site preparation and excavation
On a mild Spring morning, Mike Trimble, of Trimble Construction, and the rest of his crew began clearing the construction site and installing the road. Once the trees and brush were removed from the building location, we were able to stake out the excavation limits so Mike could begin digging and preparing for the Superior Walls foundation and the crane pad.
The foundation for the house and porches is a hybrid; 10′ Superior Walls will be installed under the main portion of the house and the master bed, providing a sizable finished basement area, 4′ Superior Walls will be installed under the kitchen/laundry area, and a conventional block foundation will be installed under all porch areas and the master bath. Due to the steepness of the road and building site, it was necessary for Trimble Construction to use their heavy machinery to tow the Superior Walls crane and trucks to the set site. Once the crane and wall trucks were in place, the pre-fabricated wall sections were lifted and placed safely on the gravel footings.
floor & wall framing / porch foundations
Through dodging rainstorms and showers, the frame began to take shape by the hands of our own talented carpenters, if only intermittently. We also enlisted the help of Lowry Masonry for the construction of the conventional foundation under the master bath, and Marshall Concrete for the placement and finishing of the concrete slab in the basement. Due to the Lowry’s limited availability, and in order to keep this job on schedule, it was necessary for Andrew and Ralph to go forward with the construction of the block foundations for the porches. It pays to be versatile!
We love the challenge posed by complex roof construction, and this house is no exception. The flare detail at the wall base is also mirrored in the roof assembly with a shallower pitched rafter tail meant to “soften” the roof edge. This detail, along with the consistent rain showers, slowed the overall process considerably, but once the roof sheathing was installed and the high-performance roof paper applied, we could begin installing the Eagle windows and doors–one of our favorites.
mechanical / insulation
Our attention to detail really shows in our approach to sealing the building envelope. From mastic sealing HVAC duct work and foaming behind electrical junction boxes on exterior walls to building rigid insulation boxes to provide airspace and surround recessed ceiling light fixtures. Alleghany Highlands Mechanical was selected to install the multi-zone, high-efficiency Carrier heating and cooling system. Our local plumber, John Matheney, completed the water piping installations, and Doug Zizzi installed the backup generator and all other electrical systems. Davenport Insulation was selected for the task of energy sealing. Blown cellulose was specified to insulate the exterior walls and ceiling, which provides a well sealed cavity and makes use of recycled materials to further our green building standards.
Winter’s grip on the mountains wasn’t nearly tight enough to keep us from meticulously installing the exterior trim and cladding. The composite eave, soffit, and window trim is made by Miratec and conforms well to green building standards; the Waska triple dipped cedar shakes, with Olympic brand finish, were installed over the Benjamin Obdyke cedar breather, which follows best practice installation methods for wall cladding by providing a “rain screen” that allows the wall to manage and drain moisture that gets trapped behind the siding layer, therefore prolonging the life of and maintaining the integrity of the shingles by many years. The roof is covered by asphalt based architectural shingles with a custom copper drip edge, and the foundation is protected by a stucco finish.
chimney construction and masonry work
Included in the plans are masonry fireplaces on the basement floor and the living floor. Father and son team Curtis and Jeff Lowry, who operate Lowry Masonry & Construction, along with their helpful crew, oversaw the construction and cultured stone facing of these detailed fireboxes and chimneys. The owners chose the “Bucks County” pattern from the Owens Corning Cultured Stone brand and an 80% ledgestone and 20% fieldstone blend on the installation. We also used an unconventional and relatively low-cost approach to the covering on the exterior porches by installing tumbled concrete pavers. The owners look forward to the cobblestone feel their porches will take on once the organic debris from the surrounding trees and bushes finds its way into the open cracks.
Onward and inward to the work that will really make this house into a home. Tile bathrooms, oak floors, stained pine molding, and cherry cabinets make up the details for the floors, walls, and trim and the many fine workers are the ones who bring it to life and make it shine. Outside of our own staff, Walker’s Creek Cabinet Works are the ones who provided and installed all of the cabinetry and built-ins, and Charles Luck stone center provided the granite counter tops.