Archives for the month of: October, 2010

While running errands today I randomly thought of some of our early discussions with Matt, our architect.

When we found the land, we were interested in the possiblity of a house that “unfolds.” Of course it doesn’t literally unfold, but from the approach, to finding a sense of place in the meadow, we talked a lot about the potential for a house that reveals itself in stages.

This starts with the approach of our shared driveway. If you were to visit our site, you’d drop down a steep hill–our shared driveway. From this vantage, if things work out how we expect, you’ll look to the left, down on our house, but in fact the view of it is limited to the roof–and maybe the backside of the retaining walls.

As you get closer, coming around the corner towards the (attached) garage, much of the house will be blocked by a tall (20 feet?) basalt outcropping. Plus, the wide part of our house is only 20 feet across.

And then there’s the entry. Very much inspired by K’s time in Japan. You’ll enter between the house and a tall concrete retaining wall. So while the entry is protected by the roof, as you walk towards the front door you’re still outdoors. See the picture below–it’s not exactly the same, but gives an idea of what I’m trying to write about.

It’s only when you’re in the front door–in theory anyway–that you’ll get a better view of the meadow, the fir forest, etc.

We’ll see whether this works out exactly as planned. Even if it doesn’t though, it should still be beautiful.

There should be lots to show this week. Bigger digging and shaping continues Monday.


When I last posted, we were roughly 72 hours from breaking ground. Now it’s just a few minutes away. In between we had a fun meeting between our architect, builder and excavator. We finalized a few thoughts about grading, about approach, about construction access. It was all pretty damn exciting.

Excavators always impress me. A great operator can do incredibly detailed work with a machine that looks designed for nothing but pure force and all-around wreckage.

We ended up having a fun discussion about the east side of our house and its retaining wall. I’ll describe the overall design more another time, but we’re on a gently-sloping hillside, so the retaining walls need to do a fair amount of work, while also creating a series of courtyards. But the east side walls, I think, will be particularly interesting. I love the way the slope–or at least the grading the excavator will need to do–creates a wedge of concrete…the way the wall blends with the ground.

Here’s a picture.

And speaking of pictures, more to come over the next few days.