Despite all the watching and planning, we still didn’t know why the westward wind was happening. That all changed a couple of weeks ago when we hosted a small dinner party that included a retired Coast Guard officer. We talked about the wind and he said, “Oh, that’s a land breeze”. I had heard of a sea breeze before, but never a land breeze. I had to learn more.
Category Archive: Architecture
I soon came to appreciate the glass wall as a feature of the house that exists in multiple states. During the day, it disappears and reveals a view over the Salish Sea, as it was designed to do. But at night, when darkness hides the view, the glass becomes a mirror to the interior. One minute you’re looking at the water, another you’re looking at yourself. I think of this as the time between glass and mirror.
When looking at the completed house, it’s easy to lose sight of all the decisions that achieved the look and feel of the place. Before we move on, I’d like to share some of the biggest stylistic decisions we made, along with the craft that went into making it real.
Starting then, the idea of eventually building a new house on the island started to dominate our thoughts. What would we build? What could we build?
Sometime in the middle of the house project, I learned a lesson about chimneys that has fascinated me ever since. We were talking about the metal tubes, or “flues” that would eventually stick out of our roof and vent our two wood-burning fireplaces. According to the fireplace company, the size of the fireplaces meant the flues needed to be eighteen feet high to work. This explains why.
There are two considerations in making home finish decisions: what you want and what the house wants. By the time the finishes are being completed, the house will tell you what fits, or not.
Our final decisions on smart home lighting and home automation options for our house on Orcas Island.
We are doing the painting on the house project, which ended up being a much bigger job than I expected.
Our fireplaces are the heart of our house and an element we took great care to design.
The siding for our house is Japanese cypress that has been charred to make it more resilient and beautiful. It’s called “Shou Sugi Ban” or “yakisugi”.
Once the drywall goes up, a lot of decisions become harder to change. We tried our best to think ahead and avoid any changes.
Our house was designed to have a metal standing seam roof and I was not clear about how, exactly, the roof panels would be delivered and applied. It turns out they are formed on-site.
Before siding was applied, our house was striped with wooden supports. These are there to create a rain screen that’s designed not to trap moisture.
In the spring of 2017, Sachi and I became consumed with an idea. On a camping trip to Orcas Island, which is off the NW coast of Washington State, we started to ask serious questions about the future. While drinking wine from a box by a campfire, we first started to...
We’ve taken on a number of projects in the house construction project. Along with a lot of planning, we are the painters and cleaners. These help save money, help us learn and make us a part of the team.
The post below was sent as an issue of my newsletter, Ready for Rain. I had anticipated this moment for over a year. For the first time, I stepped foot onto the newly laid subfloor of our house. I realize this might not sound like a revelation and in reality, I had...
Home construction is a project that takes significant time and it’s not always clear why. It can be painful and frustrating, but it’s often necessary for quality. This is our experience.
The post below was sent as an issue of my newsletter, Ready for Rain. Early in the design process, John, our architect, said something that caught my attention. He said our design would require a lot of steel. Not knowing much about engineering a house, I took it as a...
A look at a home construction project on Orcas Island, WA as the framing is being built.
House plans are not written in stone. Achieving what you want requires constant edits and course corrections and it’s best to catch them in advance.