I will be 33 this September, and Paris turns 30 in December. This is how we look — young or old I am not sure — as we build the structures at Morsefield, the place that will become our home.
We sent ourselves a piece of test mail to see if our new mailbox worked. The letter arrived at Morsefield the very next day.
We put in a mailbox this afternoon. It's a classic steel box on a cedar post. I made an aluminum handle for the door. We painted our street number on the side.
The house is coming along quickly now. This was a very productive week!
This XPS rigid foam is 2" thick. The concrete basement floor will be poured over it. This foam should maintain a relatively stable basement floor temperature that should help keep the basement nice and dry through the changing seasons. The basement walls will all receive a 2x4 stud wall with fiberglass insulation and drywall.
This is the drain that receives the 1st floor powder room waste. The pipe is burried in the sand and rigid foam (XPS) is installed above it. This pipe attaches to the main septic line that exits the house to the west. Soon they will pour the basement floor over the XPS, and a small bit of this pipe will protrude from the floor.
Now that the concrete work is mostly finished, there will be lots of contractors around. Today the GC and the plumbers were on site putting in the subfloor pipes.
Drain tile went in this morning. This is packed in around the foundation of the house and the garage to move water away from the structure.
We pretend to drive this bulldozer every day of the week.
Atlas and I crawled into the new basement today. This is the first time we've felt the physical space of the house. Up to now, it was just a 3D model and our imagination. The house feels great, and Atlas can hardly wait to put a roof on it!
Atlas and I played in the basement for a long time this evening. It felt like we were chilling at home. I enjoyed many memories of playing at the construction site of my childhood home with my dad when I was 5 years old. Naperville was still the edge of the prairie back then. The end of our street was a cornfield that extended all the way to Iowa and beyond to the Rockies.
Garage foundation in the foreground, house in the background, and the bay in the distance — to the southeast.
This basement window provides egress, should we ever put a bedroom down there.
K-Walls of Traverse City has put up the formwork for the basement and garage foundation. Things are really moving along!
I will be making the cabinets and countertops for the kitchen, and right now we are testing materials, proportions, and construction methods in order to achieve the result we're looking for. This image shows the concrete countertop test slab with a white oak cutting board I made and a white ceramic tile. The concrete slab has been brushed with a food-safe white-wash stain that was then sanded away. The white pigment remains in the fine air-pocket pits of the concrete. Then the concrete is wiped with a homemade mineral oil and beeswax paste, which gives it water resistance and prevents oily hands from making a mess of the surface. The white oak cutting board uses a draw-bore technique to fasten the mortise and tenon joinery. This is the construction method I will use for the quartersawn white oak cabinets — all of which exist below the countertop surface. We may or may not use white ceramic subway tile as a backsplash. The backsplash seems unecessary based on how messy/clean we are when cooking dinner every night.
We've collected many tons worth of cobble and field stone during the excavation process. We'll use these stones to pave the courtyard between the house and garage, and to build dry-stacked stone walls along portions of the driveway.
This project would not be possible without the unwavering hard work of Atlas and his diggers. He has a promising future in the excavation arts.
These are the footings for the garage.
The K-Walls team poured the footings today with concrete from Elmer's.
Atlas loves finding scrap pieces of rebar and cool rocks in the basement hole. Whenever he finds a rod of rebar, he picks it up, turns towards me, and shouts, "En garde!" Then we sword fight.
The footing forms were installed today. We'll pour the footings next week.
Every day after school Atlas and I visit Morsefield to see the progress. Atlas is getting good at operating the diggers and bulldozers.
We staked out the driveway and drove it a few times to make sure it felt good. Today they began building the permanent gravel road.
We all enjoy climbing on the excavation equipment.
The building permit is posted at the corner of Kitchen and Garthe Road.
Jim Calhoun and crew excavated the basement.
The home-site was leveled today. Atlas and I watched the diggers while enjoying Barb's donuts.
The home site was cleared and leveled today.
We broke ground today, July 7, 2015. Morsefield is becoming a reality.
We enjoyed a family dinner over the campfire with my parents and sisters. This is the final campfire before the firepit is removed and the building site is cleared. A giant pink moon rose over the bay as we toasted marshmallows.
I burned the massive cherry trimmings pile today.
Clearing the homesite produced a cord of maple, cherry, and poplar firewood.
The brush and our eyebrows disappeared as we burned them.
Jim Calhoun began removing stumps from the home site.
We signed the closing documents today!
Looking southwest towards Gull Island.
Looking south down the Grand Traverse Bay coast.
Looking south towards Garthe Pond.
We planted a young white oak the day we purchased the land.