Archives for the month of: September, 2011

Here we go now, to the southside.

No, I’m not quoting Moby. I’m pointing to the south side of the house where Jesse is cranking away on the patio, deftly moving around 88 pound pavers.

I’ve had barely a minute to think about building this week. Two out of town work trips will do that to a person. But check out this picture. Jesse texted it to me in the middle of a presentation I was giving. Thankfully I waited to respond until I was done talking. While I loved getting the text of his iPhone pic, it really doesn’t do his work, or the house justice. This is meticulous work.

Click for the big view.


In person this is downright amazing. And the best part? L has come up with a set of rules for “extreme hopscotch,” that involve jumping between the dark gray pavers. If you’re under 10 years old there are special rules that include throwing stones and sticks. I love this. Up next is building a small retaining wall that will create a lower part of the patio that will die into the meadow. Awesome. I’ll take better pictures this weekend.

Last weekend the Spokane Green + Solar tour was a wild success. We moved our random boxes into the garage, which now looks like a bad episode from the TV show Hoarders. We had about 100 people come through. Thankfully the rest of the place looked great. Well, except for some of the missing trim, cabinets and shelving.

What a great group of people. Really thoughtful questions about how we built our house, what we would have done differently and the materials and systems we put in place. I was a little worried about some of this. Well, not worried, but at least aware that our place, while energy efficient, doesn’t have the geothermal/solar panels/water catchment/recycled everything (including nails) that some homes include. Like I said in a previous post, we have a celedon house. But our visitors were fantastic, understanding and seemed happy to share a beautiful pre-autumn day in the Palisades.

A special thanks to the organizers, and Sarah McGovern in particular who not only helped make our life easy during the tour, but even brought by some of the most delicious croissants I’ve had in a long time. Also, Matt Melcher spent a few hours on Saturday and Sunday helping to get the place ready. This went way above and beyond. Jesse, too, came early to help clean things up, spread fresh gravel over the piles of sawdust I created the day before, madly attempting to finish a set of cabinet drawer fronts. And Scott McSpadden? He spent five hours with me spraying lacquer on Saturday. Thanks!

I wish I had some pictures of our smiling guests during the tour. Sadly, I spent too much time talking.



K is exceptionally good at motivating people. She’s been excited for the first part of our patio to be completed, so on Friday morning called Jesse to dangle that if he finished, she’d supply a beer or four.

Now Jesse wasn’t running behind on the timeline, but hey, it was Friday, it was hot out, we haven’t had an evening to decompress in quite a while, and really, doesn’t beer make everything better?

Yes, it does.

An impromptu happy hour broke out. Jesse was in of course. Suddenly so was Scott, Matt, two of our neighbors, their kids and La Familia S. Plus two dogs. Tile master Alex F. showed up too, unexpectedly but happily.

And the new courtyard? It rocks. It has rocks. And even though there’s more to do, like plant stuff and bring in a bit of decomposed gravel, what a place. It was 95 degrees when I was riding my bike home up Mount MoFo, as the locals (me) call it. The patio? Maybe 80. Nice.

So here’s a hat tip to Jesse, who over-delivered on one exceptional patio. The North Court is complete. Next up? Let’s go south. In the mean time, check out L playing this weekend.

And here are a few more.

Remember K’s post about Sacha the weimaraner as a WMD?

Well, here’s a small example of what she was referring to. Good thing we have that fancy new washer and dryer. Life in the Meadow House sure is glamorous sometimes! Dogs. They sure add something special to our lives.


Albert Einstein said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

Here’s a different take: Insanity is agreeing to be on a home tour where 400 people are expected to visit a house you’ve moved into just two weeks earlier. For perspective, see the below picture. This is the current state of my closet.

K would like a more fully-developed shoe rack, too. While I think this seems quite accessible, I suppose I could come up with something somewhat more refined.

Matt was interested in having us be on the Spokane Green + Solar Tour. We agreed, met the organizer Sarah McGovern and promised we’d have something ready in time for the tour. On September 18! Yep, insanity. By the way, check out Sarah’s company’s website where among other things you might find a pretty awesome rendering of our house. She’s talented and making a go of launching the kind of design business that Spokane desperately needs.

In fairness, everyone knows we’ll have just moved in and isn’t expecting a house in pristine and 100% complete condition. And the next two weeks will see all kinds of refinement. Closets built out and filled up. Kitchen cabinets installed. Patio pavers placed. Even a connection to the information superhighway. And all joking aside, we’re looking forward to being a part of the fun.

About the Green + Solar Tour. It should be pretty awesome. Two of our neighbors are also taking part. One neighbor has a home with just about every whiz bang piece of technology to make it “green” and energy efficient. Rastra blocks? Check. Terrarium? Check? Electric car? Check. Solar array the size of Nebraska? Check. In comparison our house is chartreuse at best.

Our other neighbor has an absolutely beautiful garden entry. Moseying along their front walkway leads to instant relaxation. It’s that inviting. Plus they have a geothermal system, lovely modern house design, and amazing cabinetry and overall design aesthetic. Nice.

If that’s not enough for you, the devastatingly handsome and witty duo of  Matt Melcher and Jesse Oviatt should be on hand to personally walk people through their design and handiwork. With that offer, how can you say no?

So if you’re in Spokane on September 18, pick up a couple of tickets. Should be fun. You can find information here. You can also buy tickets at Sun People Dry Goods.

Flyer (3)

First off, a short apology for last week’s rant/post. While I think the sentiment is right on, at least the part about the random nature of comparables and appraisals in a crappy real estate market, I got a bit too caught up in the moment. The result was a post that was a bit too harsh and possibly pretentious than I meant it to be. So I’ve taken it down.

But life goes on.

Speaking of which, I’m typing this from our new living room. Very cool, and I can’t tell you how incredible it is to see the sunsets, and sunrises and everything wrapped around them. Of course, this weekend anyway those hours were spent moving, and packing, and moving, and sawing, and installing and more. We still have a lot of work to do.

More to come later in the week.