Saturday, June 23, 2007

Stone City, Iowa

This is Grant Wood's "Stone City, Iowa". Our wood burning stove will sit on a limestone hearth cut from the quarry depicted in this painting. This quarry is still operating as Weber Stone Company. Despite Wood's unique and (in my opinion) beautiful abstractions of the Iowa landscape, descending the road into Stone City looks and feels very much like this depiction, even 77 years later.

Glowing Endorsements

We've been meaning to do this for a while, and now the persistent rain is allowing us to catch up. While we are still beginner bloggers, we'll do our best to direct you to information about the amazing people, companies, products, and concepts involved in the construction of the Yum Yum Farm house.

First, our architect. We became aware of John DeForest through the book "Good House, Cheap House." While we did contact some other architects, we immediately felt comfortable with John's personal and very professional approach. He has been a wonderful guide through this process, and we never cease to be amazed at the ease with which John translates our ideas into a home, and contributes ideas that we would never have imagined. John has had assistance on our project from his intern, David Fuchs, who, at this early stage of his career has added much to the Yum Yum Farm home. Both are a joy to work with. You can read about David, and the rest of the DeForest Architects team at the site listed below. In addition, there is a link to a very nice article about a home John designed in Seattle. Check it out!

John DeForest, AIA, (Principal) is a native of Seattle and received degrees in architecture from Yale University and Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. As a founder of dA+ and parent of two young children, he is especially interested in the challenge of designing creative, comfortable, and inspiring spaces for growing families and businesses.--From the DeForest Architects website:

Our general contractor is Amelon Construction, and we have worked specifically with Curt Amelon. Without exception, we have received the same response from everyone who has discovered that the Amelons are building our house. Something like "you've got the best." If you are building in the Iowa City area, plan ahead, and contact these wonderful people. As if being good at their craft weren't enough, they're all engineers. Curt is pictured with us in the very first photo on the blog, participating in our ground breaking.
Amelon Construction, Inc. Contact Duane, Dean, Curt, Dave & Jeff Amelon 2953 Black Diamond Road S.W. Iowa City, IA 52240 Telephone: 319-683-2369

More to follow!

Rainy Day, Dream Away

Now this is starting to look like something! This is a view from the driveway, looking southeast. The two windows in the basement are for the bathroom and mudroom, left to right. This shows for the first time the main level dining porch, which extends out over the basement walkouts to the south. This gives a good sense of the main level floor space.

Here's a view of the basement under the dining porch. The door on the left will go into the mudroom, and french doors on the right will open into the guest room. This view is looking north-northeast.

A view to the south from the point where the steps up to the entry porch will be located. The idea is to preserve as much of this view as possible upon entering the house. The dining table will be at the far left corner of the main level.

Dem Bones

Here's a sneak peek into the basement. This is approximately where the mechanical room and bathroom will be located, and looks beyond to the guest room. Taken from the west looking east.

"Son, I don't know about this Modern architecture." Our first guests, enjoying the open floor plan, but understandably concerned for our comfort during Iowa's long winters. Dad supports the door frame to the laundry room while Joanna serves as tour guide for Joyce, standing at the (future) bottom of the stairs.

This is an interesting detail of the floor joists underneath the main level shower. Rot-resistant wood under the bathroom--brilliant!

Workin' On A Building

This is the sill plate, securely attached to the foundation with some foamy/bubbly sealer stuff in between to keep out the drafts.
This is a sneak preview of the next post. The lumber lying on the ground in a UPC symbol pattern is actually our back basement wall. From left to right, it features a french door, window, and single door. The first two are part of the guest room/art gallery/dance hall/great room, and the latter leads into the mudroom. This week's weather has provided ample mud for us to track into the mud room, and it seems to be taking it very well. On a more serious note, the town of Marengo, which is a bit northwest of us, is experiencing its worst flooding in 40 years.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Some Assembly Required

Here we have a bunch of wood chosen specifically for our home. This particular pile features all of the engineered lumber, which, as I understand it, will be supporting things.

This closeup shows some very long laminated beams that have a more finished surface. I would guess that these will be exposed, but I'm not sure where. Any comments from our design/construction friends out there?

As is evidenced by the photos, it rained quite a bit today, so framing didn't start. Good news for the corn; not so much for the house. Framing is to commence tomorrow, so we should be able to show these boards in their permanent locations soon.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Patience is a Virtue

Well...still nothing new to report. Framers will be starting tomorrow (weather permitting, which, if the forecast is correct, it will not), so we thought we'd take this opportunity to show some of the items that are patiently awaiting installation in our home, but currently reside in various storage spots around Johson and Washington counties.

Remember the picture of that old house north of Amana a post or two ago? This is the interior, showing the subfloor that will become our finished floor in the process of removal. We've seen a finished piece, and believe it or not, it's gorgeous. The planks will be 5 to 5 1/2" wide, and will cover nearly all of the main floor and the loft.

These 2 pictures feature the very substantial old sink that will be in our main bathroom. We picked this up several years ago from Iowa City's Salvage Barn, an organization that rescues good materials and fixtures from old houses and buildings being razed or remodeled. We were told (although it's not been confirmed) that this sink is from the University of Iowa's Biology Building, and was removed during the remodeling process. We figured it was so cool that we had to have it. Not knowing what to do with it at first, it resided in our back yard growing herbs. It eventually occurred to us in the early stages of designing our house that with a little TLC, this could work really well in the main floor bathroom. So we had it refinished over the winter (by Bathcrest, and Premier Automotive--they did the base), and it turned out beautifully. It will be complemented by beautiful Chicago Faucets, mounted on the wall behind. These are before and after photos.

Finally, this is our other beautiful old bathroom fixture, contributed by our beloved Ohio relatives Greg, Brooke, and family. The renovation is also courtesy of Bathcrest and Premier Automotive in North Liberty. The blanket is to keep it from breaking the window on the truck. This lovely old bathtub will be enjoyed by our guests (and us) in the downstairs bathroom. By the way, if you've randomly stumbled upon this blog, and haven't figured it out yet, this project is taking place in east central Iowa.