Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Thru Day 31 (Sunday March 25)

Day 31 - Climbed stud walls to check the future 300 sq ft 2nd floor screened deck view.

Day 30 - Roof trusses delivered on a Saturday; Love it!

Day 26 - First floor ceiling beams ready.
Steel that 
Supporting steel for the second floor master suite and columns for the secured carport. Rather than a garage, the carport is intended to create a pavilion environment incorporated in the landscape plan.
Day 23 - Framing progress begins to show elements of the cantilevered second floor screened porch.


Day 23 - Checking rough openings for first floor windows.
           Day 23 - Eager to place the window order; they have a minimum three week lead time!

Day 21 - Seven steel columns installed, support for kitchen/dining (over porte cochere) and master suite (over carport/pavilion).

                     Day 20 - Yee Haw! VERTICAL progress underway with the first floor stud walls. 
Day 19 - Let the framing begin!
Day 14 - Love the Apple App Store! Downloaded "Level" app onsite for quick check of concrete slope. Have to dig into storage to find my "real" level. Don't want the concrete sub catching me reviewing their work with a phone; regardless, it is a useful little app...
Day 14 - A full day of progress; and just 20 hours before a very heavy rain!
Day 14 - Final surfacing with rotary screed.
Day 14 - About 10 trucks complete the concrete delivery before noon. 
Day 14 - First Concrete Pour
Day 14 - Concrete Pumper in place at 6:45 AM
Day 13 - Ready for City of Houston Inspector and Structural Engineer's visit.
Day 12 - Placing rebar

Day 11 - Plumbers wrapping up sub floor rough in.
Day 7 - Poured same day; bell bottom piers (11 feet below exist grade; 12" in diameter with 36" diameter conical flare at base).
Day 7 - Drilling one of thirty one (31) bell bottom piers.
Day 7 - Progress; we have a PortaJohn and we're drilling holes. 
Day 4 - Foundation corners marked by surveyors, forming plan in place, and piers located.
Day 1 - Pad (fill) installed and compaction tested per structural engineer's specification. 
Permitting: Dec 27 - Feb 5  

...learning the ropes at the Houston Permitting Office. But a huge thanks to Cindi Goldstein, Imperial Permitting Service, for getting the process underway.

Design: Sept 8 - Dec 27 

A bit of detective work was required to find the architect of this residence. I was impressed by the sensibility of the home in relation to the lot and the neighborhood, especially because it is in area where 'spec builders' are typically shoehorning two town homes on 50 x 100 lots with the garage doors within feet of the sidewalk. The architect was Bill Anderson, now retired, who I subsequently learned, designed and built quite a few notable homes in the River Oaks / Montrose neighborhoods. I coerced Bill to squeeze me in his active schedule as a "design consultant" to guide me through the creative process. Many times I felt like an apprentice and back in design school - - and enjoyed every minute of it.

While building this contemporary house, we'll incorporate color interpreting the work of self-trained Mexican Architect, Luis Barragan. Barragan composed form and space similar to minimalist architects of the era, but he integrated color inspired by the fiesta markets of his native country. Barragan did not use greens in his architectural designs, leaving green to its abundance in nature.
That great Live Oak from the existing house second floor... 

My early SketchUp model exploring second floor living featuring a large screened porch (grey floored room) to nestle adjacent to the huge Live Oak. Bill Anderson convinced me (in about 5 minutes) to forego concerns about stairs and take the entire living space to the second level to take advantage of the better light and available breezes of elevated living in Houston. The image also shows the beginning exploration of using volumes of color in an "art wall" at the top of the stairs and a refrigerator enclosure between kitchen and dining room. The final design does not use a barrier between kitchen and dining.  

Demo: Sept 2 - 11

...this operator's talented...
...a cleared lot!
Closed: July 14, 2011
House maintained (even pool) for three years while unoccupied. Built about 1920. Not an eyesore, but inside its a mess, priced as a teardown. For a moment we tried to fathom the stories of this home's life and the lives of the home. But then its on to what's next. The 80-90 year old Live Oak, which has a canopy wider than the lot, was a selling feature to us. In this very urban neighborhood, Mandell Place, with 50 x 125 lots, homes can be 6 feet apart along the shared property lines. Also the zoning prevents the garage door from being closer than 75' from the street.
House from 2 story rental apartment (tiny!) structure in back of lot. 

A "lot" to clear, 2 story house, 2 story apartment, cobbled (out of steel!) carport and a pool. Adios!
But save that great live oak that fills the front yard!