MCNZH - Progress (part 3) - windows, front porch posts

James Howard Kunstler says that we need to start building spaces that are worth caring about and living in. When we put up cheap, ugly buildings, as we so often do in Edmonton, we make our communities and homes less worth respecting and cherishing. Reinforcing this idea is Susan Susanka, author of the much acclaimed book The Not So Big House, who says that "a house that favors quality of design over quantity of space satisfies people far more than...those characteristics in  reverse."

I feel grateful that we chose Peter Amerongen to build our house. He has a wonderful sense of esthetics, and he understands that for something to be cherished and taken care of in the long term, it should be beautiful. He has gone to town with the used gluelam fir beams that were reclaimed from a liquor store. His team milled them and made posts and a beam to hold up the awning over the front landing:

Looking west from the front landing

Looking northeast from the front landing - I love the detailing here

Those beautiful posts and beam are recycling in action. I've never had so much fun saving trees...

 A lot of other progress has been made as well. The windows have been installed now:

These south-facing windows will provide 54% of the MCNZH's annual heat

This area is the future kitchen and living room. Once the floors are covered with concrete, they will absorb this free solar energy for release later in the day


The main floor south-facing windows - those are some thick walls!

Loft, facing north

Loft, facing south

Now we just need to get a roof on this place, and we're good to go for winter.

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What is the treatment of the housewrap where it meets the window? I notice you only have housewrap on the bottom of the window opening not on the sides and the top, yet I thought you were supposed to have it there too.

That's an impermeable waterproof membrane - the housewrap is still to come.

But how do you fold the housewrap (or membrane) in along the sides of the window opening if you already have the window installed?

You were right, Leon, it is housewrap. The membrane was only used on the basement windows. I don't how we're going to fold the housewrap into the window frames now that the windows are installed. I'll ask my builder Peter.

hei conrad.
the house is looking great.
where did you recycle the big timbers from?


The big gluelam beams came from an old liquor store.

The glue-lams make a nice touch. Very suitable to your neighbourhood. What are you using for flooring over the concrete. I put cork down in my bathroom last year. I have a wood frame heritage house so had to do a lot of work to the sub floor but it would be perfect on concrete. I found a great supplier out of Quebec, they supply low VOC finishes as well. Shipped a complete package to me with the glue and finishes and applicators etc. Great company to deal with and quick, shipped it in a few days. Great for DIYers that are handy. Cork is very good environmentally, the flooring is a by-product of the wine corking side, the scraps are made into flooring. It will last forever and is naturally anti bacterial etc.

The cork flooring sounds wonderful - it meets so many green criteria (besides proximity of manufacturer, of course). Our concrete will be either stained (with a low-impact stain) or dyed. Covering it up would greatly reduce its usefulness as thermal mass.

I hadn't thought about the thermal changes it might make to the slab. It is a 3/16" tile that glues to the substrate with a water based contact cement. I should have mentioned as well that it is not a laminate but a solid cork product. That's why I bought it from so far away as I couldn't find a supplier locally. Everbody here sells the click lock laminate which uses a substrate with harsh glues etc in it and won't handle moisture like a bathroom. It was very cozy before we applied the finish,basically a water based urethane. Once the finish was on it was a little cooler to the touch but warmer than hardwood. I walk on it in bare feet comfortably.
It would be very good in a radiant flooring application but I have no idea how much it would reduce the slab absorbing heat from the sun. I assume it would affect this substantially.
Once my dogs scratch up my hardwood to where it has to be sanded again we plan on covering the hardwood with this cork product as we don't the thickness left in the hardwood to sand again. It stands up well to the dog traffic, better than the oak flooring.

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