Monthly Archives: May 2013

Framing: Day 17

31May13:  Fairly quiet day compared to the hub bub of yesterday.

Framers left 1/2 day for a previous commitment – got 2nd floor bedroom & bath warm board area corrected and hung 3 floor joists in living room.

Mason’s spent their time building the cinder block portion of the front & back porches. We’re pouring the cement to fill them tomorrow.

Marion, NC inspector, Jerry, came and gave us approval for this stage.  Shared that new rules require glass doors on all fireplaces.  Not our first choice.  We may buy a cheap pair and discard them after the inspection.  Shush!  I didn’t say that….





Framing: Day 16

30May13:  Another beautiful day – we could get spoiled by this warm & sunny dry weather.

Hated to do it, but told Alan, the fireplace mason supervisor, I wasn’t happy with the left seam of the LR fireplace.  “What can we do?” I ask. “We’ll fix it,” he replied.  No that’s service with a smile.  Phew.

Despite all the measuring and comparing of Michaela Mahady’s original plans & our architects’ updated plans, our reality did not concur in respect to the ending points of the kitchen arch.  It’s 2-3″ too low there.  No big deal in another house’s design, but Michaela has all the soffits, arches & mill work precisely in line throughout the whole first floor.  It needs to be adjusted.  Steve wasn’t thrilled after spending a lot of time trying to reconcile between the two sets of plans he goes back & forth from.  But he’s with me.  It has to be right to be a real Maple forest Cottage! Can you say change order?

We’re trying to get the warm board pattern together for the upstairs subflooring.  There’s something wrong in the back bedroom area & bath.  I’m not asking right now.  It’s all in the day of a general contractor/owner builder.  Steve said being stressed about upsets with the house is taking his mind off his pain.  What a great attitude.  Still;  I’ll wait til later to ask questions…..

Here’s where ended up at day’s end:

s end:

Framing: Day 15

29May13:  Everyone’s on board today: framers, fireplace masons, stone masons, Hugh.

Steve is dealing with medical office red tape just to secure a referral for a rheumatologist, never mind setting an appointment.

But the sun is shining and temperatures are mild, we have each other, and we are making progress on our wonderful Maple Forest Cottage with the help of great crews.

Framing: Day 14

28May13:  Initial stairs to 2nd floor are in! Took some extra measuring to make sure it all was exact. After some debating between parties we got it right.  Always measure twice, three times, before cutting….

Masons were on-site for just a short bit.  Had to take out the right side of firebox as it was not done up to standard.  We’re both very visual and we want this focal point to be perfect.  No problem when handled kindly.

Bear in the front yard tonight!  We named him Berry.  Called & yelled to him from the kitchen window and he remained unphased.  That’s some cool bear.  Rest of the evening we were on alert expecting to see him on our deck looking in the french doors.  No worry – he’d had enough fun at the resting site we may have taken from him…

Framing: Day 13

27May13 – Happy Memorial Day!  Please take a moment today to appreciate all the service people that have given their lives & their time to keep America free.

Supply dilemma:  We have two weight bearing beams (made up of 4 bonded LVLs each) installed that are 2 feet too short.  The master bedroom is cantilevered over the kitchen by 2 feet and although the architect’s drawing’s are correct, the company cutting & bonding the LVL’s missed the over hang length.  That’s major if you want your second floor to have sufficient support.

It’s a holiday and no one involved is working, so we have to wait until tomorrow to begin learning how this can be made right.  In the meantime, our framers who were going to lay the second floor warm board today are working on other parts of the house.  Just need to stay flexible.

The masons are starting the fireboxes today!  The herringbone pattern is looking so cool.

The stone masons are also on-site re-building the back yard retaining walls.  We had our first job related accident today – with no one hurt, thank goodness.  The stone mason working the bobcat was maneuvering on filled-ground and accidentally rolled the bobcat (& himself) halfway down to the road below.  We think the area we leveled for the silt fence way back in July was what prevented him from rolling all the way.  He was able to walk away from the accident unhurt, much to everyone’s relief. If you’re building your own house, make sure you have “contractor’s” insurance. And all sub’s have their own insurances.  Please.

Rebuilding the Retaining Wall (s)…

25May13:  Nick has just begun the massive project of repairing/rebuilding the retaining walls damaged due to the “20 Year Rain Storm” we encountered a few weeks ago.  8″ of rain in two days after a week of rain was just too much for our 4 month young retaining walls.  Ah, Mother Nature always wins…..

Hugh was on board today to help do all the invisible things, like connecting, bolting, fastening, that are necessary to make our Maple Forest Cottage a strong, sound structure.

And the moon rise over the mountains last night was spectacular.

Framing: Day 12

24May13:  It’s Memorial Day weekend.  Can you believe it??!  The traditional start of Summer now that we’re back living on the mainland.  We walked in sun showers this morning and since then it’s been bright & sunny, the air is dry, soft breeze and 62 degrees.  Feels wonderful…

Masons are prepping for the chimney build by constructing the scaffolding and transporting the cinder block. They will be with us longer than they had expected:  some how it wasn’t communicated to them that we are wanting a herringbone pattern for both fireboxes.  This will take them an extra day or two because of the labor involved with this type of brick laying.  And will cost us a bit more as well.  When building a house, I know this to be true:  You will go over budget.  It is inevitable.  ;- )

Framers will be finishing up the floor joist & I-beams for the 2nd floor.  Steve & I are really excited to see the view from the second floor – we haven’t been up that high yet!  The master bedroom and the bedroom with the eyebrow dormer will be facing the valley.  Might even be able to get up there by the end of today!



Framing: Day 11


23May13:  Last night we had a visitor wanting to get a closer look at the flower box:

Bear cub in the flowers!

Bear cub in the flowers!

Busy day today on the job site of our Maple Forest Cottage. The masons have begun the “floor” of the fireplaces.  It took all day to build them, making sure the measurements were right for our back to back Rumford fireplaces.  We added to the difficulty by deciding on a 12″ high hearth in the living room and an 18″ high hearth on the porch – but it’s happening!

The framers continued building the upstairs floor supports – it looks like a maze with all the LVLs and floor joists & joist hangers.

Here’s my first Tour of the Maple Forest Cottage:

Framing: Day 10

22May13:  Yesterday was a quiet day.  The framers were at a window installation seminar, & the masons were busy with another project.  Faithful Hugh was there to help put the vapor barrier down for the screened porch, and other odds & ends.  A great help to Steve who has come down with a full blown case of (all over) arthritis this month.  What lousy timing for an owner-builder – I feel such empathy for him. I was totally unaware of how debilitating this disease can be. He’s working with a doctor and physical  therapist, exercising and eating really healthy.  And resting when he can.  Time will tell…..

Now, today the job site is busy.  We have warm board ready for the second floor when it’s built.  The masons are here ready to pour our hearths (we decided to move the living room one in 6″ as it felt too big for the size of the room) and they will be pouring the porch footings and three of the deck pier footings as well.

The framers are building the floor supports for the master bedroom which cantilevers over the deck about 2 feet. Then I’m guessing they’ll move into the living room area.

Update:  They moved into the dining room.

And two thunderstorms hit this afternoon and everyone had to quit around 3pm. Progress was still made – I’m grateful for that.

Bears in the Back Yard – Take 2

We had our first visit from the bear family a couple of weeks ago when we found our bird feeder bent to the ground and not a seed left in sight.

We decided that the bird feeder may have to wait until hibernation season to be brought back out.

This weekend while I was in WV rendez-vous’ing with my Granddaughter, the bears came back. Deuter, our Maine Coon cat, saw them first as he sat frozen in place on the couch, body shaking, and his eyes glued to the french doors – outside were these big, black, furry animals just 6 feet from our deck railing.  Steve managed to get a few shots of the bear family – a Mama bear & her 3 cubs.  Coming back for more seed they were.

What we didn’t know, was that Hugh had wanted to surprise us and hung the bird feeder, Friday, from some fishing line on a branch away from the trunk of a backyard tree.  However, Mama bear apparently got up on her hind legs and was tall enough to tear the feeder down and the bear family ate all the seed once the feeder had been pried open.  Resourceful, I must say.  And black berries won’t be out for another 6 weeks.  No bird seed-a for you!

Baby bear in the back yard

Baby bear in the back yard

Bears in the back yard 2

Bears in the back yard 2