Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Rising Water?

Oh, look! 
I think I see water lapping the furthermost supports of the boat house!

Yes, that is definitely rising water. All that rain of the past week or so is finally trickling down Chambers Creek from the north, and Richland Creek from the south, and finding its way to this big reservoir in Navarro County.  We are going to take this as an optimistic sign and keep our fingers crossed for more rainy days.

 It does have a long way to go!  There is a fun way to keep track of the water levels on Richland Chambers Lake.  This site is an interactive graph comparing years and months:

Progress on the house is moving along nicely.  The exterior walls on the first level are being wrapped for stone, and the second level is being wrapped for stucco.

The windows are the next piece of the puzzle that our builder is juggling.  We are waiting for word on how long this custom order will take to fill.  Windows, stucco, stone and roofing are all tied to each other in terms of pacing.

After fooling with the pitch of those roofs multiple times on paper,
we are delighted with the proportions (thank goodness).

This week the carpenters started on the balcony off of the studio space upstairs. The view is so pretty from up there, I may spend as much time day-dreaming as working!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Beautiful Boathouse

Except for the silver metal roofing, the boathouse and dock are just about complete.

One of the advantages of the low lake level this year is that enabled every part and surface of this structure to be painted and stained.  We selected soft colors to compliment the buildings airy structure: silvery paint on all the metal surfaces and a sandy brown stain on all the treated wood. 

This small grate is located between the seawall and the dock.  Wave action on the lake can be pretty dramatic when Texas winds kick-up.  The grate allows a release point for the waves. 
The pipes emerging from under the walkway carry electricity and water out to the dock, and lake water into the gardens. 
We selected stainless steel cable to give the dock railings a lighter and a more nautical look.

The craftsman at Lake Shore Marine did an outstanding job! The planks are laid in a repeating pattern, screwed in place rather than simply nailed down. 
We tried to envision this boathouse as an extension of the main house, the same way a well-designed garden space can be thought of as an outdoor room. Obviously our boathouse needed to properly store our boat and any other watercraft we might acquire, but the structure could also function as a room on the water.  That means seating that won't blow away!

We wanted the beautiful structure of the roof to be revealed from the inside, including having the silver roofing material show through, so all the rafters were carefully crafted to finish grade.

Eventually we will put in a sink next to the storage closet.

Another function we wanted to include was a gentle way to get down to the water regardless of lake level.  Next to the cradle for the boat is a platform that can be raised up or down.

Even the dog can get down to the beach this way!  And as the lake level rises, it will be easy to get into the water from here, too.

Here's a view of the platform at it's lowest level.

Dreaming of the lake?

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Clerestory Appears!

Now we can see the full silhouette of the house for the first time!

The clerestory is a very old architectural technique, dating back three thousand years or more to ancient Egypt.   High windows (above eye level) are used to bring in additional light.

Through the centuries this type of of light source has been adapted to many architectural styles and types of structures from cathedrals to factories. 

It plays a key role in Prairie Style, and we love the look, both outside and inside!

Looking up in the great room, the window shapes are just visible.

And who are these handsome fellows?

Down the street and around the corner is a ranch, home to a variety of hoofed animals.
This pair was so cute I had to take their picture!