Watching the house come out of the ground has been fascinating. We spent almost three years in the design process before breaking ground. This translates into many hours spent looking at one-dimensional pieces of paper and talking through details, with an aspiration of one day–some day–seeing an actual house emerge.

We even built our own house model using foam core, glue and balsa wood.

A Christmas break project from two years ago. Note the rookie move of gluing the "beams" on the wrong side of one section of the roof.

L & K helped by making a clay weimaraner and furniture.

I’ve heard some people compare the design and building process with giving birth. Part of me has thought that this is a hokey idea. I’m not so sure anymore though.

We’ve invested so much time on not just the big concepts of the house, but in smaller details like understanding how the roof connects to the retaining wall or how two pieces of wood on our kitchen cabinets will meet. Seeing these details become real three-dimensional objects and structures has been far more exciting and satisfying than I could have imagined. And I went in with pretty high expectations.

Here’s an example: the brackets that carry the posts that will attach to the roof.

Early in the design phase we talked about these in very general ways. They’re in a really visible part of the house/courtyard, so we wanted to do something special, but early on they were pretty non-descript drawings. Why? Well there were bigger things to work on, plus my guess is Matt hadn’t yet figured out how much load they would need to carry. On top of this, “special” can mean elegant and minimal, or it can mean something massive and articulated.

The idea behind the brackets began to evolve. I even sketched some ideas based on what we talked about to give to Matt, which could very well be included in a book titled “Bad Client Drawings.”

In any case, the general idea for the brackets began to evolve. You can see this below in the wire frame schematic.

As Matt worked with Paul, our structural engineer, the brackets were put on steroids and the design emerged more and more.

A detailed set of drawings were developed next (in fact many sets of drawings). Matt then worked with metalworker Sean Smith to come up with a plan to build them.

Finally, yesterday Sean sent me a text message with the picture below.

So yes, in a way we did give birth to this thing. From general design discussions, to sketches on a blank sheet of paper, to architectural drawings on a computer, to Sean in his shop with a welding mask, torch and hundreds of pounds of steel, a team of people made this happen.

Pretty amazing. We’re open to suggestions about what to name our new baby.