Shangri La

Shangri La

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Just for Fun

LSW here. I saw this news item from the AP and had to share. A student at the University of Buffalo couldn't afford housing, so he built himself an 8-by-10 foot cabin on the campus. College officials made him leave, but one has to ask: Why did they wait until he built the cabin? Weren't they a little suspicious at the sight of a student hauling in stacks of wood? Best part of the story: his name is Brian Borncamp.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

I predict a gypsy caravan in our future

LSW here. I saw this book, "Shed Chic" by Sally Coulthard, at the library the other day and thought it looked kind of cool. Funny how one person's definition of "shed" is another person's dream house.
When I think of "shed," I think of a small, dark box that smells of oil and gas and fertilizer and is inhabited by spiders and their nasty, disgusting cottony egg sacs. A shed is a place where you keep your lawn mower, your collection of broken and dirty clay pots, your gardening tools and miscellaneous cans of bug spray, paint and other toxic liquids that hopefully the neighbor's cats (or kids) won't get into.
That's not the kind of shed this book is about.
Obviously these are funky out-buildings used for writing, painting, woodworking, relaxing and entertaining Thurston and Lovey Howell. There are some very cool ideas in here, but one that really takes the cake: gypsy caravans.

Yeah, you heard me right. You know, those funky wagon-type things that are painted in crazy colors and designs. Well, apparently there's a whole subculture of caravan makers, restorers and painters. How could we have overlooked this as a possibility for housing at Shangri-La? As I have gypsy blood in me (my great-grandfather was a gypsy in Bohemia), I'm feeling like we definitely need to have one of these on the property. Maybe I can do tarot readings and tea parties out of it for some extra income. Or sell chocolates. I can see it now: "Gypsy Chocolates & Tarot Readings."
In any case, this discovery had us searching the web last night for more info and we found Tiny House Blog, which is a really cool resource. They had a page dedicated to caravans.
Needless to say, the Vermonster has been reading more and more about these and has mentioned a couple of times now that there are classes offered in building gypsy caravans. Yeah, um, just putting it out there right here and now: Not. Going. To. Happen. Unless I'm the one who gets to take the class.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Remaining Flexible

Just got back from another day trip up to Shangri-La to inspect the progress on the roof. These day trips are rough - what with 6 hours in the car and less than an hour on site - but I've found that the trip is easier with a book on CD. Today's selection was Dennis Leary's 'Why We Suck', which I enjoyed much more than I thought I would. It struck me that the guy bridges right- and left-wing nicely, and - I hesitate to admit this - seems to mirror my own views very closely, if blatantly incorrectly politically.

Anyhoo - the house: Very different feel to it with a solid roof. The eaves now form a visible presence out the side windows, feeling sort of like an umbrella above a patio table. Nice. Also, the gable-end trim boards are up - the first piece of exterior finish carpentry, and the first bit of color and hint of what the exterior will look like. And, unfortunately, another mistake: Turns out that I should have used 5/4" trim to ensure that the trip stood proud of the siding, which I had planned would be 3/4" white pine shiplap. Instead, I used 1 x 4 Windsor One, which - at 3/4" wide - would end up being flush with the shiplap, looking very flat and odd. Rather than ask the roofer to rip it off and replace it, I've decided to side the gables with shingles instead, which will provide at least a little shadow line, and will provide a (hopefully) interesting contrast between the lower and upper halves of the house.

The roofer - Andy Harris of H-Squared Carpentry - expects to add the shingles later this week; we'll settle up on Labor Day weekend when the LSW, The Boy and I go up to install the windows and doors.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

No, I didn't kill myself on the job...

Now that both of you who read this blog have given up on the idea that I will ever post again, I'm back. What can I say? I've been too busy working on the cabin to spend time writing about it.

Since the LSW's last post on July 1, we've spent 3 long weekends and 2 additional Saturdays finishing the walls and sheathing, framing the lofts and roof, and working through the 'punch list'.

Some random notes:
1) Camping in tents absolutely sucks (see the aforementioned 7/1 LSW post)
2) Camping in a bus-sized motor coach ain't nearly so bad (thanks, dad!)
3) A certain motor lodge on Rt 30 can be packed every time you pass it and still be found to be dirty and filled with spiders when you finally book yourself in
4) Super 8 is actually a very clean, economical, and convenient option, especially after you've checked yourself out of a certain spider-infested motor lodge on Rt 30
5) Suffering through a very cool and rainy June and July is infinitely preferable to working in a suddenly hazy, hot and humid August. Thank god we got most of the framing done before the weather turned!
6) When framing a roof, it really helps to have people taller than 5'5" around. Kudos to my sister for marrying above her, so to speak.
7) Note to self for the next time: It is the rafters that should be 12" on center, not the loft joists that connect them. It took a lot of extra 2x4s to ensure that the roof sheathing would have something to land on.
8) Pulling down all of the wall sheathing and re-hanging it is not fun. If you're learning as you go, read the directions before committing the materials.
9) A 12/12 pitch roof (45 degrees) is not for the timid, even if it does begin only 9' off the ground.
10) The money goes really, really quickly.

We're now taking a 2-3 week break while the roofers sheath and shingle (see #9 above). The windows have been ordered - 6 at 3'x4' and 3 at 3'x3' - and should be in by 8/27.