August 13 -- After 3 days of prep work, Harold and I installed the floor system. Using engineered wood I-joists and laminated beams (composed mostly of traditional lumbering by-products), the Silent Floor brand materials installed easily. With the connecting slab poured and the 1st floor clearly defined, the addition footprint is coming to life. (Click the photo for a link to the manufacturer.)
August 15 -- With the entire 1st floor decking in place, the basement stairwell is easier to envision: enter the descent back-right, go down ~4' to 1st landing, continue down ~6' towards the house to the 2nd landing, then finish your descent. Being in the basement with the decking in place overhead was a little freaky at first: that big hole in the backyard was no longer a pit; it had become a basement! The gray paint is an oil based paint used to further seal the edges of our decking to minimize swelling at the joints from rain.
The basement egress window well is in place, built in two sections (the top section wider & longer than the lower) to offer "stepped" sides allowing for as much sunlight as possible to enter. In terms of finishing the window well, I'm thinking of either fiberglass or stucco surfaces to simulate a cave entrance (from the outside). Ferns cascading down the sides, some ambient low-voltage lighting and Injun Joe will complete the theme.
Seriously, the mouth to a cave... Imagine, jutting out from the soil to the left, a jagged rock formation that extends over the window well, and looks as though the corner of the house is built into this rock. And, as it juts over the well, it also extends outward providing an eave. Under the eave, hidden low voltage lamps and outdoor speakers, and atop the eave, ferns and dangling vines. Pop, I'm going to need you on this part. Oh, by the way, do you have a computer yet?
August 21 -- The Arxx walls are stacked to their finished, first floor height over the pair of windows on the left. Ten-feet two-inches over the subfloor is where the 2nd floor joists begin. To the right, you see the beginnings of the patio door and sidelite rough opening. Remember, there's an existing patio door and sidelite immediately to the right in the old house (new term in my personal reference vocabulary: "old house" -- if I stay in this line of work, I'll likely acquire these other personal reference terms: "when I had a left arm...", "after the 'accident'...", and "my sixth wife used to say...")
The retaining wall looks really close to the house, but there are ~8' between the two. The future holds a lavish arbor coming off the house then over that 8' span to connect onto posts behind the retaining wall. When folks pass under this overgrown arbor (poison ivy would probably grow the thickest fastest), I want them to feel transported to the glenn behind the house.
Do you remember this addition has one more story to go? Is the overall height starting to concern you? Do you think area residents will offer "...after you pass the freakishly tall house..." in their driving instructions to visitors? Do thoughts like these haunt you as you try to go to sleep every, single, relentless night?
The breakfast nook/mud room (my dad thinks that's a bad combination... hmm) takes shape off the back door. This area will not go up a 2nd story, but its ceiling will vault into the 2nd floor stairwell.
Diggin' that inverted-'U' shaped window?! That opening and the one to the left form the rear corner to the twins' room. We imagine a twin-size bed with its headboard under the 'U', and later a desk there when the twins get their own rooms or vans. But, you could also put a Greek bust atop a column, or a fat cat on a fern stand, or maybe find L. Ron Hubbard hovering there in the full lotus position feeding off the universe's empathic energies. See, it has endless possibilities.
Door and window buck preparations -- Where door and window openings are found in a concrete wall, the installaion of a buck is needed. The bucks retain the concrete from pouring out the openings and provide a fastening surface for doors and windows. These are all the parts we need for the 1st floor wall openings, and they've been pre-cut, labled and primed (twice with oil) prior to assembly and installation. How many do you think are miscut?
This is a section of the reinforcing steel 'cage' that Mark Dwyer's building for 2 columns and 1 long lintel (a concrete beam) used to support the 2nd floor against the old house. Into each section of lintel and column forms, a cage similar to this one will be inserted before being filled with concrete. (Design by Kevin Potter, Licensed Professional Structual Engineer, 812-331-7981)
Playing in Mark's shop.
August 28 -- Jon and Harold tweak the column/lintel forms. This is a good picture of the rebar cage and the general design fundamentals of concrete columns and lintels; just think 'highway overpass'. The forms hold the rebar cages in 2", allowing concrete to envelope the cage as its spine. Now, get this: when we build and pour the next (and final!!) wall atop this lintel, the total system on this wall just gets stronger! For the lintel to shear, the wall above is must shear also, and the rebar guts must shear as well. What are the odds of that happening? I'll let you know later.
August 29 -- Harold checks off the last, completed task on the pre-pour checklist. After he put the pencil down, he did this celebratory break dance thing; I was really surprised!
Yo, Worthington, wassup?
"Kickin back, havin a bud, watchin a hose."
I'm proud to say our only snafu on the 1st floor pour was this minor blow-out on the twin's room. On the final floor, we've learned enough not to repeat this avoidable accident. So, expect photos of completely new accidents in the near future.
Harold and I built only the needed bearing walls that carry the 2nd floor. The long wall in the foreground locates the division between the dining and TV rooms, with an open section for pocket windows (like pocket doors, but with windows!). Here's a cool number: 10'3"; the distance from the 1st floor to the bottom of the 2nd floor.
Harold and I are mighty proud of the columns and lintel; it turned out beautiful. The OSB panels we used to create the forms left a cool texture on the face of the columns that we'll explore showcasing later.
Nov. 18 -- Would you look at that: stairs. They go up and they go down! Yes sir, we're living phat in Whitehall. The best part is that first landing under the Gothic Window of Truth and Virtue (which is where I'll deliver my sermons and exorcisms and stuff.)
June 2002 -- This large bulkhead at the bottom of the stairs drops the ceiling from 10'3" down to 8'. I hear some ceilings are only 8' tall to begin with, but anyway... Loading the bulkhead with electrical, phone, coax, gas, and plumbing is half of the reason for its creation, the other half is to imply a hallway-feel for the TV/twins' rooms, the basement/second floor stairs.
June 2002 -- Framing for the pocket windows between dining and TV rooms.
July 2002 -- Missy looks like she's saying, "I want it done, and I want it done now." She's standing at the doorway inside the twins' room, where you can see the bulkheads above her loaded with plumbing.
August 2002 -- On behalf of Habitat for Humanity, Rosalyn Carter sent me this nifty, little dime sized house token, where "Bless this house" is inscribed. I put it on a nail inside a stud cavity for prosterity.
Sept 2002 -- Brian Houston and his wife Lea help me put sound insulation bats into the second floor joist cavities. We did this to both floors, plus attached resilient floor channels (little metal strips that keep the drywall spaced off the joist to reduce noise vibration transfer). With these measures, I'm hoping that if you're here on Thanksgiving (next year!) with explosive diarhea in the basement bath, we can continue enjoying our meal upstairs, just 10 feet away from you. On second thought, maybe you should stay home that day.
Lea Houston and her husband's head in a box. Over Lea, you can see the sound dampening floor channels.
Sept 2002 -- Here's a photo of my dad coming to my rescue (me <-- one armed slow poke) and helping to ready the addition for the drywallers. He's building a chase around some to-and-fro pipes that will become a HVAC duct; these pipes travel into the connecting roof attic, so I'm hoping that by enclosing them in a duct they won't freeze.
Sept 2002 -- Handy Randy and his helper Chris tear out the old, exterior wall between our kitchen and the addition. That was an incredible day to join the spaces!
Looking from the new back door, thru the old house into the dining room.
A long shot of the dining room, second story stairs and basement entry.