Sprouting Up

Aaahh, spring has arrived in Colorado…or at least it seems that way on a bi-weekly basis. One week sunny and hot, the next cold and wet.

As promised, in the previous post a look into how the framing has been going. We have brought on, J & D Builders from Greeley to help us out, and we are really enjoying working with them.


Profile view. The Kitchen area has trusses on. The garage is being sheathed for the second floor.


Tilting up walls. These guys have had no problem working with our double wall framing system.


Looking out the Dinning room window, that tiny person was placed there for scale. The homeowners wanted big windows to really capture the view they have of the buttes and Horsetooth Rock from the North side of their home.


Jason and Bryan standing in the Kitchen.


Looking out from the Kitchen into the rest of the first level. The “tiny person for scale” is standing in the Master Bedroom. The beam is situated over the Living Room.


Here our scale model is standing under the beam and in front of her is the wash room and access to the garage. There are high ceilings throughout. The beams and columns for this project are Beetle Kill Pine, milled from The Forks Lumber Mill, whom we used for the Nederland Home.


Here’s a look into the wall cavity. Soon we will be dense packing a whole semi load of cellulose into these cavities. One the ground is our vapor barrier. Just as on a roof, we must maintain a dry environment for the durability of our materials and the house as a whole.


Scale Model standing in the Garage. Above the garage will be bedrooms.


Here’s a look at some amazing custom made brackets we had done for the home from Charles Lefkowitz at, Sculpture and Functional Metal Work. We will have an upcoming post with more photos of the brackets we are using.



There last two photos are of the column brackets, one from the side, and one from the front. These brackets are giving structural stability and a very modern and industrial look to the home.


Shou Sugi Ban in Nederland (say that 5 times fast!)

Have you heard of the Shou Sugi Ban style of wood treatment? Basically, it is charred wood. Traditionally the practice, developed in Japan, uses Japanese Cedar. The Cedar is burnt, cooled and then cleaned/finished with a natural oil. The practice is sustainable as it preserves the wood making paints or other sealers unnecessary, and also acts as a fire barrier. Commonly, we see its finished look as a silvery grey, like in the picture from Houzz below:

The method can, of course, be done to lots of other wood species, and can give a beautiful and interesting look and feel to a room. Check out this other photo here, also from Houzz:

We are up in Nederland, adding a utility shed and lanai..errr should we say, “porch” or “patio” for you mainland folks (some of us lived in Hawaii for a good long while and still use the local phrases…what can we say), to the Passive House we built last winter. The method of siding the homeowner wanted is, Shou Sugi Ban which we are doing on flat cut Beetle Kill Pine; which we picked up from the Forks Lumber Mill just outside of Fort Collins (most of the Beetle Kill the Forks Mill processes actually comes from the Nederland area, so it’s local, sustainable, and beautiful.).

Here are some photos of our Shou Sugi Ban work, along with the additions to the house features:

First a few up close pictures, to show off the look:





Eric and Bryan welded up these handrails, and built/welded this robust barn door for the shed at the end of the porch!

psst, that welded track is actually meant to rust fast, giving it a nice rustic (see what we did there) look, per the homeowners request!

I don’t know about you all out there reading this but, SIGN ME UP!!!


Above: Bryan, charring it up!


There is still a shade structure to be built on this, South Facing, side of the house to optimize the summer shading and decrease the solar gain.



The look of the Shou Sugi Ban, along with the Corten steel (developed to weather quickly but resist corrosion) gives this new home, a very rustic-been here for ages- mountain retreat-appearance. We like it, a lot! What do you think?

Here are a few of the interior photos. The homeowner has chosen to do a lot of the finish work himself, which is why we have not had many finished interior shots to share.




This Place About to Blow!! Cellulose that is…

We have finally arrived at the stage of building where the homeowner says: Wow! and the employees say “yeahhhh” and everyone who has been in the home up to this point notices a significant change. What change is that? The change brought about by cellulose insulation. Suddenly the cold shell of the house feels warmer, quieter, and more like a home.

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After dense packing the cellulose, we will hang drywall. The homeowner has decided to install American Clay as the finished look for the walls, and will be doing the work himself, as he has chosen certain parts of the project he would like to be involved in. We are basically done here,after drywall installation, while the homeowner finishes his projects and finals the home. Our next projects are coming up quick and we are excited to be moving forward!

Check back for a follow up post about Cellulose Insulation!

Despite the Cold, Up it Goes!

These last few weeks have been primarily dedicated to siding. The homeowner decided to seal the concrete floor and to avoid disturbing its set up, we focused on the siding.

The siding that is going up is Beetle Kill Pine, that has been charred to give it that weathered effect. All the charring was done by the homeowner, as it was his personal project.

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We’ve been at it, despite the winter storm front that moved in last week, making for lots of snow and freezing cold temps.

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A look at the nice south side, with all those windows, allowing for maximum solar gain.

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Up, Up Up it goes!

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Rain or shine, blizzard or not we are on site doing work!

Snowy Work Days

Nederland, CO is a mountain town. We have strong gusts often (30-70+mph) through our job site and a short window of warm snow free days. Here’s a look at today’s weather!




Here’s another great shot of our stair treads just to put those cold pictures out of mind!

More Photos From Nederland

Here are some more pictures of our project in Nederland, CO.

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Putting up the wall sheathing.

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Adding an air seal tape around the windows and doors as well as the gaps between sheathing panels. After the air seal, we add a weather flashing. A few of the brands we like to use are Tescon Vana for air and Grace Vycor for weather flashing.

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Stair tread template in the background. The stairs will be cut from rough sawn beetle kill pine mentioned in previous posts. Also that blue hose is for our ERV system (Energy Recovery Ventilation)

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A look at the upper loft deck and into the kitchen (and master bedroom behind).

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And a look up, because we can’t get enough of those exposed trusses and the great beetle kill pine!!

Nederland, CO Project

Since we have been a little slow to introduce ourselves and our projects, lets just jump in to our current project. This project is a passive solar, slab on grade, two story (second floor is a loft) single family home. We are using Beetle Kill Pine for the siding, interior beams and flooring. It is framed Passive, and will have cellulose blown in. The Pine is sourced from Nederland Colorado, where the project is also being built, and is cut at The Forks Lumber mill in Laporte, CO.  This has been an exciting project to work on and we are entering our final months of work.

Here are few most recent photos from the job site.

At this moment, most photos are phone quality.

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Here is a shot from outside, while installing windows on the South Side of the house, our dominate solar gain side. This is also the direction the solar panels were installed.

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A look at the inside, kitchen area, overhead you can see the beginning of the loft framing. You can also see that this is an open beam ceiling, with Beetle Kill Pine above the trusses. The homeowner specifically wanted a mountain feeling home, something that tied into the rest of the town. On top of the Beetle Kill Pine are SIPs (structural insulated palens) Panels, sheathing and finally Coreten Steel roofing.

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This is looking out the large, South facing, windows from the master bedroom. Above you can see the beetle kill pine beams used to frame up the loft!

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And here, though a little blurry, we are laying out the second floor.

We’ll keep those pictures and information coming, so keep checking back!!