Architect Adventures (part 2)

As I mentioned in my first post about architects, we changed our minds and went with a second architect after a year and a half of work with our first one. We are now about 5 months into our second round and much happier. The difference is that we went in with a very clear vision of what we wanted our house to look like and some sample floor plans.

Justin and I like the same kinds of homes. We are not ones to embrace the modern aesthetic. Tudor, English Cottage, Gothic Revival, Storybook, and Richardsonian Romanesque are some of the styles we find appealing. But we also love Stave Churches. Stave Churches are a type of medieval wooden church found in the north-west parts of Europe, particularly Norway. We visited Norway for our honeymoon and went to the most famous stave church, Borgund Church:

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Well, it’s impractical to build your house to look like Borgund Stave Church unfortunately. On the bright side, there was an architectural movement between 1880 and 1910 called “Dragestil” (dragon-style) that pulled from many of these design elements. Holm Hansen Munthe was an architect who was known for this style. He built this restaurant in Christiania (later called Oslo):

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When we came across this photo we knew we had found the style we wanted. It even fit the slope of our land. It was simple enough to allow us to utilize green energy design principles (simple geometry of the living space, south facing roof for solar panels) while keeping it interesting. We even found some floor plans of the restaurant that allowed us to compare size. Our house would be a very similar size to the restaurant!

We are about to enter the construction documents phase. We could have gone much faster, but we’re not in a rush because our road construction still has more to go. Here’s a sneak peek of our new house. This is a 3d model from a different corner but you can see the similarities. Some changes have been made for cost reasons.

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What do you think?

-Clara

Building a Road (Part 2)

Progress is happening! It’s been a little while since I’ve posted, but I have a few planned posts in mind. As I mentioned before, we have a subdivision road to build before we can construct our homes. Our friend is doing the vast majority of the construction for it. Last December we brought a blasting company in to remove the ledge. This weekend our friend was able to clear out almost all the rubble. It’s an impressive series of changes.

Subdivision Before

Entrance to our subdivision off the main road

As you can see, there was a path on the lefthand side going into the property. We weren’t allowed to use that path for two reasons: the slope of the road is too steep for fire trucks, and the angle where it meets the main road is too sharp. We knew that there was ledge to our right-hand side but it was impossible to make the planning board change their mind. We also knew it was for a good reason, even though it was going to cost us more.

Subdivision During

Blasted away the ledge

I wrote about some of the issues with the road and clearing in this post. The rubble had to sit untouched for about six months because winter started soon after the blasting. Spring meant spring rains which prevented the excavator from being of use in the soft mud. But with enough dry days in a row our friend returned to slog through it. We were very lucky that a neighbor saw him removing the rubble and asked to purchase it for his own landscaping project. Thus we were able to make a little bit of cash and find a good use for many loads of it. We kept a decent amount of it for our own purposes as well. One of the lots will require some additional grading and we like to use the well shaped rocks for some hardscapes.

Subdivision After

Rubble mostly cleared

Isn’t that impressive? There’s a large rock remaining in the photo that needs to be broken down further before being moved. But you can see where our eventual road will run. It’s more clear now how the slope is improved on the right-hand side versus the left. We’ll be thankful when it’s icy¬†and we’re trying to drive up the road to our houses. The subdivision follows a 50 foot width further in, but widens sufficiently at the main road.

What great progress!