This page was last updated in 1999 or so, but if you're interested in reading about our house building project read on.
We built a house on 100 acres of land we bought in 1995 in Greenfield, MA. The folks who sold us the land, the Greenfield
Community College Foundation, gave us these neat ariel
views of the area. We used timber off the land to build the house and are made our own lumber using our Woodmizer
sawmill. Here is a page with a sequence
of shots showing the progress at the house site from September 1995 to September 97. Finally, here is a list of the contractor
and suppliers we are using.
It's almost finished, but it will probably be almost finished for a long time. :-)
To view the panoramic pictures (.IVR
files) on these pages you need to download theRealspace Viewer plugin.
If that does not work for you try these:
- 9/24/99 Click
on the picture below for a tour of the house. This
will probably work best if you are using Netscape or IE. If it
versions of the browsers.
in Gravel, Checking
Grades, Helpers, Laying Pipe, etc,
- 9/20/99 Much
rain from the hurricane last week and one
downed tree near the house.
- 9/11/99 We
- 6/19/99 Floor
installation (one, two, three),
Jacuzzi installation, Kid's bath, Balcony
- 5/31/99 The
countertops look great,but
unfortunately the granite fabricator made the hole for the cooktop
downdraft vent too big and cut the hole for the main sink incorrectly
so they are doing the whole thing again. To make matters worse
the installers had a major fire at their headquarters the day
after we called them to set up the new installation, so needless
to say things have been a little difficult. Not to worry though,
things are moving along at our end - we are getting
ready to finish installing the wood floors; the master
bath and shower
tile work is nearing completion; we are working on landscaping
over the moonscape that used to be a lovely wooded area,
but was ripped up to install the leach field. We also finished
some odds-and-ends of drywall work that need to be done including
work around the skylights
in the sunroom. Finally, we have been building locker-style
cabinets for the mudroom.
- 5/6/99 The
countertop installation crew
finished today - island,
primary sink area. Wacky
was treed by a dog and
decided to stay up there for 24 hours.
- 4/30/99 The
cats have taken over.
Exhibit 1. Exhibit
2. Exhibit 3 (AKA "Cat
on a Hot Galvanized Steel Roof"). Exhibit
4. Brian and Josh took all these pictures including this
one of the Great Room.
- 4/18/99 Brian and Josh
test the strength of the new wall cabinets which we installed
last week. Teri applies polyurethane
to one piece among the thousand pieces of trim - some of
which is being installed around the surround
of the whirlpool in the master bathroom. Work continues on
the shower room in the master bath. Finally, more plumbing pictures
showing the new DHW additions (wide
- 4/8/99 Tiling.
- 4/5/99 Painting, plumbing.
- 3/12/99 Work
has begun on water
heater and the remaining heating zones. We also recently
picked out all the tile
for the kid's bath, master bath and shower.
- 3/7/99 Work
continues on the kitchen
cabinets. We installed some of the hardware
in the kid's closets. Meanwhile, the kitties enjoy climbing
in the rafters and snoozing
on Jim's bed.
- 1/31/99 We
are currently involved in the construction
and staining of the kitchen cabinetry. Some of
us took advantage of the latest dusting of snow by doing some
x-country skiing (Josh,
al.) while the kitties were content to curl
up together in front of the fireplace.
- 1/18/99 We
have a working toilet! Whippee! (picture not available) The pine
floor boards have been laid
on the floor and are reaching their final dryness before
we nail them down. We got about 15 inches of snow,
sleet and ice in the last two storms. One interesting note
about that last picture is that the nearer equipment shelter
covered by the blue tarp was crushed shortly after the picture
was taken when the snow and ice released and fell from the porch
roof. The joiner underneath was not damaged.
- 12/8/98 We
have been working on getting the septic system installed. It
took us from June until November to wind our way through the
town regulations and to get the plans from the engineer, but
we ultimately got our permit a few weeks ago. Here are the pics:
- 10/1/98 JPEG
- 9/27/98 Moving boards to the
attic which will be put on the great
- 9/18/98 David puts the finishing touches
on the tile floor in the kitchen. More
grout work. Jim edges some
wood for the floors. Brian
helps load the kiln. Brian
et. al. inspect his repainted room. Started
working on the great room ceiling. Bev
applies polyurethane to some shelves. Teri
and Marjorie design the at the front door. The
outdoor work area behind the house.
- 8/31/98 The
tile floor is about
2/3rds installed including grouting
and cleaning off the grout.
We acquired some new equipment in preparation for the floor,
ceiling and trim work - a jointer,
and a 20" planer.
- 8/16/98 Most
of the painting is finished including the MBDRM
and bath. We have
begun putting down the slate
tile in the mudroom area.
We also have three new kittens
living at the house. They like to play.
- 7/26/98 Panorama of the first
floor great room after painting (plan
'ole jpeg of the same). Brian's
room. Josh's room.
Removing the chicken
coop. The NEW Dozer
- 7/19/98 Most
of the first floor and great room painting is done. We have views
of the kitchen looking
east and south (panoramic),
kitchen looking west
and north (panoramic)
great room looking
great room looking
up, entryway into kitchen,
and the mudroom. Painting
on the second floor is about 30% done. Bob
and I paint the kids bathroom walls and ceilings.
We also worked on installing
a frame around our water well
head to keep the groundwater out. Jim recently built a solar kiln to finish drying
the wood for the floor, ceilings and trim.
- 7/12/98 Brian and Josh help paint Brian's
- 7/4/98 Painting
day. We painted and painted and painted
and painted. More to come.
As an alternative: I haven't taken many pictures outside lately
so here is one from the northeast
side (panoramic version
of same) - we recently cleaned up the front area. Finally,
in case you are worried about what the kids do while we are working
- not to worry - they are spending their time recreating
in their friend Jay's pool.
- 6/28/98 Dad
and Jackie have been here for a week and we have been prepping
for painting. This includes sanding
drywall, cleaning and
dusting and covering windows
and more windows
and the fireplace (and
Dad's mouth I guess).
- 6/14/98 OK,
so the following pictures are probably the four most boring pictures
posted on the web today: future
ethernet, phone, cable wiring closet; drywall
work in the great room, the
boiler boiling and a closeup.
- 6/7/98 Teri
and I installed the tubing
for the radiant flooring heating in the kids
bathroom today. We also finished hooking up the first floor
tubing to the manifold
in the basement. Saturday we applied floor leveling concrete
to the mudroom floor
in preparation for tiling it (the floor is still a bit wet in
- 5/20/98 Some
exciting pictures of boiler plumbing: left
side, right side.
- 5/10/98 Drywall
mudding continues - we should be ready to paint the first floor
in the next few weeks. This panorama
(jpeg) of the first
floor should give a good idea of what things look like now. The
tile for the kitchen and mudroom floor was delivered
last week. We also added a
flue to the chimney for the boiler (the furnace for you laypersons).
Josh helped us prepare
to apply some leveling cement
to the kitchen floor. Work has also been progressing on getting
the boiler hooked up
to the radiant floors so we can use it to dry the wood for the
- 4/19/98 This
past week we installed
the radiant tubing (with
Dad's help) in the first
and master bath.
Then we moved what seemed like
a couple of tons of concrete
to cover the tubing.
- 4/6/98 A
panorama of the kitchen
showing the results after the drywall work. We did some burning
- 4/5/98 With
the exception of a few high places the drywall
work is practically done. Dad
flew in Friday and has been helping
out. We've also been cleaning up (here the
kitchen) in preparation for the start of the radiant floor
installation. The spots on some of the pictures are all the gypsum
dust from the drywall - you can see why we need the dust masks.
- 3/22/98 We've
been installing drywall
for the last few weekends. Thanks to the many people who have
dropped by to help including Kevin,
Zack, Dan, Tom and Debbie.
- 3/1/98 We
have practically finished the insulation as you can see in this
2nd floor panorama in realspace
or jpeg. The sheetrock was delivered
Friday and we started installing today - Brian
and Josh helped "mud"
- 2/22/98 During
the last few weeks we have put the finishing touches on the electric
and plumbing systems in preparation for inspections, insulation
and drywall. Tom and Debbie
helped us do some of the final wiring - for smoke detectors -
last weekend. We also installed a stove
in the basement to heat the place up and help dry some of
the wood we will be using on the floors and ceilings. This weekend
we insulated all the walls
with Dan and Tom's
- 1/29/98 I
took some more panoramic sequences: one of the southwest
side before it snowed, west
side outside and one inside on the second floor in the kids bathroom (if
you cannot see these there are instructions
for downloading the realspace viewer or you can just look
at the huge jpegs - inside
and outside sw
and outside west).
Here are some of the other panoramic shots I have previously
included on other pages:
- 1/19/98 Bart
stopped by a few weeks ago, but the best picture I have of him
is this one of his back
playing ping-pong with Teri
against Dan and Brian. We also do some work on the house
occasionally - like laying
out the dimensions of the kitchen island on the subfloor
or Brian helping to solder
- 1/4/98 We
finished installing the dumbwaiter
and Brian took a ride in
it. We also installed the second
door in the mudroom. There is a new page of panoramic
photos of the house.
- 12/14/97 The
phone installer guy from BellAtlantic (formerly NYNEX) came today
and installed our network interface.
Remember the hole into
the cellar that Teri fell through last November? It now has some
- 12/14/97 We
finally broke out of the weather pattern that gave us 5 straight
weekends of heavy rain so Jim has resumed work on the porch;
here we see him cutting
temporary support beams on the woodmizer.
Bob was visiting last week. He helped us with wiring and burger and wine cooler consumption.
In addition, he provided the cell phone so we could call dad
with some last minute questions about wiring the well pump for
a test; everything worked fine and we proceeded to lower
it into the well. In a related note we are having a phone
installed (generously supported by dad) at the house on Tuesday
- the number will be 413-775-0051. Finally, Jim's chickens
have started producing eggs and have been rewarded by being allowed
to roam the compound.
- 11/24/97 One
of the tasks we worked on this past weekend was installing
recessed lighting fixtures in the kitchen. I used a trial
version of the PhotoVista software from LivePicture
to make some 360 degree panoramas of the inside
(293K) and outside
(546K) of the house.
The three inches of early snow
made it tough to work on the siding and the porch roof so we
spent the weekend putting the finishing touches on some of the
interior framing so we can get our final framing inspection done
this week. One task was finishing the walls
in the mudroom (the previous picture was taken while standing
in the east door into
the mudroom). We should be putting the pump in the well and
running the pipes in the trench
to the house soon. Finally, we also need to include the obligatory
picture of the kids enjoying themselves - in this case Brian
and his friend David playing in front of the fireplace.
We have been concentrating on finishing the siding on the west and north sides of the house
so we can finish the porch roof underneath it before the weather
gets bad. The last two weekends have been rainy so Teri
and David worked on the ceiling
in the master bedroom as well. We also framed
in the whirlpool bath.
We started putting siding on
the back of the house over the porch roof last weekend. We've
also been working on the plumbing
for a while. The foliage
is almost at peak color right now and we have had 3 weeks of
lovely indian summer weather. Other pictures taken recently:
It has been a little more than a year since we poured
the footings for the foundation. We built our first
fire in the fireplace last week to stave off the coldness
of October. We installed the
double sliding doors at the back of the house and continued
working on porch roof in
preparation for installing siding.
More news on the well:
the water has risen in the well to a point 37 feet from the top
- we have about 560 feet of water in the well which translates
into about 800 gallons of reserve. That should be enough for
a few showers. Pictures: Jim works on the skylight
over the dining bay; Josh
and his friend Chistopher work on boats to sail in the creek
(and in the puddle on the basement floor!).
We started drilling
our well last week. On Thursday they
drilled through 30 feet of sand, 60 feet of clay and stopped
at 120 feet in bedrock - no water yet. On Friday they dug down
to 480 feet and still no water. They're coming back Monday to
hydrofrac* to look for a vein of water.
Update 9/22: Hydrofracking was not successful
so we kept drilling and finally hit water at about 600ft. We
are getting about 3-4 gallons a minute which we are told is is
good for a deep well.
*Hydrofracking (sp) involves forcing water
into the well at around 5000psi to attempt to open up the structure
of the rock and produce a better yielding well.
All of the windows are installed!
We did the last one with
the help of Tom and Debbie. Brian and Teri celebrated by playing a little ping-pong.
We just installed one of the last two windows - the big ones
we are field mulling that go in the clerestory. We built a platform
on the porch roof, built the window and tipped in into place.
Here are some shots of the process and results - Aligning
the parts; screwing it
together; the end product
from inside and out.
As an added treat here is a shot of Brian
helping to clean up and Uncle
Jim being weird.
Window installation continues: Here we see Jim getting
ready to install one of the half-round windows in the clerestory
- and after installation.
Mom and Vern were in town earlier in the month. Here we see Mom using the chop saw. More
recently Lauren and Pete and
the boys stopped by to check things out. Brian and Josh have
been spending some their time at the house playing
with some of the neighborhood boys. We spent the last weekend
installing windows - Dan, Teri
and Jim applying some Tyvek; Westy
nailing one in on the second floor; Interior
Master Bath (southwest view); Kitchen/Dining
(west view); Sunroom
(southwest); Exterior Southwest.
Our nephew Ben was in town
for a couple of days and helped us install some windows
in the kitchen.
Work on rear porch roof
continues - Teri takes a break
from working on the facia. Kim
(and Shiloh) stopped by and borrowed some tools to work on
a mailbox she built. Joshua
helped his Dad run some more wires (including a
mess of Category 5 for computers and phone, and coax for
video). Jim and Bart investigated
a tree near the house to determine what type of oak it was.
Teri and Bart hang out
waiting for the rest of us to finish working.
Nothing much visually interesting has been happening lately (at
least nothing that I have adequately captured in a picture).
See if you agree after you look at these boring pictures of some
of the wiring we have done
and the view from the skylight
on the third floor and the south
side of the house after we cut out all the window openings
(note the footings for the porch have been poured). However,
to liven things up a bit, here are some previously unpublished
photos from the past of the cave
raker, the person who does
not like to be photographed and finally this one showing
what the east side of the house
looks like after we installed a few windows.
Marty and Tina
dropped in for a few days this weekend. Marty helped us shovel
out, rake and level the basement in preparation for pouring
the floor Friday. We also needed to do some work to prepare
for the pouring the footings for the porch and porch
roof. We had a whole bunch of folks stop in after watching
Brian's team sweep
through the playoffs - Zack,
Zoe, Alice, Keith,
Bart and Dan. Joshua also helped move
Jim's chickens to a more permanent home.
Teri's folks were visiting
last weekend and we enjoyed a lovely
dinner together. Wayne checks out the masonry work on the
the mason works on the section
near the peak of the roof. Speaking of the roof - it is almost finished (except for
the part over the porch). Jim
cuts one of the last pieces that will go up on the gable.
Brian and Josh bought
inline skates with their birthday money and tried them out in
Zack and Zoe stopped
by to say hi yesterday. Dad and Jackie will be heading back to
California soon so we took
them out to dinner, but we have no pictures of that.
Work continues on many areas - recent tasks include adding
metal roofing sections (that's Jim, Dan and David on the
roof) and installing the fireplace
Our mason, Dick Staelens, has started working on the fireplace,
pictured here in the early
stages, and a few days
Our electrical crew has started installing
boxes and running
wires. We have also finished
framing the roof and started installing
the metal roofing.
The folks from NYNEX stopped
by yesterday to lay the telephone
cable. Some of the neighborhood boys dropped in for a game
of kitchen hockey.
- 5/25/97 Claire and David stopped
by yesterday. Brian and Josh
practiced their graffiti skills on the great room subfloor. Jim and Dad worked on the
The electric company was out today to install the cables
and transformer. We had
a slight problem and had to dig
up and reinstall some of the conduits which became packed
with mud during a downpour last Tuesday night (the electric folks
were supposed to install last Monday, but blew us off). They
will be returning on Tuesday to finish the job and energize the
The framing of the main roof is almost finished. The last work
involves framing the
clerestory walls and installing
the gable rafters.
- We have more folks visiting - Dad
and Jackie dropped in from
California and are planning on staying for about three weeks
to help us put in the electric and install the roof and windows.
We did some rough landscaping
recently right around the foundation since we will be putting
in posts to support the porch roof and did not want to have to
move the fill around them later. We have determined that Teri's
favorite job at the house site is using
the backhoe to remove stumps. Bob
and Kathy and Keaghan
and Dan stopped by to check things out and tour
- Our electrician, Bob
DeLisle, came out Wednesday to install
the meter box and circuit breaker panel. The electric company
should be coming out Monday to lay cable and energize us.
- Finally, work
on the roof continues at a breakneck pace. We framed the
front gable today and will
have the rear one done Saturday.
We have a whole slew of pictures involving hosting the beams
(see the last installment below), building the temporary platform
on the beams and adding the central ridge boards:
We also have pictures of Bob
digging out stumps (with a train going by in the background),
Josh helping out (36 feet above
the ground), and Brian
and Josh playing trench games.
We spent the previous weekend adding more plywood
sheathing to the exterior. More recently, we felled some
more trees to make beams to span the great room:
Cutting to Length
Sawing into Beams
This is how we made 95% of the lumber for
the house, although it was a little bit more involved than cutting
most of the standard lumber because the beams were a little longer
than the woodmizer is designed to handle without a bed extension.
Hey, were did all this darn snow
come from? At press time we have 8 inches of new stuff on the
ground with a possible 2 feet more on the way.
Jim shovels out the kids
loft room. Earlier this week, Brian
and Josh ham it up in the same room.
We ended up with about 14 inches in town and about 18 inches
out at the house (+ 300 feet in elevation). Some of the towns
a couple of miles away in the hills around here got 2 1/2 feet!
The snow was heavy and wet, but caused no
damage to the house. However, the big
oak that split and half fell in an earlier storm lost the
other half on this storm. For you winter scene lovers I took
a couple of shots of the aftermath of the storm including one
of our snow and tree covered future driveway
and a panorama of the open
field down by the power lines.
This is a shot from last Sunday showing the completed
walls of the kids suite. We started putting the roof on the
kids side midweek and here is the ridge
board and initial rafters going up. Joshua
accompanied his Mom and Dad to the home show in West Springfield
where Teri spotted cabinets
that are similar to those we would like to have in the kitchen.
Work continues on the second
floor bedrooms for the kids (view
from the outside) - Jim
works on the walls. We had a lovely snow/ice storm Friday
night that left the trees coated (seen here through
the wall of attic room on the master bedroom side). Jim
uses the woodmizer to cut some 2x8's down to 2x4s for the
framing of the walls. Brian
brought his friend Marshal over to play hockey in the kitchen.
Teri bought a hat.
We finally got the rest of the floor joists we needed so we have
started to work on the second floor kitchen
side - the floor
of the kid's bedrooms (another
view from the attic over the master bedroom). Just in case
you were wondering where the whirlpool tub will be located here
is a picture of the master
bath looking out towards the southwest. For you carpenter
types here is a boring picture showing how we clamp
together the micro-laminated beams that span some of the
rooms (the white stuff on top is snow). They are subsequently
nailed together. Jim cleans
up some of the 5" of snow we got last night. All that
wood for the subfloor has to
be moved up to the second floor somehow. And finally, you
cannot work all the time so here we are getting
ready for a hockey game in the kitchen.
It is a slow time for pictures, but things should pick up soon
as we start to work on the Kid's bedrooms and the rest of the
roof. Anyway, while Jim was out of town Teri
and I took the opportunity of a free weekend to do some needed
shopping/planning for the new house. We picked out a whirlpool
tub for the master bath. We need to do this now since we
need have it in place before the windows are installed as it
will not fit through the bathroom door. We also looked at some
things we liked for the kitchen including countertops,
cabinets, and cubbyholes.
Another benefit of having a free Saturday was that I also was
able to watch Brian and
Josh play basketball.
Jim and I were both out of town last week, so things have not
changed much. The last thing we did was build the
frame for the front clerestory wall.
We sheathed most of the
first floor on one side and sealed the window openings to keep
the rain and snow out. Here we see Teri
screwing down the floor in the master bedroom and Jim
working on carrying beams for the front balcony.
Not much has changed visibly
since last week. The framing
of the master bed side attic is basically finished at this
point. Brian paused to take
in the view from high up in the rafters. Brian and Josh also
enjoyed themselves on Saturday playing
a little hockey on the small pond behind the house.
We've started putting on the roof
rafters on the master bedroom side. You might underestimate
how much framing work is left to do until you look at it from
a side view and see that
we still need to do the second floor on the kids bedroom side
and the clerestory framing.
Work is proceeding on the second
floor master bedroom/bath - here we see Dan
working on the ceiling. We also had some visitors from afar
- Keith and Bart were both
in town and stopped by to check things out.
We spent the first day of the new year building the stairs
to the second floor. They were not originally on the critical
path to getting the roof on, but we made a major change to the
design and we had to actually build
them to see how some of the parts would fit in. Here is Dan
sweeping the snow out of the
master bath on the second floor. We also have a shot of Dan and Jim taking a warm-up break
(it was -5 this morning and never got above 12 all day). That
last picture was taken from the master bath window where the
tub will be.
The exterior walls on the master
bedroom side of the second floor are up. Here is a larger
view of the same from the southeast. We finally managed to
convince the electric company to run our underground hookup where
we wanted it (for the $5000 it cost us they should gold plate
the wires too). They wanted us to redig 600ft. of our trench
'cuz it was to far into the woods (a whole 20ft. from the driveway!)
and [sarcasm on] they might have to do a little work to install
the cable. After weeks of useless discussion and endless rounds
of phone tag we pointed out that they were being stupid and they
agreed and gave us 600ft. of
conduit which we will run a rope through and pull the cable
in lieu of driving their truck through the woods.
We started installing the second
floor subfloor on the master
bedroom side today. There have not been a lot of changes
visible from the outside of
the house recently, but we will be starting the second floor
walls soon and once they are complete the roof will go up. Previously,
I spent Thanksgiving week digging the 1000 foot trench
for the electric, phone and cable lines using our trusty
Kabota backhoe and Ford tractor.
We also had a two separate 8 inch snowstorms
in one weekend. The kids enjoyed
the snow, but I had to fly out of it to L.A.
(actually the photo is San Diego, sort of). The heavy, wet snow
took the tops
off a lot of trees around the house and dropped part of a big
oak on one of our wood piles. Luckily, there was no major
We have started installing floor joists for the second
floor on the master bedroom side of the house
(wide angle version). We have built all of the first floor
interior walls including those in the kitchen/mud
room and the sun
room/sewing room/computer room (although the wall between
the sun room and sewing room is not yet built in the picture).
We started installing the carrying
beams for the second floor on Sunday. A bunch of people were
visiting and/or helped out including Bob,
Anabelsis (nailing a header), Lauren,
Pete (with Teri in the dining area of the kitchen) and, of
course, Dan. Other photos
The first floor exterior walls are framed (including the west wall) and we should be
finishing the interior walls in the next couple days. We had
a few helpers this weekend including Kim,
Kevin, and the omnipresent Dan (seen here with Teri
and Farmer Westy). In case
you're wondering Brian
and Josh do while we're busy building here they are trying
to dry off their shoes after falling in the creek.
The first floor exterior walls
are 90% framed including the mudroom
and the sunroom.
On Monday night, with help from Tom and Dan,
we elevated the last large wall on the first floor, the sunroom
back wall. It was very tricky due to the 4 large headers
above the windows on the one side. We actually almost had it
slide off the foundation when it was halfway up and had to lower
it down and start again - we were more careful and kept more
weight balanced on the bottom the second time.
As a bonus here is a wide-angle
shot of the first floor interior.
We put the finishing touches on the subfloor
last Tuesday. We started construction
on the really large, heavy, 54 foot front wall Saturday and
finished hoisting it into
place late Saturday night. Thanks to Kim,
Dan, and Anabelsis for their help with special thanks to
Dan who stayed with us 'til the not-so-bitter end.
We worked on the subfloor
this weekend. It should be done in the next couple of days. At
various times this weekend Jody,
Dan, Rob, Anabelsis,
Tom and Debbie came an helped out.
The rain this weekend slowed us down a little, but we did manage
to get all of the floor joists
We have backfilled some
of the foundation and the first
floor joists are being installed.
The foundation is done.
We are applying the tar today and will be installing carrying
beams and floor joists soon.
The foundation was poured
The footings for the
foundation were poured yesterday and the foundation is being
poured tomorrow. We finally closed on our construction loan last
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