This put me on a course to making the most of our wood and one big idea stood out: we needed a wood shed. Firewood burns hotter and cleaner when it’s dry and dry wood comes from wood that can breathe. That’s why it was weird to keep it in the garage. By being out in the elements, it could naturally release moisture or “season”. In fact, rain isn’t a big problem as long as moisture isn’t trapped where it can create mold and decay.
Category Archive: Building Flattop
Permanently Incomplete 🌿
I’m a little torn about this new reality. On one hand, I never have to think about where to put bowls. On the other, there is nothing left to optimize. The problem has been solved and I take comfort in that. My brain can move on. The question is: to what?
The Wood Age
We feed it, but not too much. We allow it to breathe but in only one direction. We benefit from thousands of years of practice and experiments. Yet, each fire still feels like a challenge. The perfect fire is not something you ever achieve. It is only an aspiration.
We’ve Got Worms 🪱 – How to Subpod
The idea is pretty simple: You put thousands of earthworms, like red wigglers, into an outdoor container with food waste. The worms eat the food and turn it into gold in the form of castings. That’s the beauty of this system. It converts waste into fertilizer for the next round of crops. Win-win!
Designing for Dogs 🦮
Builders and architects can work wonders, but they won’t live in the house. They won’t use it every day. They don’t have access to the daily rituals and events that fill the day. That information is the domain of the homeowner, who must explain what is needed, a few times, to make sure the house fits with these routines.
The Westward Wind
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.
Flattop’s Finer Points 🪵🔥
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.
The Finished Product: Flattop House 🏡
There is a unique point in each house’s life when it’s naked and in it’s purest form. The work is done, but the people haven’t yet moved in. For us that lasted about 24 hours and I took the opportunity to take photos before it’s hidden behind furniture, rugs, and all the things that bring it to life. Below, I’m sharing those photos along with sections of the creative brief from last week.
The Creative Brief 📄
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?
The Move 2021 🏡
We set out to build an efficient home and now that we’ve moved, it’s obvious that some things are not going to fit and I take it as a good sign.
The Sticky Notes ✅
As the house project comes to a close we’re removing sticky notes as we go.
This Fireplace Sucks 🔥
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.
The Dogs of the House Project 🐶 🐕
There is an unwritten rule about home building projects on Orcas Island: well-behaved dogs are welcome. One any given day there is at least one dog one site and we’ve grown to love them all.
Hibernating in the PNW ☔️ 🦠
The winter of 2020-21 was no regular winter. A range of factors all converged to make it like a hibernation that could only end in the spring.
What Does it Want to Be? 🔨
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.
“Big Stuff” and House Flooring Decisions 🏡
Home construction includes a variety of “big” things. Perhaps the most pivotal is the flooring, because it covers the house, is used every day and is mostly permanent. This is about our floor decisions.
Choosing Recessed LED “Can” Lights
A friend who is a few months behind us in their home project reached out to ask a few questions about choosing recessed LED can lights for their new home.
Designing a Network for New Home Construction
When building a new house, it’s worth considering whether or not to run ethernet networking and if so, what products may work best. This is our plan.
This Was 2020
This was my 2020.
Smart Lights, Smart Home 💡🏡
Our final decisions on smart home lighting and home automation options for our house on Orcas Island.