January 28 & 30, 2008—Fireplace masonry complete

I actually took these pictures on Monday, January 28th. I made a flying trip up to see the arch on the fireplace aperture. I had not been satisfied with it on Friday and had emailed Kai a drawing of what I wanted. It was just a small correction making the top of the arch more smooth and round.

When I left home to go to the site, it was sunny but very cold. When I got close, there was a lot of fog from moisture rising from the surrounding fields. Arriving, I realized we were having another day above the fog, although it was not as heavy as some other mornings.

There was snow again on the mountain. It’s hard to see in this photo, but it was there. The rain had put a halt to the roofing until things dried out.

Also, the roofers had put on the wrong roof topping on the finished section—the color was too light. We needed to consult with the County planner, to find out if we needed to have them replace it or not.

Kai had made the changes on the arch and I promised to come up and make sure I liked it. Luckily, I did, because the masons had already put the bricks up over the form.

Here is Kevin, finishing up the rest of the fireplace. I snapped a few photos and then took off and went home.

The porta-potty, which had been tipped over in the storm was righted. Then Kai asked the guy to move it closer to the house, so we wouldn’t have to see it when we looked out of the cottage.

It had originally been put in that location to be out of the way, but handy during the construction on the barn and guest cottage, but now could be moved to a less precarious spot near the house.

We had rain again on Tuesday, so not much was done on Wednesday. Kai had his laborers there doing clean-up and organizing for the next phase, which will be wrapping the house with Tyvek and installing the windows and exterior doors.

Once this is complete and the roof is finished, we will be closed in—finally. We can only hope the rain holds off enough in the coming weeks to do this.

Stacked in the wine closet are rolls of Tyvek and Bituthene, plus the various other parts of the membrane.

Here are the 3 little bathroom windows, waiting to be installed. These are so small and light that they are not a problem, but getting the huge living room and dining room windows over from the barn and lifted into place will be quite a job.
Late that afternoon, I took these shots. The first window, the kitchen window above the prep-sink has been put in place.

Here is the same window from the outside. Tyvek and Sierra Pacific, the window manufacturer, both will send reps to inspect the job once all the Tyvek is on and windows installed. Once they give their approval of the installation, they become liable for any failure, so they are pretty meticulous on the inspection.

My take on this process, is that it has has all been driven by liability law suits, but also has been very good for the building industry by standardizing good practices.

The fireplace was complete. Kai had drawn a heart at the top of the arch for us. It will be covered up by the veneer plaster which will finish the fireplace, but we will know it is there. (He did it because I had the concrete finisher put a heart on our threshold.)

I really love the way the brick came out in the firebox. Up close, it looks like a bee-hive and is very even and handsome. The black square is a door which is put in all fireplaces to bring air in and just in front of that is the gas line for the gas log.

The outside edges of the masonry will be cut away before the final plaster is put on, to give it the more rounded, bee-hive appearance of a kiva fireplace. We don’t really have any idea of how it will look when it’s finished, and just sort of have to trust the mason and plasterer to make it look the way we want. Yikes! I can see better why some of the fireplaces in the southwest look so odd.

Kai also wrote his name in the mortar. A lot of the workers have put their names in various parts of the house, and I think there is even an “in memory of . . .” mark some place. I figure that it is part of the process, that the people who do the work leave their mark.

A lot of the lumber has my last name and the contractor’s name marked on it. I have gotten a spray can of paint to write Jim’s name on some of the studs to sort of even things out.

It is scheduled to rain again tomorrow, so I don’t expect much work to get done this week, although I will come as usual on Friday.

Back to top