Our wee modern house in Logan, Utah
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Our wee modern house in Logan, UtahPosted by Mike White at November 08. 2007
After years of reading, this is my first posting to the site. LiveModern was a huge help over the last 2 years as I designed and help build a small house for my wife and myself in Logan, Utah. Mostly I found LiveModern to be extremely helpful for inspiration and ideas. Reading about the experiences that others had working through difficult projects gave me some confidence that maybe I could get through it was well.
The overall process was pretty long. Initially we hired an architect in 2004 and got a great and totally over budget design. We had it bid by four GCs but they were all 100k beyond our budget. Very sad. So I ended up drawing up a design myself and then getting it professionally transfered to building drawings and engineered. We finally found a great builder (Craig Lamond, Logan Canyon Construction) wiling to try anything. We broke ground in September 2005 and moved in May 2006. I ended up doing all the exterior and interior design work. It turned out to be a great collaborative experience between myself and the builder and I ended up learning a huge amount about woodworking, framing, tiling, concrete, etc.
During spring/summer/fall 2007 I did most of the landscaping. A local landscape architect did a master plan but I ended up freestyling almost everything anyway.
After a year of doodling I finally came up with a design I liked for a mailbox and that got done in October 2007. There's a bit more landscaping to do but it's mostly done now.
Overall I like the way it came out. The lot was challenging and it was pretty difficult to get good passive solar. Nonetheless I could have done a better job of solar orientation. Also some of the window placement is not ideal for privacy and viewing the local mountains. But the roof deck is great!
Anyway, many of the details we ended up using have been discussed here. The take on some of them is a bit different, like the way we trimmed out the plywood floors.
I'm loading some photos here but there's also a lot more available at http://picasaweb.google.com/mikew.usu/LoganHouse
Re: Our wee modern house in Logan, UtahPosted by Donald Shofner at November 08. 2007
Re: Our wee modern house in Logan, UtahPosted by Mike White at November 08. 2007
Construction costs were about $140/ft2, not including the unheated basement and garage. Prices in Logan tend to be about $100/ft2 for complete junk, $140 for typical custom, and $200 for really high end homes. So we did pretty well but it wasn't a total bargain either. Some of the extras, like 8k for steel stairs and railings for the roof deck and 3k for the ipe for the deck tended to ramp up the cost!
Re: Our wee modern house in Logan, UtahPosted by mojotooth at December 05. 2007
Awesome! I'm looking to put Ipe on my deck over sleepers. Any tips on working with this wood?
Re: Our wee modern house in Logan, UtahPosted by Mike White at December 06. 2007
Yeah there are a few things that came up. First off, the wood shrank a LOT after I installed it. I let it acclimatize for about three weeks but even so, over the course of the first summer, the gaps between the boards expanded considerably. So I'd be inclined to either let the boards really acclimatize during a hot dry period or space them quite close together.
Also, even though I sealed the ends, you'll still get some checking. So if you can do longer boards, I think this would be a good idea.
Drilling ipe is a pain because the wood is extremely hard and will continually clog up the bit grooves. So expect a lot of time on installation!
And although ipe is a great wood it's still wood. You'll get some cracking, splitting, splinters, cupping, etc.
And finally I hated the torx trim head screws I used. They were very flimsy and I trashed 20 or 30 driver bits. I wish I'd gone with larger diameter stainless steel square drive screws from mcfeely's.
Re: Our wee modern house in Logan, UtahPosted by David Moody at December 06. 2007
I saw your house a few weeks ago, and was very impressed. I recently showed the photo to a client of mine and he has been real excited to see them. We are doing a roof deck similar to your application, and I was wondering what you used to mount the deck to roof? Is it just sitting on insulation board and blocking? Also, the windows are great, did you use storefront or are they made by a window manufacturer?
Re: Our wee modern house in Logan, UtahPosted by Michael Feezor at December 06. 2007
I went in circles endlessly on how to install the deck. Basically it is a floating installation built of pressure treated 2x4s screwed together with stainless fasteners to make modular palettes. The roof underneath is a single-ply thermopolyolefin (TP) with a total change in elevation of six inches across the full pitch. So I had to slope-correct that somehow. There are some very good commercial products - in particular bison screwjacks. They are, however, very expensive and I was pretty much out of cash. So instead, as David suggested, I cut 12"x12" squares of walkable roof membrane to protect the TPO and then built up layers of various thicknesses of rigid board insulation and 1/4 exterior plywood to get everything more or less to the same height. So basically the palettes sit on homemade pedestals. I finished the install in March and it has been fine ever since. There are a few palette intersections where everything is not totally even but it basically worked. The metal planters I designed and had custom fabricated. If I do this again I will make sure to use parapet wall that come up high enough so that I can hang a pressure treated ledger and then attach continuous beams. This would greatly simplify the installation.
On the windows - they're vinyl. I designed the layout and they were built by Weathershield here in Logan. They're just ok. Some of the joins on the window panels are pretty sloppy. For the next go-round I will probably use the thermally broken aluminum milgard product.
Re: Our wee modern house in Logan, UtahPosted by mojotooth at December 09. 2007
Thanks for the tips.