This blog is solely about the start-to-finish construction of a house.
It is recommended to start at the earliest post and proceed chronologically.

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May 30, 2014

Stemwall/Footing Pour

Today the concrete arrived.  All the effort of the past few weeks building these beautiful forms will be put to the test.

Overheard on the Jobsite

"I've had plenty of water - what I need is salt!  We should get one of those big blocks of salt and put it here in the middle.  We can take turns licking it."

May 28, 2014

Site Plan

So at some point, we have to show you what we are building.
Lets start with some drawings, while I polish up a rendering.

The Site Plan:

Some explanatory comments below the fold:

Stem Walls

Formwork is almost complete; calling for the city inspection tomorrow.
Pouring the concrete on Friday.

I'll sure sleep better if the plumber shows up today and gets his sleeves in the stemwalls so that our sewer pipes can actually leave the building.

Had to go a second round with the electrical boxes.  I put them in using products the electrical supply house told me to use.  My electrician showed up and said "try again".

Apparently I had a couple fittings that were not rated for casting into concrete.  These are correct now (I hope). 

May 23, 2014

Overheard on the Job Site:

"Hey, so I watched Sharknado this weekend."
"No really?! Me too!"

May 21, 2014

Driving the Tractor

Howdy.  Name's John.
People seemed to like meeting the Cat driver, so this is who's behind the wheel of the J. Deere tractor.

May 20, 2014

Alternative Timber

Some boards want to add some Gehry to the design.

Formwork Taking Shape

Old-school Board-forms

Making the Grading

You know that "flat" building site? 
Not quite that flat. 

Over 10" of fall from one side of the building to the next. 
And a few feet from one side of the lot to the next.
Couldn't comprehend until I strung a level line myself - it really does look pretty darn flat.

Amazing how much dirt that translates into.
This is why we all breathe a bit easier once we get out of the ground.
And why I want a LAZER for my birthday. 
(One of many reasons, actually, but this one does not involve sharks)

May 14, 2014

Scraping the Site

Goodbye dandelions, hello dirt.
Starting fresh with this yard.

Driving the Cat

Takes one to drive one.

Breaking Ground

Nom Nom Nom

Cutting the tree

Future Eames Stool?
A medium-sized English walnut tree sits sat on the north side of the site, right about where the guest bathroom will be.

The story below the fold

Finding the Lot

The Empty Lot
“You found a lot for sale?  How did you manage that?!?”
This is pretty much the first thing someone says to us when we tell them about the house we are building.

This is our story, below the fold

Post Post

I may need a truck

"First Post"!
Or second post, depending on how you look at it.

This is the first piece of lumber arriving at the job site - the new temporary power pole (post).
Sometimes a GC gets to watch others do the work, sometimes a GC is raising eyebrows at the lumber yard.

Thanks to Lisa and Dan for helping to stand this 20 foot 6x6 upright.

The MW House

The shoe is on the other foot. 
We (Hunter and Lisa) are about to start building our own home. 
After years of sitting at the table as “the architects”, working with other people to realize their ideal built environments, we are now also “the clients”.

It has been an interesting perspective change for us, and an informative one.
Enough so that we have decided to share our experiences in the hopes that others find it interesting, or even better, useful.

To further mix things up, we are acting as general contractor for the construction of this house ourselves – affording yet another perspective change. We have just started this part of the adventure, and already are feeling appreciation for those professionals who we usually rely on to do this work. 

Like many of you out there who decide to build, we are excited and nervous in equal measure.

We’d like to think that after 20 years of architectural experience each, combined with a good bit of swinging hammers and saws on construction sites, would have prepared us for this to go smoothly.  We shall see.  And we’d like you to join us and follow along.