Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Yes, Virginia, there is a finished roof!

Bill and I do not give each other Christmas gifts, but this year, he gave me something special -- a finished roof!

Sunday, November 17, 2013


We feel that we must take time out from our "little" project to appreciate life. While many people ask us, "when will it be done?" the answer is always the same. "When it's done." We aren't taking the speedy route, but we are taking the happy, minimal-stress route. So, when the sky is this beautiful, you must take time out to appreciate it and everything else in life.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

A new pinstripe suit

Well, either we are laying out fabric for a new charcoal gray pinstripe suit, or we now have a watertight roof.  Woot, woot, woot! No more bucket brigades if it rains. Big, big stuff.

Bill has been referring to this step as "getting paper on the roof" so I imagined something similar to what is under the siding, a much lighter weight Tyvek-type product. While that never seemed like enough to make the roof watertight, I didn't ask, since he's the professional and I just work in an office, so what do I know? I certainly don't know the significance of the stripes, but it sure looks like suit fabric. This is the closest we will get to either of us wearing pinstripes, I think. ;-)

Beauty is in the details

Even though I've been watching Bill build fabulous stuff for 20 years now, I am still in wondrous awe of the beautiful details that he puts into his work. These pieces will be stacked narrow on top of wider, and then installed in the eaves for an extra beautiful detail. This is truly his artform.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Raising part of the roof

Bill was patient to pose while carrying a heavy roll of roofing material up to where
it will be installed. I shall leave him alone for the rest of his task!

In the light

Above the living room and office

Over the stairwell
We will have four skylights, one in the front living room, one in the office, one in the stairwell, and one over our bed. Bill cut the hole for the fourth one yesterday, and it will be great to lay in bed looking up to the sky.

Goodbye side door, hello siding

It had to happen someday. The open wall that we've been using to enter the new kitchen from the driveway had to be closed at some point, simply because there's no door in that spot in our design. It has been a very handy entrance point, though, and we will sort of miss it. But, the siding had to be finished, so goodbye side door, hello siding.

Sunbathing beauty

Kyro seems to find the ray of sunshine where it is. Such a bathing beauty. And cold-weather wimp.

You make a better door...

...and window(s). I've been so busy with work that Bill selected the door with just a little bit of input from me after seeing the general direction he wanted to go with. "Ensure that I can see out of the windows with just a little bit of tiptoe-standing." He is so great with the visual style of the house, that I knew he would choose something beautiful. And he did! Next, we will decide on the color for the stain, something equally appealing.

Friday, October 11, 2013

The vitalness of details

What remains after rafter hardware is painted.
“It's the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.”
- John Wooden 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Saturday, September 21, 2013

The miracle of wet/dry vacuums

What rain through yonder roof plywood drips? It is from the west, and it is not the sun. Arise, fair sun, and get rid of this surprising summer storm. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Trying to be a pane

In the interest of transparency, we must say that Hank and Kyro will not actually install these windows.

Reuniting with our construction DNA

At last weekend's family reunion, not only did we meet up with many Boyer relatives whom we had not seen in a very long time, we also were reminded just how long construction has been in our lives. We came across photos of the house construction my parents completed right as I was beginning grade school. At the time, my mom managed a brick, block, and stone company and previously managed a lumberyard. And my dad? He worked for the defense department, and had never built a house before. They found house plans in the House Beautiful magazine that they loved, purchased the plans, and made some modifications to make it their own. With a lot of teamwork and the help of friends in the trades, they built a beautiful home that we will always remember.

The view from the backyard. The kitchen is in the lower right, master bedroom above, and living room in the background. A deck was included off the upstairs bedroom when the project was finished.

The early version of the family room/kitchen. Later, the cabinets were darkened and they added a 10'4" farm table for the room, plus an antique wall clock and rocker next to the fireplace that was used often in the fall and winter.

Where the project began, House Beautiful magazine.

The family room/kitchen from House Beautiful

Thursday, August 22, 2013

What was lost is now found and appreciated

This is one example of the interesting tidbits that we have found during construction. It is an emblem off an old Nash car. Nash made cars from 1917 to 1954 and was the car that the old TV detective Columbo drove.

Our old house was first built in the late 1940s when people sometimes threw trash into a pit in the yard, so we have retrieved interesting pieces of glass, metal, and of course, miniature superheroes. We will incorporate all of the bits glass and metal bits into some sort of art project for the garden when we are done.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Our dog is a huffer

Not in my wildest dreams did I expect to come home and have Bill say, "Kyro carried off a cup of paint twice today." Our little princess who can barely stand to get her feet wet, insists on loudly clanging her water dish down to get it refilled, and walks around in a tizzy if her bed is not available took it upon herself to pick up a small cup of paint and walk off with it not once but twice. She maintained her princess status by not getting any paint on her fur, but spread it around the house sub-floor. Bill also said, "She likes the brown paint but not the red." Wonders never cease. Our little purebred is a huffer.

Hank is asking, "Why am I in this photo? I had -nothing- to do with this nonsense."

The scene of the infraction

Thursday, June 27, 2013


Bill really knows how to wield a hammer, just like Thor, the god of strength. Thor rides in a cart pulled by two goats, so we wonder if the dogs would be willing to help out a bit. Maybe not.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Siding and knee braces

Siding is going up! This gives a big hint on one of the house colors, too. Neighbors, don't worry. It is an accent color used in spots, not all over. ;-) Bill has learned enough about water damage to other people's homes over the years to prime the plywood on all edges before it goes up. It takes extra prep time, but it's worth it.

He has also been working on knee braces. Not for a cyclist's knees, but to support the overhangs in a beautiful way. The length of the overhangs have been designed to provide passive solar. That means that they protect the house with shade in the summer and let maximum sun in during the winter. The position of the sun, the orientation of the windows, and the length and height of the overhangs all work together to help us need less heating and cooling.

Knee braces waiting to be installed after the siding is up

Lots of fine carpentry work!

Tilt your head to the right and you can see how these will look when installed. Got it?

Monday, June 17, 2013

Gliding toward board and batten siding

Bill is working on board and batt siding, similar to this photo of someone else's house:

We will have stucco from the foundation up to about four feet and then board and batt above. Squint at the photo and then scrunch your nose and perhaps you will see it. You now, similar in parts to the photo but different. ;-)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Choosing a color palette

“Mere color, unspoiled by meaning, and unallied with definite form, can speak to the soul in a thousand different ways. ”
                                                           ― Oscar Wilde

We certainly love color, so it was fun to sit down and choose colors for the house. There will be five total colors (are the neighbors getting nervous yet?) and we think it will look great. We will keep you all guessing, but we will say that there's not a purple in the bunch!

Gift wrapping

Bill told me today, "I left you a wrapped gift in the front yard." I don't think we will be unwrapping this one anytime soon.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Exam time

Last week, we passed a big exam. Well, inspection. There's enough prep and anxiety to think of them as exams, and this one was like a big hairy mid-term. Remember in college when you would finish an exam and then let loose to celebrate? Somehow we missed that part and just moved onto the next big task.

This inspection was called Exterior Shear Bracing and Roof Structure Nailing. What a mouthful. It really means that bracing is installed so that when the earth moves in the next earthquake, we will move quite a bit less than if we had no bracing. And the roof nailing is to, well, make sure we have a roof. All good things.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Our solar hero

When we started planning some of our home's details, we looked into making it more environmentally friendly. That can mean a lot of different things to different people, and we were lucky enough to meet and learn from Frank Schiavo. Frank was a true environmental pioneer who was well known in our area for his expertise in building passive solar homes.

As our discussions continued, Frank invited us over for dinner and a tour of his passive solar home. We chatted over dinner and Frank mentioned how he does not produce garbage at his home. My eyes got big and I burst out with, "You're the garbage guy!" Until that moment, I had no idea that Frank was the person I had read about years before as successfully suing the City of San Jose to be exempted from paying for garbage service because he simply did not need it. Previously, the city insisted that every resident have garbage service, but through his composting, buying bulk items, and reuse of bags, Frank simply had no garbage. Such a rebel.

Unfortunately, Frank died about two years ago but his legacy lives on. As we speak with solar companies and plan not only passive solar but a photovoltaic system, I often think of Frank and his vision and living example. He continues to be an inspiration to us, and we miss being able to show him our progress.

Read more about Frank's legacy at

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Not new dog gets a new trick

After the rough stairs were built, Kyro took to them quickly. But, Hank wouldn't make the climb. We believe that his former people mistreated him and he seems to still have a few bad memories. It's not often, but he has moments when he looks frightened and mistrusting. So, when it came to the stairs, we let him take his time, with Bill sometimes carrying him up to the second floor. But then! Hank gathered his courage and Bill snapped a shot of bravery in action! Go, Hank!