I hope everyone had a lovely holiday. 2016 was an emotional year both personally and nationally. It is sometimes hard to separate that stress from the rest of life. This blog focuses on our little subdivision project and offers a bit of respite from the real world around us.
Last week was a major stepping stone for the project. We received the Permit Set construction documents from our architect! She and her training architect did a fantastic job of translating our vision into an elegant and well thought out home. We have chosen a builder (project manager and finish work team) and will be starting on material selections this week. Today I’ll show off some of the elements of the design.
First is a root cellar. Our house is situated on a slope with a walk out basement. Because of the overall design, we had the space for a root cellar. It is exterior to the house and mostly embedded in the slope as well. It’s inset to avoid sunlight warming the door, and measures 16 feet by 8 feet. There will be concrete walls (plus some insulation and cement board) and a stone floor. There are two air outlets planned to help modulate the temp and humidity. I’ve never owned a root cellar before but I’m looking forward to learning how to use the space effectively for extending our vegetable storage.
Our exterior has a number of details that are unusual for a New England home. Here are the arched windows on the second floor. There are two sets of these on the north side and two sets on the south side. We had originally considered a basic half circle atop a rectangle but it didn’t give the right look. It resembled the common colonial window seen all over New England which wasn’t our goal. The extended half circle looks much closer to the Norwegian design we are referencing. Adjacent to the set of three windows are two chevron wood panels. The pattern was drawn from the St. Hanshaugen restaurant. It’s tough because we don’t have detailed drawings or images. It’s definitely not an accurate representation of the restaurant but hopefully comes across convincingly. It reminds me of our efforts in cosplay. You often make judgment calls from grainy video or photographs. The studio lighting impacts the colors. Do you go with the true color or the color as it appears on the TV?
Lastly I wanted to highlight the insulation for the house. We are using a “double stud wall.” This means that there will be two wall frames set ~12 inches apart. Dense packed cellulose is blown in between the frames. This provides high “R-value” with a green material. For the attic we have 18″ of blown cellulose to provide an extra thick layer of insulation. These details plus careful air sealing will provide a comfortable home with low heating and cooling needs. Green energy design is better for the environment, saves you money in the long run, and feels more comfortable.
I’ll post additional highlights of our home plan as we begin our material selection this winter.