Author Topic: 716 sq. ft. Cuyamaca Cottage  (Read 89837 times)

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Offline flyingvan

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Re: 716 sq. ft. Cuyamaca Cottage
« Reply #100 on: November 09, 2012, 05:57:53 AM »
  Final project---the concrete winding stairs leading to an arch that goes to the porch, all colored to match the native stones.  Day before, got it all formed up (the arch was the hard part) rebar in, and two more trips in the old truck--a yard of red-e-crete per trip.  So the plan for yesterday was to get up at 0'dark thirty and start mixing and pouring, get done before nightfall.
  AnnaMarie woke me up at 04:00----"It's raining".  No, the weatherman said no rain until Friday night at the earliest.  "Then ask the weatherman what we're going to do with 84, 100 pound rocks shaped like bags of cement"  It's not cement, it's concrete, and it technically isn't concrete until it's hydrated.  "Well, it's hydrating , and if you're sitting on the pity pot think of all the people in New York with no heat or food or roof" 
   So I get out there with the plan to re-load them into the old truck and move them all to the garage.  The paper bags are wet but the concrete mix inside still seems to have some give.  It's really only the top ones that are wet.  The rain turned to a misty fog so I just started mixing and pouring instead.
   I don't know how much concrete I've mixed in the mixer over the years, but it's in the hundreds of yards.  I'd always prefer to make my own--buy a truckload of sand, drop it off on a tarp.  Buy a truckload of gravel, put it on another tarp.  14 bags of plastic cement.   Measure by the shovelful, get in the routine.  This site is too steep to manage piles of materials though so pre-mix it is.  I still buy a few bags of cement to 'sweeten the mix'-- pre-mix is a 7 sack mix and I like it a little stronger and more workable.
  I could see AnnaMarie in our house across the street, holding a cup of coffee.  I was trying to look heroic battling the elements to build her dream home.  In reality, this was the very best concrete mixing weather there could be----mixing when it's hot and dry out, lugging 90 pound sacks around gets pretty hot.  The concrete sets too quick and you have to add the step of misting things.  Every bag dumped in the mixer means holding your breath until the dust cloud passes.  In the cool moist weather, though, I never get overheated and the dust stays down a lot.   Dehydration for both the concrete mix, and the concrete mixer, is less an issue.  The occasional break in the clouds and fog would bring an intense sun and the fall colors around the lake were stunning.
   The final finish work was after sunset.  The old truck provided enough light from the headlights.  Last night it started raining in earnest, maybe 6 hours after the concrete was mixed.  I've read the best thing to do is just leave it alone (no way tarps would stay put in the wind) any attempts to trowel water off the surface will force too much water into the concrete and weaken it.
   It's so foggy now I can't see across the street.  I'm going to walk over and see how it fared overnight and see what critters walked through 
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Offline Danfish

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Re: 716 sq. ft. Cuyamaca Cottage
« Reply #101 on: November 09, 2012, 06:57:58 AM »
A great commentary on the woes of concrete work.  As one who has put down a lot of concrete, I can relate!

I too woke to the sound of a heavy downpour in the early hours of Thursday, immediately thinking are we to be mixing mortar and cutting rock in this?  Fortunately by 7 a.m. it had stopped...the last of the cleanup was just complete when it started to snow at 2 p.m..  Today I am looking at a foot of snow on the ground.

Hope all your hard work turns out Ok!!!

Offline flyingvan

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Re: 716 sq. ft. Cuyamaca Cottage
« Reply #102 on: November 09, 2012, 06:53:03 PM »
All is well.  I'd given it a pretty smooth finish, which might be unwise when it gets icy.  The rain seems to have given it a rougher texture, like broom finish without any grain, just rough.   it didn't hurt the color I mixed in.   I'm waiting to post pics until I strip the forms so it all makes sense.  Hope the snow doesn't slow you down---so nice to have stuff to do inside
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Offline flyingvan

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Re: 716 sq. ft. Cuyamaca Cottage
« Reply #103 on: November 11, 2012, 05:23:18 PM »
Just finished all the outside cleanup in the dark.  I am ready for final inspection!  I'll post pics of the walkway tomorrow
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Offline flyingvan

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Re: 716 sq. ft. Cuyamaca Cottage
« Reply #104 on: November 12, 2012, 08:14:12 AM »
Monday, November 12, 2012
Building Bridges
   The final project necessary for completion before the final inspection is the bridge to the porch.  I'd thought about where it would start, where it would end, and how it would be shaped for many months.  Lately I'd been waffling about how complex to make it----I could do a 'just get it done' design of a couple steps down to dirt in a few hours.  I talked myself out of that though.
   Here's the difficulty---I wanted the bridge to curve, going uphill, on an off-camber slope.  So I started by digging two footings down to the hardpan, at angles to each other.  I poured concrete in those with lots of rebar and bent rebar from one to the other so the finished bridge would be well anchored.  then I figured out the midpoint between the two and put a 40" board on the ground there, and dug it in and wedged it until it was level.  Then my forms were built from each footing to that board.  The 'joists' were in first, then the form boards on top were just set on them (with angles ripped so they'd fit tight like a barrel) Then I scribed a line on those that followed the curve I wanted, cut them and screwed them down---with screws just long enough so they wouldn't move.  I knew I'd have to demolish my forms from underneath so shorter screws made sense. 


I'm kind of wishing I took more pictures of forming the bridge now.  Anyway I matched the arch to curve towards the porch.  The trick there was forming it so it didn't push against the porch beam, making removal of the form impossible.  I screwed it down from the top with a 2x6 that also served to form a pocket for the first deck board to rest its edge in.  Bending the plywood and screwing it into the bridge form was hard.  Then large stones got mortared against the forms.  I decided not to use stones on the edge of the bridge itself---I wanted it pretty thin and thought the stones would weaken it too much, so I just colored it instead.  Worse thing was, it started raining while I was mixing.


 This picture made its way in here for a couple reasons.  It's the first curved bridge I did, over our fishponds.  Also you can see what the weather was like.  Also to prove SoCal can get fall colors.  Also you can see the neglect our pavilion and fence have faced since I've been building.  (The cottage project is across the street, behind this pavilion.  You'd see the roof but for the fog)

 The rain didn't ruin anything---it just made the surface rough, not a bad thing for a foot path.  You can see the color mixed in so it'll match the hearth inside.  Although I milked it with AnnaMarie, it was actually great weather to mix concrete in----hot and dry is far worse, lugging 90# sacks of concrete, breathing the dust, and misting the stuff that's already mixed so it doesn't dehydrate too fast.

So this is stripping the forms.  This one was pinned to the ground with lag bolts pounded in from under the deck.  Wedges from underneath kept it off the beam, and that 2x6 screwed from the top kept it away too.  You can see how the deck board will drop right in there.  It's a smooth transition from concrete to deck.  After pulling the pins out, it just got pounded out from the other side.  The main bridge form, I just kept whacking the joists to smithereens with the digging bar.  Once one form board came out the rest just fell.  (The whole thing was lined with plastic for a smooth finish and to help with this stage)




The wooden box things are forms for the retaining wall.  It will look just like the ones in the backbround with native stones between the pillars.  This will form a planting area next to the walkway.
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Offline Danfish

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Re: 716 sq. ft. Cuyamaca Cottage
« Reply #105 on: November 13, 2012, 08:11:40 AM »
Glad you didn't opt out for the "just get it done" approach.  Your result looks great and although it was a lot of work, you will appreciate it for many years to come.  That's the cool thing about sloped sites, gives lots of opportunity for creativity (and hard work)!

Offline flyingvan

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Re: 716 sq. ft. Cuyamaca Cottage
« Reply #106 on: November 14, 2012, 11:55:25 AM »
Final inspection.....The robo-scheduler had the inspector coming yesterday, when I was home.  The inspector came today, while I was at work.  AnnaMarie handled him just fine (plate of cookies didn't hurt either)  She called me so I could talk to him...
"A few things.  You  need an anti-siphon valve on the hose bib" Ummm...There IS an anti-siphon valve on the hose bib, at least there was yesterday.."Oh.  OK I see it now.  Second, you need to caulk around the base of the toilet"  Ummm...It's caulked, with silicone caulk, clear against a dark floor.  "OK I see it now.   Finally, you need and arc fault circuit for the bedroom lights, not just the outlets"  Oh.  Alright, I'll pick one up on the way home tomorrow. 
Then he signed the certificate of occupancy----We are done!  Well, as done as a house ever is I suppose.  We still need to get the propane tank filled, which they won't do until the certificate of occupancy is signed, then I'll check all the appliances---wall furnace, range, water heater.
Three years well spent
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Offline Redoverfarm

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Re: 716 sq. ft. Cuyamaca Cottage
« Reply #107 on: November 14, 2012, 12:04:17 PM »
 [cool]  Congratulations.  Must a good feeling after all the hard work. Enjoy.

Offline MountainDon

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Re: 716 sq. ft. Cuyamaca Cottage
« Reply #108 on: November 14, 2012, 01:32:45 PM »
 [cool] [cool]   ... and a reasonable guy, if a little myopic    ;)
Just because something has been done and has not failed, doesn’t mean it is good design.

If you didn't have the time or money to do it right in the first place, when will you get the time and money to fix it?

Offline mountainlady1956

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Re: 716 sq. ft. Cuyamaca Cottage
« Reply #109 on: November 14, 2012, 04:00:05 PM »
Congratulations, it's beautiful!  ;D

Offline Danfish

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Re: 716 sq. ft. Cuyamaca Cottage
« Reply #110 on: November 15, 2012, 07:40:37 AM »
"Finis Coronat Opus"...the End Crowns the Work

Maga grats on on job well done and a goal reached.

Offline duncanshannon

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Re: 716 sq. ft. Cuyamaca Cottage
« Reply #111 on: November 15, 2012, 11:14:04 AM »
congrats.

also... thanks for the detail on the cabinets.  I'm just about inspired to make em myself now!
Home: Minneapolis, MN area.  Land: (no cabin yet) Spooner, WI area.  Plan: 20x34 1 1/2 Story. Experience Level: n00b. 
Build Thread: http://countryplans.com/smf/index.php?topic=10784.0

Offline flyingvan

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Re: 716 sq. ft. Cuyamaca Cottage
« Reply #112 on: November 16, 2012, 12:34:28 PM »
My other option was Ikea.  I realized I'd have to pay a lot for those, assemble them, and make their stock sizes fit--not to mention the work of going to get them and bring them up.  All in all it was less work, money, and comprimise to just build them from scratch.  The drawers were intimidating at first---they have to be the correct width or they won't slide--- but after the first one was done the rest went easy
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Offline Native_NM

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Re: 716 sq. ft. Cuyamaca Cottage
« Reply #113 on: November 17, 2012, 09:57:59 AM »
I've really enjoyed following your build and learning from you.  Congratulations!

New Mexico.  Better than regular Mexico.

Offline flyingvan

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Re: 716 sq. ft. Cuyamaca Cottage
« Reply #114 on: November 17, 2012, 01:08:50 PM »
    Thank You!  This has been a great opportunity to 'think out loud'.....I've really been wanting to play with fiber optic lighting set in concrete, and I still need to finish the winding stone retaining wall next to the walkway.  The concrete pillars are done.  I just ordered fiber optic cable and the illuminator, so I'm committed now.  It only takes 5 watts, and this area gets DARK at night, so if it all works, having the tiny points of light between the stones should look really cool.   I'll post as I go. 
     We are having problems with our propane company.  They won't return calls.  I need the tank I bought rehabbed a little, but you'd think with the cutthroat business, they'd be a bit more responsive.  I'm anxious to get the wall furnace, range, and water heater working.  I also want to plumb a backup generator to the propane and put a transfer switch in...Details, details...
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Offline flyingvan

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Re: 716 sq. ft. Cuyamaca Cottage
« Reply #115 on: November 25, 2012, 10:26:43 AM »
Some pics from our first night in AnnaMarie's new cottage----First, where it is in relation to Lake Cuyamaca.  The meadow is designated open space so our view won't ever get blocked



Then the outside...I've posted pics of the outside before but here it is with all the debris gone



This fireplace is awesome.  We burned three logs total---starting at 6 pm.  Next morning there were still coals and the blower was still blowing hot air out.  The house has a nice even heat whether it's the wall furnace or the fireplace.



 We cooked for the first time here.  Other than having the temp on the fridge too cold, everything worked great.  The staggered cabinets really maximized space while making the kitchen feel bigger than it is.



   We have the trench for the phone filled back in, they'll come and run the line from the pole tomorrow so the phone will work.   

   Something that I didn't expect to be as hard as it was-----organizing tools and materials after the build.  I hauled everything home and dumped it in the driveway, along with everything from my garage, and just organized it all.  Got rid of lots of stuff.  Ended up with lots of screws, caulk, and sandpaper.  Had a pile of dead tool batteries that won't take a charge anymore.  They'll get recycled.
    The Bosch tankless water heater I got second hand ("We bought it, and we couldn't make it work").  Propane company red tagged it...I could get the pilot lit but when it called to heat water the pilot would go out.  No smell of gas, my pipes were all sized correct, pressures all good.  Spent a few hours cleaning out the pilot assembly, water valve, gas valve, everything that got dirty from sitting for a few years.  Finally figured out the regulator was screwed on the unit upside-down---(if it's mounted correctly, the lettering on it is upside down so I didn't think bad thoughts towards the previous owners, who sold it to me for $80) flipped it over and the whole thing runs perfect.
    We loved being there for the night.  We watched a movie, made each other food, just sort of absorbed it all.  It's funny how looking forward when you start, there's so many steps it's all kind of a blur.  Same when it's done looking back---I can conjur up any of the specific steps, problems, and solutions, but still can't picture it globally if that makes sense.  It's taken on a life of its own.
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Offline MountainDon

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Re: 716 sq. ft. Cuyamaca Cottage
« Reply #116 on: November 25, 2012, 11:58:00 AM »
Congrats!   Looks like a very pleased lady!

Just because something has been done and has not failed, doesn’t mean it is good design.

If you didn't have the time or money to do it right in the first place, when will you get the time and money to fix it?

Offline pmichelsen

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Re: 716 sq. ft. Cuyamaca Cottage
« Reply #117 on: November 26, 2012, 06:23:35 AM »
Had a pile of dead tool batteries that won't take a charge anymore.  They'll get recycled.

Not sure if you have tried this or maybe it isn't worth it, but when batteries won't take a charge I have been able to "jump start" them with a 9v.

Offline flyingvan

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Re: 716 sq. ft. Cuyamaca Cottage
« Reply #118 on: November 26, 2012, 07:05:36 PM »
Hmm....They're 18 volt batteries so seems to me all they'd do is ruin a 9v battery
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Offline Danfish

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Re: 716 sq. ft. Cuyamaca Cottage
« Reply #119 on: November 27, 2012, 06:45:30 AM »
Looks great!!!  Your comment on varying cabinet depth should be noted by all.  Changes in cabinet depth and height makes it much more pleasing to the eye and in some cases improves the use of available space.

Offline flyingvan

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Re: 716 sq. ft. Cuyamaca Cottage
« Reply #120 on: November 27, 2012, 10:08:25 AM »
It sure did, Danfish...We started with the cabinet over the range hood---the rangehood picked its own size and height.  Then we did the one over the fridge---we saw no reason not to bring that one out almost to the depth of the fridge, especially since it was in the corner anyway.  Then the middle one we brought down even with the bottom of the hood.  For depth of the middle one, we split the difference of the depths of the cabinets either side.  Then the little knick knack shelf over the sink goes back the same depth....
The kitchen wall 'bumps out' 2 1/2" behind the middle cabinet to accomodate the drain from the bathroom above.  That bump out always worried me, I thought it would mess with the flow of the kitchen---but now it actually adds dimension.  Better to be lucky than good, they say.  We built the cabinets out of the cheapest 3/4" ply we could find, then added a layer of bender board to the outside in strips because AnnaMarie likes the current trend of building with recycled pallets.  I don't think pallets inside a tight house are a good idea myself---who knows what insecticides and fungicides they've been saturated with?  So just copied the look, then painted them in a few coats of a high gloss white.  I could post close ups of the surface if anyone cares
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Offline flyingvan

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Re: 716 sq. ft. Cuyamaca Cottage
« Reply #121 on: November 30, 2012, 07:57:46 PM »
I've been a big fan of Sarah Susanka's 'Not So Big House' series of books.  Many great tips on building small.  Her theme is instead of building really big, build small and efficient and really nice.  Her ideas were a heavy influence in both my builds.  I sent pics to her website and she actually wrote back----That was very kind of her and it made my day
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Offline flyingvan

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Re: 716 sq. ft. Cuyamaca Cottage
« Reply #122 on: December 01, 2012, 01:27:19 PM »


  AnnaMarie wants a 'potager' (garden herb planting area.  Had to look it up)  right here.  This is the retaining wall next to the walkway.  Normally I dry stack the stones all the way up even with the top of the pilasters (for lack of a better term) but here I stopped about halfway up following the slope.  I'll make a form with that benderboard then line it with plastic, and drill tiny holes through the form on the steps side, and pull fiber optic strands through the holes all the way up the flight of stairs.  While the mortar's wet I'll carefull set the next course of stone---maybe I'll stick smaller stones in the mortar between the fibers so the big stones won't hurt or dislodge the fibers.
   I wish I had lined my entire form with plastic instead of just the front.  The plastic lined part is wrinly and glossy and awesome,  The long side of that pilaster, which will show from the kitchen, I just poured against plywood so it's rough and chalky.   Fail.

   My wife thinks I go to my job to rest.  Right now we're doing the 6 month inspection on Copter 1, our 212.  I personally want to inspect the 'jesus nut' that holds the rotors on
« Last Edit: December 01, 2012, 04:57:04 PM by flyingvan »
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Offline flyingvan

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Re: 716 sq. ft. Cuyamaca Cottage
« Reply #123 on: December 01, 2012, 01:36:04 PM »
Some more interior pics

This is the reading nook that cantilevers out.  I like it because it gives you somewhere to be other than the livingroom or bedroom, and you get the view out the big picture window.  When you look down into the dining area you're looking into the bay and it makes the place feel bigger than it is



 
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Offline flyingvan

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Re: 716 sq. ft. Cuyamaca Cottage
« Reply #124 on: December 02, 2012, 05:51:58 AM »
    Also I want to report we are very happy with the kitchen size.  After the floor was in we kept setting up 'mock' counters out of plywood and playing with where we wanted things.  The downstairs is 20x20 with the only thing dividing the kitchen from the livingroom being the counter, and the counter terminated in front of the front door, so moving it one way expanded the kitchen ut shrank the living room, and lengthwise freed up or blocked the front door.  We also narrowed the counter from 24" in the plans down to 17".  I was worried the 48" in the kitchen between the counters would feel tight but it doesn't, and with the barstools on the other side it's inviting.  While entertaining, people tend to congregate towards the kitchen anyway. 
    I had a conversation with my wife when we were doing the initial plans.  Her feeling is a house is primarily a kitchen --the other rooms are necessary too, but if she's awake and home that's where she wants to be
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