Hidden Bend Retreat, Romney West Virginia

Romney, WV

Friday, June 25, 2010

Snowy River Log Homes

A couple of people have asked me for information about our log home builder and found this picture I took previously that has the contact information! They're located in Hedgesville, WV. I don't receive any compensation for posting this info but they've been great to work with so far and figure it can't hurt to give them a bit of publicity!

Heating and Ventilation Work Continues

More work completed this week on the HVAC. Cold air returns and supply lines were placed on the second floor and loft and the holes were cut for many of the supply vents on the first floor. The bathroom vent fans were also installed and the ducts were routed outside the house but not yet to their final locations. A pine tongue and groove ceiling will now be installed in the bathrooms to hide the vents and ducting, just like what was already completed in the second floor bath.

You can make out the exhaust vent hoses in the last picture just over the second window from the left. If you're old enough to remember, they might remind you of the arms on the robot from "Lost in Space".

The next few weeks should see the completion of all the supply and return lines and the setting of the heat pump in the basement. We're using a geothermal heat pump system and the 5 150' wells to support the system will probably be done in the next couple of weeks as well.

Speaking of utilities, we contacted our local propane supplier, Amerigas, and purchased a 1500 gallon underground propane tank. On a day to day basis, we'll use propane for our cooktop and a gas grill but the tank is so large because it will supply the back up generator. We wanted at least a 3 day supply of fuel so went with a large tank. Surprising to me, they don't have the tanks in stock and had to order it so won't be here for 4 or 5 weeks. We decided to purchase the tank outright this time so we could have some control and flexibility on where we buy propane and because the price per gallon is cheaper when you're not leasing the tank. Since we plan for this to be our long term home, we decided the up front cost of the tank, about $1600, is worth it over the long term. Hopefully, our electric supply will be stable and a tank will last a long time.

Stove Pipe Hole (Villian Removed)

I'm told there is a villian inside every concrete pour that has to be removed- this was completed on Thursday at our house. Dave T. did the honors and you can see the before and after pictures, lol.

This hole for the wood stove pipe needed to be completed this week in preparation for the masons who will start the chimney next week. We'll have a concrete block chimney that is then covered with a stone veneer product, we're hoping it turns out well.

Roof 95% Shingled

On Monday, a roofing crew arrived on site and before lunch time, had completed 95% of the shingling for the house. The ridge vent was left for the next visit as well as an area that can't be done until the mason completes the chimney. The chimney and stone work is scheduled for next week. Here are a few shots of their completed work.

The second picture shows a close up of the porch and the 30 year architectural shingles we chose to use. They are Hunter Green in color and by GAF. We would liked to have done a standing seam metal roof but at about 3 times the cost, it just wasn't in the budget.

You can also see that more of the outside staining has been completed. The areas you can see in the photos have all received 2 coats of the Sikkens Dark Oak stain.

Basement Interior Walls Started

On Thursday, the carpentry team started working on the internal framed walls in the basement. In a last minute decision, we decided to have some of the walls that will become part of the bath/kitchenette/theater room framed along with the walls that were originally planned. We were just going to have the mechanical room and the walls for the stairs completed but decided to add a few additional walls. We had planned to have the drains for the shower and sinks roughed in but will now have all of the plumbing ready to go for the fixtures to be installed later as well.

The carpenters made short work of this area, by the end of Thursday, nearly all the walls were completed. One shot also shows Dave T. working to set the shower drain so the shower could be be set in place before the walls went up around it- it's a 4' shower unit so wouldn't be able to get it through the door once constructed. In the next to last picture, looking towards the windows, you can see a pocket door that was framed that will be between the theater and the kitchenette. We used several pocket doors throughout the house to save space and where we didn't want a swinging door to be in the way.

The other shots of the various walls that frame in the stairs as well as the long wall that forms the future theater. In that shot, you can also see the water pressure tank and electrical panels for the whole house.

Nice Cloud

As I was leaving on Thursday afternoon, just after a rainstorm had gone through the area, I saw this one last low cloud and thought it was worth a picture! This cloud was hanging over Route 50, Mechanicsburg Gap but was gone by the time I reached there in a few minutes.

Decking Completed

The decking and posts were completed this week, railings will be added in the next couple of weeks. Here are a series of pictures showing the progress. You can see that we're putting a layer of gravel under the deck near the house, this is to help minimize the number of bugs that will try to settle there. We had the area termite treated as well just before the basement slabs were poured. The first picture is the view to the south from the deck after it was completed. Over time, we'll selectively prune or remove some trees to improve the view but won't move too quickly.

The last picture shows a view under the deck that will become a screened porch, screening was applied to the decking joists before the decking boards were laid so hopefully, when completed, we'll have full protection from flying bug and other visitors.

The wood stairs you see are temporary on the back of the house. The rock stairs are a Custom Contracting tradition for homes they build and are at the entrance to the front decking. The final grading around the house will bring the ground level up near the lower of the two rocks when completed. You can see this picture was taken just before the last of the decking was completed.

The other pictures show views as you progress around the 3 sides of the house.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Wiring & Plumbing Continues

Dave T. made a lot of progress this week with the plumbing line installs as well as the electrical work. He's both a licensed plumber and electrician so if you need holes in your walls, he's the guy to get them done. The pictures show some of the wiring being installed for the intercom system as well as the structured wiring being placed in a number of locations in the house.

The intercom wiring is Cat5 that has home runs to the master station that will be located in the office. This unit will give us a music capability throughout the house and to the garage/shop as well. The first picture shows the rough in plate for a room station and the Cat5 cable that is ready for connection.

The blue cables in the other two pictures show the structured wiring. Each cable has two RG6 cables for TV or other video and two Cat5 cables all in a single package about the size of your thumb. These can be terminated with plugs in a single wall outlet. You can see the "false" front of the log that has the holes for the outlet boxes. Once the wiring is completed, this log is secured in place and looks just like all the others.

The second pictures shows the other end of the structured wiring runs all being brought to a single location in the basement. The builder is running the cables but I'll be responsible for adding a structured wiring box which will have various tie down points and plugs for the Cat5 and RG6 cables to terminate. This is where the external satellite tv, phone, and internet connections will be brought in as well. I'll use a multiswitch to distribute the satellite feeds and an Ethernet switch for the internet from the local phone companies router. We're hoping these systems will give us plenty of flexibility both now and for future gadgets.

Chimney Hole Cut in Roof

Vance was on site on Thursday to cut and frame the hole for the wood stove chimney that will be added in the next week or so. He worked from under the eaves to remove the rafters, insulation and sheeting before framing the new hole. The current plan has the mason on site next weekend to do the chimney work. A cast stone veneer will be added once the concrete block chimney is completed. We're planning to use a wood stove in the basement as supplemental heat. We've talked with a number of people who have stoves in their basements and allow the heat to warm the floors overhead and to rise up the stairways to feed the upper floors. With our central staircase, we should see some good air movement to help keep the heating bills low and let us use the abundant wood we have available.

Basement Stair Hole Cut & Framed

Doug and Dave T. cut the hole for the basement stairs on Wednesday. With a ladder in the hole for now, we now have a quick route to the basement. Stairs are being prefabricated off site and will be installed in the near future.

Note the teamwork in the pictures, especially the second shot as Dave T. directs a stream of air to keep the pencil line clear for Doug to cut the sheeting. The hole is partially covered with some of the sheeting that was removed for safety purposes. Having this access simplified the wiring work that is taking place as well.

Decking Started

Construction of the decks and porches that will extend around 3 sides of the house started this week- in only 4 days, all of the support posts and joists were in place and deck boards started being screwed down late on Thursday. It took a lot of effort to maneuver around all the post holes. Next week, the decking work will continue and concrete will be poured around the posts.

The decking pictures show the work as it was completed, first shots showing the ledger boards as they were added over the flashing installed last week. Then the joists and posts were all added. The last picture shows Ryan as he is completing the install of the first deck board. I had to leave early but I'm sure there is a lot more in place now.

The fifth picture shows the area where the porch will be screened. Screening will be added in that area under the deck boards before they are put down, then the screen walls and doors will be added later. The screen porch has been in the plans from day one but we were planning to do that work ourselves. We recently (today) changed our minds and will have the builders go ahead and complete the screened porch. Otherwise, we'd need to make sure there was some type of temporary railings in place for inspection that would have to be removed or changed later. We have so many projects already on our plates for the house and property that not having this one on the list is a good thing. That's the official story, I'm not sure that Donna hasn't decided that she likes the builders work better than mine, lol.

Next week, the construction team is also hoping to nearly finish the excavation and grading work so some of the heavy equipment can be moved on to other jobs. We may also be able to dig the holes for the underground propane tank. We'll probably use a 330 gallon tank as we'll want a decent amount of capacity for the whole house generator should we have an extended power outage.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Foggy Morning Walk

Took an early walk before work started on Wednesday after a serious fog had rolled in overnight. Not much had reached the level of the house but you can see from the pictures of the valley that visibility was next to nothing. You can just make out the house through the fog and the trees in one picture if you click on it to enlarge the photo.

These were taken as I walked down from the house towards the entrance to the development, the picture with the thickest fog is when I reached the last turn before the final hill to level ground. Also took a few other shots as I walked along to share, the thistles are in full bloom as you can see and the spider webs were really visible because of a layer of moisture from the heavy dew.