06 / 04 / 2021

So. many. decisions! From light fixtures and locations, tiles and tile patterns, landscaping shrubs and lawn seed or sod, and then choosing paint colors! Decision fatigue is real. And it is exhausting.

Regardless, we've been happily, albeit tiredly, trucking along on our home and even happier to report that it's been jam-packed with activity!

In May and early June, we were busy with the following:

  • Had our septic installed

  • Electrical lines run

  • Mechanical ducting through the house

  • Gas lines run

  • Plumbing lines ran and tested

  • Interior insulation installed

  • AND we started installing siding on the home's exterior.

  • Phew.

Jason (now a man of even more trades) jumped in and learned the ins and outs of testing and running our gas lines. Jason also learned the true meaning of dedicated circuits, wire gauges, pulling wire, home runs, and fishing wire through steel walls with the help of our fantastic electricians. Jason installed our mini-splits and pulled the damn refrigerant lines himself. Plus, our neighbor helped us dig trenches.

We scheduled a series of inspections within a few days of each other before adding bat insulation to the home's interior and atrium walls, leaving us mere hours to fix the few noted corrections from inspectors. We only gave ourselves 24 hours to turn around and install our interior insulation before our insulation inspection. The worst part was installing bat insulation in 85+ degrees heat. It. was. so. itchy!

We've had tremendous (free) help from our new neighbors, good friends, and parents, for which we will be forever grateful. Also mixed in, we received a delivery of tiles, in which about 30% were broken! We celebrated a big birthday (we don't want to talk about it) and David's graduation from preschool. Which means that David has more time to be our bossy "contractor."

Now we are on to drywall, painting, and everything else!

04 / 29 / 2021

Oh boy, have we learned some hard lessons this year. From what we can tell, our experiences in building a house are predictable, which is pretty frustrating, to say the least. But regardless of how many wrenches are thrown at our heads, we have continued to dodge, duck, dip, dive, and dodge!

Let's see; since our last update, we've continued to install InSoFast panels to the exterior shell of the shipping containers to get the base layer of insulation. Then we add additional rigid foam insulation to meet the energy code requirements. There are three basic ways to insulate shipping containers, all inside, outside, or both interior and exterior. We chose to insulate all on the shell to capitalize on the unique details available in shipping containers that you wouldn't find in traditional stick-frame home construction. After completing insulation (most of the house is insulated, we still have a few areas to tackle), we've applied waterproofing tape to our seams and begun wrapping the house in Tyvek.

We've waterproofed and installed 33 windows and sliding doors. The oh-so-clever Jason constructed a davit to hoist the windows to our upper level, which was no easy feat considering our heaviest window was over 300lbs! Thankfully, we had some help from some kickass neighbors and friends for the heavier windows to help us lift and act as a counter-weight.

"We have stairs!" Jason built a beautiful staircase from Parallam beams, and we've all enjoyed not having to use a ladder to climb to our upper floor.

We've also had plumbers, electricians, and fireplace installers onsite and will share more details about that in our next post.

03 / 25 / 2021

To save as much construction cost as possible, we came into this project planning to take on many of the tasks ourselves. Interior framing, for example, has been in our scope, with exterior framing to be tackled by our contractor. Fortunately, we had some helping hands chip in to expedite interior framing and used the experience as an educational opportunity for fellow architects.

Roofing was to be framed by the contractor, with roofing professionals installing the roofing insulation and single-ply PVC membrane on top. Framers laid down the beautiful wood car decking over our atrium (which is our exposed ceiling) and built the framing for insulation on top of the containers. After a bit of a delay and to get the job done, we took on the additional (contractor-changed) scope to add a second sloped roof above the car decking. But at least now, we can rest assured that the house will no longer rain on us.


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