Sunday, December 21, 2014

WellHaus The start of something I've always wanted to build

As the morning darkness of Winter Solstice shrouds me, we are embarking on a new building project. I have had small shops, metal buildings, and backyards, but today we start something inspiring in which future creations will arise.  With the short days, dark nights, and wet everythings, I have tarps strewn across the landscape creating a Christo and Jean Claude like refugee camp after a hurricane. At this point, much of the tools I have, the table saw, compound mitre, and others have become sacrificial. I hope that they get me to the finish but they are taking a beating getting there. The workspace expands and contracts like the wood in the stacks as the Summer and Winter ebb and flow.

As this is a design/build, I have a rough idea of the finished design however I am flexible as materials and preferences change. To be able to take advantage of the Summer weather I have started the design and have begun sourcing material. The site is sloped, and the rear facade is lined with cedar. The front facade will face West and there will be a patio to the North. As this is the Western slope of a mountain, my intention is to use the materials around me to blend with the surrounding environs.

To start, we survey the site and catalog what we have. We have rocks, lots of rocks, it's a mountain, it's full of rocks. We have trees, lots of trees, it's a mountain, it's full of trees. Ah, but we have restrictions, it's what we planners call a "Critical Area" and it's exactly the reason we wanted to be here. So what are some of the restrictions? Well lets see, 100 feet from a watershed, check, development of only 30% of the total lot size, check, no significant grading or infill, check, no clear cutting or mass landscape removal and must have a master landscape plan, check, allowance of construction up to 200 sqft without a permit, check.

Ok, I guess I know what we can't do, eh? So let's get on with what we can do. First off, I can harvest all the dead or storm damaged trees for timber. Second, I can start removing invasive english ivy and start reintroducing  native and specimen  plantings. So to start I have sourced several cedar saplings that have taken root in an area that we want a path. So that was a nice way to start, plant a handful of cedars!

Under the cloak of english ivy I have found standing deadwood, one Cottonwood, one Big Leaf Maple, one Hemlock, and several unidentifiables that will be arranged in the landscape to decay. There is a young yet large cedar that has three trunks that has died and is now a hazard. At approximately thirty feet tall I should get several nice timber posts. I already have three 10"x 10"x 6' in cedar that I intend to use for lintels.

Great, so I am going with 12 x 16. It's exactly what I want and keeps me under 200 square feet. This is still building to code and my intention is to over build. We are going to have four corner posts that will be 18" concrete footers with a 6" post rising through the centre of the river rock wrapped pier through a cast stone cap to tie into the girders. There will be six more footers that will be inset on the footprint so as to not be visible.

So today, we'll start in the Northeast corner and begin! OK, actually this photo is the Northwest corner because well, this is the NW! The cornerstone will most certainly go in the Northeast corner.

Jason Kotarski

No comments:

Post a Comment