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Design Process
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Other Pic Pages: Foundation - Radiant Slab - Geothermal Loop - Wood Framing - Mechanical Systems - Equipment Room - Monitoring - Interior Trim - Exterior Trim

Construction Timeline: (Framing)
Follow the progress of our new home construction. (10/1/2002 - 1/6/2003)  


NOTE: Newest pictures at the top.
Click on any image for an enlargement. 

The Beginning. This is how it looked on-screen.

Chief Architect 8.0 produced this diagram after I fudged some of the roof pitches to make the hip joists a bit easier to construct.  Since the roof really is stick-built, I've been able to measure projected heights and distances to help Gary with some of the tricky geometry.  Cool !. 
For a detailed as-built view, check out my frame-map.
Jan 6, 2003 Let it snow, we don't care. Now that the house is sealed, work can begin inside.  Here are some final shots from inside and out.

The walls are all up, and the roof is sheeted.  All the windows are in (Marvin Aluminum Clad) but the doors are yet to be delivered.  The house is sealed from the wind, and is keeping surprisingly warm (relatively speaking) considering the frigid outside temp., the 6" of snow on the roof, and the howling wind.

Lisa and her dad "Bill" inspect the outside of one of the main retaining walls.  This is Bill's first trip up to the house and he seemed suitably impressed.  We were lucky to make it up the street in my city-slicker car (Saturn SL2). I see a 4x4 in our future.

Here is the view out the main living room windows (Due South).  There are 4 windows across the front, and one on either side of the room.  There will be a window seat/bench all the way across the room, with a couple of back-rests dividing the seat into 3 seating areas.  Great for lounging in the morning sun & reading.

Here are the master bedroom and sunroom views (South West).  There is a double glass door between the two rooms.
Lisa and I both scaled a ladder to get up to the tower.  At one time we were contemplating installing a captains ladder to get up to the tower.  Since then the floor height got raised a couple of feet, so I'm really glad we opted for a CODE spiral staircase.  It's a LONG way down :)
Dec 6, 2002 Final Roof Framing One final burst of activity completes the roof.


Dec 4, 2002 Roof is nearly complete 
We took a day between snow storms and braved the cold to finally see our house under roof.  It was VERY COOL.  Especially the tower. It looks twice as big inside as it does from the outside (We'll have to call it the TARDIS)

These two pics show the second to last plane of the roof being framed.  Click the image for more detail.  The dark (red) joists are LVL, and the rafters are 2x10 pine.

Here the rafters have been sheathed with 1/2" plywood and then covered with a new synthetic "felt" paper.  Only one more roof plane to go & it's complete :) 

Here is a REALLY wide panorama of the interior framing.  Click for more detail, but be ready to scroll left and right.  The image starts looking out the front windows, and wraps around the rear to the other side. 

It's really hard to grasp the scale and perspective of these next two pictures.  The one above is looking up the gallery into the loft area of the tower.  The red LVL is the front of the loft.  The spiral staircase will be mounted here. (For scale, the window is 2'x4')

This pic is looking down from the loft from the vantage point shown in the previous photo.  The floor of the loft is 11 feet above the slab, so the wall that you can see here is about 19 feet tall..  It would make a great rock-climbing wall. No, really!!
Here's Lisa all rugged up, standing in what will be the kitchen area.  Notice the large white beam above her head.  This is a "Glu-Lam" beam that is wrapped in plastic to protect it from the elements.


Here's the street view of the house as it stands now.  It looks a bit odd because all the windows are covered in Tyvek to keep the cold out :) 

Nov 24, 2002 And the roofing continues 
In between rain days and snow days, the roof progresses.

The weather man predicted 4-8 inches, but luckily we only got 1-2 inches of overnight snow, and the next day it was mostly melted.  Here you see the 6:12 pitch roof of the "Tower".  The overhang has been reduced to 16" since the windows will be high and short, and don't need much shading.

The roof progress can be compared with the photo immediately above.  The sunroom and master bedroom are covered, and you can see the porch overhang. 

To the left is the most recent shot of the tower with the roof ready for shingles.  This is the view from the eastern side of the house (across the garage roof).

Nov 14, 2002 Getting "Under Roof" 
Several days of fine weather have enabled the crew to really make headway on the roof covering.

As the fall season at Deep Creek comes to an end, our house really starts to stand out on the hillside, overlooking the lake.  Once complete, the house won't be anywhere as noticeable.  The white Tyvek will be replaced by Sagebrush (green) siding.

The framing of the rear section of the roof is complete, so the guys have sheathed it with OSB and are now laying the roofing felt.  Click on the image, and notice the high nailing density on both the roof and wall sections.  That covering is there to stay :) 

Here we can the underside of the roof section that covers the master bedroom.  This Hip splits into two smaller hips.  Only one hip joist is installed here. 
Nov 9, 2002 Roof Framing leaps ahead.  
After more than a week of lousy weather, the weather-man predicted a streak of sunny days, so Gary got his team together for some frantic framing. 

Before the lousy weather, Gary had gotten the Tower framed, sheathed and sealed with Tyvec.  This was a requirement for starting the roof system.  When the fine weather returned, Gary started work on the exterior OSB (Oriented Strand Board) and the ceiling joists (photo left).  

After the ceiling, then came the Roof Hip Joists.  These are the long structural roof members that support the rafters.  Click on the photo to see the two Hip Joists that span the Garage and Utility room.  These were made from Engineered Lumber for greater span and strength. 

This is a great shot that shows how all the members fit together.  You can see the ceiling joists running horizontally, at right angles to the concrete walls.  You also see the rafters spanning from the exterior walls to either a tower wall or a Hip Joist.  The lower level roof is a 4:12 pitch, but the Tower roof will be 6:12 
Every other tower wall has a 4'x2' window to take in the view.  You can see the wind depression in the Tyvec wall facing the camera.
October 22, 2002 Main Level almost framed.  
Today was pretty exciting.  Lisa got to see the walls for the first time & we also got to watch the installation of the geothermal ground loop tubing.

This was the state of the framing when we arrived.  By the end of the day, all the exterior walls were complete, and Gary was preparing to install the main "GluLam" beam across the front of the kitchen.

We measured out the placement of the spiral staircase and made sure we knew where the kitchen island was going.


Here's the front door (side door I guess) and two of the main living-room windows.  This time of year has the best view.

Here are the three main office windows.  These walls reflect the octagonal design also found in the upper level tower.  I plan to have a wrap-around bench just below the windows.

One of Lisa's jobs on the new house is planning the closet space.  Here she is getting a feel for the size of one of the walk-in closets.  It was warm when the sun came out, but the temp only got to 61.  Summer is truly over :(
October 4, 2002 Framing begins in earnest.  
Framing is the part that my builder (Gary Young) enjoys the most.  Although (because) each house he works on is very different, he seems to have a very systematic approach.   I'm also starting to learn all the basic framing terminology (jargon)

This was my first view of the framing process.  Since my design contains a lot of rooms that intersect at 45, Gary decided to lay out ALL the rooms by cutting and placing all the "Plates".  These are the pressure-treated boards that make up the bottom of walls.  This way, he and I could go over the layout and look for any problem areas.

Gary had actually gone through and marked the locations of all the "Studs" (regular vertical timbers) and "Jacks" (vertical timbers used to hold up the "Headers").  The plates were just tacked in place so they could be removed to permit the walls to be constructed horizontally.

Notice the great selection of Fall Leaves already on the ground. (click pic to zoom)


Part of Gary's systematic approach is that he pre-fabricates all the Jacks and Headers (Horizontal timbers used to span the tops of doors and windows).  See them here, all neatly staked (off the ground) ready to be used to assemble walls.  Jacks on the left, 6x6 headers in the center and 4x6 headers to the right.  Once the plates are fully marked, he and his crew can really go to town on the fabrication.

Here you can see the first few framed rooms.  Notice the three piece laminated 6" headers over the doors, and the triple studs used to form corners.  No problems sheet-rocking these edges.

Problems in Phone Land.

To cut a long story short.. while excavating to correct a problem with passing the electric service under the road, the backhoe snagged a phone line, and did some major damage.


I was extremely impressed by the fact that the Verizon field technician was out within a hour or so, and proceeded to re-splice the lines, and do a field termination without batting an eye.   You can see the repaired cable at the technician's foot.  It's been spliced and then mounted into a frame that lets him put a tubular cover around the joint.

Once the tube had been fully sealed, the technician proceeded to mix up a batch or "encapuslant" (that looked like something the local black bears would like to eat), and then he poured the stuff into the tube.

The encapsulate then sets into a solid block that keeps the water out of the wiring.

The best thing is that my on-site WebCam is back up and running again, so I can watch progress from my house in Annapolis.

Going on at the same time.... the Geothermal Ground Loop.
The next step is internal Mechanical Systems.

Other Pic Pages: Foundation - Radiant Slab - Geothermal Loop - Wood Framing - Mechanical Systems - Equipment Room - Monitoring - Interior Trim - Exterior Trim

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An exercise in Energy Smart, Not So Big living.
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This site is all about building a cool, energy efficient house, that makes maximum use of earth sheltered design, passive solar heating and cooling, geothermal exchange energy management, and right sizing of the house for it's designated use. The home's placement is on a south-facing hillside in Deep Creek Lake, Maryland. This site describes the design process, the technologies used and the expected results. We also have a comprehensive Links Page for anyone who is also interested in designing a similar project.