What a difference six weeks makes! Here we were mid-September:

First the water pipes were roughed-in and water pressure was tested. My greywater drains are in too, bringing water from bathroom sinks and shower as well as the washing machine seasonally to sub-irrigate my garden-to-be.  Insulation, vapor barriers and an electric resistance radiant heat system are all in there under the slab.

The slab is covered to protect it during the build-out, since it is also my floor.  We’ll simply sand and seal the cement, which will act as a thermal mass for passive solar heat.

Finally the roofline and windows come into view! 

My architect Mike, contractor Hunter and I met on site last week. The interior walls aren’t up, but the posts and drains show clearly where the rooms, shower, sinks and such will be. I wanted a not-so-big house, and this is by no means a tiny house: it’s about 1600 s.f. But for decades I’ve taken for granted lots of excess room. So when I saw the structure of the bedroom, I asked to know how much room from the end of the bed to the wall: four feet. Plenty, really. Just less than I’m used to. But I take Hunter’s point when he tells me that the house looks as big now as it’s ever going to look. It will shrink as the walls start to go up, and again when the drywall goes in. My mantra: I want a not-so-big house, I want a not-so-big house…

Here’s the current status: the core house has adhesive vapor barrier (the blue stuff). Soon they will be putting up whatever is pre-roof: something that will carry us through the winter snows until the real roof is installed in the Spring. Next to the core of the house is a mudroom, which also serves as what we called an Arctic entrance in Alaska. It’s not as insulated as the main house, but will keep the mud, coats, boots, leashes, and any excessively hot or cold air out of the main house. It also houses the laundry and heat pump hot water heater, both of which need to vent to the out-of-doors. To conserve energy, we want to limit vents to the outside to a bare minimum. A heat recovery ventilation system keeps the air filtered and exchanged with great frequency, and the vapor barrier lets moisture out but not in, kind of like GoreTex. That way, we can have a super-insulated house without dying of Legionnaire’s disease or getting black mold.

How it looks today

The drain next to the blue-covered part of the house is for the outdoor kitchen sink, right in front of the mudroom. To the left of that is a small outdoor closet/shed, just in front of the carport. The patio is covered by 8′ of roof, which will keep most of the high summer sun out while letting the low winter sun in.

Our weather has been holding, with just light rains. I hope they get it covered so they can focus on the inside! Thanks for following along.