Wednesday, December 15, 2010

December 14, 2010
Winter has arrived in Walden and work continues on the building, despite delays. The tubing, back ordered and late, finally arrived! Weather was one delay factor and the freight company made two attempts to deliver to the Bayley-Hazen Road in Hardwick and in East Hardwick, and despite being told that our postal address is not our actual address.

Finally! The truck unloaded at the bottom of our driveway. Tractor trailers cannot make the hairpin turn or get around the sharp middle curve of our driveway. So, we busted open the pallets and loaded our Subaru cars for the trip up to the building.
The tubing has been delayed for more than four weeks and we are quickly putting it down upstairs. Next comes the wood flooring in my studio. The sprinkler system and a few central vacuum lines are being finished in the ceiling and once the flooring has been laid we can move into the insulation phase and progress will be seen again. The insulation will be in between the floors and around the trusses, so everything that is in the ceilings must be done before any insulation can take place.The interior entrance"tokonoma" is framed and the walls are now plywood ready awaiting drywall. The Garn wood boiler, attached to our home in it's own building, provides plenty of heat for the building despite the near zero temperatures, plywood doors and lack of insulation! It is cozy and warm and comfortable.

We have missed the Fall and Christmas deadlines for getting Peter into his space despite our best efforts to keep delays from happening, what happens, happens. The light shifts, reflecting off the snow and the building's atmosphere changes along with color and quality of the light inside the building. We pause to reflect the changes that both we, and nature imposes on this new structure and space. A work in progress.
Viewing linoleum flooring samples in the fading light of the afternoon, we realize that we have just passed the one year anniversary of this building construction.
It is amazing how far we have come, but how far we have yet to go.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Update October 2010

October 2010 - that is NOT snow on the roof behind him!

The view from Dad's current home in Vermont.

The crisp fall air is driving us to try our best to quickly finish up dad's first floor space as fast as we can and get him moved in. We have seen a few snow flurries, and are thankful for even the short remaining warmer days.
The heat in on the the building's first floor, and insulating and flooring systems are to be finished SOON. At the moment I am considering Marmoleum, or real linoleum flooring for the kitchen, dining room, front entry way and two bathrooms - one is the half bath between the studio and the caregiver/guest room, the other for dad's fully handicapped bath. Marmoleum has fabulous color and is easy to clean, and hold up to wear and tear. However color schemes and choices seem harder than I thought it would be! Paint color, flooring choices and colors, cabinetry, lighting - so many decisions! We seem to be researching and looking for distributors and information for hours each day. Dad seems to enjoy visiting, although we have spent more time out and enjoying drives with us enjoying the foliage colors and local fare dinners now and then. I love going for walks with him, encouraging him to get out and exercise by walking outdoors.

The Garn wood boiler's first lighting and fire. The boiler will heat both the 3200 sf studio/living space for dad, and eventually, our home. We love that it has low smoke and particulate emissions and that it does not smolder. It burns clean and even and lives in it's own little building. We still have to insulate up around the Garn boiler itself, which will happen when the insulators are here.
To find out more about this amazing energy efficient boiler see this link on GARN:

Work continues on the studio/living space for dad this Fall. Trying to get all the mechanical systems into the ceilings: (electrical, communication/life safety and building security lines, plumbing, ac lines and drains, heat recovery ventilator, floor radiant tuning, central vac) all must be put in before insulating is a major undertaking. Access to the mechanical in the ceilings is non-existant once the insulation has been installed between floors and into the second floor ceiling/roof.

Doug using expandable foam around the windows to sealing any air penetration gaps before the cellulose insulation starts. We are quite happy with our Serious Glass windows and are amazed every day with how they are performing. I have stood on the floor with bare feet, with one foot in the sun, and one foot in the shade and have not felt any noticeable temperature difference. We are getting R-11 in our fixed windows, with 99.5% UV protection. We really love the windows!

To find out more about our energy efficient windows and Serious Glass and Serious Materials click on this link:

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Sugar on Snow, an annual Vermont tradition.

April 10, 2010. Dad and Doug at Craftsbury Community Care Center at the annual Sugar on Snow Day. Pouring warm maple sugar on snow, and eating pickles to fend of the sweetness is a tradition in Vermont that goes back years! Everyone had a good time. Dad is doing very well.

Dad visiting the building's progress. We are sitting in the door opening to the second floor studio where I can work and still be nearby for my father's needs. My old studio across the road is simply too far away, and has no water or septic, so I only work in that space when the weather is warmer. With the second floor as my studio space, I can be working just upstairs. Dad plans on teaching jewelry classes and is looking forward to working again. I plan on teaching from my space as well.

We used this ex-telephone truck to do a lot of the work on the building, and have been fortunate to have it be on site indefinitely while we work, on loan from a friend. I wanted to see how far up the bucket could go so I asked Doug one day, and then as soon as I saw how far up it went, got nervous and regretted my request! I am sure the view from up there is quite good, I think that Doug took some photo's!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Roof overhangs and closing it all in.

This view shows the west and south walls. The square windows below are in my father's studio, the second floor is all sculpture, glass, printmaking and mixed media studio for me. Instead of designing the second floor with a conventional pitched roof, we decided to set the roof as a shed design, creating a much larger feeling space with larger windows to bring in as much light as possible. There is a two story porch designed for the south wall between the windows, with screen porches. The long run of a wall in the interior second story is so that I can work very large if needed - this wall is 15 feet long and 17 feet high.

The roof overhangs the walls by four feet, and this west wall is the predominant direction of most of our weather. This double door will have hanging outer barn like storm sliding doors so that the inner doors will be protected in inclement weather from blowing snow or driving rain. The long horizontal window on the second floor in the center of the north wall is at the top of the stairs and is a fixed pane window, as are most.

This is the view of the front south facing living room windows in my father's living space. Standing at these windows is like being outdoors, with the exception of being very warm in winter! The walls are to be insulated with 13 inches of insulation. There is a shelf designed to run under these windows for display. My parents collected many beautiful handmade objects from their travels and from art and craft friends. Underneath the shelf is room for books, near the floor.

Roofing trusses and walls

View of the north wall and roofing trusses.

The west facing wall with Chuck's ex-telephone truck parked. The TSS solar storage tank is underneath this high drive to the left of the second floor wide doors.

First floor looking drom the south entrance towards the north and east - the left window is in the caregiver/guest room, then the wide bathroom window, designed to take in the tall red pine with privacy and this design also echoes my parents second floor space in New York, designed by my mom so that one could see the trees but not any of the houses below. This design allows the windows to be unobstructed by blinds, the wall below to be functional, and the light maximized. The windows on the right are in my father's bedroom designed to be on either side of the bed.

The roof overhangs are 4 feet, so that any water and/or snow on the north side would be carried away from the building siding.

The view coming up our driveway into the dooryard. The lower lawn is to the right and the brook about 50 feet below. The site formally was a tall wall of red planted pine, overdue for harvesting by some 25 years. It was like living next to a tall building and blocked all the eastern morning and mid day light.

Framing dad's studio

A windy and snowy day

We used Chuck's ex-telephone truck to lift the trusses.
Lots of snow accumulated inside the first floor space. My father's big living room windows at the back, they will let in lots of light. They are about 18 inches off the floor, which was hard to see with all the snow in the building. In the end, we fired up the wood boiler so that we could turn on the floor radiant for snow melt!
Lifting the second floor walls with wall jacks. This wall is 16.5 feet tall, a big job for wall jacks!
This is the first floor space, looking from the living room space across the building to my dad's studio windows, that face west, a sunset view. At the back right of the space, along the cement foundation will be a mechanical room for the electrical sub panel, air handlers and heat recovery ventilators, which handle the air to air, some heat and future AC if needed. Also in this room is the floor radiant heat manifolds and solar collection, storage and distribution piping, well tank and domestic hot water preheat and or back up.

Framing the second floor

Framing most days was no problem weather wise - we had a mild winter which was just perfect.
Roof trusses stacked in front of the building, on the porch slab. The floor and roof trusses came from California because of their unique design, a combination of steel and wood.
Nothing like framing the sky for a view!

South facing wall, the brook is below running almost parallel to the front face of the building.
East wall on the second floor. You can see the stair opening in the center.

Well. sorry it has been awhile since I have updated the blog on the project! The walls are up, the roof is on and the interior walls and stairs have been framed. We are waiting for the spray air sealing with a low air permeable coating (which will turn the outside exterior black), and then the insulation, then windows and doors. The windows are from a company Serious Glass out of Colorado, and they make a R11.1 value for the large fixed windows and R7.2 for the awning windows. We chose to make most of the large windows fixed to save money and to up the R value, and add awning windows to the bottoms in places for a bit of air and mostly for sound to hear the sound of the brook below the building. Right now all the windows are plastic sheeting, but it is nice to sit inside on a warm spring day and take in the space. The stairs just were built at the end of this past week, and cool air rises up from the first floor through the stair opening just like air conditioning! The plans for the two story post and beam porch are being finalized and the windows should be installed by mid April. The framing of the first floor walls continues with some adjustments here and there for added storage built within the wall framing in the bedroom and studio.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Emelyn's Ashes

At the foundation pouring for the first floor studio, I found a small film canister to place some of mom's ashes into. When the cement was just right I pushed it down until it was level with the cement, in an area which will be the front left corner of dad's main studio work area floor. On top of this canister of Emelyn's ashes, I placed a small talavera tile brought back from our trip last February to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. San Miguel is an artist town full of creative people, many of them Americans who winter in it's mountain plateau weather - warm during the day and cool every night. I had heard of San Miguel for years and always had wanted to go. After Doug and I spent 2 weeks there, visiting American artist friends who now have homes there and choose to live there either full time or for the winter, we learned that mom also had a desire to travel and take classes in San Miguel. While reading through mom's sketchbooks last summer, I found lots of information about traveling to San Miguel and thought it fitting to honor her desire to be connected to such a place with a ceramic tile to mark her now forever presence in the new studio building. I had the opportunity to spend this past Christmas again in San Miguel de Allende, and traveled with more of her ashes, placing some around the city, at both art schools and out in Pozos, a wonderful abandoned 1500's mining town about an hours drive from SMA.
Emelyn, I thank you for your wisdom, energy, strength, and precious time devoted to preserving family resources. Your concerned diligence made this building possible for dad to move under our care and continue to work within the creative realm. I miss you mom.
I love this shot at our driveway of the moon with really wild clouds, shot using Subaru headlights. Our house is on the left and the driveway swings around up the left into our dooryard.
This is the TSS system that is now all underground. It is made of foam insulated panels and 14-18" of spray expanding foam. After it was all put together, it was lined then filled with tubing, a storage tank, and sand making it solid and well insulated. All this is now has been back filled and is underground. The solar panels will feed into this system, as well as our GARN wood boiler which is heating our home, and dad's new building. The storage from this tank will be able to heat the super insulated building for about a month and a half in winter, giving us the flexibility to travel away from home/studio if needed.

Sorry folks, that it has been months since I have posted in this blog. The building has consumed our time as it progresses. Progress is the key word here. The foundation was poured back on October 9 and then the floor on November 24, 2009. We added a small canister of (my mom)Emelyn's ashes to the foundation corner which will be in Dad's studio, and placed a small Talevera tile from San Miguel de Allende on top of the canister, and also spread some ashes over the pour after it was finished. The TSS (thermal storage solutions) pit for an ECX vault (Environmental Climate Exchange) was dug to the left of the photo above. The size of storage is 1800 cubic feet. It is designed to store underground the heat from the wood boiler and solar panels.