Friday, December 19, 2008

Framer's Paradise

A whole week with temperatures in the 50s and 60s with little rain!!

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Aftermath

Still amazed no one was seriously injured.
The contraband was located and disposed of properly.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Near Death Experience

So I was awoken from my afternoon nap by a phone call from Mark, a guy who lives near my future house.  He was parked in the street outside my driveway, getting scraps of wood from the trash pile when the car ran off the road at 50+mph, hitting the port-a-jon head on.  The car then went off the bank near the front of the lot, flipped over, and hit the large catalpa tree five feet from my house.

When I got there, they were pulling the car out of the trees with a winch.  Miraculously, all three of the teenagers in the car as well as Mark walked away unscratched.  Mark said they stashed some illegal substances behind the house, but my search for them was fruitless.

Just as miraculously, my framers weren't working, and the only damage was to the port-a-jon, permit box, and power pole.

Getting taller by the day.

The thing that sucks about building a house in December is that the morning frost doesn't melt until 9 or 10, and it gets dark at five. And the framers are scared off by forecasts of rain.

When they do show up, they do good work.

As you can see in the bottom picture, one of the tall walls at the stair has been raised. The top of wall is about 18.5 feet above the first floor, and the roof will be about 10 feet higher!!!

Last night I met up with a friend of mine who does decorative concrete work. He's going to give me some forms so I can start experimenting with finishes for my countertops.

Friday, November 21, 2008

More Walls

The first floor walls are all in place.  
Thanks to a snow day today, the second floor didn't happen.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


More to follow...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

God Bless Canada Too

I ordered the windows today. I'm getting them from a Canadian company called Inline Fiberglass. The windows are triple glazed, argon filled, Low-E with an insulated fiberglass frame with thermal edge spacer. The south and east windows have a Hard coat to allow for more solar heat gain.

Bottom line, these are some of the best windows you can get this side of the Atlantic.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Friday, November 7, 2008

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

This is what wood looks like piled up on the ground:

Tomorrow, I should be able to show you what it looks like sitting on top of my basement walls.


Monday, October 20, 2008

Something Concrete

On the coldest day of the fall, my guys decided to pour the concrete slab in the basement.
And grout the cells in the masonry walls.

Yes, I do have some beautiful trees behind my house.

Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture of the drunk toothless neighbor from down the street who threatened to blow up my house for hiring illegal mexicans to build it.

Luckily, after thirty minutes of me explaining to him that 'Melrose' and 'Higgins' aren't common Hispanic surnames and several USA chants, we shook hands and he offered to paint my house.

GBA y'all

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Moving along...

The waterproofing and foundation drain have been installed.  You can get an idea of what the finished grade will look like.

Last week the city called me out for not have a port-a-john, threatened to 'shut me down' so...
Also, I now have electricity on site.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Orange....It's my new obsession.

Aaron and Calder sent me some new images. What do you think?

Friday, August 22, 2008

Happy Birthday

For my birthday, R.K. Higgins Construction Co. got me a basement. Although, they also gave me an invoice...

Saturday, August 9, 2008


All I had to do was leave town for a week to get things going!

The Beach

I'd like to thank everyone (Jerry, Rita, Kevin, Kevin, Alex, Andrew, Sarah, Jessica, Matt, Henry, Amanda, Amaya, Martha, Tom, Jordan, Sam, Ava, Ree, and Jill) for a wonderful, relaxing week at the beach.  For those of you who missed it, I hope to see you very soon!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Fun with Dirt

After some trouble with soft soil at the back of the lot, the footings are ready to be poured! We ended up having to over excavate and put several tons of crushed stone wrapped in filter fabric beneath the footings.

I'll be very relieved to finally have something permanent in the ground.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Stimulating, Don't you Think?

I received my economic stimulus check on Saturday, and after a dream involving George W Bush, decided to spend all $600 on pizza.

Jedi and Lucy got to eat plenty of sticks

Nice try Jedi

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Slow Is OK

The silt fence is almost in place, which means excavation for the footings will begin soon.

While I was working on the fence tonight, I met a guy named Tom who is going to help me cut up the rest of the wood tomorrow evening in exchange for some of the firewood.  He heated his house last winter solely with a wood stove!

Here's the stream the city won't even let me put a deck within 15 feet of:

Don't see the water?  Neither do I.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Night Moves

My building permit was approved yesterday!  What better way to celebrate than to hike up Looking Glass Rock in the middle of the night with some good buddies.

Look closely, you can see the full moon at the top of the photo!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

This is Where I Live

After all that hard work on Saturday, we camped at Wilson Creek and spent sunday riding our bikes, swimming, laughing, hiking.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Beautiful Day for a Chainsaw

The plans have been submitted to the City of Asheville for permits.  They said I should hear from them in 7-10 days.  In the mean time, Matt, Beth, and I cleaned up the lot a bit this morning.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Passive House

My house is designed to be a passive house. Hopefully certified by the Passive House Institute. (the first certified house in NC!).

What is a passive house you may ask?

A Passive House is a very well-insulated, virtually air-tight building that is primarily heated by passive solar gain and by internal gains from people, electrical equipment, etc. Energy losses are minimized. Any remaining heat demand is provided by an extremely small source. Avoidance of heat gain through shading and window orientation also helps to limit any cooling load, which is similarly minimized. An energy recovery ventilator provides a constant, balanced fresh air supply. The result is an impressive system that not only saves up to 90% of space heating costs, but also provides a uniquely terrific indoor air quality.

To achieve the required level of insulation, the walls tend to be very thick (12").

The main performance requirements are as follows:

  1. Airtight building shell ≤ 0.6 ACH @ 50 pascal pressure, measured by blower-door test.

  2. Annual heat requirement ≤ 15 kWh/m2/year

  3. Primary Energy ≤ 120 kWh/m2/year

    The initial construction cost tends to be a little higher than conventional construction, but the energy savings should pay for this and then some.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Universe, you've done it again!

So I've had a sneaking suspicion that the Universe has been conspiring to make this project come together in an amazing way.  From Aaron and Calder, the architects, Ken Huck, energy consultant, Dev, Kathy, Kay, and Denise at City Real Estate, to all my friends and family who have offered to help.

Well, this suspicion has been confirmed.  I rode my bike home from work yesterday to find the mirror smashed on my car.  Not only did the guy leave his business card and offer to pay for the damage, but he is a contractor specializing in framing and trim work.  Based on his honesty alone, I hope to hire him to do some work.

Friday, June 6, 2008

The Truck Have Started to Move

I picked up the plans today.  They are amazing!  I need to finish up the structural drawings this weekend, and I'll submit them for permit on Monday.  Luckily, Aaron and Calder are Registered Architects, and I'm a Registered Engineer.  This makes the permit process much easier.

Also, I closed on the construction loan yesterday.  I have an excavator lined up, so as soon as the permit comes through, full speed ahead.

Some of my dorkier friends will know where the title from this post comes from.  The first one to name it gets two free tickets to paradise.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Trees are made of wood

So I had to have a tree removed from the lot.  It wasn't in the greatest of shape, and was in the way.  Jeremy from arboressence tree care came by to take it down.  Pretty interesting stuff.  I went by to see the progress, and got to run through a bunch of poison ivy to help pull the rope guiding a large section of the top of the tree that was about to snap.

Here's Matt keeping the street clean and the cars safe

And Jeremy 40 feet up with a chainsaw

They did a great job, and now I have tons of firewood.  

Monday, June 2, 2008

The Plans

So I met Aaron and Calder Wilson (of Studio Dionisi) one night at the Rocket Club, and had a brief chat about a house I wanted to build.  Them being architects and me being a structural engineer, we had plenty to talk about.

Once I sealed the deal on the land, the three of us had lunch.  Aaron and Calder were really excited about the prospect of a small house, these things just don't get built or designed all that often. About four days later, they sent me floor plans and renderings.  I was wowed!