Napa Vineyard Barn–DAYS 20-21: stairs, storms and stories….

The last few days have been fraught with frenetic changes…starting with the weather which has gone from mild and balmy with t-shirts and shorts to windy, cold and deep frosts at night leaving lots of ice on the cars–and worse–the outhouse….

We completed the rest of the roof flashing on Monday….and Joey and I built the stairs (finally) while Ryan and Larry committed the cardinal sin of adhering Advantech to the gable ends in deference to California codes….covering up their diagonal glory and breaking my obsessively purist heart in the process.  When I have enough discretionary money I am going to pay our stellar engineer whatever it takes to empirically prove we do not need ANY shearwalls at all….which will require a lot of study and time which I am confident will aver the results I intuitively know to be true.  He has been a joy to work with–but seeing the invasive interference with our system that these codes inflict has only strengthened  my determination to find a more acceptable alternative “within the pale.”

As if all this was not enough–the local paper published an enthusiastic and informative article on our client and his Napa Vineyard barn endeavor…..extensively on the front page with pictures….wow….so we ran out and had breakfast to celebrate and picked up 25 copies at the Napa Register.  That day–yesterday–brought a huge spike in internet traffic to our site and also some emails and visits from local residents interested in future projects.  We were all in a bit of a tizzy all day….here is the link for any of you wishing to read it…Vineyard owner builds his dream barn

We are also getting a big storm tomorrow and possibly into the next day so we are very happy to be under roof with work to do on interior framing as we wait for windows and shiplap…an adventure in its own right just getting those in a decent interval–ably assisted by Central Valley Building Supplies (Napa) whom I thought would carry everything I am so accustomed to acquiring at a moment’s notice from Bethel Mills.  Much to my consternation–and increasingly steep parabolic learning curve–no one normally carries shiplap and there is no such thing as a vinyl double hung window available in California…at least not in the price range available to me….

Last–we are all going to take a break at the end of the week…some of us going home for a visit and others expecting family and friends visiting here.  No doubt absence will indeed make our hearts grow fonder….but right now there is no one I want to be with more than my beloved wife…

We are now on Facebook and beginning a blog….stay tuned…..


Pittsfield House, Week 2

Progress continues apace at Mike and Sue’s second home near Killington.  A feared snowstorm on Friday barely materialized, and Andrew, Justin and Morgan have progressed to the upper beam framing of the garage / great room.  Our client, Mike, visited  with us today to do some early coordination with Steve Ellerin, of Excel Plumbing and Heating.  With the upper beam framed, the form and scale of the home are now becoming visible, and most importantly the living room view to the southern mountains is now obvious, and breathtaking.

Pittsfield, Vermont Home Week 1

An unusually warm winter has allowed a very unusual building start for Geobarns.  Excavation began in January on this new custom home in Pittsfield, Vermont, with concrete poured in time for the Geobarns crew to arrive this week.  The mountaintop site is steep, wet and populated with spectacular trees.  Killington and Pico, just a few minutes down the road, are the draw for our clients, Mike and Sue.  They’ve been working in Massachusetts during the week, and ski-patrolling in Vermont on weekends for many years, and are now building a second home in the mountains they love: a decision Geobarns supports wholeheartedly.

The home is a pair of Geobarn frames connected by a vaulted kitchen and entry.  While the exterior is pure Geobarn, the floor plan has been conceived as nearly a replica of their longtime home in Mass.  Apparently it’s a great home, they just want another one in Vermont.  “After a  few decades in a house,” says Mike, “you know what works and what needs to change.”

The winter excavation and concrete work has been done with characteristic good humour by our friend Greg Blanchard, who’s spent most of the last couple weeks ankle-deep in subsurface water.  As you’ll see in the images, we had a couple of days of overlap, where Andrew, Justin and Morgan were going vertical on the Geobarn while the last third of the concrete was being poured immediately adjacent to their sill plates.  The best day was the first, as the crew, Bethel Mills’ lumber truck, a well driller, two excavators, a dozer and a concrete pump all jockeyed for position on the tiny mountainous site.  The crew is making good progress now, a week in, and we look forward to a good build after tomorrow’s seasonably-unseasonable snowstorm…

-David Hamilton, Geobarns