Friday, October 8, 2010

Sir Walter Raleigh Award

Thanks to all who were a part of creating Oakwood Cottages! Last night I accepted a 2010 Sir Walter Raleigh Award for Residential Community Projects from the City of Raleigh.

It is an honor to work with some great folks - thanks! Some pics of the Award ceremony will follow soon!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Interior just about finished

So, the house is almost finished. In addition to being "green", it's a comfortable, well planned and liveable home. So far the Solar PV has generated $187 in electricity and I've used $78 in electricity in the last two months! Not bad!
The radiant floor heat is now ready - just in time as we'll be getting some cold weather soon!
Here is the Livingroom with the first piece of new furniture - a red leather couch! The rest should be in next week.

This shot shows the dining area and kitchen. The wood on the kitchen bar is rough-hewn heart pine from another house I renovated last year.

Kitchen with concrete counters, glass mosiac backsplash and stainless steel appliances with a farmhouse sink.

This antique Set-back cabinet is about 100 years old. This house is a blend of new and old.

This shot is of the built-in hall tree at the rear entrance. The door at the left is the entrance to the downstairs bathroom.

Two story livingroom - the leaded glass windows at the top look from the upstairs home office.

Antique stainglass door at the top of the stairs. The door and windows allow the upstairs to be closed off for air temperature and sound control.

This is the office looking into the master bedroom. These doors were repurposed from a house I renovated several years ago.

The master bedroom has a fireplace (to the left of the doors) called "The Torch". Floors are Hickory.

The master bedroom ceiling is vaulted, tongue-and-groove pine pickled white.

Five foot high wainstcoting covers two of the master bedroom walls.

Antique doors re-used in the bathroom.

Master bathroom.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Delinquent Blog update!!

Ok, so I'm a bad, bad blogger. I have been so incredibly busy working on the house that I have not taken the time to blog about it. On the outside of the house, the painting is done (except for touch ups) and the landscaping is in. Thanks to Alan Wilser from T-1 Earthcare for a great job!!! All native plants except for the one Weeping Cherry tree that I insisted on - because I like them. The landscape will require very little if any irrigation once it's established. Besides that - it looks great and has a few edible plants!
The interior is taking shape nicely. Just last week we passed all the trades inspections - Mechanical, Plumbing and Electrical. I'm proud of myself for installing the HVAC with no background and passing inspection on the first try! Now we'll see if the units work when the power is on!
This shot is of the area near the ceiling in the living room - antique leaded glass windows - will open for airflow and close to keep air out of my office when desireable. Also good for sound control.
The corner of the Living Room has my "splurge" gas fireplace. Very cool soapstone fireplace. Of course, these days don't inspire fireplaces since it's been over 100 in the house for most days in the last few weeks.
Here is a shot of the house from front towards the kitchen. I'm looking forward to the antique stepback cabinet being delivered - I'm reusing this old furniture and reducing the new cabinets required - very green, plus it looks cool!

Great tile work if I do say so myself. My daugher in law loves the house, but hates that there is no bath tub. She says "No woman will ever buy this house". Ok with me!
The crew from Southern Energy Management installed the solar thermal collectors a few weeks ago. It was really hot outside - I didn't envy their jobs! These 4 collectors heat a tank (see below) filled with almost 200 gallons of water.

On the top level roof the crew is installing the PV panels. They should be done in 2 more days - 20 panels will generate lots more electricity than I will likely use. It will all get sold to the grid for a price near 25 cents per Kilowatt hour, which is nice because I'll buy my electricity for 10 cents per Kilowatt hour. That and the 65% in tax credits sure make this a good deal!

Here is a photo of the 200 gallon tank in the attic - this is now operating (when I plug the pump into an extension cord). It generates tons of hot water from the solar panels. In the winter the other heat exchanger will circulate water thru the floors to heat the house.
So, tomorrow I'm scheduled for my final inspections - hope to pass and get my CO so I can get the power on. That will allow me to start up my A/C and be able to work in cooler temperatures installing trim and upstairs flooring as well as cleaning and sealing the concrete floors on the first floor.
Soon some hardscaping the backyard will go in - a paver patio/driveway, pergola, fire pit and seat wall will be up against the back of the house, with 720 square feet of space left next to the alley/driveway access for the other Oakwood Cottage houses to create a nice veggie garden!
As soon as it gets a bit cooler I'll replace my neighbor's old chain link fence with a new white picket fence and some fresh landscaping. She has been great - allowing me and my construction crews to use her land to access my house. It's nice to have such good neighbors!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Major progress!

It's nice to have a garage door! It makes the house look so much more finished and is more secure than the plywood nailed up over the opening!

The glass block is done in the master bathroom shower, tile will go in soon.

The walls are being primed inside now, and electrical fixtures/lights are going in. This is looking cool!

The stairs are in - railings will look really cool - galvanized pipe! They will be done this week.

The front door is an antique - from England, which explains why the door knob is so high up. The door was caked with layers of paint - it took 3 days to refinish, but it's beautiful! The rear doors will be fiberglass Energy Star doors, but I couldn't resist this door.

All of the interior doors will be antique - some from other houses I've done, some antiques from Englad with awesome stained glass! It will be a nice contrast to the modern floors and fixtures.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Stamped Concrete; Getting ready for Insuation!

Last week the concrete trucks pulled up. Tri City Contractors added some color I had selected to the mix.

... and poured a bunch of concrete on the front and back porches...
then stamped a pattern in... now it looks like slate! Very cool!
As an added bonus, they had a move a big pile of dirt which was in their way, so the guys buried the rainwater tank!

Inside, progress continues. Southern Energy Management has placed the large storage tank for the Solar Thermal heaters. This tank will supply heat for both domestic hot water and the radiant floor system. The electrical is in - Thanks JOHN ENZOR! Rural Plumbing did an great job on the plumbing; but not so good on the Gas Piping. I'm now waiting for them to fix what they didn't do right and after they PROMISED me it would be done last week (including talking to them 3 times on Friday) and they didn't show up, I'm a bit peeved, to say the least.
I did the installation of the Ductless Mini Split heatpumps myself. It wasn't easy, but it wasn't too complicated. Just a lot of work. I also installed all the vents and fans. I'm using this really cool system from Broan - the Smart Sense system. The bathroom fans are all wired on the same circuit with an outside air damper. This lets them talk to each other. When a bathroom fan is manually turned on, the damper opens and lets enough outside air in for the fan to work effectively. I can also program the fans to come on so that there are enough fresh air exchanges to keep the air fresh in the house - a concern with the tightness of the house.
So, soon the insulation will go in, then drywall!
In the mean time, I've been refinishing a bunch of antique doors - more on that later!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Almost done framing...

It has been COLD! We've had a few weather delays, but are moving along well. Today the guys from Southern Energy Management started doing the rough-in work for the PV panels. Very exciting.

Last Friday (in the cold rain) and Sunday I installed the tubing for radiant floor heating for the 2nd floor. It wasn't too difficult at all. It might have actually been fun if it wasn't 34 and raining!

You can see the rear of the house taking shape! My framer had a great idea I missed while planning. I am able to fit a walk-in closet into the attic space above the garage, so I can access that from my Master bathroom and get slightly more space in the existing bedroom by eliminating that closet. Thanks Chris!

The front porch is going on today. By next week we should be starting the roof and have the house dried in!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Framing still in progress

Last week the rainwater storage tank was set in place. I think we did ok and didn't have to disturb too many large roots for the tree at the front of the house. I'd like to preserve that if at all possible. This tank will collect the water from the roof (1" of rainfall will fill the tank) for use in flushing toilets and irrigation/outside water usage.

Chris of Kala Construction is working hard framing the roof over the garage. John Enzor is busy marking for cuts in the background. Cold day - waiting for the snowstorm.

It's a little easier to see the outline of the house now.

This is a view from the front through to the back.

It will look better once the windows are cut out! This is the south side - it has lots of windows going in. This is the side of the roof that the solar panels will go on. I learned last week that by PV panels will generate enough electricity to offset the same amount of carbon as not driving over 225,000 miles during the life of the panels or the equivalent of planting 25,500 trees! Now I don't feel bad about having to cut down a few of the "weed trees" that were growing on the south side before construction started.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Framing underway

On January 13, Stock Building Supply delivered a huge truck full of lumber - most of what's needed to frame the house. Chris Kala of Kala Construction began framing that day.

This is the part where you see a lot of progress in a short amount of time! Chris is starting with the part of the house that has two stories, then will do the front - Living room - which has a 20' vaulted ceiling. The framing is done using "Advanced Framing Technique". This technique uses 15% less lumber - which is great for lumber savings, but even better allows for more insulation and less breaks in the insulation. The exterior walls are all 24" on center 2x6's rather than 16" 2x 4's. Also, the second floor studs will go directly over the 1st floor - that allows us to use one top plate - not two.

It's exciting to see a plan come into reality!