Sunday, May 5, 2013

Waiting for spring and finalizing plans

So, red is a go... for now.

We were so close to getting building permits that it really started to feel real.  I was constantly going over every detail in my head, questioning all the big decisions and having dreams about it too. I felt like it had to be right. As we started looking at finalizing the plans, we came up with several changes.  Because of these changes, we had to go back to our structural engineer and we are now waiting on updated calculations from him before submitting everything to the muni.


  • We added a dormer and windows to the South side of the garage.  The original plan was to leave that space as storage, but the more I thought about our life, I thought it would be really nice to have a more flexible space.   We had already planned to heat it and finish it, but by adding more windows, it will be a more pleasant space, if we decide we need a studio space, and small apartment, band practice room (as Erica suggested), or place to have group activities with our homeschooling friends.  

  • We also raised the height of the ceiling on the first floor of the garage. 10' with 9' doors.  It might look a little tall, but we will likely get a ski/cargo box for the top of our Toyota Sequoia and I still want to be able to park in the garage when we do.  We would be cutting it pretty close with 8' garage doors. 

    Model view of SW corner of Living room with higher ceilings
  • In an email, I mentioned to Erica that I had a bad dream about our future ceiling heights.  I dreamed they were too short.  She replied that she had recently realized that the ceiling height will be about 8' 8" (not 9', as I thought).  I freaked out a little.  We are currently living in a house with 8' ceilings and I hate it.  It feels a little claustrophobic to me. Our Atlanta house had 9' ceilings and felt wonderful.  I innocently asked if we could make it taller on the first floor (all the living spaces).  It is a little complicated because we are building with SIPs.  It is easiest to use either 9' panels or 10' panels.  Anything in between would cost as much as the 10' panels plus additional manufacturing cost to shorten them.  9' panels caused the shorten ceiling heights, lower window heights than I was expecting and a custom dining room door.  10' panels create a 9'9" ceiling on the first floor, which at first seemed too tall.  But after thinking on it and looking at Erica's work studying the model I think the height will be nicely proportionate to the room sizes and allow for more choice in light fixtures.


  • After some feedback from friends, I looked at changing the gable windows slightly.  Our gable is large, due to a steeply pitched roof full of good insulation. It will not feel like an attic upstairs (no slanted ceilings).  I love that look, but this design is much better for insulating purposes in the our high heating-days climate.  After studying all the photos of houses I love, we pulled the square windows out horizontally (as far as we could) and centered then vertically on the larger windows.  We tried other things, but this is what we have settled on.  It works on the interior really well and has a more cottage/whimsical feel from the exterior.  I actually like it a lot better and I hope those of you who shared your thoughts, do too.  We're still playing around with siding finishes...

Before window changes
Before window and door changes


After window changes
window inspiration by Rehkamp Architects

  • We also made some changes to the dining room door and windows.  French doors are notorious for not closing well, being drafty etc.  Several folks (architect, builder, window guys) suggested to us that we consider switching to a single door for better efficiency, but I was slow to let go of the look.  After much consideration, we changed the dining room French door to a single door with windows on each side.  I think it will be fine and is a reasonable compromise which brings better efficiency and lower costs.  Besides, there will probably always be too many mosquitos to swing open a set of French doors.


After window and door changes

Erica set a new set of plans the other day and I had no comments for her. :)  Now we are just waiting on the final calcs from the structural engineer, so we can submit for permits, SIP plans, and trusses.   Next up will be drilling the well (next week), finalizing a contract with our builder and getting everything into the bank. It feels like it is taking forever to get started, but it was snowing yesterday, so it still feels like we have time.