The Project: A 2,163 square foot house utilizing dry stack concrete block construction with a central courtyard and based on the Spanish colonial-era missions in San Antonio.The Challenge: Can a forty-something married couple design and build an attractive, efficient and mostly paid-for house while remaining sane, solvent and married? With no actual prior construction experience? Hmmmmm - let's check in on our Contestants and see how they're doing...
|We start off this week with something the manuals, experts and professionals won't discuss - fixing your mistakes. The fool-friendly nature of dry stack concrete construction comes into play here as your faithful correspondent realizes he needs to tear down some of the barrel vault walls to accomodate a design change. By the way, *all* DIY projects and most of the professional ones involve "making it up as you go along" to varying degrees. The "Lego block" nature of dry stack construction gives you the sturdiness of concrete with an amazing amount of flexibility for those change orders that go with custom building.|
|Since I'd already fastened these blocks down with adhesive and concrete, prying them loose above head-height with a crowbar while perched atop a ladder was not a job for the faint of heart or bicep. Fortunately, I could just shove them over the wall edge once I got them loose.|
|Barrel vault walls suitably restructured and built up, we get the 2x6 joists up and start arching the metal panels over to form our roof. At this point, we're still fitting puzzle pieces (i.e. blocks) together to figure out exactly how we're going to get this done...|
|I often get questions about how fast the work goes. I've been somewhat obsessed with getting this section designed, so I got the barrel vault tearing down and the construction, as well as design, done in a day and a half. This was actually a lot of fun, at least once I got those blocks loosened up.|
|For those of you who are counting (and those of you who can't count), I am celebrating my 49th birthday today with a little get-together with my power tools and some lumber. Why the photo? Because I'm doing the work of a man half my age, against all odds, and actually enjoying it in the process. The only limitations that can chain any of us are those we impose on ourselves...|
|Want to see a rough floor plan?Want to be notified when we post new pictures? Just e-mail us!
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|Next week's installment: Still Crazy After All Those Years Click HERE|
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