Sunday, March 30, 2014

Waconda: Déjà vu

I keep talking about our plans to build a small house on a big lake. Our design intention has always been to keep the "cottage-y" spirit of the original house. We planned a second floor, more of a half-story than a full one, for ascetic purposes. It will balance the front porch roof without overwhelming the rest of the house. We aren't even going to finish it off right away. Eventually we will convert it into extra living space, with windows at each end and storage space under the eaves. Maybe it will be a meditation room overlooking the lake, or (if we're lucky) a bedroom for future grandchildren. We even joke about using it as a shuffleboard court since the space is long and narrow.  

It's huuuge!
But as we've come to realize (over and over again), things rarely go as planned. Somehow this design got lost in transition from drawing to reality. As the walls were raised in preparation for the trusses, it became obvious that they were twice as tall as we wanted. The house is headed to butt ugly territory; a massive box that overpowers the landscape and alienates our cottage dreams.

So once again we find ourselves facing a setback. We do not like the mistake and don't want to change our design. The walls have to be cut down, and new trusses have to be ordered to fit the intended design. We're not sure how long it will be before the corrections are made and we're back on track. 

Like Yogi Berra says, it's Déjà vu all over again.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Waconda: The 2x4 Jungle

We're finally to the point where it's easy to see the progress on the house. The main floor is all framed in and the layout is taking shape. I would explain what you're looking at in this picture, but if you envision things anything like me, it won't make sense.  Floor plans are a lot easier to understand when they are drawn out and all the rooms are labeled, with tiny little furniture pieces tastefully drawn in and no dog hair is showing on the floor.

Our living area kept shrinking in our imagination, to the point where we were sure we'd feel like Alice after she found the Eat Me Cake. But now that we can really feel the size of the rooms, we are reassured.  I mean, we are literally sighing in relief. Have you ever seen that Tamiflu small house commercial? The one where the guy has to hunchback his way down the hall to the kitchen, and when he gets there his knees are in the living room? By the time he scrunches himself through his bathroom door, we're dying. But happily, thanks to the high ceilings that our builder recommended and the thoughtful design, the only room that feels kind of 'snug' is the guest bedroom. And that is actually part of our evil master plan to keep visitors from getting too comfortable and overstaying their welcome.

I've been out of town a few days, so I'm anxious to wander around the site after work tomorrow. The weather is still relentless, giving us a day or two of 40-ish temperatures that melts the snow into a muddy bog, then sinking back down below freezing and spewing out icy snowflakes. Tomorrow's forecast is 43°F with an 80% chance of precipitation. Sounds like a perfect day to build a house!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Waconda: We have WALLS!!

I am doing the happy dance today. Good things are happening. The polar vortex appears to have finally finished its brutal assault.  The snow is starting to melt.  A broken water main on the street across the bay was diverted before it got to our house. But most importantly, there are signs of progress on our job site. And even better, there were humans doing work on the job site! (Well, actually they're all just standing around and one guy is scratching himself, but who cares!  We have walls!!)

Waconda is going to be a tall skinny little house, pretty typical for a lake lot. It's sort of a shotgun style, similar to the wonderful old house we lived in back in New York. After the work crew was done for the weekend (because they never, ever work at our job on a Saturday) we went in for a closer look and to get a feel of the layout.

This is me standing in the kitchen. If I stick my right hand out, I'll be in the dining room.  And if I take half a dozen steps backwards, I'll be in the living room (sprawled on the deck, because I will have tripped over that wall-in-progress). If I go through the door at the back of the structure, I'll be on the front porch looking over the lake. We walked out there too, but the wind was really whipping in from the lake and I didn't want to take my hands out of my pocket long enough to take pics.

That lump in the far right corner of the house is Senior, who is demonstrating how it will look when he is curled up in bed in the master bedroom. The bed is a little hard, but the view is out of this world. It feels like you can touch the sky. In fact, the whole room feels very grand since there aren't any boundaries. Showering and getting dressed may be a little tricky though. A guest bedroom and the bathrooms still need to be roughed in. Ultimately there will be another floor above, which will remain unfinished for now. 

I'm cautiously optimistic that the work will continue to roll along. The weather forecast for next week is promising, with temps reaching into the 40's a couple of the days. We're making some final choices on the cabinet package and trim pieces. It feels like things are finally coming together. But just to be safe, as you read this, knock on wood!