The studio has been roofed.

When we finally woke up yesterday, we had an email from Grigg’s dad asking “How’s the roof working?”  Apparently it had rained and he wondered if we’d been able to enjoy the sound of raindrops on the metal roof (we slept through it). Puddles this morning suggested it rained again last night and again, we slept soundly, the weather muffled by our central air. But Saturday was dry — a bit hotter than many would have liked, but we had dry conditions for working.

Inside the studio, tools and very important water cooler

Inside the studio, tools and very important water cooler, filled three times over the course of the day.

We are relieved to have the building under permanent cover and thankful for all of the help that we had.  Trevor Mitchell and his brother Ben are sons of a professional roofer (who also do roofing work themselves) and brought experience, knowledge, skill and tools. Will Barry-Rec has given us so much of his time for this project (and will likely be helping us with the interior, too), and recently put a standing seam roof on the timber frame addition he and his wife Jessica are building. Will’s roof team included Trevor, Ben, Grigg and Gabe Leasure. Gabe joined us between picking up his mom from the airport and volunteering at the night’s concert at Lime Kiln. Grigg’s cousin Marian Dalke came first thing after a full day Friday in a commercial kitchen helping her dad process apples — she crimped seams, served watermelon and washed all the lunch dishes before heading off for a hike and visit with Grandfather, recovering from a recent heart valve transplant. Grigg/Dad Mullen decided long ago that he’d rather hire someone to put on a roof than do it himself, and he spent all day on the ground with us getting each piece of metal bent before it went up to the roof. He and Cindy have been amazing support in every way, and we couldn’t do this without them.

So, here’s what the day looked like, with the photographs taken from the ground as I tend to avoid roofs and ladders.

Next up is the clapboard siding. We’ll start working on that after we get back from a New England vacation (complete with Timber Framers Guild conference) next week.

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Ready for a roof

Since our last update in March, the little house has sat, wrapped in Tyvek, waiting for the rest of the porch and the roof.

We’ve spent some weekends working on the porch and now have materials for the roof.

Grigg, along with his dad and our friends Will and Brendan, installed the porch frame.  After months of an open deck literally on the edge of a cliff, it was a relief to see a railing in place.

For the railings, we decided to use high-tensile fence wire and ratchets as a simple version of the fancy stainless steel cable railings you may be familiar with (or may have seen in design magazines). Though he’d never done this before, Grigg was confident this would be a good solution and not disturb our view — and, thanks to our friends Will and Jake, this has cost us nothing. The wire came from a fence Will took down and Jake gave us the new ratchets, a $30 value.

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Over two weekends, Grigg and his dad put up skip sheathing on the porch and building roof.  Today they installed the drip edge and roof vents.

Next weekend we have a bunch of friends coming to help install the standing seam roof, bending the pans on site.

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Winter into spring

Not long after the last post, we left Virginia for a New England Thanksgiving.

Fall sunset

Fall sunset

While we were gone, the carpenters finished up with doors and windows and wrapped the house.

This has felt like a really long winter, there hasn’t been much progress on the studio, but it’s pretty:

View at the start of 2014

View at the start of 2014

We have our siding material:

Board and batten under tarps

Board and batten under tarps

And just a week ago, our friends Mez and Will came to start cutting the porch frame.

After the porch frame is raised, it’s time for the roof and siding.

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It’s been nearly a month since the last update on the studio progress.  In that time, Grigg and I sourced tile for the bathroom, and doors and windows. The carpenters finished putting in the rafters and the decking for the eight foot porch.  Grigg created an in-the-deck doormat which is already helping keep some mud out of the building.

We put in some real work this weekend. Well, not me. I was inside working on a sewing project and cooking for the “crew.” Grigg and his dad and our friend Will worked all day Saturday and Sunday installing the SIPs – for those of you not in the know, those are structural insulated panels.  They ended each day nearly being rained out and are finishing up this afternoon, with our friend Tim helping. The photo gallery below illustrates the process.

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Studio progress so far

We haven’t been sure of what to call this building, almost from the start.  Before the wedding, it was a “gazebo” (sometimes with a fancy fake-French pronunciation) or the “wedding structure.”  Drawings by our architect friend who’s helping with the design of the building call it “Flanamullegan wedding cabin.” And we’ve called it our “little house” or “tiny house.”  It seems that the people in charge of planning and zoning for our county (who also drive by our house to and from work each day) have made the question of what to call this building a bit easier.  It will be a “studio.”  Our property is zoned agricultural, and because of this, two acres are required for each single-family dwelling. A guest house with kitchen is considered a second single-family dwelling, so we would need to have four acres for this to be allowed — and we have three-point-something.  So, a studio is what we’ll have instead.  And the carpenters working on it had a busy week last week.

First, they finished preparing the forms for six concrete piers.

Once that was done, the fun could begin. The whole thing was moved from the trailer onto the foundation.  Grigg was in charge, with help from Shelby in the excavator and Jesse and Dave, the carpenters, and our friend Will.

Then, the frame was put back together, starting with the crucks.

Our neighbor Bill was curious and stuck around until the rain came.  Will (who just raised the frame for a big addition at his house and then was married a week later!) arrived in good time.

Grigg told Will that once it was assembled, there would be a “view adjustment” of 180 degrees.  That is, the side with the view was to be swapped with the side facing our house.  In other words, it had been placed on the trailer backwards, and would have to be lifted up and turned around.

Rotating the building

I have observed several timber frames being cut and raised, and I have attended one and a half conferences of the Timber Framers Guild, but I don’t know all the vocabulary. I ask questions, but there are gaps in my knowledge of what the parts of this building are called. Like this beautiful cherry (I think) timber with our wedding date carved by our dads. Tie beam? (Also – those “sides” above, are they plates?)

The carpenters continued on Friday, making nice progress:

And if you are interested in seeing some more pictures or a video, go here.

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Moving the building

This morning at 7:00 we arrived at Cindy & Grigg’s house to move the timber frame. It awaited us, covered in a tarp that was previously a billboard.


Ira got there soon after and the guys secured the frame to the trailer – it would be approximately 10 miles on the road.


I fashioned two “flags” from old t-shirts and scrap wood. Ira and I drove ahead of the truck & trailer.



We encountered about four other cars on the road. This is Grigg coming down a small hill after the first one passed us in the other direction.


By 9:00 a.m. we were home, with the trailer parked in our driveway covered up again.20131013-203640.jpg
Willie has already been checking it out.

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The next project

It’s been almost five months since our beautiful wedding.  We have been enjoying using the great stuff that we found on our honeymoon.  Our subsequent road trips have been as far north as Burlington, Vermont; as far east as Sandwich, Mass.; as far south as Hillsville and Abingdon, Va., and as far west as Pine Top, Kentucky.

Accacia has been sewing and knitting a bunch — clothes for herself and lately lots of baby gifts as she & Grigg have six friends expecting babies between now and December.  If you are curious, you can see what she’s been up to at  Grigg has continued to modify the 8-quart ice cream maker, and has helped his father with Miss Sue, the 25-foot Hooper Island Draketail boat that the elder Grigg finished building about a year ago (it’s won two blue ribbons in the Mid-Atlantic Small Craft Festival. We bade farewell to his friend John’s 1953 GMC truck – Grigg installed new axles with large disc brakes and a Detroit Diesel 4-53T and transmission before it was hauled to Kansas City.  You can see more photos of what Grigg’s been up to here.

But our big project is our backyard studio – formerly the timberframe structure we were married in. We’ve been getting ready to have the frame moved to our house and will be documenting that project at this blog.  So far, we’ve started to prepare the ground for a foundation.

Freshly cleared ground - previously populated with small trees and brush.

Freshly cleared ground – previously populated with small trees and brush.

Accacia standing at the site of the guest house.  Willie is getting ready to run the excavator.

Accacia standing at the site of the studio. Willie is getting ready to run the excavator.

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