Saturday, April 12, 2014

Progress report and the neighborhood

I went to check on progress today and it's a little slower than I had hoped.  No sign of the stone wall builders, though they are reputed to be due next week. Perhaps that means Monday, or perhaps it means Friday.  Who knows.

The sheetrock is all up in the east side and most of the taping is done.  They will start the sheetrock in the west side next week.  Perhaps Monday, or perhaps....

They're using lots of tape and joint compound

Laika is inspecting the dining room

wall of the north bedroom

protective taping around beams and pegs

It has occurred to me that the pictures I've put up of the house make it look like it's in the middle of nowhere.  It's actually in what I like to call a hamlet. Though it's officially part of the town of Lee, South Lee is closer to the center of Stockbridge than to the center of Lee.  I have neighbors across the street (whose houses are right on the river) and to either side of me. Without leaves on the trees you can see how close they are.

Looking down the street to the east from the bottom of my driveway

The South Lee Post Office/Fire Station is two houses down from me

The South Lee Playground next to the Post Office

The St. Francis church has been turned into an art gallery

The schoolhouse and its immediate neighbor to the west

The houses across the street are right on the river

On Sunday (yesterday) Terry the "missing mason," as he referred to himself, called to let me know that they are a couple of weeks behind on a big project they're working on in the Adirondacks.  It was a brutal winter, yada, yada.  So now it appears May will be the month of the stone wall.  Let's hope it's worth the wait. Here is an example of the kind of work they do:

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Something in the detail is

The bauhaus architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe is credited with saying "God is in the detail," but the phrase probably pre-dated him. (He died in 1969.) Somewhere around 1975 the phrase "the devil is in the detail" first appeared in print (according to Wikipedia). Both are so true.  With respect to the schoolhouse, I can see many divine details already; the devilish ones probably won't manifest themselves until I've lived there a while.

Consider the garage/barn/carriage house: I have a 24' X 36' space with no interior supports.  No worries about opening car doors into posts. This was accomplished by effectively suspending the crossbeams. It's hard to explain this in words, so here is the plan showing how it was done (there are two of these configurations):

Here is what it looks like in the flesh.

There's essentially one wedge shaped piece of wood holding the whole thing up!

Here's a nice detail in the basement: the casing around the bulkhead door is cut out around the stones in the foundation. When I saw things like this I knew Dave (the builder) was a man who paid attention to detail!

Dressed marble blocks forming the foundation for the back porch

A vent in the firebox so the fireplace will draw
from the basement and not the living room

In addition to the cotton batting in the interior walls I mentioned before, the sheetrock is not attached directly to the studs, but to aluminum brackets to minimize sound transfer. The same is true of the floors: they don't rest directly on the beams so sound won't transfer through the structure.

cotton batting in walls & ceiling

I'm not sure I'm ready to invite my son's rock band to practice here, though!

Next up, I'm told Terry the stone man will start on the retaining wall the second or third week in April.  Let's hope for good weather.  Meanwhile, work on the interior continues apace. The sheetrock may all be done by the time I visit again.