steel studs are here!

August 29th, 2009

so finally, after *six weeks* of waiting (we’ve encountered some difficulty with our ex-sponsor Reserve Steel), we’ve taken delivery of studs from Steeler and will start laying out and hopefully putting up walls on Monday!
steel studs on the truck


Another update, this one from our Mom (“yay”!)

August 27th, 2009

Good news. Creative Gateworks’ Cade and Abe came out to measure, cut and start the fabrication process for a steel railing on the shop roof surround, donating their work time. They were great to work with and adjusted to the hectic schedule of Dustin and his Dad. The brothers also have a great relationship with the window supplier who is working with meeting the passive house requirements for window R-Values.


Rachel, the intern, completed her academic quarter with an excellent job on the interior and exterior rendering of the house and a constructed wetlands type design for the house’s grey water (getting it through the city will of course be the difficult part). Dustin also researched steel framing contractors, sheet metal fabricator contractors, sustainable and durable plants and concrete blocks for the neighbor’s driveway. He worked on plans for the house steel frames adding current figures and dimensions.

Dustin also found a very reasonable steel sheet metal fabricator (Rusch & Sons in N. Portland) to bend the steel after his Dad resurrected the galvanized metal from the original house board pile. He and his Dad were able to put in walls on the shop shower. No easy task. Dustin in fact turned a chalky white grinding the aggregate flooring before the install.


They also got the shop window frame in. During the evening hours, Dustin talked with the neighbor and is trying to figure out a permeable driveway solution that combines a hardy plant that will withstand driveway activity and have low maintenance. Garrett has been working full time in his job and also working on automated hardware and software systems for the house. He is learning more about automated systems and the complexity of the the task. [Mom’s plug: In any spare moment the brothers are trying to secure sponsors that believe in the project goals and will help defray costs. They need sponsorship for driveway materials, steel studs, roofing and siding.]

Hey, we’re on YouTube.

August 9th, 2009

Some anonymous benefactor has uploaded the segment from Renovation Nation that we were on to YouTube. I’m not sure how long they’ll last, so check it out while you can:

The slow process of relying on others…

August 7th, 2009

Throughout the process of building this house Dustin and I have continually confirmed the old adage that building things take twice as long as you expect them to. Often, it takes more than twice as long. We have found this especially true when relying on others; it’s been extremely difficult to keep timelines because we’re often stymied by external factors such as waiting for forms to be put in place and concrete to be poured.

So one lesson is simple: you’re going to be wrong about your estimates of time (at least until you’ve done this many more times than we have). It can be pretty painful when you’ve told someone you’ll get something done by a certain time, and someone else is holding you up.

Another lesson: write time lines into agreements with contractors. It can be hard to put penalties for not reaching goals, especially because you don’t want them to hurry up a job cutting corners, but at least writing down goals can give both of you a place to reference.

With all of that, there is an upside to being slowed down, it has given us the opportunity to work on other projects. Dustin is working on creating a little art studio in the shop. He’s had fun being able to do some finish work and also built some cool stairs / storage area. The whole process has been an exercise in using space as efficiently as possible (for example, we have one door which functions for either the shower or the toilet, whichever is in use).

Storage Stairs

Storage Stairs

I’ve been working up the gumption to post about a home automation system that I’ve been building in the hopes of reducing energy usage and collecting data (such as the water level in the cistern). I haven’t posted about it yet because I wasn’t sure that it would ever come to fruition. However it’s starting to progress despite my woeful lack of electrical engineering knowledge. So with that said, I’ll hopefully be posting a little preview of it soon. Until then, here’s a picture:


my knee is progressing and so is the siding

August 5th, 2009

it’s been nearly two weeks since my knee surgery, the swelling has reduced, though not yet dissipated. my biggest challenges are regaining range of motion (stretch, stretch, stretch) and staying off it enough in order to aid the swelling issue – hard to do when building a house.

todd and daniel started putting the old, rusty, salvaged, corrugated siding on today, it looks awesome! a huge “thank you” to those two and everyone else that’s stopped by to lend a hand.

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