Friday, March 30, 2012

happy friday

drought tolerant flowering plants (via plant select)
now that spring is officially here and the weather in durango has been beautiful for the last week and a half i have begun to start seriously thinking about the landscaping that need to take place.  it is going to be a lot of work to get our property looking great but i am looking forward to it!

of course our rock wall was a huge investment into the hardscape of the yard and will provide a great jumping off point for planting areas, and the creation of outdoor rooms.  i thought i would share with you some of the landscape photos i have been pinning on Pinterest!  as you will see most of them include pea gravel and planting areas which will use very little water.

enjoy and happy friday!

i would love to have an alfresco dining area on the side of our house like this

a kitchen garden somewhere is must!

this would be a great idea for the area along the river
under the river birch trees

low water usage landscaping is a must in durango- considered a desert

all photos via

Thursday, March 29, 2012

are you ready for this......

woo! i am absolutely thrilled to share the first photos of our barn wood siding installed!  matt and orion have been working so hard that last few days to get the siding up.

roofing paper and metal flashing at base of north house

the first step for installing the siding was to wrap the north part of the house in black felt roofing paper.  this paper acts as an additional moisture barrier between the siding and the osb sheathing of the house, but more importantly because the barn wood is imperfect the black paper will keep any small holes from being unsightly.  there is also a chance the in the future that a knot could pop out of this very old wood as it shifts and shimmies around

the guys did a wonderful job covering the house
matt and orion also added a metal drip edge along the bottom of the house which will turn a great rusty red color.  this helps to direct any water that may get behind the siding away from the foundation.  it is funny how terrified of water i have become during this process, water is your worst enemy in construction and we have done everything in our power to make sure water is contained and controlled.

putting up the felt paper

matt hard at work on the roof
when we started the process of putting on the siding we thought we would execute a reverse board and batten style siding.  however, we quickly decided that this would look too chunky and way to textural.  the wood itself is so distinctive and beautiful that we felt it best to apply the wood is a very clean lined way.  so we decided to apply the wood in a way called board to board.  each board has to be put through the table saw to make a straight edge and then is abutted together.  this creates a very tight looking siding and utilizes the most material possible.

the siding stating to go up on the south face
matt and orion have done a beautiful job of putting together the siding.  it is certainly an artform, having to match each piece with its neighboring piece.  and trying to make it look random without trying to hard that it looks like you were trying!

the boards are fit together as tightly as possible

Orion at the saw

a lot more of the siding finished

björn and i are so incredibly happy with the look of the north house and it feels even better that many people have stopped by to compliment the progress and to comment on how much they love the barn wood.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

products galore: siding purchased part dos

you know how every blogger always has "such and such part deux" well since we are here in southwest colorado i think "part dos" is much more appropriate.  we have a large population of americans who speak spanish as well as english.  new mexico is just a hop and a skip away and we are so lucky to have probably THE BEST traditional mexican food (outside of mexico) as well as influences from the Navajo and other native american tribes.  but i digress , this post is supposed to be about siding!

you saw our purchase of antique barn wood here, which we are soooo excited to show you.  but what about the rest of the house.  originally we had envisioned a vertical wood siding in a reverse board and batten application on the left side of the house, and a horizontal lap siding under the front porch.  again, we did a bunch of research into the available products.  we seriously considered using cedar siding for its weather resistant properties, however, i wasn't diggin' the idea that this product would still rot over time.  björn and i both wanted something that would be a lot less maintenance in the future.  after reading a few great articles on Fine Home Building we decided to check out fiber cement board.

hardie plank siding 5/16" thick

Hardie Board is a brand which has become synonymous with fiber cement board.  But what is it?  Fiber cement is a composite material made of sand, cement and cellulose fibers. This is formed into traditional sized siding boards, trim and panels and even to mimic the look of cedar shingles.  But unlike a wood product, Hardie board is rot resistant, is non-combustible, resists warping, cracking, hail and can withstand winds up to 150 mile per hour!  hardie board is available in some areas pre-painted however, in our area it is really only available in a primed finish, ready to paint any color you want.

what we really liked about Hardie board is its ease of installation, every piece is super straight and dimensional, unlike "real" wood and also we loved the low maintenance aspect of the product.  Because it is rot resistant we won't have to worry so much about water damage, snow or ice sitting against the house and it also does not become a host for wood eating insects! plus our favorite architect, hnj, uses it a lot on his house without eaves, and since we don't have eaves, we thought we should probably take a lesson or two from the master.  but that meant changing the look of the left side of the house from a vertical siding to a horizontal lap siding, we decided that we were okay with that, as long as the result was something classic with beautiful lines.

but....björn and i could not be satisfied with normal hardie plank, no.  we had to delve into the unknown. (that seems to be our thing).  instead of the traditional hardie plank which has been a staple for James Hardie we decided to purchase their Artisan line of fiber cement board, which of course was not readily available here in colorado.  we were told this was a product designed for the east coast market, that just made us want it more!  so after a little bit of hassle we were able to place our order for beautiful Artisan plank Hardie board.

alpine lumber delivering our artisan hardie board

you can really see how thick this product is

this product is 5/8" thick compared to 5/16" thickness of normal hardie plank, creating the look of traditional wood siding, with deep shadow lines.  kind of hard to explain, but the pictures tell the story!  and it sounds like we are going to be one of the only houses in all of colorado to have this product on the exterior of their house which is pretty interesting.  we are still planning on white painted under the front porch area and a colored paint on the left side of the house, something to balance the beautiful grey of the north side of the house.  can't wait to show you the progress!

artisan hardie board with beautiful deep shadow lines

all of the details using the artisan product are
reminiscent of traditional wood siding

for more on hardie board and artisan check out the site!

photos via james hardie & moi

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

products galore: siding is purchased

just to remind you of our original vision of the exterior of the house here is the rendering that my grandfather completed for us back in october.

as you can see from the rendering the right side of the house is a grey-brown vertical barn wood as is the future garage, the area under the front porch is seen as horizontal white painted siding, and the left "house" is vertical painted wood siding in a reverse board and batten style. we also envisioned white trim board framing the geometry of the house which we really liked.

well, as usual we started thinking and looking a photos and researching material options.  one of the biggest hurdles björn and i have encountered is the insane number of choices for every material and product out there.  and the internet doesn't help it just opens up a world of possibilities which when one is trying to make a decision can be a huge hinderance.

anyway after looking into cedar siding, stained new pine siding options to look like old barn wood, and a "barn wood" product made from old beetle kill or forest fire pine we decided on a few things.

montrose, colorado

we wanted real barn wood, old, grey, weathered barn wood- period.   so that is what we were going to get.  all said and done the old barn wood was not cheap but with all of the staining and/or finishing that a new piece of pine would need to simulate old wood the cost was very comparable.  we searched reclaimed barn wood online and found a lumber yard in nearby montrose, colorado that had beautiful hardwood boards.

Add caption

southern wood imports had a wonderful selection of bundled reclaimed hardwood as well as reclaimed pine boards and beautiful reclaimed timbers.  we drove the land cruiser (sherman) and the trailer (kiwi) to montrose to pick out our siding. 

björn watching the guys load up our siding

björn and i chose to purchase hardwood siding for a number of reasons.  hardwoods have a beautiful grey finish when weathered and these woods are a mixture of white oak, chestnut and hickory from barns in tennessee.  because these are eastern trees that also means that here in colorado there aren't many (if any) bugs that are adapted to eating these hard woods. most of the wood infesting pests are used to sinking their chompers into soft delicious pine.  that was a huge reason NOT to use pine, the other was that over a long period of time pine can weather to a black color out here in the colorado sun.

we chose two beautiful bundles of grey hardwood varying in widths from 4 to 12 inches with the majority of the pieces being around 6-8 inches and about 12 feet long.  kiwi, the trailer did an amazing job hauling this wood over three mountain passes! one of which is the infamous million dollar highway from ouray to silverton over red mountain pass.  needless to say i was a little nervous that sherman wouldn't make it but it was easy-peasy!

woo hoo all loaded up!

i thought i would share a photo of the million dollar highway
so that you could get the idea of its scariness!  

the wood ended up being $3.80 a square foot and we purchased about 1500 sf for a total of $5,700.00 to cover half of our house.  when we start to think about some of less expensive siding options we start to feel a little crazy spending so much to make our house look old, but we really hope that our little project will look amazing and we think that this beautiful material will make that happen!

Monday, March 26, 2012

im sorry... and plumbing

im sorry 
i have been neglectful of this blog and i feel so bad about it.  when i last left you björn and i were relaxing on ambergris caye, belize.  it was a trip filled with relaxing, book reading and eating some very very good local food.  i finished up my scuba certification and completed four dives.  i am super stoked to be a certified open water diver and it was very exciting on the reefs off of ambergris caye.  we saw a hammerhead shark and plenty of sea turtles and sting rays!

we have been back for about three weeks now but for about two and a half of those weeks i have been battling bronchitis or some type of coughing sickness.  that hasn't kept the project on hold things have picked back up around here and i have a TON to update on over the next few days.

one of the things we have been working on is plumbing.  björn and matt ran all of the water supply lines using aqua pex tubing.  this is an amazing advancement in plumbing over the old copper pipes.  copper as you may know makes up the pipes which bring hot and cold water to most homes in the us.  however, that is all changing very quickly as plumbers begin to use aqua pex- a plastic flexible tubing that is super safe and very easy to use.  no more soldering copper pipes together!

we chose to do a "home run" type installation for the pex supply pipe.  this means that each fixture that is being delivered water ( toilet, sink, etc) has a pipe running all the way "home" back to the manifold.  and because the tubing is flexible it makes running all of this pipe super easy.

these pipes will carry hot and cold water throughout the house

all of the pipes run back to the crawlspace

björn organizing the crazy tubing in the crawl space

the tool on the ground is a pex expander tool which is used to
fit the plastic tubing to the manifold

the tool expands the plastic just long enough to put the tube on a a fitting;
it then contracts back down to create a tight seal

the hot water manifold has all of the hot water supply pipes running back to it;
the manifold will control the delivery of hot water

the finished hot and cold manifolds in the crawlspace

there is some much to update you on so expect many more posts this week!




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