Firstday Cottage

Started by Robert_Flowers, September 09, 2005, 04:36:36 PM

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Yes, 22-foot.  I checked through the literature, the original is 16, the cape is 24, the saltbox is 26, therefore this 22 must be one of the brand new models John was talking about.  I'm hoping it is a modified original (1.5 story) as this will be closest to John R's floorplan for us and still be only a 2-bedroom.


Quote• Self draining siding such a horizontal lap over vertical nailers, board and batt or shingle on a double wall framing system w/ heavy asphalt paper or equal for housewrap.

How does board and batt act as self draining?  Aren't there horizontal nailers that can trap water?  Is there a way to do a rainscreen type wall for vertical jointed siding?  I understand the rainscreen walls and have read the various links we have seen on this board about them but I can't remember seeing a detail or photo of one with a siding that uses horizontal nailers, perhaps my memory has failed me.


It would be pretty easy to make horizontal nailers a drainage plane. I would just gang them together and cut some dados every 8" or so.

Board and batt over building felt does a pretty good job of making its own vertical drainage plane by stepping the panels in and out. Good air movement behind the boards with a vented groove usually no more than 4" away. Maybe this is why this type of siding is found on so many 100 year old buildings.


Well, we have postponed our visit until next week since the houses John wants to show us will be accessible by then.  And the Original model can be expanded to 18, 20, 22, or even 24 feet...wonder what John R's plan would run  ;D

Oh and John's house is being photographed for an article in Yankee magazine, so expect the orders to roll in and production to get backed up when the article goes out.

Dustin Hollis

I have also been planning out a FirstDay in Cedar City, UT to start in March-April and am going back and forth between a Saltbox and and expanded original. The disadvantage to the expanded orginal is that the rafters start getting rather large and unwieldy and you need more people to haul them around. Also, you don't get the "vaulted" ceiling in the saltbox wing on the 1st floor. The advantage to the expanded original is you get a bit more useable space upstairs than 16', which makes planning 3 bedrooms upstairs more practical. I like the expanded orginal more than the cape, which only had windows on the ends.
I was just up there and was lucky to miss the flood! I had a fabulous time and go a chance to put up the rafters at Bill's house.


PS- I also have some pictures from putting up rafters up on my blog. Click on the link to Bill's construction pictures.


Cool, thanks for the info.  Getting very excited about our visit this weekend.
Où sont passées toutes nos nuits de rêve?
Aide-moi à les retrouver.
" I'm an engineer Cap'n, not a miracle worker"


Anyone still interested in these??

Met with David Howard last weekend.


Getting finances in order then septic approved before we sit for plans.  Think I'm going with an 18' by 33'-4" or 40'.  And if I am ambitious, the garage.  Woodstove and radiant floor heating I hope.  You?  (I do suggest you talk with some of the clients on your own to learn any snags that could happen and ask for the Bowrench.)

Any luck adding a ride in one of his cars to the deal?  I'm shooting for the Cannonball Run Ferrari ;)  Seriously, it sounds like David is a very interesting person.  I bet it is a joy to converse with him.
Où sont passées toutes nos nuits de rêve?
Aide-moi à les retrouver.
" I'm an engineer Cap'n, not a miracle worker"

Dustin Hollis

Wife and I are still going back and forth between a 22' x 40' expanded Original and a 26'x 40' Salt Box.
The 22'x40' is more money, and the posts down the middle make kitchen planning wierd, but more room upstairs.
The Saltbox is perfect for us downstairs, but upstairs- I don't know if we want to squeeze 2 small bedrooms, a  master and a bath upstairs. We're getting a basement, so we figure we can migrate kids down to the basement when they get older (now 6, 3, and 3 months).... but they're too young to put downstairs now.
We also have a budget, and don't want to spend too much.
So, we're still figuring it out.


I have a blog set up on my housebuilding research/planning and eventually building adventure, with pics from my trip and from Bill Sainden's house I worked on while I was visiting FirstDay in NH:


We liked the idea of the wider homes....until we realized the posts down the middle were tough to design around.  John said that the 18' had joists that were manageable by two people.  He also said the 16' is on the way out when the new stair codes go through.  We have a floor plan we are working on similar to the 16x40 in the literature and it seems to take care of the "issues" we had with these houses before we got more information.  Our upstairs and downstairs bathrooms are on top of each other so no exposed plumbing issues.  The wider width gives us room to have a good sized eat in kitchen.  The width will give us a nice big bedroom for the kids to share upstairs.  It is kind of a blend of the Universal plan we bought here and the Original FirstDay taking strengths from both.  Now to get the permits....

Nice site by the way.  I noticed a lot about counters....have you checked out what they do with laminates lately?  You can get a really nice looking durable counter that you could replace 3-4 times for the same amount as some of the more expensive options like slate or granite.  We really were against laminates until we saw them first hand.

What did you think of John's floor?  Cool huh?  And the loft for his daughter...our kids will love ours.  I really liked his cabinets better than the FirstDay options and a little treatment for his floor and it would be exactly what we want...a bit beat up and lived on.  His pellet stove did turn us off those though...noisy.
Où sont passées toutes nos nuits de rêve?
Aide-moi à les retrouver.
" I'm an engineer Cap'n, not a miracle worker"

John Raabe

I have lived with laminate countertops for over 20 years in our house. They are still in very good condition. The wood trim and backsplash is showing its age much more than the counters.

I almost always spec laminate for flat surfaces. There are materials that look better - especially in the glossy magazines, but nothing - not even stainless steel - is more indestructible and user friendly. And it's reasonably priced.  ;)

I just put in new flooring last month - went laminate there too. Boy is it ever easy to take care of!
None of us are as smart as all of us.


I guess there are still a few interested...

David was very nice - He's a character.  

No ride in the Ferarri, but we did check it out.  He got the car as payment when given an impossible job and asked,

"what's it gonna take?" A black 308, baby...

On the houses - John's house had some cool ideas.  I particularly liked the big kitchen.  18x16?

We also visited Rick & Shelly's 16x40 in Allstead (wow)
They did a ton of work- staining the beams, whitewashing the inside of the pine sheathing, etc...

They had an interesting kitchen as well - again maybe 16 feet long & wide, with counter along 3 walls.  It was spread out nicely & felt "open"

Alstead was devastated - we toured the ruins with David & saw where the flood actually started.  

Apparently they will be selling houses to the flood victims, below cost.  Also, he is recruiting local firstday owners to help on the builds - may be a good chance for some experience with those evil looking rafters.

18 footer is the way too go.  Some changes have been made from the original:

Roof pitch is now 9/12 - and the stairs are a scissor set up, landing just about in the middle of the second floor.  The kneewall is 4.5ft.

I'm thinking 18x36. (11 bays) with a full basement.  David drew me up a quick plan for a 10 bay with 3 bedrooms upstairs.  The floorplan works out nice for what we want.

Oh yeah - LAMINATE all day long!  
I just recovered an old countertop that I had been waiting years to fix...and couldn't believe how easy it was.  I'll be starting out with laminates in the firstday.  On top of my home-built cabinets.


My only experience with laminates for the floor was in a pretty light duty commercial setting--a bookstore's coffee shop, where it could not ever look clean--soon after installation.  

Maybe they used the wrong kind of cleaners or something, but it truly always looked dreadful.

I've always had Formica--or Wilsonart or whatever--counters.  If I remember not to slice "just a few" vegetables on it it's wonderful.  But since I do do that, I'm wondering about other possibillities.


Speaking of laminates, I saw some interesting ones the other day that looked like stainless steel. Very cool. Ill try to find the link later.
I still think I will go with a combo of butcher block and soapstone or granite for my counters. I've had tile and now Corian, and I just like the look of real stone.

Hmm. I didn't think of this, but perhaps I could do a 18' x36 with the saltbox bumpout.... I'll have to ask David about it.

That would solve a LOT of problems. Now I have to get out the graph paper again..

They're changing the stairs, you say? I'll have to talk to David.


Yep - the stair is the scissor stair they have been talking about.  Takes up 2 bays and about half the width of the 18 footer.

When pulling out the graph paper realize something that Ididn't...The new roof pitch along with the scissor stair means hallway down the middle of the house.

The example I have shows the saltbox add on at 10' in length with a 5'6" final wall hight. This follows the roofline without a step.


Interesting...I'll have to consider that.  Sounds like you could get John's Universal floor plan as a FirstDay then...Any enlightnement on radiant heat with these?  I understand they send T&G decking with one groove cut off to put the tubes in.  But that means you have to cover over that beautiful wood with something else  :o  I dunno if I want to do that, but the benefit may be worth it.
Où sont passées toutes nos nuits de rêve?
Aide-moi à les retrouver.
" I'm an engineer Cap'n, not a miracle worker"


Yeah,  now that I think of it - It sets up just the same .  With 3 bedrooms upstairs.

Not sure about the radiant - David seems to talk alot about using radiant in the basement.

Check out the Radnet for more technical info.


A reply from John at Firstday:

What we do is supply 2 x 6's instead of the tongue and groove decking.  

You lay (2) 2 x 6's, then a .75 square piece of wood that you've ripped...then two more 2 x 6's etc, etc.  

The tubing runs on the top of the .75 square nestled between the 2 x 6's.

You then lay out 1 x 8 T&G (same stuff that you use for the walls) right over the top of it all and that is your finished flooring.

See what he means here:


Yeah, that's what I thought.  I wasn't sure if they supplied the top T&G.  And John had said they supply T&G without one of the grooves..whichever, works fine by me.  Did you get to see the difference between one constructed with hammers and one with nail gun?  I'm not sure which way I'll go...with a hammer, the nails do show but no big deal...with a nail gun the nail penetrates deep (easy Glenn) but you could go back with sawdust and glue to fill in those holes.  I got to see both when we went up.  I know David dislikes nail guns, but John seemed to think they are fine.
Où sont passées toutes nos nuits de rêve?
Aide-moi à les retrouver.
" I'm an engineer Cap'n, not a miracle worker"


I didn't notice-but John had mentioned NOT using a nail gun on the goalposts (bents) - as they will be seen later.  I think he also told me that he wetted down his beams to hide any hammer marks.

I guess he used a gun on his siding & probably the inner sheathing.

Are you going to install a woodstove?

glenn kangiser

I think your gun can be set for variable penetration Daddymem- it doesn't always have to go in deep.  Just back it off a little. :-/

We won't talk about steel right now.
"Always work from the general to the specific." J. Raabe

Glenn's Underground Cabin

Please put your area in your sig line so we can assist with location specific answers.


Yeah I'm looking to install a woodstove.  I really like the looks of the Jotuls.  Hopefully we can use it primarily.  I have visions of rigging it up to work with the radiant heat too.

I know nothing about nail guns.  Guess you can say I am virginal glenn  ;D  I do know that when I use a hammer, you sure can tell it.  That is why I am unsure if I should explore using a gun or just hammer away at scrap wood until I get the hang of it.  I'm trying to remember which book I read that in...Working Alone maybe?  The book also suggested a heavier hammer than what contractors use...less blows to penetrate.  You experts, how true is that?  Anyone have information about the grades of wood?  These FirstDay cottages are made from "European" grade wood, "Japanese" grade was also mentioned.  I understand this has to do with the visual quality of the wood (knots, warps, bark), anything else (density, rot)?

Did you buy plans Chuck?  As soon as we get an ok on the septic and our equity line gets approved ($%&!#@$% bankers) we plan to pull our hat down tight and LeDoux it.
Où sont passées toutes nos nuits de rêve?
Aide-moi à les retrouver.
" I'm an engineer Cap'n, not a miracle worker"


heavier hammers?

a) experience does count, but some angles and materials are miserable to nail.  When I was doing a lot of framing, up into a fascia board defeated me.  I'm slowly getting my chops back.

b) Currently I'm using a non-standard Estwing 20 oz. with an all-purpose handle.  It feels pretty good, but I may switch back to my old blue handled Estwing 16 oz.  But I do know people who had to have either fiberglass or wood handles.  It's a matter of taste.

I figure that the classic framing hammers--22-27 oz with the checked face, ultra long handles are not for me.  If I use the wrong hammer for almost any length of time, I'm facing a sore elbow for weeks.  (ick)   This was true when I was in my 30's.

But the "wrong hammer" could be the first on the rack in the store of seven apparently identical, the third could be the right one, especially with wood.  So swing a bunch.  You can't tell how the impact will affect your elbow and shoulder, but you can tell a lot.

c) Too light hammers are pretty useless for, say, a 16d triple galvanized nail.  A bigger hammer sometimes does make sense.  And vice versa.


Oh, yes, and I believe it's considered kosher to pre-drill big spikes.