Archives for posts with tag: Spokane architecture

This past week was busy, with zero time for blogging. I wanted to post a few more of Angela Parris’ photos though, this time with a focus on the exterior of the house. There are a few of these that I particularly like.

First, it’s hard not to feel happy looking at Sacha the dog’s rabbit impersonation. She’s in her element on a hiking trail and I think her dog-like happiness is captured nicely. Plus, I have a good memory of K’s story of our daughter, looking at this photo and laughing so hard she fell off her chair.

I also love the close up of the big brackets that shows off the patina that’s starting to form on the galvanized steel. I can’t believe it was just a year ago (less really) that these were being built. There’s another detail in this shot that’s cool, too. See the weep hole, right in the middle of the bracket where the wood posts meet? If you look carefully you’ll notice that its shape is identical to the shape of the overall bracket. Nicely done, Mr. Melcher.

Finally, we have such a beautiful trail around our property, and there’s  one spot in particular affords a pretty fantastic view of the house. All in all, good stuff!

Click for the bigger versions.

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One of the cool things about the Metro Magazine shoot, at least from my perspective, is that we ended up with some beautiful family photos. Looking through the blog the other day I realized I’ve never posted a picture of myself. In fact I have very few of me and L and K from any time. I’m generally the one taking pictures, and as a result, I’m not in them.

It’s very cool that Jesse was able to join us for some of these. The picture below with all of us is one of my favorites from the day. Of course you have to notice the missing window trim. I’ll get to this…any day now…

I also love the shot of me and Lyra. Really beautiful exposure.

Thanks again to Angela Parris.

This past August I received an email from a friend that’s the editor of Spokane Metro, a regional fashion/home/food and wine magazine. Metro has especially clean design, fills an important media niche in Spokane, and I appreciate their effort to launch a media vehicle at a time when it’s hard for print publications to get traction. Cheryl Anne wanted to feature our house in the November issue.

I mostly thought this was an idea bordering on insanity. It’s one thing to post pictures on an anonymous blog. It’s another to invite 100 or so people to check out your house on an architecture tour. But to be photographed for a magazine while still under construction? I’ll use the word once more. Insanity.

Alas, I’m a sucker for helping a friend, plus Cheryl Anne agreed that the story of how we worked hand in hand with Matt and Jesse made for an interesting angle. (Well, figuratively hand in hand. I didn’t really walk around holding hands with Jesse and Matt.) K and I agreed long ago that we would look for ways to help our builder and architect, and publication certainly wouldn’t hurt.

Flash forward to the end of September. We spent a three-day weekend finishing cabinets, touching up paint and generally getting organized to find something a photographer could shoot with a straight face. Don’t get me wrong, the house was beautiful. It wasn’t complete though. Trim was missing, there were big piles of topsoil scattered around the landscape…you get the idea.

Angela Parris met us to take photographs, full of enthusiasm and (great) attitude. She spent a couple of hours at the house, taking an approach of shooting what was there, vs. trying to stage something that wasn’t. Not a small thing in my mind.

Last week Metro hit the newsstand and the article looks fantastic. You should buy a copy. Really, support Metro. You can buy a copy at Auntie’s in downtown Spokane, or Barnes & Noble.

Yesterday Angela emailed. She put together a gallery of her favorite shots that didn’t make it into the magazine. This was very, very cool of her, and last night our family had a great time checking them out. We thought you might too, so I’ll post some over the next few days.

Angela was a lot of fun. She was game for heading out on the hiking trail to get a shot from a far. She laid down in the meadow to take pictures of me and L. And she put up with Sacha the dog, who given half a chance would have licked/slobbered on/stolen  Angela’s speedy (and I’m sure expensive) lenses. If you need a photographer, I’d give her a call.

Today…shots of the entry and one of the board-formed concrete walls. Check out the sweet depth of field and sparkly bokeh. These make me want to run out to Huppin’s and plunk down on a digital SLR and a fast lens. Sadly (for me) though it’s the photographer, not the camera, that makes a great picture.

I’d love to know what you think of Angela’s work.

Thinking back to last year when we started this blog, I remember a series of posts counting down to groundbreaking. I remember the feeling of excitement, possibility and yes, a bit of trepidation.

Today I’m counting down something different: The number of days until we move into the house. I type this with excitement, possibility and relief. While we’ll have a lot of work to do in the coming months (years?) moving will be a release.

Yesterday, while adding a third coat of polyurethane to our refrigerator surround K said something to effect of, “No one will ever realize how much work we’ve put into this and how much we’ve done ourselves.” This is true. Then again, few would care. But the people who do–namely us, our close friends and family, will appreciate the journey and what it’s meant to us. While our work is imperfect, it’s still beautiful. Wait a minute, there’s a cheesy metaphor coming about building a life … Don’t worry, I won’t do that to you. Again.

Everything's better with finish.


This past weekend, in preparation for what will happen  six days from now, we had a satisfying weekend of progress. We built out closets and applied finish to a lot of wood. We painted and built more cabinet drawers.

Perhaps the most gratifying, at least for me, was completing (OK, almost completing) the pantry pull out. This was a project of much consternation and  urgency. If you read K’s post last week you’ll know that Sacha the weimaraner is a creature of little self control. Having a secure place to keep food is far beyond a “nice to have.” Were we to leave her alone in the house with boxes of cereal and honey and peanut butter and pancake mix we’d be in for a massive mess, a trip to the animal ER and nothing for breakfast. Yes, life with a dog is exciting at so many levels.

Anyway, we went back and forth about how to design the pantry. After considering individual drawers vs. doors vs. a hybrid, we landed on a design that should work well.

We started by building the guts of the operation–the cabinet carcass that holds the drawers. Unlike the other units we used melamine-covered chipboard in a nice shade of gray. The manufacturer calls it London Fog. I call it dark gray.

After we built and installed the box, I milled some extra fir for the face. This will work well next to the fir door front.

We then assembled and installed the drawers using the excellent Blum Tandembox system. This is bad-ass hardware. I really love the system, and if you’re in the market for something similar, be sure to check out the deal we found over at Rockler. They bought a boatload of a European-only version and are blowing it out for 70% off. This gives you top-of-the-line drawers for less than anything you can buy at Home Depot.

Next up was installing the Blum glides in the cabinet. Rather than use a measuring tape to get the spacing correct and accurate, I cut scrap wood and used these as a guide, temporarily taping them into place. This worked perfectly.


Rather than create individual doors we decided on a solid vertical-grain fir panel that would pull out multiple drawers at once. This made sense for a couple of reasons. Aesthetically, the long panel is beautiful. And functionally because of the cabinet’s location, we’ll access it from the side. So there’s an advantage to being able to see multiple drawers at once.

Clipped in and ready to go.


We only connected the top, middle and lower drawer to the front though. The last two drawers can be pulled out individually. First, this makes it easier to pull the panel away from the cabinet. The Blum system has a fair amount of tension in the glides. This is typically a good thing and is part of what gives it such a substantial and positive feel. But multiply this times five and it could be difficult to pull. Not weight-lifting difficult, but perhaps annoying. And the drawers will be loaded down with pretzels and tomato paste, and having less to move is a good thing. Finally, this makes access easier, in terms of space between the drawers.

All buttoned up. The only way in now is for a dog to chew through the front. Wait a minute...


We’ll let you know how this all works out.

The final phase will be installing a small door over the big pullout. We have the wood cut already, but need to pick up a couple of hinges. Amazing. It will be the only door in the entire kitchen.

Armor on. Ready for battle.

There’s been satisfying entertainment value at the house recently. This is another way of saying that there’s a lot going on. From painting to siding, and applying lacquer to hanging doors, we’ve been finding ways to fill our time. Somehow the rest of life doesn’t seem to slow down either, but hey, it makes life interesting.

At the moment I don’t have the endurance to write a post about everything that’s been happening and it would require a serious attention span for you to read it. So let’s start with what went down two weekends ago.

After drywall wrapped up we spent a couple of days in a humid cloud of paint fumes, transforming the house from primer white to White Dove. What a difference!

Picking out a color, especially if said color is white, can be a bit torturous. Ultimately we settled on Benjamin Moore’s White Dove OC-17. We’re certainly not the first people to use this color and won’t be the last, but it’s a fantastic shade that has the right balance between shades of red (which can get too pink), blue (potentially too icy) and yellow (potentially too…urine-like).

It’s good to know we’re not the only ones over-thinking the right shade of white. Here’s a link to an article on Remodelista highlighting their favorites.

Rather than use Ben Moore paint though we bought our goods at Home Depot, using a Behr low-VOC option that was color-matched to White Dove. HD has this color in their computer so it’s a foolproof way to go. We’ve had good luck with Behr paint and it’s about 50% less expensive. Given that we sprayed over 40 gallons this isn’t an insignificant savings.

We sprayed the paint using my father’s Titan 440i sprayer. My dad sprayed, I backrolled the ceilings and Kristy took care of the walls. If you’re new to this process here’s how it works. The first person sprays. We started on the ceilings, then worked down in sections. The person rolling can fill in any spots that was missed by the sprayer, and the rolling creates a very smooth, hard surface once it dries.

For our 2,200 s.f. house, two coats took two long days. Even with high quality respirators (Sherwin Williams is a good source for these) we all had white paint end up on a kleenex when we blew our noses. Thankfully this isn’t a career for any of us.

So how do things look? Amazing. White Dove. Much love.

Installed trim! That's the color the house will be painted too.

As hanging drywall comes to a close the house looks more and more habitable. Well, habitable if you love the smell of gypsum dust. Our dog certainly does. She loves the way it smells and tastes in fact. I think drywall has a bunch of salt in it, so Sacha goes around the house licking the floors which also makes her thirsty. So she drinks water then licks more dust.

As a result, we gave her a new nickname this weekend. Cokehead. Why? Well her nose was coated in white powder and she was frantically running around the house looking for new piles of the powdery white stuff.

I’ve posted a few new pictures below, but they don’t really do the place justice. Taping and mudding start tomorrow. Soon enough we’ll have smooth primed walls ready for us to start finish work in earnest.

I love getting to know the different styles and personalities of the subcontractors working on site. Every now and then I also hear something so funny I almost wet myself. The drywall hangers were rocking out, listening to some relaxing heavy metal blasting loud enough that they could hear it over the scream of their routers and drills.

Jesse and I were talking in the garage, where we could hear, when all of the sudden I hear one of the guys talking/yelling. Here’s the quote: “man, if I quit drinking and lost my gut I’d look like an Ethiopian!”

At the time it seemed especially funny.

On other fronts we’ve also started exterior trim ahead of the siding going up. Jesse and I are collaborating on this part of the project, with K helping out too.

This weekend I got into some compound miter action at the master bedroom. This is always tricky work, but turned out nicely. The integral window sill/drip cap angles down and at the corner also needs a 45 degree miter.

I really love the way it looks. A nice mellow trapezoid shape. Sort of.

As framing continues, sometimes it’s hard for me to keep our focus on the current work. Don’t get me wrong. The boys are doing an unbelievable job framing. It’s just that as soon as we get through one thing, I get even more excited about the next. Plus, the rooms are all nicely defined now, which leads to discussions about fun stuff like final finish details, and we’re looking forward to jumping out of our skin about the promise of next week’s metal roof installation.

I popped by the site yesterday, once again resplendent in inappropriate/non-construction clothes. I was greeted by the sound of progress–the pop-pop of pnuematic nailers–as I carefully navigated the uneven ground like a peacock on an ice-skating rink in my fancy shoes.

Jesse and Scott have been working through the kitchen and dining room framing, installing the final blocking and “pony” walls. Not only do things look great, they also look incredibly fun. Our storage soffits, for the moment anyway, look like the longest set of playground monkeybars I’ve ever seen. My dad said something to the effect of, “Wow, it looks like something they’d use to train Marines.”

In any case, it’s all very cool and exciting. And suddenly, it’s much easier to envision the dance of drywall, plywood, and light that we’ve been working towards for so many months.

The last few days have seen some pretty extreme weather. Sunny skies. No wait, hail. No wait, sun. Look, a blizzard! So when I came to visit yesterday within about 15 minutes we had a good half-inch of snow on the roof. Until it all melted 10 minutes later. So here’s the deal. A 5,000 s.f. roof with a bunch of snow, which suddenly melts.

This is a less-than-perfect video, but Scott and I went running out to the entry court to quite a site. We of course don’t have our gutters installed yet, so had the chance to witness a pretty stunning waterfall/water feature. And yes, we’re thinking about how to create some kind of cool aqueduct thing to make this a regular occurence. Maybe.