Sunday, December 2, 2012

A week of porches and family.

Caspian was feeling under the weather, Alexe took a two day trip to attend a conference and speak on her first panel, she hit her deadline and turned in her manuscript this morning, and I've been racing the rain that we're expecting on Tuesday.  

Building 600+ square feet of porch is taking a little while, as my darling impatient bride tells me most days.  Having two "helpers" with me at most times adds to the charm, the challenge, and the delay.   Some days these two are carrying boards for me (one at each end,) handing me screws (Caspian with the 1 5/8", Annaliese with the 3",) or picking up ends and putting them in bins.  Other days they sit and watch, and ask if they can go inside and watch a movie.  (The answer is no, not while the sun is up.)

The lower section of the porch that will wrap around and join the only original section of porch.  A laundry room was built on the porch, to Alexe's right, and that will go away, making a nice open corner leading to the vaulted south facing area.

I like cedar.  And cypress.  We're going with long term materials, preferably that do not require paint, and cypress and cedar both have excellent natural resistance to insects and decay.  

Putting the cedar 1" planks down took almost three solid, long days.  I started rotating from my knees to my butt to standing bent at the waist.  I want these porches to be bare-foot friendly, so the boards have been planed, and I pre-drilled every screw hole to avoid any cracking or splitting.  

As soon as there was floor, and a ladder leading up to it, both a and c were happy as clams, running up and down the ladders and all around the finished sections of the floor.  For a while I was on edge, worrying about cracked skulls etc., but they seem to have minded the lecturing, and knock on wood, have been careful.  Neither one seems to have any concern with heights.

A view of the full new floor plan, pre roof structure.

Three solid days...

Mind you, during those days there were play dates, book reading, dinner parties, dance parties, and all the other things that make these kids smile.  

The first verticals for the roof.


One of Annaliese's signature dishes.  

They're getting better at amusing themselves.  Sure, it's a trash can, but they're not fighting...

Some days my little boy succumbs to the incessant cold that lives at his learning center, and will not come outside.  Luckily he likes our bed, and there's plenty to do right outside the window, where he can see me, and when it warms up, we chat through the open window.

I've been sneaking in some fun with wood cuts.  This is a simple beam join, to gain a little height for the sleeping porch.

Rafters up for the first floor.

Annaliese set up an elaborate stage with various scraps, and collected a bag of "treats" (dirt/sawdust/rocks/leaves), carried a folding chair out of the workshop, and called Caspian and me over to attend her show.  We were served our bag of treats, and then we watched as she walked a few plastic army men through a long narrative.

I took a moment to look up at my lovely porch.

Caspian took a few self portraits.

And after the show, Annaliese returned all the stage pieces to their respective piles.

We were very lucky to find two old, identical brooms.  Absolutely nothing to get jealous or fight over.  After the roof decking was complete on the lower porch, the kids cleaned up all the scraps of wood, and then swept it clean.

And then we packed up and headed into town for lunch at the BTC, eaten on the sidewalk out front as we waited for the Christmas parade.  Alexe was able to step away from the store with us and watch the parade as a family, which was nice.  For the past two months our girl has been running non-stop with the store and her book, (she reread her contract in October and realized she had 30 days less than she thought before her deadline.)  She spent all week, in between working at the store and her trip to the conference, writing and tweaking.  This morning she hit send, and has been happier today than I have seen her in months.  

A little more elaborate cut, prepping for a ridge-beam.

This may seem crazy, but the roof right now is a pretty safe place.  

The second story porch butts into it, specifically the raised sleeping porch section, and the roof over the first floor makes a long safety-zone.

The sleeping porch takes up half of this side section.  By sleeping porch, I basically mean a section that will be screened in, and sits higher than everything else.  It's a whimsical piece that makes everything fun and gives the place a tree-fort aspect.

Hopefully all the roof decking will be done before it rains on Tuesday, but we still haven't decided on what sort of roof we're going to put on the whole house.  Alexe has a knack for finding the most lovely, and gut-wrenchingly expensive, roofing materials.  The roof may be one of the few components of this renovation that I wouldn't enjoy doing myself, which adds a labor cost on top of whatever lovely materials we end up picking, so we'll see.  In the meantime (by Tuesday) I will have to cover this up with tar paper while we figure the final roof option out.

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