It's June 2008
June 2nd will be one year since we broke ground on this amazing journey!  Since then we have: excavated the site, re-routed the sewer and waterline, hand-tied rebar, poured the foundation walls, stripped the forms, filled and compacted 16tons of sand to prep for the slab, installed plumbing,  laid rebar and poly for the slab, had the slab poured, lay the perimeter drain, rain leaders, and storm drain, took a break over the cold, wet winter, framed the first floor, went underground for hydro and phone, wired the service panel and meter base for the new house, and rewired to the old house!  Phew!! Now... tomorrow, we get our lumber order delivered to begin framing the second story!

Click on (most) images for a larger view.

It has been: one learning experience after another; a test and building of self confidence in carrying out this project; daunting at times, and a joy to work together!  We find it remarkable that we are doing what we are doing; every so often we say to each other, "...we're building a house!" ... as if we have to say it to believe it and often I find myself saying, "I love this house!" and marveling at the work that we have done from all the planning and to see it come into being! We are filled with an awesome feeling of pride and joy to say the least.  We feel like we are already living in it, knowing every nail and nook and cranny and decision we have made from the beginning.  Download our framing plan and see how easy it is to prepare one yourself. It is well worth the time to carefully draw up the details of your project.

Click Here

We are pretty well on the timeline we had set for ourselves in February.  Being practical about our time, we've given ourselves: 6 weeks to frame the second story (it is a challenge with the complex, tall south wall); 6 weeks to install the glulams, roof decking, and roof; September to install the envelope, October to install the windows and doors and put on the porch, and 2 weeks at the beginning of November to put on the siding and be completely closed in!  Sooo... we shall see!

June 2nd - 4th - We finished framing the balcony and checked around the house for any details that we may have missed (nailing bridging plates, etc.) Then we realized that we better install the two kitchen glulam lintels before we start framing the second floor.  The measurements are critical for the distance between the walls so that the glulams come to rest in the right spot! The west extension lintel is a small one and on it rests one roof beam outside and two inside.  The east extension lintel is a larger one and extends out over the patio to rest on a post that we also built today.  I sure do love the look and feel of the glulams - they are a warm natural colour and nicely grained.  How beautiful they will look against the fir T&G roofing decking to be installed above them.  We finished off the day by removing the tarp from the second story floor and glue/caulked all the seams of the plywood subfloor.  Hopefully that will keep our work space downstairs dry from the rains.

Second story framing lumber
rolls off the truck...

Not despair, just a moment to
rest the brain.

Special blocking to allow airflow
into the joist cavity.
Our first glulam extension slipped
 into place easily.
13' 2-1/2" glulam extension was
a little more challenging.
A brace and a come-along hold
it in place temporarily.
Its straight and level across the kitchen south wall. Laura loves her glulams

It took some time and great care to insure that the top of these glulam beams lined up with each other and the intervening lintel. As a wall they had to be exactly parallel to the south cross section since the engineered kitchen ceiling beams will rest on them. Not only did we want them to be level but we also wanted them to make good contact on all the support areas to minimize settling and the resulting distortion.  

Now we need a post to hold it up Braced and almost level...
First story is done, now its time to go up again! But wait, there are some details that need tending to first. Careful measuring revealed a bowing out of the joist header at the stairwell opening that had to be adjusted with our pipe clamp and an extension made of a long 2x4 and blocks. Once straight a small section of sub floor had to be added and a temporary joist had to be installed to span the stair opening while we cover it with plywood to raise the north wall.
Four days of detail work was required until we felt we had achieved our highest level of accuracy and safety.

June 7th, we finally raise our first section upstairs!


And then things started to happen... trimming the corner post... standing back to view progress... preparing the first window section!
Laura is holding it steady, while I secure it. Then, just as we are celebrating the completion of this section, the sun peeks through the clouds!
How we transport sticks upstairs. Starting on the north-west corner. another large section almost ready... up it goes, no sweat!
A bee came to die with us. It looks like a real construction site... hard to believe we did all that!
June 12th, South West Corner

This was a tricky little wall that took  practically all day. 70% figuring and measuring and 30% building. There will be two glulam extensions in this corner and they have to line up perfectly.

where are those kitchen beams? staining 3of 8 beams... preparing the "crane" assembly... pulleys ready...
ready in place with the first one... ready to heave-ho... and up she goes... two in place, one to go...
the outside beam is in place! all three are in place! taking time to smell the flowers snack break from Nancy & Larry
first section of south kneewall... clamping and measuring... Mom visits with dinner - pizza! raising last section of kneewall...
where the balcony door will be... hard at work... play fighting!... getting there...
installing blocking... using a drift to tap in nails... pipe clamp is very useful... checking measurements...
exact measurements... preparing glulam extensions trial of custom trimming glulams trimming the real thing...
1of2 windows in north wall... making sure it's level... installing lintel for 2nd window Summer Solstice sunrise walk

admiring the north wall

securing north glulam extension

building platform...

bracing first tall wall

it's a long way up there!

admiring the 5'x5' bdrm window...

building another platform...

ready to raise another wall section

and up she goes...

leveling and bracing...
It hit us at the same time... "this is starting to feel like work...".  Framing was "starting to get to us", but alas, there is end in sight ... we are almost finished framing the second story - maybe one more week...

End of the month break - Sailing with the Tall Ships and sailing over to the cottage... 

The Tall Ships came to Victoria again this year, June 24-27th!  We had seen them at the docks in 2005, so this year we decided to see them out in the Strait!  Rob, a friend from Roche Harbour, came with us; we had a great sail down Wednesday to over-night in a slip in front of the Empress.  Thursday morning we sailed out of the harbour in to the Strait to see the ships gathering to then parade in to the harbour. We ended up having an amazing sailing time of it... with 20 knot winds and good sea state!! They were all having a blast too and we sailed side by side a lot of them and waved and hooted and hollered!

We were still pretty excited as we headed back to Sidney under sail but then had to motor the last half of the leg. It was great to have Rob visit with us here - he saw our construction for the first time and we also puttered around Sidney checking out the Boater's Exchange and second hand shops for boating gear, as he just got himself a great little sailboat!  Friday afternoon as Rob sailed up to Saltspring, we headed over to the cottage - had to motor as it was a dead-calm gorgeous sunny summer day.  We stayed for two days to see to things there and back home to work Monday. We had 5 days of a welcome break and get away for us!



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