Decisions, decisions and ducting.

Winter prep continues. At some point in the next few weeks we’ll have to start thinking about changing over to winter tires. While they do have a bit more aggressive tread than summer or all-weather tires the biggest difference is that they’re a softer rubber compound so they grip on ice a lot better. I’ll also put studded front tires on our bicycles and maybe studded rears.

We do now have heat (above) in our new house with a couple of small furnaces. It was warm in this room today thanks to the furnace but since there’s still no door to the garage there was a gob of cold air blowing in and heated air flowing out so the rest of the house was quite chilly. (And in case you didn’t catch it, this photo is actually from a few weeks ago when there were still leaves on the trees.)

This (below) was a not so good day. The excavator was doing something and a tree slid in to the side of our storage shed and somehow our Swedish fence got shredded. Some stuff in the shed got knocked over but nothing appeared to be damaged other than the shed itself. I was able to bend things back a little so the doors will open and hopefully once they’ve backfilled the detached garage they can slope away from the shed a bit so water and snow melt doesn’t get inside where the walls no longer seal against the floor. I might have to grab a bit of Grace ice & water shield to stick on it for some extra winter protection until we can move stuff in to the detached garage.

B1200Mech02 100

The worst though was the fence. It’s believed to be over 100 years old and originally built by a Swedish immigrant who owned this land in the 19th century. My friend Bryan had rebuilt it about 30 years ago and we’d been careful to preserve it. But, perspective… Bryan has been fighting cancer the past 18 or so months. An experimental treatment seemed to be working but then last week we learned that it had stopped and new tumors had appeared and his body’s ability to deal with the treatments is declining. Doctors estimate that Bryan has 2 to 4 months. Bryan has always brightened my days. I can’t express how much I’ve always enjoyed talking to him and hearing stories about his adventures and his family. He really adores his wife and kids and hearing him talk about them has always been fun. I pray that a miracle will happen and if not I’ll miss Bryan greatly. Either way I’ll salvage what I can of the fence and put it together to remind me of such a great friend.

The excavator made their own little ramp (below) to get up on to the terrace to grade it.B1200Mech02 101

The tree guys came to clear our slope a bit. Due to construction projects and where the city would allow us to do what, we needed to put our boat lifts and dock sections in different places than we’ve previously kept them during winter so clearing out some of the garbage trees, almost entirely invasive Buckthorn that had grown up in recent years, was critical before pulling the dock out. B1200Mech02 102

B1200Mech02 103

The foundation for our detached garage is dug.  
B1200Mech02 104

And footings poured. 

B1200Mech02 105

Normally we would have had a larger attached garage with a ‘bonus room’ over it but that would have created a quite larger structure next to our neighbors front yard so we decided to have a small single-story two car attached garage and then this structure separately. This will have less negative impact on them.

When we got in to it we realized a bunch of other benefits. This reduces the massing of our house and will create a historically accurate courtyard. We’d planned to do Tesla Solar Shingles on our house but availability was delayed and we didn’t want solar panels on our new house so hopefully we’ll be able to do the Tesla shingles on this structure and if not we’re OK with solar panels on it. This will also keep woodworking dust and chemicals more separate from our main house which is particularly important for guests who have chemical sensitivities.

One downside, besides the extra cost, is that my shop and studio will be a bit smaller than it would have been over a larger attached garage but I can live with that.


Looking at fall through the loft windows. This was going to be my office but The Bosses (see previous post) decided that it will have a couple of twin sized daybeds instead and my office has been moved to a very cool space under the west gable over our bedroom. I’ll just have to remember to not stand up too fast lest I make a lot of noise from banging my head on the ceiling.B1200Mech02 107

I like the soffit details that Jeff, TJ and Patrick came up with. BTW, these images are much larger. If you right-click (Mac) and select ‘open in new tab’ you’ll get a larger and more detailed version.B1200Mech02 108

Two vents from two furnaces.B1200Mech02 109

Kevin made sure that all of the HVAC supply and return vents were at proper heights given whatever trim would be by them.

I should note how much we appreciate both Kevin and Erik. Besides being genuinely good people who do good work, they are quite thoughtful with ideas like placing a warm air vents under the kitchen sinks (very very nice for toasty toes on cold mornings) or for how best to do the outdoor shower so that winter doesn’t cause problems. Like so many others involved in this project I’ve really appreciated having them around both as people and craftsmen.

B1200Mech02 110

B1200Mech02 111

Foundation walls for the detached structure poured and insulated. The foam insulation will reduce problems of condensation moisture on the garage and entryway floors and help keep it a little warmer.B1200Mech02 112

What to do with these ducts. One of the key design rooms in our house is the dining room. It will have my grandparents dining furniture in it and get used a fair amount for dinners so a lot of time was spent making sure it was sized correctly and that all of the aesthetic details were right including the symmetrical ceiling design. Then, lacking a mechanical chase, some HVAC ducts were run up in the corner. Then a cast iron plumbing pipe. The HVAC ducts could be moved in to a kitchen cabinet behind where they are now (which would have reduced kitchen cabinet storage) but the plumbing pipe was more problematic and would have required an engineer to say if it could pass through a girder. After a lot of discussion it was decided to leave these and frame around them.  TJ thought that in the end it will be OK. I hope he’s right and that this doesn’t become one of those things that we’re irritated about every time we see it. Hopefully once the house is done and we move in we’ll like it so much that issues like this will disappear.

From the left; Bill and Chris from Select Mechanical, site super Bob, Patrick (bearded CAD dude and project manager w/ Murphy & Co), The Boss, builder Rick Hendel and architect TJ Majdecki.B1200Mech02 113

In one of the emails discussing this and a couple of other issues Bob included these words of encouragement (or admonishment) that I’ve got in my truck to remind me that an imperfect dining room or shredded fence is really not that big of a deal.
B1200Mech02 114

The same ducts in the dining room are taking up a chunk of my closet. Hopefully the closet folks will be able to work around them so that I can get enough hanging space.B1200Mech02 115

We’ve been spending a fair bit of time working through multiple iterations of storage plans and cabinet designs. This is the east wall of our kitchen. It’s been great working with Mark (Artisan Cabinets & Design) and Marita (Kipling House) (and Krysta and TJ and Patrick), hearing their ideas for things, and knowing that they’re catching all of the this-won’t-work issues.B1200Mech02 116

On the bikeway heading back to our new house after a morning cappuccino. Fire hydrants in snowy parts of the world have tall markers sticking up so that they can be found under the snow. The bag keeps the snow from becoming frozen and encrusted and allows fire fighters to get water flowing quickly.B1200Mech02 117

Basement furnace.B1200Mech02 118

Some of Erik’s handiwork.B1200Mech02 119

Proud new papa Dan installing trim. 
B1200Mech02 120