Dustin and I began building our home in the summer of 2004, if my late night math is correct. We intended to build a simple home for the two of us. This house was not designed with children in mind. The upstairs is one room we all share and it is open to the rest of the house. There is not a lot of privacy, nor is it easy for one to sleep if there are others awake. In the winter we spend a lot of time playing indoors. We are quickly outgrowing our home. Our original idea for the addition was to add on a couple bedrooms off the south side of our house where we already had a large sturdy deck. We just keep dreaming bigger and now we have a two story building that is bigger than our existing home. The plan is for the main level to have two bedrooms, a small bathroom, stairs leading to the bottom floor and a living room/play room on the south side. The downstairs will include an area for a large wood stove, tools, water and food storage and possibly a craft/pottery studio.
This building went up in three weekends, five weekends including initial dirt work and preparations. The first weekend the guys rented the bulldozer, took down trees and leveled the area, the following weekend we planned and ordered materials and Dustin did some more work with the skid steer. Then the foundation went in. Last weekend was just a huge building party with tremendous results beginning with the bottom floor and ending with the roof trusses from Thursday to Saturday. Yesterday the guys finished the trusses and sheathed the roof. Next on the list is waterproofing the roof with some sort of fancy tar paper stuff and finish sheathing the outside, maybe a couple windows while the scaffolding is still in place. Then the structure will be enclosed and we are going to switch gears and build a new barn for the milking does and kids. We've got some animal shuffling to do before winter.
Here are some pictures of the last two weekends. In these photos you'll notice that the bottom foundation is smaller than the main floor. Because of the height difference and how our existing structure was build it made sense to do it this way. We would have had to bring in a lot of dirt to bring the ground level high enough. This way we have an eight foot wide hallway that we are planning on building a floor in and enclosing the ends of. We are also using the space as a stair way from the top floor to the ground floor so that the stairs don't take up so much room. We woke up Thursday morning to rain. The men quickly set up the tarp over the work area as the first step was insulating the floor. It rained off and on all weekend! Probably more rain than we had all summer! But then we should have known not to build a house during fair week, as the weather is always rainy for the Tanana Valley State Fair!
The weather cleared up in the afternoon and the tarp came down as the walls went up.
By Friday night we were able to walk out onto the second floor. Woke up again Saturday morning to more drizzle.
The men rushed to get ready for the truck scheduled to bring the trusses on Saturday afternoon. The truck's boom wasn't long enough to put the trusses in place but it was able to stack them on the roof. While the guys worked to get the trusses up in the rain, the house was full of commotion. We were getting ready to have a birthday party for our friend's five year old son. Inside we had six and at times seven kids under the age of five. We ladies had our hands full cooking dinner and keeping track of the children. It was a great time despite the rain, and we were able to look straight out the living room window to see the building progress. I had a refreshing break from the warm noisy house as I grilled chicken in the rain.
It started raining pretty hard and the guys were exhausted. They were nearing the end of the work day and ready for some food and partying. If you look closely you can tell that they are starting to have some fun.
Later that night after we got the kids to bed we all headed out to the new addition to check it out. It was raining and windy. The guys had tarped the whole structure so we were protected from the elements. Dustin lit some candles, turned on a shop light and plugged in the Ipod. We crashed one by one, but most of us were up until about four in the morning drinking beer and whiskey. I believe that in previous posts I'd mentioned that our friends who have been helping in this project live in southern Alaska. They use to live here, but have moved away in the last few years. This felt like a reunion of sorts, as we use to get together for overnight parties back in the day - in the day before the kids ran the party. The next two photos were taken on Sunday. You can see that even with the tarp up the floor is still pretty wet. This photo would have looked a little different if Stella hadn't cleaned up an entire garbage bag of beer cans and bottles earlier in the day.
The following photos were taken yesterday, Friday August twenty first. Wall and roof sheathed.
The top photo is from our driveway looking at the front and north side of our house. And below is a view from the south and future yard.
I am immensely grateful to all our friends who have helped out with this project. The men have labored in the sun and rain from early morning to late at night. The women have graciously taken on extra tasks at home and with their kids so that their men could come help. And the kids have spent less time with their dad's. Everyone has given and we are blessed. Thank you.