, stretched and tightened as much as possible, then stapled in place.  All windows are wrapped and seams are taped to prevent water penetration. 

Here's some interesting shots of us figuring it out as we go........I just want to note, that I have the most amazing husband who without him nun of this would be possible.  Thanks honey!!!!

Most times we used ladders to get to hard to reach places, however sometime you need to use body parts to hold you in place when both hands are needed.....I guess that's what happens when your married to a rock climber.......

I'm not sure that hanging out of windows and blocking up ladders on stairs with wood is OSHA approved safely standards but..........say la vie.....

Checking out the view 20 feet up........I admit it makes your stomach twist a little........

 All in all it took us approximately 3 days to complete.  Not to bad for 2 novice Tyvek hangers!!!

Monday, January 24, 2011

The BIG Picture

Hope everyone had a great weekend.......I have been busy busy  and will show you a little later on this week what we were up to.  I have exciting news to share..........I have completed my first milestone, my framing is complete! There are a couple little odds and ends to wrap up, but now the majority of work will begin inside.
Front of Treehouse looking from street. Garage entry at main level, with staircase leading to living quarters.

Back side of Treehouse looking at second garage door on ground floor and green living roof, with living room behind.

To start off my week, I wanted to show you all the big picture!! From exterior to interior here is my Treehouse.  Some of the interior photos might look a little confusing, but its the beginnings!!!!
Happy Monday everyone!

Main living area, will be temporary living space while main house is built.  Then will become guest house for visitors.

The Tandem garage was designed to allow people to "drive thru" instead of pulling in and backing out.  The narrow site provided some driveway challenges, so I built a new road and created a loop to make a better flow for traffic.

Bedroom area

From left to right: Bathroom entrance from kitchen, green living roof looking into living room. living room from kitchen/entry.

Kitchen area

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Salvage Sucess!!

Never, ever ever listen to people...........well I guess that's a little harsh but sometimes you have to trust your gut even if you don't know what the outcome will be. Most times people are usually uncomfortable with something "different", something that is not typical.  Its gets them out of there comfort zones I guess but that is my favorite place to be.  It causes me to think outside the box, to try ideas out and expand my abilities. So I put my "out of the box" thinking to the test and bought these metal stairs for my entry. 

The story goes like this with my construction crew.  "Hey guys, I'm thinking about buying some commercial metal stairs at this salvage yard in Seattle, they're really cool, something different, what do you think?"  Well, Terra your going to have lots of problems, they probably wont fit and metal stairs,........hummm I don't know seems like alot of trouble".  I figured this was the reaction I would get, so I thought it over for a couple of days and decided that I would make them work no matter what.  So my husband, myself and our utility trailer headed off to go purchase my used/ salvaged staircase and even got it for half price!!!!!

A couple of months have passed since my purchase of the staircase and most times I get a curious look from people and questions like how are you going to attach those?  My framer has been putting it off till now, so today was the day to attach the stairs to the landing.  We started measuring the stairs rise and run and low and behold they fit, perfectly........ "Well what do you know, you aren't going to have to cut off the bottoms" was my first comment from my crew.  A wrench, four bolts and a half an hour later they were up in place with no problems at all! I even got a "there actually really nice, I had no idea they would fit!"

I have some stair railings to modify, a concrete pad to pour and some metal paint to apply and there done! They are recycled, extremely low maintenance and cheaper then wood.  So the moral of this story is don't give in when people look at you like your crazy, because if I did then I would have always looked back and wondered what it could have been and not what it is. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

From Concept to Reality

Success.......we have walls......actual walls.  How quickly a space can change...... even the environment around the building has changed.  The juxtaposition from soft nature of organic trees and earth to hard structured human form has a mixture of emotions that flood my mind.  At first glance my heart skips a beat realizing that my dreams have come true and I'm looking at a concrete idea that I developed.  All these insecurities rattle thru your thoughts....."are the windows to big"......."is the proportion off on the right"........"it looks so huge".....but really it doesn't matter, it can't be changed now so your better off taking it all in and enjoying every damn minute of it.  I have to tell you, there is nothing better then looking out these "wonderfully" huge windows and seeing the breathtaking view of wooded trees and water in the distance.  I called this dwelling the "Treehouse" because it's placed within a large grouping of older growth trees, but I had expected that some of that idea would be lost with the walls closing up the space.  To my surprise...... you feel like your suspended high on a platform and that the only thing missing is the small rope bridge crossing to the nearby tree.  WONDERFUL!!!!

Friday, January 14, 2011

A Ground to Walk on

We have a solid floor!!!! Its a major deal to climb up upon a hard surface and take in the "new" view of the space in which your building sits.  Things change SO much from 10 feet up.  Remember those first initial shots we took back on the ground floor, things are still the same only a little higher.

It has been bone cold and rainy here lately but that doesn't seem to stop my framing guys. Its amazing to watch them construct this space, I can't stay inside because I'm always peeking out the windows looking and memorizing there process.  I do have some challenging areas, the first being a cantilevered entry and the second is my "green" living roof. 

Note to self: Make sure you find a better engineer for the next build who can actually reads your plans that you spend hours on so that he doesn't cost you extra money from his stupidity in the end.

My green living roof has extra fun steel framing that is suspended off my overly large steel I beam that has cost me quiet some $$$$$$.  This has not only left me with some stresses for my budget, but also my framer's mood as he loathed building it and believed I could have just dropped down my already tall garage ceiling and used cheaper wood trusses.  AHHHHH! Live and learn......

By the way.....I changed things up, did you notice.  I get bored easily so out with the old in with the new. 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Hand me that beam

It's an exciting day when you get a package in the mail, it's an even more amazing day when you get a steel beam delivered to hold up your second level.  From afar it doesn't look that big or heavy, but when you walk up to it and try and lift it up you decide that hiring the boom truck operator was a wise decision. 

Friday, January 7, 2011

Oh look...... I have a garage.....kind of

Before I left  for the holidays we had the main garage level framed.  I didn't have any time to post these pictures so I wanted to catch you all up on where we are in construction.  I had some (issues) lets just say.... with getting some electrical lines removed from above my framing and placed underground so my framing contractor got as far as he could until I was able to resolve the problems.  Its so amazing to walk around an actual building now. 

Things I suppose will really start to take off from here.  We are in full swing again with framing the main living space and I cant wait to see how it feels from up there, the view, the experience of being in the trees as I had imagined it in my mind when I sat on the ground designing it in my head.

My belt that I had on was found in a thrift store awhile ago and feels like a tool belt to me, its leather that has been hand tooled and has lots of pockets and hidden compartments, so I found it appropriate to where it for these framing photos. I also made the headband last year, I usually where it as a scarf, but its made out of a old tee shirt that I cut up. Just some fun facts......