After our visit in August 2003 we didn’t actually see much happening for several months. Preparation is a large component of building a house in the middle of a forest. Brian Burgess of BK Burgess worked with us on the plans for the house, obtained permits, presented our plans to the City Council, and started taking care of all of the pre-construction details.
We had to clear enough trees and brush to make room for a house, detached garage (Bob’s workshop), and for the driveway which would connect to the road, We needed more fill to create the elevations we desired for the house and to create a leach field for the septic tank.
Creating the actual plans for our home was challenging as we were taking the general ideas from a log home we admired and creating a “stick house”. Structural decisions had to not only fortify the Great Room but also add beauty and interest to the home. We decided on using some of the Mission Style elements but keeping the woodwork light. We continued to think about ways to invite the outside in, melding the exquisite beauty of nature with our home. With so many types and colors of wood in our furnishings, we strove to make decisions that would complement them and add to the flow. This was just the beginning of our visits to Home Depot, Lowe’s and the Expo Center as we gathered design ideas. We scoured through magazines and design books and each time something “grabbed” one of us, we would save it to share with the other. Everything in building a house is a decision from the type of heating, to the style of windows, to how many outlets go where, to what kind of tub did we want.
One of our major decisions was what to cover the outside of the house with. Cedar shake is classic and quintessential New England however the cost was prohibitive and we hated the moldy black it turned before it finally years later mellowed to the grey we are all accustomed to. After what seemed like months of discussions we decided to go with vinyl. In keeping with our quest to meld into the forest and nature we had chosen a color that seemed to mimic wood.
By August 2004 we had the shell of the house up and the family came up for a vacation. Bob was out kayaking so our 13 year old son Trevor and I took a ride with Brian Burgess and his family to see some examples of houses with this color. I’m sure glad he insisted on this field trip as we were disappointed to see the reality on a large house. Trevor insisted that we needed a color that reflected the history of the area but “popped”. He grabbed the samples book, took it out and dropped it on the dirt road in the sun. “That’s it,” he exclaimed. Sure enough there was a beautiful grey-blue that reminded us of a Captain’s House. We came home to the family with the sample and announced our find. We’ve never been sorry about this last minute change.
By October 2004 much of the inside was taking form. The insulation, plumbing, electrical wiring, and cabling was installed. Finally by the end of November the house was close to finished on the outside. The deck flooring was up. Now the workmen could finish the house during the long, cold months. To my eyes, the house looked as though we would be in earlier than anticipated however I had no idea then that most of the work in a house is interior.