Saturday, July 24, 2010

Lookin' Good!

It must be really satisfying to be a framer, because they get things done! In one month they've put up a house! The house looks really different with the roof on. It looks bigger, but we're really happy with it. I have to get another picture without all that construction debris in front (our yard).
In other news, the inspector thought we had built taller than our permit was for, we couldn't convince him that he was measuring from the wrong place, so his supervisor had to come out and confirm that we were building according to the drawings. But somehow that triggered another inspector talking about the "grade plane," and nobody seems to really know what that is. Sr. Juniper is supposing we're going to have to go through and explain to them that we don't actually fall under the steep hillside ordinance. Although that's already been signed off on, it wouldn't be surprising if we have to cross that river again.
Here's what Kid Juniper's room will look like with a ceiling. Well, there will also be walls and paint and carpet.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


We have not picked out a lot of finishes and details, partly because the whole planning process took so long, we didn't want to get ahead of ourselves. And now things are sneaking up on us. The plumber needs to know what kind of shower faucets we're getting. Somebody needs to know what our front door will be. So, we end up in a rush to pick something out. I think the plumber mostly needs to know if we'll have one or two faucets, and that we won't have some crazy European plumbing fixture. No, we're mostly getting what's available at generic big box hardware store.
It's just fine. With the front and back door, however, it was hard to find something simple (without a lot of stained glass and paneling) that didn't cost an arm and a leg. And it's hard to convince people that we want wood, even for an exterior door. We're weird like that. It looks like we'll be getting something like this, but taller and with one piece of glass, not a sliding window:
And painted black (the idea is to match the windows and sliding doors). I didn't think we were high maintenance, but maybe we are! Generally, the idea is to make something interesting with pretty generic building materials. I think we can pull it off.

The Real Bee

This is the actual photo of the actual Africanized honeybees in the framing of our actual house. Sorry, it's a little blurry, but the guy who took the picture was removing a hive of killer bees! Sheesh! He sent us some pictures with the bill. Seriously, he could have charged a lot more for the service, but maybe he just loves his job.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Isn't this view relaxing?

The other day Sr. Juniper got a message from the structural engineer (Hi, Dad!) that he was concerned that the wrong kind of plywood was used for the framing, could we check on it? As we were driving over to the site, Sr. Juniper is clearly ready to panic. He's making small talk with me, but his mind is somewhere else. Then he laughs, and says, "I'm either panicked or lazy, there's no middle ground." Actually he said, "I'M EITHER PANICKED OR LAZY, THERE'S NO MIDDLE GROUND!!!"

Here are some things he has panicked about:
-Steep hillside review? We have to prove our project to the fire marshal, and then all the neighbors get to have their say???
-The financial system is crashing. No way will any bank lend money to ne'er-do-wells like us!
-It costs HOW MUCH to build a house?
-The neighbors are going to sue us over the boundary line of the lot. Do I know any lawyers?
-Some psycho in the neighborhood has it out for us (aka the flood)!
-The city says I need an OSHA certified excavator, but no OSHA certified excavator would do a project as small as ours. I'm not going to get the permit, aaaaahhh!
-The city never issued the right-of-way permit, so we can't actually access our lot!!!
-Our concrete company is going to hold us hostage over this ridiculous change order!
- Bees!!!
- Oh My God, they're going to have to tear out all the plywood on the framing.

Most of these turned out to be non-issues. Other ones got taken care of or faded away. On the other hand, panic gets things done. Sr. Juniper jumps into action and makes things happen. Do not mess with Sr. Juniper in panic mode, he's not afraid to lose his cool.

P.S. The plywood was fine, it turned out.
P.P.S. And Sr. Juniper is not lazy. If he were more motivated, I wouldn't be able to live with him out of guilt for my slothful ways. He's perfectly laid back.

Let It Bee

Sr. Juniper says that Mr. Builder says that the framers had to flee the job site because a swarm of bees arrived and formed a nest in the living room! I don't have an actual picture of it, for obvious reasons. The bee removal people were supposed to come tonight. I'm glad nobody got hurt.

If I want to worry, I could worry that there are other hives in the massive thicket of jade plant behind the house that the kids will stir up when they're exploring. What's with all the bee attacks lately? I thought there was a massive bee die-off? Maybe the bees just didn't like working (pollinating) for the man and decided to go rogue.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Falling prey to the free cinnamon rolls...

So, we have to stop going on fact-finding missions to Ikea. We were trying to figure out the kitchen plans, and wanted to see things in person, and looked at the bathroom stuff. But. If you go to Ikea, inevitably the one acceptable thing is on the verge of being discontinued and you have to get it NOW. The very very nice Ikea person actually unscrewed this sink from the display, so it was really, really the last one in town (after the one they had in stock). We got one for the "powder room", and one for the kids bathroom. But they gave us a discount because it was the floor model. So yay for us!

We partly liked it because it didn't scream Ikea.

The basic table we got before:

We're trying to use other sources, too. We don't really want our whole house to look like an Ikea catalog. But it's affordable and convenient. And they had free samples of hot cinnamon rolls. So, we have to stop going on fact-finding missions to Ikea.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

More Salt

Ikea Time

The inevitable trip to Ikea took place over the Fourth of July weekend. Ikea kitchen cabinets always seemed to fit our budget considerations and matched our house design - inexpensive and modern.

Before our journey to the local store, I spent one night fighting the kitchen design program to match the plans I had drawn by computer. This turned out to be more frustrating than first imagined since the "kitchen objects" don't necessarily snap into place as suggested by the program's makers. But at least I got all the parts on the page and was able to work up an itemized list and price that is within the budget. Also by using the program, I decided to move the dishwasher location and added in a "lazy susan" base cabinet which Mrs. Juniper suggested. So it wasn't a complete waste of time to learn the program and input all the variables. In any case, we still have to take the layout to the design team at Ikea and have them tweak it with their expertise. That should be interesting...Will they upsell us?

Determining the finish material is over. It looks as if we're going with brown wood veneer cabinets and white laminate countertops. The kitchen island is going to have the same cabinets but with the salvaged bowling alley wood countertop, which needs to be sanded, cut, and customized to fit.

Oh yeah - we also bought a huge kitchen table on sale for $166. It seats 6-10 people...

Next: Bathrooms!

& Upwards

The pieces are falling into place. For about the last week, we've had the second floor decking in place and today Mrs. Juniper and I saw the beginning stages of the second floor wall framing.

At the same time, the concrete subcontractors came back to finish the cantilever deck pour. Here's the latest concrete work with a salt finish!

Thursday, July 1, 2010


View from the dining room looking over the cantilever deck towards the southeast corner of the lot.

The sliding doors are located here for all the anticipated indoor/outdoor dining!

A small height gain. This photo shows the maximum height of the house at the stairwell.

Nice and shaded inside.

Framing in Full Swing

Ta-da! And the rough framing for the first floor is almost about a week and a half. I knew this part would go fast - but it's still incredible.

I've been inside the space and seen the views out - fun, fun, fun.

A close-up shot of the kitchen from the exterior. The thing I want to note is that the windows are going to set recessed back 2" from the exterior stucco. The framer understood that without asking a bunch of questions - or going on about waterproofing issues, etc....I know that the typical way to place windows is right of the face of exterior framing. However, I really want to show off the wall thickness of the 2x6 framing.

Someday Views

Living Room view to Neighbor

North View at Living Room