cloudhaus: mo tile, shou sugi ban, stained concrete


That photo above is of the entry with shou sugi ban cladding. Shou sugi ban, also termed yakisugi, is a Japanese method of preserving wood through burning the exposed-to-the-elements part of it. This looks absolutely perfect and complements the rest of the house really well. We'll have an inside accent wall-in-the-hall clad with sugi as well. Plan to leave the ceiling in here sealed but natural.  The whole entry sequence is turning out badass. Can't wait to see this in person!

This is a peek at the concrete floor in the basement, stained and mottled black. It also looks quite sweet. 

No flooring for the first floor as of yet. It will be slate. Been having anxiety attacks (jk! [kinda]) over how closely the delivered material looks like the photos. Hoping it's dark and not too brown... Now that we've gone over to the dark side, we want it to go all the way!

Here's the linear fireplace. If you look closely, you can see that the volume holding it is clad in large-format, vertically-oriented white tile. We went back-n-forth n back-n-forth on how to best treat this volume. Was initially thinking black but, after gawking at numerous photos of linear fireplaces, went with white to show off the linearity of the fireplace. This will be one of those decisions that I will wonder about until I'm on my deathbed... 

I have this artwork to hang over this side of the fireplace:

And the tile got finished in the primary bathroom! Unfortunately, we were wanting the tile on the floor in the same direction as on the wall such that visually your eyes carried you in the same direction. However, it probably had to be in this direction due to the linear drain.  :-(   c'est la vie

We'll be heading up to Cloudcroft at the end of the month to get a short reprieve from the heat (100 degrees lately here in Austin!), see Wendy's brother, and check on the progress. Hoping to spent a couple weeks in it in July-August to "break it in" and enjoy the space. 


cloudhaus: paint, tile, and electrics

Been slow going lately, it seems, but there has been some progress. Paint has gone up, tile is going in, and some of the electrics (light switched, LED cans) are going in. That variegated chevron tile looks wicked cool!

Ordering the appliances we want has been a serious pain in the ass. Either not available or appears to be available but you can't order it for some unexplained reason (order button pops up, click, nothing happens). Our credit card puts a hold on Build.com orders ('cause they are big and getting delivered elsewhere, so they quack like credit card fraud), Build flags them as awaiting funds, but then there's no way to resend the payment. I think I just figured that one out, though. One to two months for shipments. Yikes.

Once I get this book I'm working on done by the end of the month, we'll look for a four-day weekend to drive out and check out the scene again.



the new neighbor

Poked over at the permit site today to see what's happening with the lot to our south, and plans have been posted! All in all, I think (from a selfish perspective), Steve Zagorski did a great job. While the design is not terribly progressive (although it has it moments), it's respectful and responds to the challenges of the site in interesting ways.

Similar to our issue with backing up to the backside of an auto dealership, Zagorski designed a U-shaped house that puts some structure, including a two-story bit, between the outdoor patio and the fahrvergnugen

To further isolate the house from the enticing polebarn view, he added a second story to the back of the U:

This is good news for us since we'll face a single story along the length of our house (sunlight!), don't have to worry about people peeking into our bathrooms (have you ever seen a grown man naked?), and will still be able to see the sky. Yay! Despite the house mostly having one level, it still holds 5 bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms, and 3,933 square feet of conditioned space, 3,318 of it on the first floor. 

Most of the northern side of the house doesn't have windows except for the living room, which line up with our backyard just off the back of our house:

Other elevations to gawk at:

The southern elevation above is interesting since the thermal loading will be total bitch on this house unless they plant some trees in the patio area. With two-foot overhangs, it's gonna be shake-n-bake in the summer. 

All in all, though, from a selfish perspective, we're happy. It's a good looking, MCM-inspired house that won't lord over us.

Other 3-D renderings on the out take:


That back corner of the back volume is the most architecturally interesting (at least to me) with the cantilevered vestibule and the floor-to-ceiling windows. It even has eyebrows like some of our windows. 

Let construction begin!

cloudhaus: roof done, drywall taped and floated


Yay! The roof is done! Looks really good. Everything is nicely lined up. Love how the low-profile roof allows folks to see the trees on the approach. Will prolly need to flat black the exhaust pipes (and still need to paint the window frames. All in all looking real sharp!

The dry wall is all in and floated and, it appears, we have paint. We're painting everything the same: a warmish white. Glad to see the front storage drywalled as well.

In other news, we ordered the ceiling fans:

We also ordered a couple lights. We got the five-light version of this puppy for the stairwell:

and three of these for the kitchen pendants:

Really wanted to get this for the dining room, but it was undimmable:

So we're looking at this instead:

For ceilings fans in the living room and primary bedroom, we went with these:

and then a cheapish Hunter ceiling hugger for the other bedroom.

Also had to panic-choose tile for the bathroom. Went with this chevron design for the floor and back wall for the master shower and white subway for the rest:

This tile will work for the floor (small format) as well as the back. I think it'll look sweet!


cloudhaus: second site visit!

With the omicron tsunami and how fast the builder be building, I hadn't been out to the site since Thanksgiving until this past weekend. Holy smoochie buttz has a lot been happening at the lot!

First, I gotta say that I love it when a plan comes together. With this somewhat awkward lot and a love of introverted modern Japanese architecture, the facade is quietly monolithic and even discrete, adhering to Frank Lloyd Wright's "of the hill, not on the hill." The black siding fades into the forest like a wood ape with the nearly flat roof demanding to not be noticed. The cabin appears small, even too small, from the street. On approach, you begin to feel that the cabin is not as small as you first thought and that the front perfectly angles at a slope between perceived stability and instability where the monolith is some minimalist Daniel Libeskind-inspired obelisk inspired by Arthur C. Clarke's 2001: A Space Odyssey.

This in contrast to the view from the back of the property where the cabin rises heroically from the hillside. From this perspective, the build looks ENORMOUS, approaching mansion status when the reality is something between the impressions of the front and back. Here, the shyness of the front breaks away to exhibitionism with numerous windows systematically breaking apart the walls.


On the photo up at top, I've 'shopped the window frames to black from white since the windows are currently white and should have been black (something we all missed during the window order). I think it's safe to say that they should be black.

Let's go on a tour, shall we?

Starting with the front door, I can't help getting a "The Day the Earth Stood Still" vibe when looking out past the slant:

The entrance space is quite spacey (in a space-space kinda way, not an outer-space kinda way).

We spent a bit of time debating on what color the front door should be. My first choice was a pale orange (I loves me a pale orange); however, orange and black would evoke All Hallow's Eve, which is not the vibe we want. The architect reminded me of the briskethaus design and suggested a brisket color via this photo:

However, none of the colors we looked at popped. And then the architect showed me this photo from Homes to Love:

That pops! Ida never guessed we'd be going with green in the entry, but this combo of black, green, and  really (really) works.

The walls in the entry (and on a wall in the interior) will be shou sugi ban, the Japanese burnt wood cladding. Hoping that we'll get something that looks like this as far as finish is concerned:

Dark, slightly variegated, and un-gatored. Will also be going for a finished wood ceiling in this area. 

Off to the left of the entry is a front storage area and the electrical box:

Coming in the front door looking into the house, you see this (also this is technically from the stairwell):

The kitchen on the far left, the dining room in the middle (left of the fireplace), and living room on the right.

Look left and you see down the hallway (with the kitchen on the right):

Look right and you see the living room on the left and the stairwell on the right:

Now we are in the kitchen looking toward the dining room, fireplace, and living room:

In the kitchen looking out the window (trees!):

close-up of the window:

Now looking catty-corner across to the stairwell in the distance:

And here's looking back into the kitchen:

I was worried about the ceiling height, but the ceiling is plenty high. The overall space feels real good. 

Here's a view from the outer edge of the dining room looking toward the fireplace:


We are still debating what to clad the fireplace volume in. Thinking blackish tile at the moment (but that's a lot of tile!).

And here's looking across the dining room out the windows:

Dining room back toward the front door:

Moving into the living room, here's looking out the sliding glass doors onto the balcony:

and here's looking toward the outer side:

Two of the windows did not arrive with the order, so we are now waiting for them (plus one more) to come. 

Now looking toward the back wall, which is where the TV will go:


A good thing about the trip was settling on where to put the TV, and this settles it to put it here. It wasn't clear what this wall would look like, but here we are. The top bit will stay open and be clad in translucent plastic to let some light in. Given the height (and thinking about furniture placement), putting one of those art frame TVs here will be mighty swell.

However, the trades put the power and cable connector too high and too off-center for the TV. The trades often install what they have at their homes (and they are rarely [if ever] decorators), so they're often wrong. Most people tend to hang their TVs wwwaaaayyyy too high. Ideally, the center of the TV should be at about eye height while sitting. This keeps you from cocking your neck up to watch TV, especially important if have to bingewatch all the Star Wars movies in one sitting.

Out to the balcony! The concrete floor is poured, but we are still waiting for the all-glass railing to be installed. Looking straight out into the forest:

looking left:

looking right:

looking back:


The view off the corner at the outer ebb of sunrise:

Alright, let's go back inside and head down the hallway:


I do wish now that we had spec'd that window in the distance (in the laundry) to extend lower so the view down the hall would show more of the outdoors.  But there is still a light at the end of the tunnel!

Now looking back the other way down the hallway:

Turns out I did not take a shot of the laundry room (but it's there!). Now looking down the hallway towards the primary bedroom:

The primary bathroom

There's then the primary closet (no photos) and then the primary bedroom:

...with one (the third) missing window. The light and view in this room is glorious! We'll have to try it out and see how it goes with no window coverings...

Looking back down the hallway after just leaving the primary bedroom shows all the pocket doors. Almost every door in the house is a pocket door.

Let's head downstairs!

This is the straight-on view of the stairwell. The two windows on the right are the two windows in the front. Given the lack of a view in that direction (and perhaps a need for more privacy), we'll probably film those windows. 

The window straight ahead is delightfully centered on a pine tree:

The view out that same window is similarly delightful looking back up over our shoulders:

At the bottom of the stairs and to the right is the other bedroom:

Again, good to see in person. This room is smaller than I imagined, so good to know.

And then there's the second bathroom:

In all, there are three outdoor rooms. Besides the upstairs aforetoured balcony, there's the under-balcony and then the under-roof area:


To access the utility room, you have to use the door on the lower right:

There's the pooperpumper (and soon to be other stuff):

and the rainwater tank:

This whole space where the rainwater tank is "bonus" because it wasn't in the plan. The grade worked out such that it made more sense to do this than build off of the grade. Mighta put in another tank given all this space.

Back to the front! Why introvert the front. Well, here's the view in different directions:

As the policeman says: "Nothing to see here. Move along." 

The photos above sow what will be the driveway. The architects spec'd a cool sidewalk/entry steps into the cabin:

However, I'm scare to death of someone sliding down the hill (which will probably be me) and hitting the house. My idea is to build some bollards that appear to be part of the steps shown, 4 by 4 feet square and poking up at different heights a la this beautiful, if impractical, thing:

Finally, a view of the gutter, which looks good and doesn't detract too much from the lines. The hole will have a short downspout that will then enter the volume before descending to the rainwater tank in the basement. The basement will hold the first flush system, thankfully keeping it away from the simplicity of the facade.


And here's a friend I bumped a wee bit down the street!

And finally, the woodpecker tree on our property that we adore: