Several years ago, we had a series of severe ice storms on Hammond Hill where we live. Together with some stiff winds, it devastated an area of woods near our home, all Depression era reforestation land planted to spruce.
As we have worked closely with the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation on other projects and live right next to the damaged woodlot, we were able to contract for a salvage operation. Charlie, with lots of help from our son Shawn, retrieved as many of the felled spruce trees as they could in the spare time they had available on evenings and weekends. It was a tricky business, as the trees were still attached to their rootstocks. Parting rootstock from log requires skill and excellent timing, for when log and rootstock part ways, the rootstock always flips back down into its original place with a crash. As you can imagine, visitors were not allowed while work was being done!
We purchased a Turner bandmill to saw the logs into lumber, another long-term operation that chewed up evenings and weekends. We ended up with a yard full of stacks of lumber.
This is only a fraction of the lumber Shawn and Charlie cut.
Starting in October 2006, we renovated a barn on our property into a woodworking shop, and started the huge job of sizing and shaping lumber for framing, floors, interior doors and trim, as well as kitchen and bath cabinets. Shawn and Charlie were joined by our youngest son Ben during breaks in his senior year at SUNY Oswego.
Shawn is in the foreground, working on an interior door. Ben is in the middle and Charlie is in the rear of the wood shop. The lumber stacked on the right of the picture is floorboards for the second story in the apartments, and some finished doors.
Charlie planned this place utilizing huge beams and joists to support the second story; handling the beams was a chore best left to a tractor! All the beams were hand cut to accommodate the joists. All beams and joists were stained before putting in place.
Just to make things life extra exciting and busy, our eldest son Matt and his wife Zarra expanded their family in April. Joselyn Ann was born April 26th.
Josie, 3 days old
We started the actual site work in April, as well.
Shawn is hand troweling the edges of the concrete slab while Ben mans the bull float. Framing always looks impressive, as the house seems to jump out of the ground overnight. The reality is actually lots of lots of preparation and planning.
In the middle of framing, Ben graduated Magna cum laude from Oswego with a double major in criminal justice and sociology.
Ben on right, Shawn in middle, Charlie on left.
Shawn left to return to college at the end of June, but not before the roof, windows and siding were on.
Now all the work moved indoors, and the photographer (Ann) got way too busy staining and polyurethaning trim, doors and cabinets, trying to stay ahead of the building team's need for these items. Summer is also our busiest season for caring for the rest of the properties we own, so I did not do nearly as good a job of documenting progress from this point on; however, here are a few interior shots.
We used the same tried and true floor plan as our other Ellis Hollow properties,
but made some significant changes when putting the finishing touches on this place. We added a second story back deck to take advantage of the terrific views of the Ellis Hollow valley.
Imagine yourself here with your morning coffee or tea, enjoying the diversity of wildlife that thrives in the protected wildlife wetlands in the valley below.
After talking to a current tenant of ours who has terrible allergies, we decided against using any carpeting. We used waterborne polyurethanes as much as possible, and "no VOC" paints. The office floor is cork, a sustainable building material; the remainder of the first floor is ceramic tile, and the second floor is spruce. This place isn't done to strict "green" standards, but it comes close. And how many places get built with virtually all local lumber?
Finally, the point we were all looking forward to: being able to take "finished!" shots!
Lawns are seeded down. The entry garden, shrubs and trees will be planted in the spring of 2008.
The cabinets are constructed of maple lumber cut from an ice-felled tree on our home property on Hammond Hill. The appliances are energy star rated.
The wood for the stair system is black locust lumber cut from trees that we cleared off the house site in Ellis Hollow. They are a work of art and guaranteed not to squeak.