June 25

Progress has been continuing at the site, even if the web page isn't reflecting it. We hired a couple of locals to do the framing. We had to wait a couple of weeks after the concrete pour for them to become available, but they're on the job now and working steadily. Reflecting their ages, Dan (the older of the two) refers to their efforts as "AARP contracting". They are extremely meticulous and are the first subs on site who understand that the walls and floor are finished surfaces and treat them accordingly. What a relief.

Here's Rich hard at work grinding away at the bond beam in order to make a flat surface to attach a wall to. The bond beam and the rammed earth are anything but flat and true, but the walls need to be straight. Rich has spent a lot of time grinding flats on the walls.

 

This is the east wall of the bedroom building. The large window (almost 14') is over the bed.  The header is three 2x12s nailed together and weighs a lot - a couple of hundred pounds, at least. You've probably already guessed how we got it in place - yes, the Gehl.

 

Here's the entry.

 

Here's a view from the entry. The interesting thing to note is the big window on the left. The window turns a corner at the rammed earth wall. There is no mullion at the corner - it's a glass-glass corner. Sure hope it works.

Elaine has been working unbelievably hard at patching the walls. The north facing surfaces have suffered from spalling - pock-marks caused by little balls of dirt that didn't mix with the cement and ended up near the surface. Over the winter they absorbed moisture and popped little pockets in the surface of the wall. Working with the same soil as the wall, a higher level of cement, and concrete dyes, Elaine has matched the color and pretty much the texture of the walls. The repair is nearly invisible.  This is the north wall of the guest suite, all done. We now have a crisp line where the earth meets the concrete and a smooth, solid surface.

Finally, the moment we've been waiting for since January. Our big extravagance on the house (aside from the whole project) is the Nana door. What's a Nana door you may ask? It's a folding glass door system. Each Nana door is custom made to order in Germany, then shipped by boat, then trucked to the site. We ordered the door in October once the walls were done, giving us the final measurement. The build time is about 6 weeks, then 6 more weeks for shipping. Of course it arrived when the site was snowed in. One of our "neighbors", Robert Bridge, stored the crates for us for the past 6 months. We've been waiting eagerly to see if the doors survived the unloading, reloading, and moving. Here are the results.

 View from the inside, all doors closed.

View from the outside, with a single door open.

View from the outside. The left side is completely open, the right side is partially opened.
And finally, all open. The wall is gone!

Our plan is to have a large patio outside the living room. When the weather is right (about 9-10 months in New Mexico), we'll just open the doors and the indoors will merge with the outdoors.