Just a quick update this week.
We have gotten through the paperwork and process on selling our house in PA and we are starting to pack in earnest this week. I don’t think it is going to be too bad since we already filled two dumpsters worth of junk and most of the furniture will be given away or donated to charity. There isn’t a lot left after all that is done. Then we have two sections of the truck to load – the stuff that goes into storage until the house is done and the stuff we’ll need in Vermont while we are living in the apartment. That will take some organizing but it shouldn’t be too difficult to pull off.
The build is now focused on putting the shou sugi ban wood on the exterior under the porch roof. We love the look and it apparently looks incredible in person so we can’t wait to see it. Once that is completed (along with the soffits and other exterior wood details), they will start the metal cladding. They plan on starting that next week.
The dry-wall install started on Friday. That is expected to continue for about 3 weeks due to the taping complication and detail finishing. Completing the dry-wall that will be transformational to the interior look of the house when we next see it.
We are going back and forth with the builder, the architect and the designer about the finishing of the fireplace surround. We had trouble securing a plaster finisher and thought we might pivot to some interesting industrial steel cladding as an alternative. Recently, however, our builder tracked down another plaster craftsman. The new craftsman is more expensive – a lot more expensive – but I think we are going back to plaster as the finish. The industrial metal idea wasn’t a total loss because we decided on making the plaster a darker gray than we had originally planned. It’s going to look great.
Twenty-one days until I drive the moving truck up to Vermont.
This past weekend we took a trip to Vermont. We had some errands we needed to get done before we move up there like buying me a new phone, among other things. We also wanted to take a trip to the apartment where we plan on living during the summer while the house is completed. The owners, a fantastic couple with three kids, a loving dog and what seems like 40 chickens, said we could stay there for the same price as our usual spot and were excited to have us stay to make sure things were set up to our liking. The apartment seems like it will be suit us pretty well for the three months the project plan says we’ll need to finish the house. It was great with the three of us there but add in the grind of the day (we didn’t do any cooking this weekend so food storage and stuff like that remains to be seen) and the addition of our cat and dog might make the coziness feel too tight but it will be summer so we can always go outside to the great, private and secluded yard to get some space. We got to hang out with them on Sunday night and relax in their basement with a pool table, good beers and a record player with an extensive collection. It was great to hang out with humans in person after many months (all of us were vaccinated and the relief was palpable).
The work on the house feels more impressive in person. The pictures, while nice, don’t give the full sense of being surrounded by the wood of the ceilings and floors upstairs. The walkway wasn’t covered when we were there last and seeing it in person feels very dramatic. I am hoping that we can turn the area on the other end of that walkway into a sanctuary facing the woods and the wetlands to the east. The screened porch door is on the left side (you can’t really see it from the picture) and the kitchen window is on the right.
The screened porch will be a much larger room than I’ve been seeing in my head. We are trying to decide the best way to break up and use the space. We want to eat dinners out there when the weather is amenable and set up a sitting area where we can relax, stare in the woods, work, whatever.
The office is going to be amazing.
Now that we are focusing attention on interiors, we have been making decisions on things. As I mentioned in a previous post, we bought an incredible handmade light from Hubbardton Forge, that will hang above our dining table. We also are doing some fact-finding on costs to clad the fireplace chase in steel (weathered, industrial but naturalistic looking finish) instead of plaster. Finding a plaster craftsman has been very difficult and I have been obsessed with metal cladding so it felt like the pivot was worth a look.
The tub for the master bath has arrived and has been fitted but we still have a long way to go on the bathroom.
This week the shousugiban wood is arriving. This wood will make up the cladding for the area under the main porch. We are in love with the deep black color and the naturalistic texture. It will provide a great counterpoint to the black metal cladding that will make up the bulk of the house’s exterior. The metal is on site and will likely get started on this week now that the shousugiban has arrived.
We had some back and forth on the lip of the sliding door from the living area to the porch. Our architect wanted it to be flush with the floor but the builder was trying to make sure we considered moisture drainage and concrete slope of the porch. It was a big of a tug-o-war but we kicked around all of the possibilities and ended up in what was probably the best place. There as no perfect solution so it will be interesting to see how our choice plays out. I am sure it will be fine.
The roof is complete except for a few details and adding snow-stopper bars along the roof edge to prevent snow from crushing us unexpectedly. Our builder wants to spraypaint the chimney. It would definitely look better. If he can do it without causing any issues, I’m all for it.
The cedar for the walkway area and the screened porch arrive this week or next. That will be transformative once it is installed. Also ready for install are the garage doors. We need the installer to come and do that but the builder is holding off so we don’t end up ruining them with all of the construction going on. We need them done within the next few weeks regardless.
Starlink is working better but not perfectly. I moved the dish around and rebooted a few times and the speeds rocketed up to the 150-180mb/s range. The problem of obstructions causing intermitted outages remains so I ordered a pole mount which we’ll put in place sometime during May and hopefully solve that last problem. If we can get fiber run to our house in June/July as expected, that would still be preferable. We are going to have issues with the WiFi reaching all of the corners of our house (and porches) because the internet comes into the mechanical room which is surrounded by metallic foil and Rockwul, both of which kill WiFi signal. It will be an interesting problem to solve.
We are now in the steep rundown to moving. In four weeks we will be official Vermont residents and, after three years of waiting, that feels somewhat surreal. We had the stunning revelation when driving back home this weekend that the next time we drive up there we will be staying. I won’t miss our old house but I will miss the drives through the landscape here in PA. We live in on of the most beautiful places in the world right now and we will miss our drives through the countryside but just about every other aspect of our daily life will get better so that’s a tradeoff I’d make every time.