Saturday, May 31, 2008

Evolution of a Brand

We've had a bit of a break from the house for the last week (after an all nighter and a week away from home). The most exciting thing we're doing right now is working on our website. The designer is Gabe, a friend of some friends, who is working for a generously modest price and in exchange for some free time in the house. The friends are helping with the architecture out of the goodness of their hearts. And its coming along great. We're working on a "logo" right now. Gabe asked for some parameters and he came up with two options on his first crack:

We gave him some feedback; we wanted the font a bit heavier and we wanted to see some options that incorporated a graphic element. He came up with these:

And then we asked him to mimic the lines of the house a little more closely, and here's where we are right now:

I think these are all pretty great. Sarah likes the second and third the best; I like them all, I think. Opinions?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Thanks to Our Test Guests

I'll have more to say about this after I get debriefed, but our first visitors seem to have had a wonderful time. Here are a couple more pics of what they arrived to find. The stairs turned out well:

As did the tv room downstairs (though I didn't have time to fish the dvd hdmi cable through the wall):

Lots of trim work and other finishing items to take care of, and I still need to finish the bathroom and hookup the washer and dryer. Hopefully the next couple of weeks will find us really finishing the last of these things...

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Five Thousand Words

An absurd number of things have gotten done over the last 24 hours, which I will elaborate on later. For now:

And a HUGE thank you to Sarah's mom Beth for all her help.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Free HBO

[***I'm going to stick this post at the top of the blog for awhile - updates will appear below.***]

Just arrived at the house, where it's 45 degrees outside, and I can hear the roar of the creek at the bottom of the hill from the beginning of DC's monsoon season - something like 12 inches of rain already this May. I'll be here til Saturday. Hope to really bang the last few things out, so we'll see how much progress I can make in the next few days. I'll give "live blogging" a chance again...

And I'm starting to get a fair number of requests for reservations. Mostly weekends so far, and I'm slotting people into the calendar. We're going to have our real website up in the next few weeks (which Res4 is going to circulate to the 4000 people on their mailing list!), at which point I *hope* that we're going to get a mad crush of inquiries/requests, leaving all you loyal blog readers out in the cold. So if you're interested and have a date in mind, drop me a line: lostrivermodern AT gmail DOT com.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008







Saturday, May 17, 2008

Baseline, Revisited

You may remember our tour of the house from Tuesday? Well here's where we ended up when I left today:

I still haven't started painting yet. Man. Taping and papering an entire house really is not fun. Hopefully with the paint gun I will be rewarded with a quick and painless painting experience. I understand that professional painters use a "shield" to screen off, rather than tape, no-paint areas. Man that must be nice...

Plan is to be back out at the house first thing Monday morning to paint. Then a final round of cleaning, some miscellaneous to-do-list stuff, and we're in business. Landscaping is going to be a continuing work-in-progress for the foreseeable future. (I remember when we first talked with Joe and Rob and John at the Res4 office in NYC, I was pretty focused on not disturbing the site too much, and in my construction naivete revealed some silly expectation about just sort of dropping the house of in the woods and being ready to rent it. I was imagining in my head a scenario where only the 65'x16' footprint of the house was excavated, and everything outside that footprint remained in its natural pristine state. They gently informed me that the process is more complicated than that, and as an aside talked about "a year or so" before the site no longer bears obvious markers of what took place. Short of bringing in a landscape architect or a truck of sod, there's no getting around the fact that backfilled dirt looks like backfilled dirt for quite awhile. We're going to start with mulch and go from there...)

Friday, May 16, 2008

80% Preparation...

...20% execution. I read that somewhere about good construction practice. Well, I'm at the end of an entire day of prep for painting, and no painting yet...argh. There's a lot to clean up before I get started, and I haven't even laid down the paper and tape yet! But I finished the last round of mudding in the bathroom/boys' room, finished trimming everything except the tv room, moved the cable box to a new spot and fished the appropriate cables (always a treat when that goes off without a hitch), and rearranged all my materials so the rooms to be painted are ready to go. Finishing dinner now, then time to get the paper on the floor.

For those of you who are intending to hang your plasma tvs on the wall, remember that often times your cable isn't going into the back of your tv. I had the guys who roughed in the electric run the cable to where I'm going to hang the tv, but it has to go to the satellite receiver first. Duh. And then an HDMI cable from the receiver to the tv. So I had to both those through in their proper places:

And a pretty clean room, I gotta say. One of the WONDERFUL things about getting close to done is that instead of having to move stuff around all the time (like doors and trim and cedar and drywall - a DIY reality if you are working as slowly as I am and have lots of mat'l just sitting around), I am actually putting it where it's supposed to go! There's less and less stuff around here by the hour!

Not really a surprise

More rain. Mosquitoes are going to be fierce this summer and DC is not going to be fun (though not out here - we have lots of flies, some gnats, the occasional wasps and bees - and the boys found three turtles this weekend! - but no mosquitoes here at our cabin; maybe because the grade is too steep for much standing water?).

I added the finish caps to the cable system yesterday:

I hope to get all the prep for painting done today, and paint today and tomorrow. I've finished most of the door trim, all the pocket door hardware, one round of mudding sanding to go. I have to move the cable outlet to accommodate the satellite receiver. Maybe mount the tv before the bball games come on tonight...

Work Hard, Play Hard

My helpers have gone, and we didn't really get much in the way of cleaning done, but everyone was productive in their own way...

Thursday, May 15, 2008


They came late last night to help with cleaning, so I figured the least I could do was make a decent breakfast.

I ate dinner at 10:30 last night

Grouted the tub in the basement last night; pretty tedious job. And you can't really stop once you start, so I had to finish before I could eat...

I had 3x6 subway tile from two different companies (two boxes left over from Simplex that came with the house, and then two boxes that I bought at HD). They are ever so slightly different in color and size. Doesn't appear different in person, but it actually comes through a bit in this pic (the top two rows below the window).

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Lunch Break

Roasted chicken, hummus, tomato and swiss on a toasted everything bagel...

Started the decorative stone wall at the edge of the driveway - hopefully we can keep people from driving their cars into it.


Here's where we stand right now, in all its messy detail, and as if we're walking from the upstairs bedroom to the downstairs bedroom (one below the other):

Through the kitchen, dining room, living room:

Down the stairs:

To the tv room (and there's the tv!):

Past the boys' bedroom:

Past the bathroom:

And finally the big bedroom downstairs (the most finished of all the rooms, so naturally serving as a closet of sorts at the moment):

So that's what we're working with. Actually not too much left to do: finish mudding and taping the boys' room and the bathroom, finish coat of paint, toilet/cabinet/sink in bath, treads/risers/landing on stairs. Let's hope the "after" pics show some progress.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Hitting the Road

Rocio Romero's LVL in Maine is going to have an open house as part of a series of open houses at four LVL's across the country. If you're near one and haven't ever been, definitely go check 'em out.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

I was thinking I coulda just used Hardiboard, but...

...this stuff looks great! It's Cembonit, a cement board product like Minerit. Never needs to be painted. Heavy, but not too bad too install. (The manufacturer has an entire book worth of installation instructions/warnings/qualifications of the warranty, apparently owing to excessive heat retention issues. You are supposed to use a rainscreen application. We've only got a few pieces, and only one in the sun, so no rainscreen for us - don't tell anyone...) When we were designing the house, we talked about Cembonit in all the spaces between windows and sliders. But the tolerances were awfully tight in those spots (usually about six inch gaps). And on-site cutting is really messy and difficult, meaning we were looking at pre-ordering all the twenty or so pieces. And that seemed like a recipe for trouble. John at Res4 recommended using cedar panels in those spots, which turned out really well. (Harrison Hays was my contact at CBF.)

(***UPDATE: I see at CBF's site that they are no longer selling Cembonit and Minerit owing to supplier issues. We had about a twelve week lead req't for our order, and Harrison had told us that there were HUGE demand issues from European builders that was making it really hard to get product into the US. Guess it got to be too much of an issue...)

Install was pretty easy, though the pieces are heavy. They came crated:

Here's the first piece, with rubber furring strips and stainless steel fasteners from the manufacturer):

Also lots of rules about where and how frequently to install the fasteners; this pic is before I got all the fasteners on:

Second location, under the deck; you can see the hot water heater's intake/vent pipes in the top corner. Unfortunate location; I wasn't there when the HVAC guy did it, and we hadn't talked about it. I used my grinder to cut a notch out of this piece:

Res4 recommended the pinwheel application for the seams:

***UPDATE: Here's the initial estimate from CBF (invoice was identical):



3.00 5/16" x 4' x 8' Cembonit 144.25 432.75

1.00 5/16" x 4' x 10' Cembonit 180.40 180.40

1.00 Rolls of 1 1/4" EPDM Rubber Strips 40.00 40.00

1.00 Rolls of 3" EPDM Rubber Strips 58.50 58.50

150.00 Stainless Steel screws for wood furring 0.30 45.00

204.00 Cutting Charges 0.60 122.40

1.00 Crate Charges 75.00 75.00

1.00 Freight Charges 314.49 314.49

Materials total: 1,268.54
*Freight Quotes are good for 2 weeks only