Thursday, November 29, 2012

Vapor Barrier and Wires

The house was wrapped with a white vapor barrier.

A lot of the wiring has been run.
We are so pleased with the view out of the big sliding doors. Hopefully we will have some money left over at the end of the construction so we can build a deck. This time of year is interesting as there have been a lot of ducks on the pond. They make for some entertaining nature watching.

Friday, November 23, 2012

More flooring

We stopped by the house to see that the flooring was mostly installed in the studio on the second floor. It looked great.

Tools of the trade, air nailer and eco glue.

When we came back the next day the floor was finished in the studio, but covered up to protect it during the rest of the construction. We were glad to have got a glimpse the day before.

Work had begun on the flooring in Motoki's room, he's looking forward to having his own space.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

More meetings and details

We had a typical meeting with the builder to go over some details. Now that many parts of the house, including plumbing, electrical, stairs and interior and exterior finishing are being worked on at the same time it's difficult to stay on top of everything.

We have many requests and ideas that Japanese builders seem to be perplexed by. For example, putting all of the outlets for the toilets and AC out of sight. Requesting for the stairs to be built without a lip on the tread...etc.. The builder has been patient so far, but we ran into some difficulty with the bathtub placement leaving us with only 3cm between the tub lip and the wall. Hopefully we can come up with a solution so it's not so tight...

So here we are in our house surrounded by: the builder, the gas guy, the stair guy, the plumbing guy, the architect and the carpenter...oh, man! They all needed input and guidance from us and the builder to get on with their work.

We got a happy surprise when the young carpenter wanted to confirm the layout of the floor boards in the studio. We planned to do a design which puts the boards overlapping in thirds. We decided that it looked very nice.
Here is an interesting detail. He cut a small notch on all of the posts to recess the flooring into the wall. I think this is because we have a 'floating wall' design, without any trim at the base of the wall where it meets the floor.
It will be fun to see the studio get the full treatment in the coming days.

Most of the exterior has been finished in preparation for the siding. The decorative buttresses have been clad in plasterboard. We're are very pleased with this design detail. The balance between the top and sides seems about right. 

The birthday girl looks happy with her new house. I kept promising her a house for her birthday, now it's finally coming to fruition.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Electrical Work and Framing details

Work continues on the framing for the windows. We wanted the frames to disappear into the wall so the wood will all be painted white and blend into the plasterboard.

Electrical wiring has also started, but will progress slowly until the electrical guy has more free time to dedicate to our project. 

We also had to decide on the height of our entryway. We eventually decided to have it be at the same height as the ceiling inside the house, so about 15cm higher than the top of this board.

The two diagonal pieces are about finished on the outside of the house.
Siding is next!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Windows are in

All of the windows are in. The house seems very bright and airy and the windows look strong and should also keep the house warm.

We decided to go with the white on the inside and black on the outside theme.

Next week the siding will begin to be installed. It should be a significant step in the construction.

This week we made our final decisions on lighting and electrical outlets. The lighting was a big challenge as there were many options to consider. In the end we decided to use a range of recessed fixtures combined with some antique and new lamps that we've collected. The highest parts of the house will use LED bulbs as we have been told they could last up to 20 years before needing to be replaced...

Sunday, November 11, 2012

More Windows

We stopped by the house on a Sunday when no work was being done. It gave us a chance to see all of the windows. Unfortunately we realized that the window in the pantry was in the wrong place. Hopefully it's not too late to correct this mistake.

The smaller windows are all in place, but the larger windows and doors have not been installed yet. Still we could get a feel for the size of the windows and enjoy the atmosphere.

This is the fixed window in the studio. Yoko is hoping that this window along with the skylight will give her enough natural light to photograph by.

This is the view from the studio looking down to the first floor.
And the same view from the first floor. We do have some high ceilings !

It was a rainy day. Our fear that the aluminum roof would bring a lot of rain sounds into the house were put to rest, only a gentle 'patter' could be heard, this will be even further reduced once the insulation and ceiling is put in.

Friday, November 9, 2012

November 9th

We had a meeting at the house to review various details with the architect and builder.

We were happy to see that the windows and glass doors were beginning to be installed.
We're using YKKap Windows, which is one of the largest makers in Japan. Japanese windows are almost entirely manufactured from aluminum. This makes them quite strong but cold. So we wanted to use windows which have a PVC layer to stop temperature transfer. No fancy coatings or gas between the panes, though.
The windows are white on the inside to match our walls and black on the exterior to match the siding.
This is the window in the stairwell.
The sash and fixed window (door size) in the studio, ready for installation.
This is the fixed window, with three panels, which goes above the sliding glass doors in the living room.
As seen here from the outside.
I wanted to climb up to the roof to get a view of the exterior material and chimney. This will be my only chance to get this close up view.
These aluminum panels are 30cm by 12 meters. Our builder said he broke several traffic laws bringing such long pieces to the house site!
Here is an unusual view looking up at the chimney box from inside.
We also decided on the location of our air conditioning units. Here we are in the studio.
Our builder brought out a special box, we weren't sure what to expect...In fact this is the stainless hardware which will hold the glass panels and doors in the bathroom/lavatory.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The roof

The roof is about done!

We're using the same material for the roof that we will use for the siding of the house. It's a type of wide galvanized aluminum. Unfortunately, it's difficult to find a vantage point to get a good view of it.
The roof was installed at the same as the chimney box. Here is what it looks like from the inside.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

November 7

Work is moving forward at a good pace.

We were very happy to receive our 20 foot shipping container which sailed out of America 3.5 months ago. Since our road is too narrow for the container and the truck, we had some help bringing the items over to our garage.
We're pretty sure everything is there (hard to tell).
Luckily our garage has plenty of storage space to keep our things until we move to the new house. We're excited about our BBQ set, furniture and all of my tools, also our kitchen cabinet and sink and dining table....and more...yay!
And the same day the flooring arrived from China. I was worried that the actual wood wouldn't match the samples, but it looks very close.
We have decided to use a random looking 1/3 layout. We will be there to supervise when the flooring gets installed shortly.
More materials have arrived, including insulation. Also a big scaffold for the interior work.
The wood stove and chimney company arrived to put in the chimney box on the roof. They wanted to coordinate this step while the roofing material was being installed.
We're continuing to look into paint. Our thinking at this point is to use Sherwin Williams primer and bathroom paint. We will still use the natural paint from Kreidezeit for most of the interior, but we also want to use Farrow and Ball paints for a contrasting wall in our bedroom and Motoki's room.
Mo enjoyed looking at the samples and choosing a color.