Thursday, December 24, 2009

lowest impact xmas tree

All you need is a saw, a soup can and 2 nails. I picked a tree that was starting to shade out my blueberry bushes. Hung it from the ceiling beam and nailed a can onto the bottom for water. It's wired from the second floor balcony.

Friday, December 11, 2009

moon and stars

I finally hooked up my grandpa's 50's Sputnik chandelier in the main room. It hangs from the walkway to the raised porch. I'm waiting on getting the star shaped bulbs that were made for it, they still make them but they're pricey. Anyone know of a cheap source?

Saturday, December 5, 2009


Al and I cut some drainage channels into the shower floor to hopefully keep the shower water from making it's way down the hall. The slab is pretty much flat so I may eventually have to rent a floor grinder to pitch the whole surface toward the drain a bit. It's not been much of a problem so far even without the new channels. I put a towel across the hall side and just squeegee the water toward the drain when I'm done. I can cut more channels if I need to as well.

Monday, November 23, 2009

view from shower

Here's the view from the shower tonight and on the first day of spring this year. So that twice a year the sun sets directly down the hall... like Stonehenge. I'll try and post the same view soon, but during daylight hours. I finally painted the main room sliders the same shade as the walls, which helps make them disappear.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

downstairs toilet

I'm about done with the downstairs bath suite. I reused the planks from a bench to make the shelves. For the ceiling I used up the rest of the scrap corrugated roofing that I had laying around. Only thing left to install is the GFI outlet above the toilet.

Monday, September 28, 2009

indoor shower

Just in time for fall, I'm finally able to take a shower indoors. I stuccoed the wall that has the fixtures on it and covered the other 2 walls in galvanized metal roofing panels. There's a 4x4 ft. skylight above it that makes it seem like an outdoor shower. I still need to cut channels into the concrete floor to help drain water but I'm able to take quick "navy showers" for now.
Above the oven I added a matching "multi-use chamber" from Viking. I couldn't say no to the 50 dollar price, it retails for $1150! It's meant to hide your cheap and ugly microwave, but since I don't own one, it's a pretty fancy bread box.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

outdoor shower

I had both hot and cold water run to the outside of the house and hooked up a watering wand that can be placed into a holder on the wall to make a shower. My new favorite thing is showering in the rain (but NOT during an electrical storm - that could be risky).


Now that the outdoor shower is hooked up and running, I'm starting on the indoor shower. I've attached aluminum 2 inch angle all around the perimeter of the shower floor with silicone. That should keep the water from seeping into the walls. If there is a small leak it shouldn't create much of a problem as my sill plates are all pressure treated. All the walls get a vapor barrier and then the back and left wall will get covered in galvanized roofing, while the right wall ( which will have the shower head and faucet)will get cement backerboard covered with a skim coat of fiber reinforced stucco. The floor is not sloped toward the drain so my idea is to cut in channels that slope toward the center drain with a circular saw and masonry blade. I'll have to fabricate some kind of sloping guide for the saw but I think it may work. I may need to take "navy showers" and keep a squeegee handy in case the water wants to start creeping down the hallway. The whole shower area is covered by a skylight so it will feel like an outdoor shower (but much warmer in the winter).

Friday, May 29, 2009


I rebent and cut a spare spiral railing section and secured the whole spiral staircase. I chipped all the old paint off the railing and I'm protecting the bare metal with a little wd40 for now. The rest of the staircase gets painted gray. I fastened the end to the catwalk railing (fence) with a bolt.

Friday, May 8, 2009

yard scrap lounge chair

This is the spool from my electric supply cable with some other yard scrap attached. In lounging and upright position. Sized to fit. The roll back is an adventure, a little scary at first. It's got a victorian wheelchair vibe goin.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

cleaning up the building scrap from the yard

I'm trying to use up the building scraps that are left in the yard. This first project is a privacy fence/potting stand/windbreak/outdoor shower. I had to buy a roll of tarpaper to wrap the SIP pieces and covered it with leftover batten boards and scrap lumber. There's lots more scrap to use up.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

like eating off the barn floor

Literally. The table and bench are finished and in place under the stairs. When I have enough guests I can roll it out and fit 10 or twelve, but most of the time will use the 5 or so feet that sticks out beyond the staircase.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

the catwalk floor

The elevated bridge to the raised porch is closer to done. I finally gave the floor boards another coat of tung oil and fastened them down with stainless screws and washers. The boards are left over rough cut that I used to side the house, sanded and oiled and tacked down with 4 screws each. It squeaks a little but that's part of the thrill... it's 16 feet in the air. The boards can eventually be reused for another project. All the foot traffic will patina them quickly.

Friday, April 24, 2009

farm table

More of the old barn floor planks, this time repurposed for dining. The square iron bases are finds from the farm's old metal dump. I think they are salvaged from a silo. I've been staring at them for 9 years trying to figure out a use for them. I hope this works.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

chain link railings

Al dropped off some chainlink fencing, and with the help of my new bolt cutters and a few hours I cut it down to size, bent the sharp edges over ("finished" the cut edge) and installed it on the fence post railings that I had previously put up. It's a much less scary walk to the front porch now. I also installed my 50's galaxy light fixture to the bottom of the catwalk. I want to get the "star" lightbulbs that are original to the lamp and put it on a dimmer. A little bit of an electrical indulgence but it lights up both floors when in use. The bulbs are a bit pricey but should last longer if dimmed. LED chandelier bulbs don't seem to be an option yet, they're way too expensive, and I haven't seen any interesting designs... and the color of the light is still a little strange.

Friday, April 3, 2009

vernal equinox

The first day of spring (as well as fall) brings the sunset light all the way down the corridor to the shower at the end. It's kinda like my own personal Stonehenge, and I'll admit that it's not totally by accident. This is the last section of the house left to be completed. I'm posting this to try and motivate myself to finish up. The future shower at the end of this hall is going to be a bit tricky. There is a drain in the floor and my plan is to grind down the concrete just enough to pitch the water into the drain, seal the edges where the walls meet the floor and forgo having a lip at the front edge. For the shower walls, I'm going to cover 2 with galvanized roof panels and the third wall will be stuccoed to match the concrete floor. I don't know if it will work but I am going to give it a shot. The whole ceiling above the shower is a 4ft. x 4ft. skylight. The idea here is to make it seem like an outdoor shower.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

the outhouse

The loft bathroom is finished except for some door trim. The toilet paper holder is an old animal research cage where it looks like the rat busted out thru the metal mesh door. The tub was stored in the old barn and I put it up on some timbers, as it had no legs. It's dated 1936 on the bottom and in excellent shape. I salvaged the sink from an old neighbors house which my parents bought and tore down. I had always coveted it growing up and stored it for years waiting for the right spot to use it. The toilet is the cheapest one I could find at Home Depot (about 50 or 60 bucks). It also happened to be my favorite. I didn't want an elongated bowl due to the small size of the bathroom, and I am not a fan of the newer "comfort height" higher ones. This one went the best with the other fixtures, is a low volume flush and works great. However, it could use a better looking flush lever, I've been hunting one down. With the tub and sink faucets and fittings, the whole bathroom cost under $200.00.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

winter position

In the winter months, I slide the bed up next to the back of the masonry heater which pops through the wall into my bedroom. It's my dutch wife. It's a bit minimalist, but the monochromatic color scheme and lack of window treatments forces the view to be the main (and only) focus. And at night, there is not even that distraction from falling fast asleep. For those who don't get up with the sun, I may one day put up those deep green pull down school blinds. I'm just not quite ready to add that splash of color yet.


I've been at a standstill in construction this last month so I thought I'd post some previous shots of progress from this summer. The exterior is done and the kitchen and living space are just about there. I've left the house a few times this winter for 2 to 3 days at a time. With no wood fires and no other source of heat, the house has maintained a temperature of 55 degrees minimum. Even with the outdoor temps dipping into the single digits! One fire brings it back into the 60s when I return. It's a small miracle. OK, I'm almost done touting the virtues of the masonry heater...almost.