Ups and Downs, As Usual

House framing with loft on top.

Framing is about half way complete. Mother Nature and the lumber supplier are making a mockery of our schedule. We lost two, relatively dry, days waiting for 14 pieces of subfloor from the lumber supplier. Fall has descended upon northern Ohio and Mother Nature has held out as long as she could. Now we’re subjected to daily rain and temps in the high 60’s. Our electrical trench and sono-tubes for the posts are all filled with water. I don’t even want to imagine the basement; as I don’t think the sump pump is hooked up yet. Maybe I’ll go shopping for goldfish.

We’ve had to hold off the cement contractor because the HVAC in the studio had to be installed. That’s installed but now I’m holding up the project because I haven’t had a chance to put the rigid insulation in the studio floor. It’s getting dark at 8 o’clock now so by time I get out to the job site I’m lucky to have an hour to work. This weekend is scheduled to be raining 24 hours a day, but one way or another I’ll have to get it done so we can get the cement poured on Monday. Putting the rigid down is complicated by the HVAC tubes which stick above the gravel into where the insulation goes. This will require a lot of cutting by hand which is tedious.

I dropped the phone line in the electrical trench which turned out to be a lot more difficult than it sounds. The trench is over 300′ long and a large section goes through the woods. When the trench was cut, a lot of roots overhang the trench which means I had to get down into the 3′-4′ trench, ankle-deep in mud and water and snake the wire past all the roots. A thankless job if there ever was one. I did see a frog though. He kind of looked at me like I was insane, trudging through the muck.

Framing has still been a challenge. The loft is in place and it makes the house seem incredibly tall. At this point the overall scale and proportion of the house does not put me at ease. Hopefully once the roof is on and it’s finished the scale will recede a bit. Right now our “Not So Big House” is rather big. The height issue was compounded by the structural engineer who switched the floor joists from 9.5″ to 12″. This adds about 9″ to the overall height of the house and expanded our overhangs. The larger overhangs will add cost to our metal roof as well. In hind sight, had I known about the taller joists, we could have assessed the impact to our cap cod style home and maybe altered some things before we ordered lumber and started framing.

Another issue we ran into was on paper the entire time but didn’t come to light until we started framing. The large window in the front of the loft was actually drawn up with its bottom seating about halfway down into the floor of the loft. The only practical fix we could come up with was to frame out a rough opening floor to ceiling and order a new window. We may have to eat the old sized window, as all the windows were ordered weeks ago and are scheduled to arrive any day now.

We’re in the process of selecting plumbing fixtures and this is proving disappointing as well. We’re putting the brakes on the process a little and doing our shopping on-line, at least to select makes and models of fixtures. The regular system is set up to make plumbing selection as hurried and unsatisfying as possible. No offense to anyone but the plumber sent us over to his preferred supplier during our lunch hour where we literally have to select everything in an hour or two. Options are usually limited to a couple of items. If we didn’t know any better we’d settle for the process. Afterall we did with our current house. Since this may be our “end all” building endeavor though, we’re taking a step back and using the internet as our showroom. I’ll then send over our selections and they can order them.

Once again, we have to challenge the “old way of doing things” because it just doesn’t fit the reality of how we need to work on this project.

We’ll be out there today finalizing the partitioning of the entire house and then I’ll brave the rain and mud and finish my foam. Miserable yet rewarding work.

It’s exciting to see it coming together. Here are some of the latest pictures. Enjoy.

Utility trench. Carries electric, cable and phone. Cable and electric were dropped by others. I had to drop phone. Miserable job.


here you can see all the roots that I had to snake wire around.


view from the loft / away room.




Loft.HVAC pipes in studio floor.HVAC pipes, vapor barrier and then rigid insulation all in before cement is poured