June, 2010

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Nice work!

Saturday, June 26th, 2010

Look what Brad did today (while I was working on other stuff — getting ready for a marathon of 8 presentations in 48 hours next week…why do I agree to these things?:)



The kitchen counters are next. (We finally have the tile.)

Window coverings

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

I’ve been deliberating about what to do about window coverings. The original plan was to have lots of glass and no coverings, but the sun coming in on the west side is just too hot in the afternoon (especially at my desk with the killer view).

We didn’t think blinds would really match the style of the house. We’d thought about Moroccan style drapes, but they take up a lot of real estate even when they’re not really in use, and I really wanted something that would just disappear when they weren’t being used.

I found these microfiber cellular shades from Allen + Roth and got a few to try them out. They were *much* cheaper than Levelors and have the really nice feature of having no cords.  So far, we love them. They are pretty, functional, and affordable.


my desk with the killer view


shades on door

Life is good…but busy

Sunday, June 13th, 2010

We are loving living in the house so much. It is really glorious.

We have been sitting outside for a bit nearly every night, either to enjoy the magnificent sunsets or to stargaze before bed. This morning, we took advantage of the cool morning to go for a long walk, on which we saw a horny toad.

Brad has done some more on the house (cleared out the bedroom, finished the last of the floors, and put backer board down in preparation for tiling the kitchen counters), while I’ve been jetting around and otherwise working a lot.

And we have peas.


Saturday, June 5th, 2010

As much time as we’ve spent in this house over the last year, I would not have thought there would be any surprises when we moved in, but there have been a few.

Temperature – It’s been very hot here this week, over 100 some days. Despite this, the house has stayed very cool. There is generally a 20 degree differential. The only time the house starts to heat up is at about 4:00 when the late afternoon sun streams in the front windows. We will probably get some kind of window coverings for that side of the house to help with this. Also, the air flow in the house is amazing.


Solar – The solar has worked great. I wouldn’t even know we had solar if Brad weren’t so obsessed about checking all the metrics all the time. And it’s worked great before we even had all the panels up (which we are finally completing now).

Birds – There are so many more birds here than I realized. It is especially evident in the early morning when we wake up to a chorus of all kinds of birds. It really sounds like a forest. I thought that when we moved away from the heavily treed place we were living before, we’d leave a lot of birds and other wildlife behind, but this has not been the case.

Kitchen – The kitchen is compact but workable. I have baked and cooked, pretty much as usual. The range is great. I am missing some counter space (especially last night when I made an overly complex grilled flat bread with carmelized onions and goat cheese, which required a lot of “staging”) but it is not bad. I am getting some hanging produce baskets and other things that should help. And we are storing a lot of canned goods and other stores in the storage room for now. It’s weird to think that when we originally designed this house, it didn’t even have a kitchen.

Views – The views out our many windows are just as nice as we’d hoped. Almost every night this week, we’ve taken an hour or so to sit outside and watch the sun set. (Once the sun dips down behind the mountains, it cools off fast. It’s been very pleasant around sunset. By midnight or so, it’s cold enough to use a comforter.) It really is gorgeous here.

Gardening update here.

Celebrating with a few minutes of rest and reflection

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

Well, we did it. We are now 100% moved in!

Last night, we celebrated with a bottle of champagne, the first half of which we enjoyed sitting out by the greenhouse watching an awesome sunset with a pleasantly warm light breeze blowing.

It is almost one year to the day since we got our building permit and less than two years since we first came to Portal and found this beautiful spot. (Also, since then, this is our 200th post on this blog.) It’s hard to believe how fast this all happened.

Sitting outside last night, we reflected on all the people who helped us get here. We have a very supportive and loving group of family and friends. Thank you all.

Most of all, Brad was an amazing partner in all this. He not only was willing to entertain my crazy idea to do this, but then rose to the task of building a whole house ourselves with many challenges that were far out of the ordinary. He was a patient teacher and an amazingly hard worker. At the end of this, we not only have an absolutely beautiful house, but our relationship is stronger than ever. Thank you, Brad.

Now, for a bit of a rest, and then on to the next stage!