Custom plans, drafting + Design

Ithaca House

What are we up to? Shed work!

Ithaca House, What are you up to?THE small HOUSE CATALOGComment
A modern style shed with cedar siding and site built sliding barn doors

This week we're finishing our 4' x 12' storage shed for the Ithaca Modern house. Here Jamie is applying a non-toxic iron-oxide treatment to the western red cedar siding which will patina the wood to a velvety grey to match the house. Site-built sliding box rail doors give us plenty of opening to store tools, bicycles, and more. It's not ideal but believe it or not it's fairly spacious and should suit our long-term needs at this location. 

Ithaca Modern update!

Ithaca HouseTHE small HOUSE CATALOGComment
Marvin Integrity Windows

Oh yes, we're still working on the Ithaca Modern house in Point Roberts! Much of the work is tying up loose ends: adding trim work, casings, finishing off siding outside. This week we knocked off most of our list with the window and door casings, made from simple pine cut down into low-profiles. The casing work will eventually be whitewashed to bring it all together yet still leave some visible grain in keeping with the cottage's rustic-modern approach. 

Today Jamie sprayed on an iron-oxide recipe made by Eco Wood Treatment from British Columbia. We bought ours from Sunbury Cedar in Vancouver, BC. The non-toxic water based treatment is applied and immediately patinas the western red cedar, which will continue to silver throughout the upcoming wet season. It already brings together the siding!

More photos soon!

Shiplap Siding for a Small House!

Ithaca House, Jamie's MusingsJamieComment
1x5 cedar shiplap siding with rainscreen.

1x5 cedar shiplap siding with rainscreen.

The siding is a simple 5 inch facing cedar shiplap that we chose for its modern, natural, somewhat rugged appearance and straightforward application. So far it’s been really nice to work with. We’ve managed to nearly complete the front and back sides and the east and west sides are moved all the way up to the upper window lines. This weekend we have, at last, a length of sunny skies in the forecast and will finish our work then.

Making progress.

This is what we're aiming for...

This is what we're aiming for...

Once the siding is all the way to the top, we can complete the metal roofing trim and the outside will be essentially completed. We have used stainless steel nails for the siding to prevent nail bleeding. In terms of finish stains, many of the coatings for cedar available encourage a uniform yellow, brown or reddish look that doesn’t really capture the gorgeous variations that fresh new cedar has (right now the colors are like Southwestern mesas…lots of red and rich golden yellow…spectacular! Instead of trying a stain, we’re going to encourage the silver aging of the wood by using a natural product called Eco Wood, manufactured right on Salt Spring Island to the west of us. We briefly considered vinegar and steel wool, which is said to achieve a similar effect, but weren't confident we'd enjoy all the rubbing required to rub down an entire house! We’re pretty excited to try it out and will do a more thorough report on that when the time comes. 

Nearly done.

Our small house building project update and a tribute to our spunky jobsite cat!

Ithaca House, Jamie's MusingsJamieComment
Penny at work on the  Beekeeper's Bungalow  (Point Roberts, 2012)

Penny at work on the Beekeeper's Bungalow (Point Roberts, 2012)

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Saying goodbye to our job site cat.

Penny loved to climb ladders, both in our tiny house and on building projects. Watch her climb to her sleeping loft!

It’s been a very long time since an update and it’s time to catch up. August had a lot in store for us, both bitter and sweet, with the sudden loss of our amazing job site cat and all around beloved friend Penny comprising the bitter and the sweet covered by a great reunion with friends from far away and just getting caught up in the wonderful social season that is summer. In the midst of these other happenings, much work was accomplished on the house, too. We had many deliveries of material - windows, doors, siding, roofing, pergola material and insulation.  The metal roofing is also black but can’t really be seen from anywhere as the roof pitch is quite low. We installed the 32 foot lengths in a single day, getting some navigational, lifting and moral support from a great neighbor and friend, Robin Woods. We have yet to install the roofing trim pieces (have to wait to get the siding fully hung), but it is flashed and certainly doing its work shedding the rain that’s begun quite early this year!

Penny doing an inspection in 2012.

Penny doing an inspection in 2012.

Marvin Integrity Wood-Ultrex Windows & Doors

Once the roof was on, we moved on to the window and door installation. This went smoothly, for the most part, with the windows being a breeze and the doors being a bit more fussy but working out beautifully in the end. We went again with Marvin’s Integrity line and really like the large clear surfaces of glass and the smart looking black exteriors, especially now that the siding is going in and they can show to their advantage. 

Cedar Pergola (in progress)

Marvin Integrity black windows

The pergola material (rough cut 6 x 6 cedar) arrived along with the cedar shiplap siding and we were able to build up the simple structure quite easily, even lifting the 12 foot 6 x 6 material into place with no issues. The harder part was taking the measurements and cutting the posts down (in place) to their proper height, but even this wasn’t too great a challenge. We plan to in-fill between the posts to provide a light shading screen though we probably won't get to finish it until the rains taper off next spring. Until then it'll likely remain a bit messy!

(And, hey...we also starting siding!).

Let's get the roof (sort of) put on before the rains get us!

Ithaca House, Jamie's MusingsShawn A. DehnerComment
Me with my GIANT daikon radish and a bunch of kale - it already feels like home!

Me with my GIANT daikon radish and a bunch of kale - it already feels like home!

Monday: Braced Wall Panels

This was an interesting week - we spent Monday preparing for our shear wall and roof framing inspection - it was a day of many nails…it seemed as though there was always one more spot to put in some nails.

A Portal Frame with Hold Downs (PFH) was required for our front wall to resist lateral movement during a seismic event. Overhead is a 20' 4x12 header!

A Portal Frame with Hold Downs (PFH) was required for our front wall to resist lateral movement during a seismic event. Overhead is a 20' 4x12 header!

Tuesday: Our Rainy Shear Wall Inspection Day

We had torrential rains on Tuesday morning and spent the earlier hours sweeping out the rain that had come in through windows and that found its way in through the long screws the hold down the insulation on the roof. Then we had our inspection, which was a pass and very smooth.

Our nailing schedule was 3-in on center around the Portal Frame!

Our nailing schedule was 3-in on center around the Portal Frame!

Wednesday: Porch Roof

Wednesday the house had dried out (we have done enough building now that I no longer have a massive panic attack every time our plywood gets rained on…though I do wonder at times if the weather gods go searching through the atmosphere looking for houses without their papering on yet). We raised the beam for the porch into place and got the rafters installed and then put the plywood and roofing felt on it. Balances out the house nicely and it’s going to be nice to have a wide covered stoop to come home to. 

Our porch called for simple framing with a modest slope. It's awaiting some sheathing here.

Our porch called for simple framing with a modest slope. It's awaiting some sheathing here.

Thursday: Installing the Front Wall Soffit

Thursday building the soffit across the front of the house. We’ve planned it to allow the front rooms of the house to catch as much sun as possible, lend an aesthetic, and also act as a chase to house outdoor speakers and lighting.

Our front facing soffit is deep for lighting and audio speakers (music for gardening). We used leftover 2x4 material for the framing. We've virtually no wood waste on the project.

Our front facing soffit is deep for lighting and audio speakers (music for gardening). We used leftover 2x4 material for the framing. We've virtually no wood waste on the project.

Friday: Making the Walls Weather-Resistant with Jumbo-Tex Paper

Then we moved on to papering the house. We have all but the last layer up front on and we’ll do that in the morning, along with nailing up some last plywood that needs to be added around the porch to catch siding properly. As rain is becoming more and more a part of our forecast (weird summer!) we opted to tack on some large sheets of plastic over the roof to keep things dry. Our roofing is on order and arrives on the 17th, the windows will arrive the following week.

We almost finished the papering but ran out of staples!

We almost finished the papering but ran out of staples!

Preparing for the next stage: 

  • We also spent some time this week ironing out interior details.
  • We are ready to place our siding order and sourced the 6 x 6 cedar columns that will make up the pergola across the front of the house.
  • We also designed our kitchen and made the purchases of the counters and cabinetry while it was on sale.
  • And lastly, we were able to locate where to put our inside electrical panel - had a variance given by the power company that allows for a good placement in the house. So the week went…a combination of small and large things done. Still feeling like a smooth and attainable build...

The week in pictures: Porch posts, finalizing our shear walls, and insulating the roof

Ithaca HouseShawn A. DehnerComment

Ithaca House: Beams, Rafters & Roof Sheathing!

Ithaca House, Jamie's MusingsJamie1 Comment

The summer weather is here and we are making great progress on our house!

Last Sunday we built the interior load bearing wall - a stud wall area and two built up posts where a more open entrance area will be. We built the overhead beam in place from 2 x 8 material as the location where our rafters would meet and be attached.

This week we installed our 2 x 12 rafters front and back. They were 18 foot lengths and we overhung them 2 feet in the front for an eave that will eventually be boxed in to house speakers and lighting, and extended for aesthetic by attaching them via pergola to some posts yet to be installed up front.

We also had our roof sheathing (⅝” CDX) delivered along with the foam insulation that we will use for exterior insulation.

The plywood we installed today - it went quite smoothly and just about concludes any heavy lifting required for this job. It’s been a smooth process, quite a joy to work on!  The simplicity of the design is delighting us at every turn!

This week we’ll continue work on the roof. We’ll nail the plywood down, paper it, and then prepare the framing around the outside for the exterior insulation. Then we’ll install all the foam boards. We hope to perhaps install the posts for the side porch and get that underway as well. We’re also placing our metal roofing order this week. Looking forward to having a roof on before summer’s end!

Ithaca House: Insulating the Slab, Preparing to Frame

Ithaca HouseShawn A. DehnerComment

Insulating above & below the slab

We have officially broken ground and begun a new project, back in our home town of Pt. Roberts. It’s been so good to be home, and we were, thanks to friends helping us move speedily along, able to get started right away.

After getting home in late May, we took a couple of days to get adjusted and then Jeff Peltier of Hank’s Backhoe Service got us off the ground by beginning our excavation and setting up our foundation concrete forms right away. We were able to easily coordinate with him and as he got pours done for us, we handled installing electrical conduits, sewer buck-outs, yard and subfloor plumbing, insulating the slab, and even doing some of the gravel work to expedite things. The pours came together well and inside of a month, we were ready to begin framing. We did take a few days off to handle some business and have a bit of leisure, but now we are officially on to framing.

Pictures are not the most exciting when you are starting groundwork - the yard is a mess, things are still semi churned up and there’s only so much excitement we can expect people to muster for our concrete work, sill plates, and the subfloor work, but for those diehard fans, it’s worth noting that we are learning as much as we can from this concrete pour in preparation to perhaps try one on our own someday. This time around, we insulated the slab, and are also installing sleepers and interior grade insulation under a 1 ⅛” plywood subfloor. Our insulation values on this home are going to be as high as we can make them - our goal being a highly energy efficient house.

And of course, thanks also to Jeff’s speedy work, along with a lot of fabulous aged manure from his family’s horses, we now have a garden growing, too. Now it’s beginning to feel like home.