All posts by kimberly.marvel@hotmail.com

Post #23: The Frame & Window Game

Hey all! Long time and no post, huh? My apologies, as I know you’ve been holding your breath, right? But I hope all is well with all of you!!! It’s been an incredibly busy late fall and early winter, but there is lots to report on in regards to the farmhouse. We hit the huge milestone of completing framing last week (yay!) Now it’s on to less exciting, but still very critical things, like installation and HVAC. But here’s a recap of how framing went…Oh! We have windows now too (so pretty!)

 

Our framing crew started in late September. September 26th to be exact, which was exactly one month after George, Walker and David started framing in the workshop. First, they prepped the foundation with installation and support boards. Then came a layer of plywood.

Then the walls started going up…

 

Along the way, we had a crane day, where metal support beams were installed to ensure structural integrity.

Then more walls went up. As they finished them, the walls were wrapped in plywood sheathing. (In the above photo, the framed in garage bays are on the left, the great room portion of the home is in the center, and the start of the bonus room wing is on the right. Also included is David’s truck “Rosie” who has spent lots of time being a delivery truck these past few months, picking up everything from lumber to lunches and the like…)

 

By mid-October, it was time for the crew to move onward and upward and start framing the 2nd story of the farmhouse. As you may recall, the second story only runs along the east side of the house. Here will be a loft, a laundry room and the master suite.(The start of the attic space above the garage.)

(View from the master bedroom.)

 

By early November, things got all sorts of technical, as they installed the roof trusses in the great room. Our head framer, Julian, had the ingenious idea of having the crew build the trusses on the ground ahead of time, and then they were installed them with the help of a crane.

The 60 foot header beam to anchor the 2nd story roof was also installed via crane.

Once the main beam was installed the roof could be framed out.

 

Next, it was time to start structural steel work on the silo and focus efforts on framing the bonus room wing. (Do you like how Walker is wearing shorts in mid-November? It was a wonderfully and abnormally warm fall this year in Colorado, which made framing so much easier than having to do it in freezing temperatures!)

 (The rings were welded into place on site and then raised up via forklift.)

 

Next came framing work on the clear story portion of the great room (the row of windows that pop up from the top of the roof.)

Also during this time, our concrete crew came back to pour slabs for the the posts for the front and back porches, the patio off of the dog room (yes, our dogs are getting their own patio…) and the 2 fireplaces.(This is the foreman of the concrete crew, Omar. After claiming to not know what work or a wheelbarrow was, David, George, and Walker made him reluctantly pitch in one afternoon…)

 

By mid-November, we had windows going in. We went with options from the Integrity line and the Ultimate line of Marvin Windows. All of the windows are black on the outside and white on the inside, except for the ones in the bonus room. (Those are black on the outside and stained wood on the inside.) We had a tough time choosing between Marvin windows and Kolbe windows, but Marvin’s offering of 2 lines of windows to choose from that you can easily mix and match for cost savings, won out in the end. Because at the end of the day, there are certain windows you are going to spend lots of time looking out of and then there’s a window like the one below in the guest bedroom bathroom that going to give someone a view while they brush their teeth maybe 5 times a year. Sorry guest bathroom window! We still love you all the same! Also our window rep, Bobby was and continues to be exceptional to work with!

We also (finally) got our first snow of the season on November 19th.

 

By December, the crew started installing the amazingly crafted timber beams that Walker had spent weeks putting together onto the front and back porches. (Needless to say, I think Walker was excited about his handiwork!)(SOOOOO gorgeous!)

Our silo also got it’s wooden top, and our fireplace and chimney was framed out. (Our head framer, Julian, once again saved us time and money with his quick, ingenious thinking. Instead of having to rent another crane and operator to install the centerpiece [a.k.a. “the nuclear warhead,” as the guys called it,] into place, Julian decided to try hoisting it with this manual lift that we’d rented to help lift Walker’s timber frame beams into place. Success!)

Christmas came early and on December 22nd, the windows I’ve so been looking forward to were installed – the huge windows will run along the stairs leading from the first floor to the second floor and the windows on the north side of the great room.

Our plywood roof was covered in weathershield wrap to protect it from the elements and prepare it for the actual metal roof (to be installed later on,) but apparently it couldn’t hold up to the 90 mph wind gusts that we had on Christmas day, as some of it blew away! But it’s only money, right? 🙂

After Christmas, we got even more presents, as we had the huge, glass sliding doors installed in the great room.

The new year of 2017 was ushered in with some brutal cold and more winds, but we had windows installed in the clearstory. (The branch you see on the chimney is an old, Dutch building tradition. Walker placed a branch on both the workshop and the farmhouse, explaining that “A branch on top of a newly standing structure represents good fortune and fortitude for not only the building, but it’s inhabitants, as well. It’s an ancient tradition of good blessings.”) 

 

After wrapping up some lingering odds and ends for the next 2 weeks (minus several days where it was too cold or too windy to work,) the last piece of sheathing was put into place in mid-January. (Before finishing work for the day, Eric, one of our framers, paid homage to his home country on the garage roof. Unfortunately, it dumped about 10 inches of snow in the next 24 hours, so his shout out was soon buried in fresh powder.)

With the exception of having the windows in the silo, the garage doors in the garage, and a front door in the front, we’re all closed in for the winter. (The final piece goes on…)

And that ladies and gentleman, is a wrap on framing and windows!

I’ll try to keep the blog posts coming more frequently now. We’re getting to so much good stuff now, and I appreciate you all following along!

 

‘Til next time,

Kim

 

 

 

 

 

Post #22: The Workshop

As mentioned in my last post, I’ve never given you any insight into the plans for David’s workshop. So might as well do it now, huh?

As you might be able to recall, a space for a workshop in which David could pursue his love of fine woodworking was one of the main reasons we bought the property. The city of Denver was making it difficult for us to re-do the garage at our current house to turn it into a workshop, and after awhile, it became clear that space-wise, we were trying to fit a square peg into a round hole anyway. So off on a house hunt we went, and settled on our 1.5 acre property that you see me blog about every so often…

Initially David envisioned the workshop to look like your classic, red barn. Over time, that evolved into something more modern. It was so long ago, that I honestly don’t remember exactly when the classic barn idea morphed into more of a loafing shed look, but somewhere along the line it did.

Here’s some visual help, if you need it…

red-barn Red Barn

loafing-shed Loafing Shed Style of Outbuilding

When we visited the horse trainer/my 2nd mother that I grew up riding horses with back in Pennsylvania over New Year’s, David fell in love with the indoor ring renovation that they had completed at Penny’s farm. In particular, he loved the use of the almost, see-thru polygal siding on the upper third of the structure, as it let in all sorts of natural light, even on an overcast day. He quickly knew he wanted to use polygal on his workshop.

The Indoor Arena at Penny’s:hrf2 hrf1 (Penny suggested using clear polygal instead of the kind with a blue tint for less shadows from the inside. Noted…)

When we returned from Pennsylvania, David stumbled across a photo of this garage/workshop online. He was instantly in love!

workshop-inspiration1

It was the loafing shed style that he liked, it incorporated polygal into the upper third to let in natural light, and just for bonus points, this structure even featured the concrete pad that still allows grass to grow thru, which he knew I’d like anything that had this! Needless to say, he’d found his inspiration shop!

Over the next few months, plans for David’s own workshop began to develop. Here’s what his will look like…

WorkshopHere are the exterior elevations of David’s workshop from the north, south, east and west.

As you can see, the floorpan for the shop, is a simple 48′ x 24′ rectangle. On the northeast side of the shop will be a small half-bathroom with a window, as shown in the exterior. I keep joking that they better not build a shower in the bathroom, or I will literally never see David again!

The workshop is located on the northwest corner of our property. The location was strategic, as our hope is that the structure will help to block some of the occasional road noise that occurs. Also, Dave would like to sub-lease the space to other woodworkers, so it made sense to have the workshop at the front of the property for easy access and proximity to parking.

Here’s how the workshop relates to the rest of our property. As you pull into the driveway, it will immediately be on your right-hand side:

Site Plan

Here is how the workshop will look from the south, or from the farmhouse’s front door:

workshop1

In addition to the polygal to let in natural light, there will also be a window on the southwest side of the workshop. There will also be a man door on the southeast side.

The east side of the workshop will have a few small windows, as well as a large door that will make bringing wood into the shop very easy. There will be a slight overhang of the roof on this side too, to provide protection from the elements and to give David a protected space to work outside on wood pieces too.

The west wall of the shop will feature four small windows.

We plan to clad the exterior of the workshop in stained cedar siding that we also plan to use on the garage doors and the front porch.

cedar exterior Example of stained cedar siding

For the windows, David selected simple vinyl windows with a dark green exterior.

cedar-siding-and-green-windows                                                                                                                  Here’s the best example photo of cedar siding with green windows that I could find. Just imagine that it’s the stained cedar siding shown in the photo above and not un-treated cedar shingles…

Other than the small bathroom in the northeast corner, the interior of the workshop is just a blank, open space of roughly 1152 square feet. This will allow David to customize and outfit the shop with machinery and wood as he sees fit. I do know he’ll go with hardwood flooring of some sort, as no one wants to stand on concrete all day if you can avoid it.

At this point in construction, the foundation and the concrete slab base for the workshop have been poured.

seal and foundation

floor-pouring-august-9workshop-framing3

The plumbing for the bathroom has been roughed in.

plumbing1

And the framing went up in no time at all!

workshop-framing4

The roof trusses have also been installed via a crane. I love how these trusses look aesthetically. Thankfully, you will be able to view them in their rawness from the inside of the finished workshop too.

trusses4trusses2trusses11trusses10

The exterior has been sheathed in plywood.

sheathing1sheathing2

And most recently, the plywood that the roofing material will be laid on top of went into place. The windows will be installed with the windows for the house on Monday, November 7th. At that point, it will just be a lot of finishing, but the workshop will be roughly halfway done.

Here’s how things are looking from the inside:

workshop11

And here’s how things are looking from what will one day be our master bedroom (more on that progress soon…):

workshop12

Things are really moving along…all in the right direction too! 🙂

 

Thanks so much for reading!

 

-Kim

Post #21: Construction Updates or “There Is No Progress Unless You Make a Mess”

This quote by Tanya Radic pretty much sums up how things have been progressing at the farmhouse over the last month:

there-is-no-progress-unless-you-make-a-mess

After what seemed like nothing short of sluggish progress in the 2 months prior, the month of August and early September has certainly made up for lost time! Tons have happened and much of it all at the same time! Our property now often resembles a parking lot there are so many people there accomplishing different tasks on any given day. It’s a beautiful mess of dirt flying, machine engines running, nail guns firing, and it’s all so exciting! I can’t help but hope this momentum continues!

Here’s what’s been shakin’:

Concrete Work:

If you can recall from my last blog post, we’d finished with the foundation walls, but things had sat idle for long enough that weeds were now growing where our floors would one day go…

weeds2weeds1

Thankfully, that’s been addressed by our handy concrete crew. They dug out all the extra dirt from areas where needed, as well as leveled out, insulated and poured concrete floors for the garage and workshop.

concrete17floor-pouring-august1 floor-pouring-august-9 Hard at work on David’s workshop…

floor-pouring-august10floor-pouring-august7Future garage and mudroom…

Additionally they leveled out and graveled the floor of what will be the crawl space below our home. In time this will be insulated with a plastic barrier and spray foam insulation, so it will be as dry and sealed as if we did a basement down there. The crew also poured concrete pads that will support structural steel.floor-pouring-august-8

 

Structural Steel:

Another crucial update to the farmhouse structure has been the installation of structural steel. As mentioned above, some of the steel has been anchored to the concrete pads poured in what will be the floor of our crawl space. Other steel beams run across the farmhouse foundation to support what will be built above it.structural-steel1structural-steel2structural-steel4

 

Plumbing:

Another important task that has now been crossed off the never ending “to do” list was to install plumbing for the farmhouse and workshop. This task was completed by Quick’s Hoe Service (not sure if the name is supposed to be a joke or not.) Quick’s dog Pinto was the crew’s supervisor for this job. He even rode on the heavy equipment used to dig the trenches, SO cute!pinto-the-hoe-service-dog Trenches were dug and pipes were laid to connect plumbing to the farmhouse and workshop to the water and sewer tap that was actually located under the pavement in the street. So of course, this meant disrupting traffic for a bit to tap into everything. Everything went well though!

plumbing4 plumbing3plumbing2 As David quite crassly, but rather hysterically, pointed out to friends when showing them this picture, “This is where my poop will go…”

plumbing1So this part got a little bit dicey. Remember how high our water table is out at the farmhouse site? (It’s dig down 3 feet and you’ll have a stream in no time high.) In order to accommodate plumbing in the workshop, and not have plumbing running underneath what will someday be the driveway to the right of this photo, the crew had to carefully dig their trenches right around the base of the workshop. Of course the trenches started filling up immediately with water, to the point that everyone started freaking out that the workshop foundation might slide in. Of course it worked out just fine, but David (who never gets stressed out) said that it was terrifyingly stressful! Good thing that Pinto was supervising the job, right?

sewer-tap  Why does everyone look so concerned?sewer-tap1sewer-tap2sewer-tap3  Success!

In addition to water, we are also happy to report that there is now temp. power at the job site! This means no more running of generators to power things! Now there are just endless tangles of extension cords running from the temp. power main to various parts of the site.

power

Framing & Workshop Supports:

Our contractor George (on the right-hand side in the photo below,) trusted right-hand man Walker (on the left-hand side in the photo below,) and David (not pictured) began the exciting process of framing the workshop 3 weeks ago. I know that I owe you a more detailed post on the plans for the workshop, so I promise to get that out soon! But in the meantime, here are how things are taking shape…workshopframe1  workshop-framing3Day one of framing. From left to right: Walker Melzer, David Harrison and George Harrisonworkshop-framing4  Walls are in place…

workshop-hardware                                                                                          To reinforce and strengthen the workshop walls, a cabling system was installed within the walls themselves. It’s too bad that all of this cool cabling will be hidden behind drywall eventually, but I guess that’s just how it goes sometimes…

 

Final Excavation & Backfill Work:

As you may or may not recall, there used to be an enormous mound of fill dirt towards the back of the property. The property’s previous owner had brought the dirt in in anticipation of building here. On top of the fill dirt that was already on the property, the crews added extensively to the mounds while digging the foundation and the plumbing trenches. A fair amount of the mound was used as backfill to even things out and bring dirt up closer to the foundation again once it was completed. The remaining dirt was then flattened and leveled out to give us a big, beautiful blank slate of a back yard. Can’t wait to fill it in with grass and all sorts of fun stuff!pic-of-mound-august Before: Part of what the mound in our future backyard looked like.

no-more-moundAfter: No more mound. David and his Dad walk the blank slate, September 4, 2016

 

Roof Trusses:

Most recently, with the framing on the workshop now complete, the roof trusses (or supports) were installed on Friday (with the help of a big, huge crane, of course.) All in all, it’s looking great!

crane1crane3trusses3trusses4 trusses1 trusses2

Thanks for reading and following along on our progress! It’s been a fun, but crazy busy summer with the farmhouse and other parts of life. Here’s hoping for a bit of a slow down this fall, so I can do a better job of keeping you all informed on the progress and up-to-date on the design.

Best,

Kim

Post #20: Construction Update, a.k.a. “The Dog Days of Summer”

Sorry kids, it’s been awhile. I hope you are all doing well, and I appreciate you coming back to read after a few weeks off from blogging.

It certainly has been the “dog days of summer” around these parts as of late. The strong Colorado sunshine has made temperatures well into the mid to upper 90’s for well over a month and rain has been sporadic. The earth seems slow and lethargic, but life outside of home building has been anything but, so I apologize again for the lack of posts as of late.

The good news is that you haven’t missed much in regards to construction updates, as it would appear that our home building adventure has also been suffering from the “dog days of summer,” with progress being very, very S-L-O-WWWWW! Oh well, thank goodness this isn’t a race, and as the U.S. Olympic gold medalist sprinter, Harrison “Bones” Dillard exclaimed after finally winning a coveted gold medal at the 1952 Helsinki games, “Good things come to those who wait.” (Although I always found it pretty ironic that a sprinter said this…)

Anyway, in the last 5 weeks…

The foundation has been sealed and insulated and drains have been installed…

seal and foundation

 

And backfill has been completed. As you may recall, we hit water after only a few feet of digging when trying to first do our foundation. This lead to the decision to raise the farmhouse up a few feet more in order to avoid future water problems. In attempts to not have what might appear to look like a farmhouse on stilts, the crew brought in backfill. Backfill is basically bringing loads of dirt back up to the foundation to even out the look….

Before backfill from the front:

foundation2

After backfill from the front:

backfill front back fill with Roz (Such a cute little doggie! Roswell is literally in his “dog days of summer,” too…)

 

Before backfill from the silo:

foundation prep3

foundation3

After backfill from the silo:backfill silo

 

 

Next steps will be to do the initial plumbing, structural steel work, and bringing in temporary electricity.

In closing, I leave you with this thought… You know you must be progressing on your farmhouse very slowly when your foundation dirt starts to grow weeds…

weeds1weeds2

 

Wishing you all a  a wonderful weekend ahead!!! (Cooler temperatures in store for Denver this weekend! Can’t wait!!!)

 

Thanks so much for reading!

-Kim

 

Post #19: Our Durango/Mesa Verde Camping Trip, Spring, 2016 – Part 2

We recently had a wonderful trip to southwestern Colorado with 2 of our 3 dogs. (You can read more about it here.) An activity we pursued that truly deserved its own blog post was our visit to Mesa Verde National Park…

We got up early on the second day of our camping trip in order to get the dogs out, as well as to get packed up and ready to go to a place that I’ve wanted to visit since I learned about Native Americans in 2nd grade – Mesa Verde National Park! We dropped the dogs off at Healthy Hounds and Fat Cats, a highly recommended doggie daycare in town, as dogs are not allowed in the national park. We then drove to Mesa Verde.

It was so special to visit such an iconic national park on the National Park’s centennial year. Although, I do think that they need to charge a heck of a whole lot more than a $10/car entrance fee and $4.50 per person for an hour long guided tour, so they can continue to restore and preserve the cliff dwellings for many more years to come, but that’s just me. The park staff who worked at the Welcome Center were so incredibly helpful in helping you map out your day. They truly were passionate about the park and its iconic history.

Mesa Verde National Park is home to ancient cliff dwellings that were built by the ancestral Pueblo people back in 1200-1300 A.D. The fact that so many of these ancient homes are still in tact is unbelieveable and the fact that you can actively visit and explore them is even more so.

Here is a wonderful, short summary of the Ancestral Puebloans life in the area of Mesa Verde from the website visitmesaverde.com:

Mesa Verde National Park offers a spectacular look into the lives of the Ancestral Puebloans, a group of people living in the Four Corners region who chose Mesa Verde for their home. For more than 700 years they and their descendants lived and flourished in this region, eventually building elaborate stone communities in the sheltered alcoves of the canyon walls. Then, in the late A.D. 1200s, in the span of a generation or two, they left their homes and moved away.

The cliff dwellings of Mesa Verde are some of the most notable and best preserved ruins in the North American continent. Sometime during the late 1190s, after primarily living on the mesa top for 600 years, many Ancestral Puebloans began living in pueblos they built beneath the overhanging cliffs. The structures ranged in size from one-room storage units to villages of more than 150 rooms. While still farming the mesa tops, they continued to reside in the alcoves, repairing, remodeling, and constructing new rooms for nearly a century. By the late 1270s, the population began migrating south into present-day New Mexico and Arizona. By 1300, the Ancestral Puebloan occupation of Mesa Verde ended.

It was about a 45 minute drive from the Welcome Center to the viewable destinations in the park. Lots of the park has been affected by forest fires over the year, but thankfully none of the fires have damaged the cliff dwellings or park buildings. I always find driving through the burn scars of forest fires hauntingly beautiful. It’s a reminder of the power of Mother Nature and her ability to cause destruction, while also continuing to allow life to remain flourishing there afterwards.

MV - burn scar1 MV - burn scar2

There are a variety of hikes and driving tours that you can take that have various stops along the way to see cliff dwellings as well as the homes that the Ancestral Puebloans lived in before moving down into the cliff houses. We did the Mesa Top Loop Road before we went on our guided tour of Balcony House.

Here is a photo of Cliff Palace, the largest and most famous of all of the cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde, that we were able to see from afar during our driving tour. Unfortunately this area is currently being restored and repaired, so it’s closed to visitors.  MV - Cliff Palace

You can see workers repairing Cliff Palace in the lower right-hand side of this photo: MV - Cliff Palace

At 1:00pm, we met at the trail entrance to Balcony House.

Here’s what we learned in more detail about the cliff dwellings on our guided tour from Park Ranger Jim (to the best of my understanding and recollection, of course…)

MV - Tour Guide Here is Park Ranger Jim, our tour guide for our visit to Balcony House. He was a total character and had tons of goofy jokes, but he knew his stuff and was incredibly passionate about sharing it with you. I also really liked his uniform!

The Ancestral Puebloan people lived in structures on top of the canyon for 600 years and farmed successfully there. Then sometime in 1190 AD, a massive drought hit the area and their crops dried up and life was wasting away. Encountering the same plight, the ancestral people living nearby in the flatlands below the canyon resorted to violence and word of this made its way to the Puebloans on top of the canyon. Unsettled by the news of violence and unrest, and believing that the drought was being caused by some spiritual disconnect they’d developed with their gods (i.e. they figured it wasn’t raining anymore because something was wrong with their rain dances,) they decided to build, and then move into, pueblo homes built into  the overhanging walls of the cliffs. By doing this, the Puebloans thought they could reconnect with their gods and improve their lives and crops. While they lived below the canyon, the Puebloans still climbed to the canyon top daily in order to farm. After 80-100 years of living in the cliff dwellings and trying to improve their spiritual and physical lives, the Puebloans left and migrated south to New Mexico. Ranger Jim believes that they left in search of better climate and farmland, and because they had no other option in order to survive.

Here is what Balcony House as a whole looks like from the other side of the canyon:balcony_house_556 Source

Balcony House is considered to be a medium sized cliff dwelling. It contains 40 rooms and many kivas, or round sunken room used for religious ceremonies and other spiritual purposes.

To get to Balcony House, you have to go down a short trail and then descend a 100 foot metal staircase that was installed by the park. To enter Balcony house, you must climb up a 32-foot ladder. The Ancestral Puebloans climbed in using hand and foot holds that they carved into the cliffs. Could you imagine essentially rock climbing up into your home every day after a long days work as an unsuccessful farmer? I’ll take the 32-foot ladder any day!

MV - Ladder Up to Cliff Dwelling Our brave tour group climbing up the ladder into Balcony House.

After climbing the ladder, we had to use some of the foot holds that were carved by the Puebloans to enter into where the Ancestral Puebloans lived. MV - Foot Holes

Then we had the opportunity to look around and view the kivas as well as the individual rooms where the Puebloans lived.

MV - Cliff Wall The entrance into where the Puebloans lived and worshiped. Yes, that’s a cliff wall on the right-hand side of this photo!

MV - Cliff Dwelling1

MV - Wall

MV - Kiva This is what the inside of a kiva (room used for spiritual purposes) looks like. Notice the ring in the middle of the room. This is where one’s fire would go.

MV - Change in doorway The rectangular cutouts are not windows, these are entrances to sleeping rooms. The size of the entrance also gives you an idea as to how tiny the Ancestral Puelboans were. Ranger Jim also told us that it is believed that these openings were intentionally kept small for some sort of spiritual protection reason. To the left you can see a doorway that was later renovated and filled in to separate this area from other areas of the dwelling. This indicates that the Puebloans were constantly trying new things in order to improve their spiritual well-being, as they believed the drought was caused by a spiritual disconnect.

MV - Tour Group Some of our tour group by a kiva.

MV - Cliff Dwellings View  Apparently multiple families of all ages and generations lived in the cliff dwelling with no barriers on the dwelling’s edge. I couldn’t even bring myself to go to the edge and look at how far down the drop was! The round room in this photo is another kiva. The rooms on the right-hand side of the photo are additional rooms. They were not sleeping rooms though, as they did not have fire pits in them.

After climbing another set of foot holds and viewing additional sleeping rooms and kivas, it was time to exit Balcony House. This was no simple feat. This required you to crawl 120 feet through a tunnel that was cut into the cliff wall that was only 18 inches wide . Half-way through the tunnel there was also a boulder that you had to climb over, and the width and height of the tunnel didn’t get any wider or taller at that point. It was crazy, but really fun. Needless to say, this tour is not for anyone who is claustrophobic or has a fear of heights!

MV - Tunnel 2 The entrance to the tunnel. This was the only way out of Balcony House, and it was used daily by the Ancestral Puebloans, so they could go back to the top of the canyon to farm. My apologies to this person and their backside, wherever you are.

MV - tunnel2 Here is David exiting the tunnel. The barred gate was installed for security purposes by the park. But very few accommodations or alterations have been made to the original structures themselves.

Ranger Jim explained that it is believed that the Ancestral Puebloans made entering and exiting the cliff dwellings so difficult for (surprise) some sort of spiritual reason. I’m going with the idea that they were hoping to keep their worship places all the more protected and sacred, but I’m clearly not a historian.

After going through the tunnel, you had to use another ladder and more foot holds to go up a steep 60-foot slope to exit Balcony House (thankfully for safety, the park has installed a chain rail.) I still can’t fathom people of all ages making this trek on a daily basis.MV - Steep Stairs Out This was the easiest portion of the climb.

All in all, Mesa Verde is a fascinating place to visit and I would highly recommend it. Honestly I wish we had more time there, but perhaps we’ll just have to go back someday, huh?

MV - D&K

The terriers made out great in doggie daycare for the day too, in case you were wondering 😉

Thanks so much for reading! (We head out on vacation to Boston, Vermont and Lake Placid, New York this week. After we return, I promise I’ll get back to farmhouse stuff soon!)

 

‘Til next time,

Kim

Post #18: Detours – Our Durango/Mesa Verde Camping Trip, Spring, 2016 – Part 1

A few weeks ago, we had the lovely opportunity to get away from it all for 5 days, so we headed out to explore the southwestern part of the state. It was great to pack up our trailer, Minnie Winnie, again and we looked forward to exploring an area that neither of us had spent much time in. Now that we’ve been, I can’t wait to go back!!! “It’s just so livable here,” David said…

We set out first thing on a Monday morning with two of three dogs in tow. Roswell, our 10 year-old corgi mix partially tore his ACL ligament so was ordered to 2 weeks of house arrest and rest. Thankfully David’s cousin, Teresa, was kind enough to watch him while we were gone. Although he was in the best of hands, we did miss him terribly.

Anyway, Chico, our 7 year-old Jack Russell mix loves riding in David’s truck, and is always up for an adventure.      SilvetonOuray2

And little Zeke, our 2 year-old Mini Pin/Chihuahua-on-Stilts mix, loves getting out and about too, but a 6-hour truck ride made him a little carsick. Thankfully him getting carsick just means sleeping a lot during the second half of the ride. But it warmed my heart immensely to look out my side mirror and see both of the terrier’s happy little faces as we rolled thru the vast Colorado countryside.SilvertonOuray1

The drive from Denver to Durango is about 6 hours, but it’s a breathtakingly beautiful drive. The mountains are almost always in sight and you drive through an endless stream of open spaces, working ranches, farm fields (freshly planted with alfalfa and potatoes,) pasture land, and sleepy little towns. The sight that blew me away the most was looking out my window to see enormous green pastures filled with hearty, well fed horses by a lake or pond in the shadow of our state’s beautiful mountains. Colorado is a notoriously dry state, but the amount of lakes, rivers, streams, and ponds we drove by might make you think otherwise. We stopped only once along the way to let the terriers out to stretch their legs and do their business. We pulled the Minnie Winnie into a parking lot of a Catholic church (we figured that the good Lord wouldn’t mind,) that had been servicing the one-stoplight town since 1880. I could only imagine what Colorado looked like back then.

We pulled into the town of Durango, Colorado in the late afternoon and made our way to Alpen Rose RV Park. Seriously, I know we’re relatively new at this whole trailer camping thing, but I think this place has to be one of the nicest RV parks ever! First and foremost, it came equipped with a spotless, 2-acre fenced in dog park. The terriers truly enjoyed a good run and fetch session after a long day in the truck. We instantly made friends with the sweetest couple from Nantucket named Jeanie and Mike. Their little golden doodle, Ruby, became Chico and Zeke’s new girlfriend for the week. Jeanie and Mike had been traveling the country for six weeks and they agreed that Alpen Rose was amazing! The shower facilities were top notch and the staff and guests were beyond friendly. The front office even made homemade pizzas and would deliver them to your campsite via golf cart! We were really roughing it, huh? Alpen Rose The front half of Alpen Rose RV Park. We were lucky to snag a site in the back shaded by lovely mature trees. This place was amazing! The dog park is in the center of this photo along the driveway.

SilvertonOuray3SilvertonOuray4 The terriers anxiously awaiting a trip to the dog park…

On Tuesday, still exhausted from a long horse show day on Sunday, we set out to explore some nearby towns. A little over an hour and one crazy drive over a mountain pass later, we arrived in Silverton, CO. Settled in 1861 (and re-settled in 1871 as miners were forced out by the Ute Indians in 1861,) Silverton is a rugged little town filled with a great history of surviving in the west. It’s history in silver and gold mining is ever present, as there is a shrine to miners on top of the steep mountain surrounding town.

christ of the mines shirne  Source

We walked the town with the terriers in town and fell in love with all of the brightly painted western buildings on the main drag. The little town was riddled in history and I would have loved to see it back in the day when it was home to over 40 saloons and all sorts of post-mining debauchery. For being such a small town, there were a lot of churches too though, so I’m sure it wasn’t all bad 🙂 The town is rugged, but what else would you expect when to get in or out your only choices are drive over one mountain pass in one direction or to drive over two mountain passes in the other! I think I could seriously live there in a heartbeat though – I just loved it!

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SilvertonOuray5

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SilvetonOuray7

An hour or so later (got caught in some high country road work delays) we made our way to Ouray, CO. David recalls driving thru the town with friends in college, and had always wanted to make it back. He even remembered to take a stop at the most impressive waterfall I’ve ever laid eyes that is just outside of town.

SilvertonOuray9

Ouray Waterfall (click to see video!) 

Established as a mining town in 1875, Ouray was once home to over 30 mines. Now it is largely a tourist town and starting point for outdoor activities such as hiking, off-roading, jeep tours, hot springs, and cultural festivals. Ouray hails itself as the “Switzerland of America.” It’s population is roughly 1,000 people compared to Silverton’s 531, so it’s Main Street is larger and more established. Interesting note, (thanks wikipedia,) the original version of the movie True Grit was filmed in Ouray in 1968.

SilvertonOuray13

SilvertonOuray11

SilvertonOuray10

We had a lunch of cold smoked salmon with dill sauce and the best baked beans I’ve ever had in my life, on the rooftop patio of Ouray Brewery. Talk about a great place to see the amazing mountain views you get from town! I also loved the brewery’s slogan!

SilvertonOuray12

At this point in the day, it looked like it might storm, so we bagged our hike and drove back to the RV park. The terriers were rewarded for being such great travelers and tourists that day (so not our style, but so fun to do!) with an extra long play session at the dog park. Thinking we’d might as well be the biggest tourists we could be (and we also needed a few items from the grocery store,) we headed into the town of Durango to walk around.

Durango is much larger than the 2 little towns we visited earlier in the day. In fact, it’s the largest town in the area with a population of over 16,000. The town was organized by the Denver and Rio Grande Railroads in 1881, and is now home to many cultural attractions, outdoor attractions, and Fort Lewis College. (thanks wikipedia!) It is also home to most delicious fresh mint chocolate chip ice cream ever tasted! Go to Cream Bean Berry! You won’t be disappointed!

One thing that was really neat, although pretty obvious when you stop and think about it, was that each of the towns we visited had a beautifully grand and lovingly restored/maintained old hotel. The Strater Hotel in Durango was gorgeous!

strater3 Source

On Wednesday night after going to Mesa Verde National Park (another blog post all in itself!) we headed back into Durango to have dinner at Carver Brewing Company. Carvers is owned by brothers Bill and Jim, and Lori Silcox (the younger sister of Penny Silcox – the horse trainer I grew up riding with as a kid and the woman who is my 2nd mom in life) married Jim many years ago. So I’ve wanted to go to Carvers for as long as I knew that Penny had a sister who lived in Durango! The food is killer and filled with all local ingredients, and the atmosphere and decor is second to none.

Carvers Source

carvers bike

On Thursday, we headed to Salida, CO. (We wanted to break up the drive some on the way home.) The gorgeous juxtaposition of the clouds bleeding into the mountains that we viewed the whole way there was truly breathtaking and, as always, I was so grateful to live where I do.

moffat This photo doesn’t even do it justice…

We stayed at Four Seasons RV Park, which was just ok in my opinion. The facilities were a bit worn out and the fact that there were signs everywhere telling you not to do this, or not to do that (i.e. don’t park on the lawn, pick up after your pet, etc.) made the place seem a little grumpy. The scenery could not be beat though, nor could it’s proximity to town.

four seasons rv Source

It was a grey, rainy afternoon, so we just walked the terriers around town. Salida is an adorable, artsy town with brightly painted bungalow homes. I could definitely spend a lot of time going in and out of their various galleries, shops, and restaurants.

Salida1

salida2Salida3Salida4     When was the last time you were in a Five & Dime?!?!?!

The pizza at Moonlight Pizza was delicious (the added ingredient of cream cheese on top gave their pies a unique creaminess,) and I strongly recommend their ginger beer that’s on tap. It was truly unlike any other ginger beer I’ve ever had. It was spicy and cloudy (kind of weird) and fantastic!

pizza Source

Friday morning we packed up, cleaned up, and headed back to Denver for a activity filled Memorial Day weekend. Life is good! I can’t wait to get back to the southwestern part of the state sometime again soon!

Thanks for reading!

Kim

 

*I’ll have our day at Mesa Verde in the next blog post…it seemed worthy of having its own…

 

 

Post #17: Foundation Updates

Just wanted to share an construction update with you all. Lots going on at the job site and in life, so I apologize for the delay in postings!

About 3 weeks ago, we got the green light to pour the footers for the foundation:

footers1

In super simple terms, the footers are basically a concrete base that your home’s foundation goes on top of. When you’re done pouring footers, it looks like a small strip of concrete has outlined the footprint of your home (from the surface anyway.)

The next step was for our trusted concrete crew to place the molds around the footers that the concrete is then poured into to make the foundation walls.

footers3

The end result looks like this:

foundationprep1

foundationprep2

foundation prep3

After taking a break for the Memorial Day weekend, the crew was back at it, and 2 weeks ago they poured the foundation for the farmhouse.

foundationwork1

crew1

The large crane-like thing you see in the above photos takes the concrete from the truck and shoots it out from a hose into the molds surrounding the footers to form the concrete foundation walls. Six trucks of concrete later, the end result looks like this:

foundation3 The living room and bonus room

foundation4 Where the front door will go

foundation2 A larger view of the front of the house

foundation1 David’s workshop

While the foundation sits to firm up before work can resume, we’re scrambling to find framers (the ones we had lined up fell through because of our earlier delays,) and also sourcing bids on sewer work. We also hope to have a final decision on windows made by week’s end. Definitely keeping busy!!!

 

-Kim

 

Post #16: Breaking Ground is More Complicated Than Digging a Hole in the Dirt…

So roughly four weeks ago, we finally broke ground on the farmhouse. (Yay!!!) However, it apparently seems that there is a lot more to breaking ground than simply digging a hole in the dirt. Early spring snow and rain has held things up a bit, but that’s to be expected this time of year. It is Colorado after all. (On a side note, did anyone else living in the Colorado front range notice that this was the first Mother’s Day in three years where it hasn’t snowed?)

Ok, so I may be oversimplifying this, but here’s what’s been happening out at the property…

So apparently there are all sorts of things that you need to do before you can start the serious digging. Like an erosion plan. I found this humorous, since our property is as flat as the day is long, so it’s highly unlikely that any soil erosion would ever occur. Regardless, if the county says you have to do it, then you have to do it.

So your crew goes in and adds a super stylish black tarp fence around your property:

erosion fence

Then they pour a temporary stone driveway (visible in the center of this photo):

temp drive

Then they get a port-a-potty on site:

potty

Then the inspector stops by and signs off on everything. (Yay!) Now the crew can move forward…

Next, they stake everything off according to the site plan, so they’ll know where the walls of the house will be.

view of garage (This is where the garage will be, one day.)

Then they start grading so the land is perfectly level. (This involves all sorts of fancy lasers and tripods, so it’s all sorts of perfect.)

grading work

elevation 5500 ft.(The elevation of our house will be 5,500 feet above sea level.)

Then they start digging. The plan was to dig down 2 feet 11 inches for the crawl space. This is what happened when they got to the 2 foot mark:

hitting waterWe knew the water table was high in the area (meaning that you didn’t have to go down very far before you hit water,) but we were under the impression that we’d have at least 6 feet. You’d never guess that Colorado is a dry state, now would you? Since we’d highly prefer not to have a swimming pool in our crawl space, Plan B was devised. The new plan was to dig down 1 foot 11 inches for the crawl space and subsequently raise the house up another foot to compensate. (On a side note, the water level quickly retreated over the course of that week too. Good!)

Once Plan B went into effect, the crew graded everything, dug down, leveled it again, and laid boards in place to contain the concrete that will be poured to form the footers for the house:

ready to pour footers

A visit from the Surveyor a week ago, revealed that the crew hadn’t actually dug down far enough and the location of the footers was going to be off by a little bit.

So the crew spent last week pulling everything up, re-grading, re-digging, re-leveling, and correcting the footer location. On Friday, everyone discovered that while locations were corrected, things were still not dug deep enough. Want to know why this kept happening? After all this, it was because of a discrepancy between the civil engineer’s drawings and our architect’s drawings. Whoops! Instead of having the crew pull everything up for a third time to correct it (and incur a $3,500 change order fee,) we’re just going to make it work, as is.

So after what will hopefully prove to be a “thumbs up” inspection by the county later today, the crew can start pouring the footers. After that, the foundation walls can go up and we’ll be on our way… (fingers crossed that is!) If we had a set schedule on this whole building thing, I’d say we’re behind, but this is all a process folks. It’s important not to lose sight of that, for sure! 🙂

David, Chico, Zeke and I are heading out in the Minnie Winnie for a trip to Durango, Colorado and Mesa Verde today. Poor ‘ol Roswell busted up his knees and has been ordered to two weeks of R&R and drugs by the vet. So he’ll be sitting this trip out and will be spoiled rotten all week by David’s doting cousin, Teresa. I can’t wait to update you all on the progress of the house, as well as share our travel adventures with you, once we get back though! Til then, be well!

 

Kim

Post #14: The Guest Bathroom

Want to see what I want the guest bathroom to look like? Ok, let’s do it…

As you might be able to recall from previous posts, the guest bathroom is located at the end of the first floor in the two story section of the house. To get there from the front door, you’d walk straight through the dining room area, turn left and go by the kitchen, and then the entrance to the space is on your right. The bathroom is accessible from the north wall of the guest bedroom.

guest bath

On the east wall of the guest bathroom will be a 60″ double vanity. I have a few ideas for options.

gb vanity1 Source

gb vanity2 Source

Or we can simply select a white vanity that we like and paint it a color, like the yellow on these stools:

yellow

What are your thoughts? Obviously the vanity we select will dictate what hardware we use in the bathroom (i.e. towel bars, hooks, etc.)

On the west wall of the guest bathroom is the toilet closet and a tub & shower combo. A toilet is a toilet to me, but I would like for it to aesthetically match with the other elements in the room. I also think that the toilet closet should be painted white or another very light color, since there is not natural light coming into that space. I’d like to use this tile in the shower:

gb shower tile

GB shower tile2

GB shower tile1 Source

I was afraid that it might make the bathroom look small or too busy if we used it on the floor, since it’s not a huge space, so I figured that the shower was the next best thing. Best of all, this tile is a flat steal compared to most cement tile at $6/sq. ft. Thanks Home Depot!

For the floor tile, I’d like to go with one of the following choices. Either the same slate hex tile that we are using on the floor in the first-floor bathroom, or a white hex tile with dark grout.

proom tile 3 Source

GB floor tile2 Source

I’d like to paint the space in either a silver  or a purple/grey tone (like we have in our current, beloved first floor bathroom,) and definitely go with white trim around the window and base boards.

grey paint for GB Source

gp paint

 

For lighting, I’m kind of in love with this lighting collection (can’t beat the price either!):

GB lighting1 Source

Realistically, there will only be room for one piece of art in the guest bathroom – on the north wall. I’d like to hang a Botero print that we already own here:

botero Source

Then I think we just top it off with some fun accent towels and we’re in business!

Now if we can just get that foundation poured…

 

– Kim

Post #13: The First Floor Bathroom

I’m not gonna lie, I’m kind of in love with the design of this particular room. It’s a bathroom, is that weird? I wanted it it be a statement room and a slight departure from the Modern Farmhouse aesthetic, but still have it be rustic in its own quirky way. Why? Because chances are your first floor bathroom is a well-used room. It’s probably one that guests will always see when they come over, even more than a guest bedroom for that matter. And it’s a small, enclosed space, so I figured it could be different than the rest of the house and we could take a few risks here.

Here you can see where the first floor bath is located in regards to other rooms nearby. (It’s labeled “Powd.” for powder room, and it’s across from the stairs.)

1st floor

We keep calling it the “powder room,” but I’ll have to train myself to call it the first floor bathroom, as a powder room is only a half bath, right? Ours has a shower, as it made sense to install one so the nearby bedroom (that we are using as an office,) had a full bathroom to use.

Anyway, I’ve literally designed and redesigned this room at least 10 times. (It helps that the location and shape of the room has changed a few times during many floor plan revisions.) If you look at my Pinterest boards, you will see that I have a “Farmhouse Bathroom” board, as well as a “Farmhouse Powder Room2” board. (I’ve consolidated “Farmhouse Powder Room1” into “Farmhouse Powder Room2.”) Needless to say, I think you get my point in that lots of ideas have been tossed around for this space. Here’s how things shook out…

First and foremost, I knew I wanted a black metal, windowpane style shower surround. That’s never deviated from the design. In fact, the design has been built largely around it. I think they are the most beautiful showers in the world. I wish money was no object and all of our windows could be clad in the same material, too! Since our first floor bathroom is really just a powder room with a shower, I figured it’d be a great place to put a shower like this because, let’s face it, it’s going to be a bitch to clean. So better to put it in a bathroom where very few showers will be actually taken.

Naturally, this type of shower door material lends itself to using a lot of black and white in the space. Black hardware is a must and I think using white subway tile with black grout in the shower is a classic and timeless way to add some traditional elements into an otherwise funky space.

windowpane shower Source

For the tile on the shower floor, I’d like to do a natural river rock tile.

river rock tile                                              Source

 

I also knew I wanted an industrial looking sink. I haven’t finalized exactly which one yet, and I’m hoping I can find a salvaged one.

sink1                     Source

sink2                                                                                                   Source 

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As for the toilet, we thought it would be fun to get one of those old-fashioned pull chain ones, but I’m not sure it’s worth the almost $800 price tag. It’s just a toilet after all.

pull chain toilet                                         Source

 

At first I wanted to do wood tile on the floor. Then I decided on a fun, loud tile, and thought this one would be perfect:

proomtile1 Source

I love the hex tile that we have in our current main floor bathroom and knew I wanted something similar somewhere in the new home. It’s just so timeless and honestly our remodeled first floor bath is one of my favorite rooms in our home. (It was a delay-ridden reno done right before our wedding. Poor George – brother-in-law contractor- was rushing to finish painting before my entire family flew in from Pennsylvania to stay with us beforehand! But it turned out beautifully, complete with a reproduction cast iron tub, reproduction hex tile, and a dreamy purple-grey paint color.)

hex tile (Our current bathroom tile…)

However, David had the strong point that maybe there should be an element that ties into the rest of the house for cohesion’s sake. Good man. So finally, I decided on doing a slate tile as that will tie into the mudroom tile, but to have it in the beloved hex shape. Now it’s just a matter of determining an exact shade of grey. Decisions, decisions…

 

proom tile1           Source

proom tile 3 proom tile2                                                     Source

 

Since we are going pretty basic in regards to tile on the floor and in the shower, I wanted something to punch things up a notch somewhere in the room. Then I stumbled upon this photo on Pinterest and the rest is history (or will one day be history…)

wallpaper1                                                          Source

The department store Kohl’s (of all places) actually carries a more affordable version of the above wallpaper, so that just might have to do. Otherwise, we’re apparently ordering wallpaper from Europe.

wallpaper3

 

To finish the space off, there are a few fun accents I’d like to add….

First, a half window door that’s frosted and labeled “bath.” I’d figured it’d be that much easier to direct people to where the bathroom is if it’s labeled accordingly.

proomdoor1                                                                                                           Source

Perhaps this could even be a DIY project with these instructions from The Heathered Nest:

proom door2

Next, I’d love to have rustic barn lighting, just like the ones that are in the barn that I grew up in (literally):

light                                                              Source

(In case you are wondering, the glass part of the light is caged in, so if an animal knocks into it it won’t break and cause injury or a safety concern with shards of glass being all over your hay, etc.)

 

As for art, I have a few ideas…

In one of the sample wallpaper photos above, there’s a portrait of a hare shown. We actually have one of a bird done in a similar fashion in our bedroom, so that would obviously be a fun and easy piece to incorporate.

wallpaper1bird Sorry for the glare lines!

I’ve also been quite smitten with faux animal heads lately. Since David’s college mascot is a ram and mine is a buffalo (we went to Colorado State University and University of Colorado, so our alma maters have a bit of a healthy rivalry going,) I thought it might be fun to hang a faux ram and a faux buffalo in close proximity somewhere in the house and see how long it takes for people to pick up on it. This could be one spot for them…

faux ram faux buffalo Source

(I may or may not have gotten inspiration for this from the boys’ bathroom in Chip and JoJo’s house…)

gains bathroom                                                                           Source

I also love these arrows and antler prints, and feel like they’d incorporate well with all of the aforementioned art options:

aarow printSource

antler print Source

 

I’m kind of on a bathroom kick, so in future posts, I’ll share the designs for the other two with you. I’ll also fill everyone in on our construction progress. So stay tuned for more fun to come!

 

Thanks so much for reading!

 

Kim

 

*As always, if you are interested in pinning these photos, please pin them from the original source and not from this page. Please give credit where credit is due. Thank you so very much!!!