This has been our schedule the last few months, and we have to say that we are pretty proud of what we have to show for the long days and little sleep (Don’t scroll down just yet. Finish reading!). If you were wondering why we have been a little absent on social media-- and social events in general-- it’s because we have been building the TALLhouse. New to this story? We’ll tell you all about it here. If you’re in the know (and we hope you are!), then you know about our house plans (literally and figuratively). We have decided to build a 480 sq. ft. house! As the house sits now, you could say that the exterior is complete, minus a few tiny things (who need stairs?), and we are moving on to the interiors. Total construction time, up to this point, has been about three months with the majority of the work being completed within the last month. We’ve learned a TON along the way, and we are sure that there is more to learn, and of course, more money to spend as we move onto the “fun” things: electrical, plumbing, insulation, drywall, you get the picture.
The plan for this project was to use the design/construction of a house for ourselves as an experiment. We would hate to suggest something a bit wacky (a movable house that is split in two for instance) to a client without having tested this idea first (not that we don’t do things like this for particularly trusting clients!). This process has also allowed us to research suppliers, products, and techniques that we believe will be extremely valuable both now and in the future. The TALLhouse has been a labor of love not just for the two of us but also for our family. Arguelles Marine Contracting generously stepped up to the plate to help us with the build, and the house is much stronger and sturdier due to the fact that the foundation is essentially built like a boat house. The reason for this type of foundation was the fact that we intend to move these two pods one day. When that day comes, we can have the pilings removed, and leave the land virtually untouched.
Another reason we wanted to build a house for ourselves was that we could situate ourselves on the other side of the table. Said another way, we wanted to go through the process so that we could better assist and empathize with our clients, for both residential and commercial. We know that by the end of this we will be able to say that “we’ve been there” and offer sound and tested advice. The act of constructing a building, whether you are doing it yourself or hiring someone, is full of unknowns, stress, and heartache, and we wanted to do what we could do better understand the process. We’ll continue to let you know how this goes.
As far as the images below (hold your horses!), we are giving you an inside look at the construction from the start to present day (literally TODAY), so that you can follow our progress. A few things about the methods and materials we chose:
- The foundation, like we mentioned above, is unconventional, which fits because no one has ever called us conventional! Ten inch pilings were used for the main structure and were driven to resistance with a track hoe. After the pilings were in, we attached 4”x12”x24’ rough cut boards to the pilings. This part of the build was surprisingly speedy, with the entire foundation being completed in one day. We had the foundation treated for termites, painted the entire thing the blackest of blacks, and moved onto the sub-floor.
- The framing for the house was completed within a week, and the sheathing took a few additional days. After the plywood was up we wrapped the house in Tyvek, put felt paper on the roof, and popped the windows and doors in (this makes it sound easier than it actually was, of course). For the windows, we decided to go with Windsor Windows. This was due to the fact that we have used these windows on previous projects, and they offer a true black aluminum exterior (ooh, aaaah!).
- The siding is straight up corrugated metal. Lots of people call this type of metal “tin”, and they commonly refer to seeing it on sheds, but we like this product for its affordability (INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT), its durability, and the fact that it gives the house the contemporary flair we are after. While corrugated metal isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, it is definitely our oolong.
- The deck in between the two pods has a tree growing through it and will be stained gray towards the end of the build. The deck is 10’ wide and 24’ long, and it feels like the perfect place to have friends over for dinner or relax and read (hopefully on cooler days than today. Ugh.). Something we have been asked by EVERYONE is why we aren’t covering the deck. The reason is that we just don’t see the need to, and it feels much more open and airy uncovered. While this may be an inconvenience during torrential downpours, the tree offers a great deal of protection, and our recent mantra is that we can always alter it if we deem necessary.
We can’t wait to show you the next phase of the project. Our goal is to be moved in by the end of the year, and we are putting this in writing so that we are held more accountable, but honestly, we are just going with the flow (the monetary flow) on this project. We want it done right, and that takes time. When this thing is done, we promise to have a big party and invite all of our family and friends. That includes you.
Okay, now you can look at the pictures (and videos)!