Still no sign of the fill dirt as we continue to move along toward the completion of the last of the foundation walls. Standing in the center of the foundation a decision based on the views from the various rooms was made last week to move the larger windows to the walls directly adjacent to the front door from their earlier positions one wall further back. This resulted in a wonderful realization: that the original locations planned for the two corner fireplaces-one for the living room and one for the dining room, can now be moved to an outside wall. (The earlier window placement made an outside wall location impossible. ) The earlier design would have required two flues to wind their way through the cupola at the top of the structure- an aspect of the plan I was never satisfied with. Now, two separate chimneys will rise symmetrically making the whole structure more balanced and will allow for an unobstructed cupola nine feet across at the top. The only concession to this new plan is the placement of two windows on the first floor off of center in the wall that will contain them. This seems a minor concession when weighed against the cupola/chimney dilemma. We hope to soon pour the footing for the support wall between the kitchen and the living room which will allow for the completion of the rest of the basement wall. By September the entire foundation and basement should be complete if the weather and my back cooperates!
Building a house over several years is a luxury few can afford. Designs of most modern houses are done quickly and there is little time during construction to contemplate the space and orientation of components. Working a site yourself each day allows you to feel the location, think about window views, walk day after day both the perimeter and interior and consider all the possibilities. Because the work proceeds slowly there is plenty of time to consider changes while actually occupying in a way the actual finished construction. I am hoping for many more changes as the work progresses in order to create the ideal structure that uses all of the site’s attributes to their greatest potential. I have discovered that the people who can walk through a construction site and actually see and experience the finished product long before it is done are few and far between.
Last footing poured and three rows of block up. It will only be a few days before all of the foundation work is done and the walls can begin to go up. We are still waiting for Tom to bring us our fill dirt so the walls can start to go up. The stone splitter was repaired with a new knife and several wedges. We split a couple of quoin stones to see how difficult it would be to create the needed 120 degree angles for the corners. It appears that the process will work but we will need to carefully hand-dress each stone to end up with a uniform product. With a little skill that should take about 10 minutes per stone… times the several hundred that will need dressing! On the supply front we have located an old porch with its gingerbread trim that we are negotiating to buy and re-construct on the octagon. We are still in need of lots of additional four inch stones for the facing between the quoins on the first floor. I may have located a pile on a farm field about 10 miles from here but will need to contact the farmer to see if they are available. Not nearly enough hours in a day to work and September is nearly here! Jim.