From open pit to bedroom

Here's a chronological account of the addition of a ground-floor bedroom to our one-bedroom house. For the latest work, click here.


The green machine below is a "hoe-ram", a jackhammer mounted on a backhoe. This crew was outlining the new foundations in pinkish-orange spray-paint on frozen mud on New Year's Eve, 2003.


A week later Charlie Sweeney, the contractor, held the pole while heavy-equipment operator Buck Painter shot levels. They were working to get the footers level.
The truck arrived the next day. Sweeney and the guys poured in subfreezing temperature.

Nighttime temps hit around zero F. and the footers were swathed in thermal mats like babies in comforters.


With the footers done, block, sand and mortar arrived.


So far all this work, after the excavation, has taken less than eight hours. Of course, Contractor Sweeney subcontracted out the block work to a masonry crew who talked, while on the job, only about sex, sports and cars. Communication about work consisted of shrugs, curses, smiles and gestures; they've done this many times.

It's a shame that building is so messy! We wish there were Teflon shoes that mud wouldn't stick to. (That's an excellent idea and you are welcome to it. I hope it makes you millions of dollars and you pay us with nothing more than some shoes. Size eight and thirteen.)

The plumbing's roughed in for the basement slab on Friday, March 19th, 2004. Can you imagine where that door leads?


Here's a clue: "For the love of GOD, Montrésor!"


Here's another: "I've got a small cask of it here. Once it's been opened you know it won't keep, so finish it up, it will help you .. to .. sleep!"

April started to green up the woods and the framing began.


These floor joists are called I-Joists. They are part of an "engineered floor system" that is stronger than standard lumber and is said to guarantee a squeak-proof floor.

An Iraqi joined the crew saying he had torn down many walls in Baghdad and now needs balance in his life.


His keffiyah is by Hanes T-shirts and is known in Arabic as a: "bifiti."

A crane lifted roof trusses in and crew nails them in place.

This southern  view -- view from the South -- shows the bedroom. You'd see the soles of our feet if we were in bed -- if there were a bed and if we were on top of the covers.

View from the North-East.
Contractor Sweeney guides a SIPS (Structural Insulated Panel System) roof slab in place.
View from the North-east July 4th, 2004.


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