Monday, February 22, 2010

Before and After

In my never ending quest to find remodeled A-frames I came across this one, which I think is pretty spectacular.

This was a true A-frame, as seen in this before shot:

I found this on Brady Builders (Georgia) web site. I'm impressed.

To Paint or not to Paint

I like the wood in our house but sometimes it can feel oppressive and cave like. And honestly, I would never have picked it if I was building a house from scratch. For the past few years I have been contemplating painting the wood or covering the wood with horizontal tongue and groove and then painting that (there are lots of knots in our wood which might make the finish look lousy).

I've searched a lot online and in magazines to find what I think are good examples of painted wood. I like cottage style, but with class. I really like this one, below. The wood beams are a nice warm color and the white is not stark, which I think is important in harmonizing the wood and the paint color.

I found this on another great blog:

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Garage Project

Sure an A-frame is pretty convenient when it comes to snow storms. The snow slides right down the roof. And last year a friend's home suffered severe hail damage (and our hostas looked like someone had shot them with a BB gun) but the A-frame? Not a scratch.

But why build a house suited to wintry weather and not build a garage to go along with it? That was my husband's question and number one on his renovations list. I would have preferred a nice master bedroom and bath but hey, you've got to compromise sometimes.

Here is a shot of the team ripping up our lovely new yard. I have to admit that was hard to watch. The foundation was the most expensive and time consuming part of the project. We hired a small team who did a fine job but they just took a loooooong time to do it. I'm talking months. Days would go by when I wouldn't see any of them. Much of the delay had to do with two things:
1. the amount of ledge and rocks in our yard
2. the main contractor's lousy truck that kept breaking down on him. I once offered to go pick him up and bring him to our house just to get the project moving along

The rocks in our yard were so large that we couldn't even haul them out. They now make a nice seating area behind the garage where we keep our fire pit. I'll post pictures of that someday. We had to do a lot of foundation work ourselves, which was a real kicker. My husband rented a skid steer and pushed in all the fill. This was not much fun considering we had to have the dumptruck that brought the fill tow him out a couple times. Here is my son spraying water on the fill.

We hired a team from Maine to build the garage. They had it up in two and a half days. It was amazing.

Next the electrician came and wired up the garage. To save costs my huband did more work himself by digging a trench around our patio that would contain the electrical wiring from the house. The picture below is our patio, which I love, and which sits between the house and the garage. He had to dig a trench around the stone and through the mulch section. The garage is on the left side of the picture, out of view.

We painted the garage ourselves and four weeks later our custom garage doors were installed. It was a very exciting project and I think it came out pretty good. We'd like to upgrade the siding in the future but for now it makes a cozy spot to store our cars and a fanastic storage space (because our house has none).

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Heating and Cooling

This has got to be our number one complaint about this house. The "A" is 29 feet or so from floor to peak and contains a loft, so the area is completely open. In the winter the house is pretty decent. We had all new windows installed and went with triple pane on the main wall that contains four large windows and a set of sliders. But cooling is near impossible. The house is heated by hot water baseboard so there are no ducts. The A is completely exposed post and beam--there is no cooling system. During the summer all of the heat rises to the loft (a bedroom) and hovers as there is only one window that opens. There is no fan or exhaust system and no skylights which, if open, would allow hot air to escape. The massive roof, which also serves as walls, likely absorbs much heat and contributes to the overall problem.

Here's to hoping for skylights some day...

Monday, January 12, 2009

Inspiration - ideas for remodeling

I've been collecting photographs online for nearly five years to help me with my own remodeling and decorating ideas. There are few examples of stylish A-frame design but I have come across a few photos that are fresh and interesting.

The photo at left is of a house that was for sale in a nearby town. It is not an A-frame but the exterior facade is similar and shows how an addition could be framed out the side. There are no deep eaves, however, which are typical of an A-frame, and which present challenges when adding on.

This is more typical of an A-frame. The roof line of the A actually goes to the base of the house, and it has deep eaves. I like this photo because it is a nice example of how to build out the sides of the house and what the roof line may look like.

I came across this photo while I was reading an article. I've never seen the arched beams before (and I assume that is a pricey add-on), but my favorite part of this image is the stairway. It got my husband and I to think outside the box (or in this case, the A) and consider building a dormer out the side of the house to hold a traditional staircase. We currently have narrow spiral stairs right in the middle of the house, and one of us is always banging our head on the edge of the staircase. The spirals are also incredibly inefficient, as you can barely carry a laundry basket up them.

Another true A-frame. We have beams just like this house, although ours are not painted green. I like the way this home accents the beams but is not restricted by them. Anytime I find a way to add flat surfaces to my home I get excited.

This image highlights the loft area of peaked roof home. I do not know if it is an A-frame but our A-frame loft is similar in style. If this is usable space it is clearly not up to code, as there is no railing, but I like the look of the wood ceiling juxtaposed with the half walls.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Decorating an A-frame

I'm not sure why everyone assumes an A-frame should be decorated either "rustic" or "country." I suppose because the majority of A-frames are in snowy mountain landscapes, not suburban neighborhoods. Still, does every mountain lodge have to look the same? I'm not a fan of either style so I won't be decorating in those fashions. I understand the A-frame presents serious challenges and restrictions. I won't be adding Louis XIV chairs and armoires anytime. As the house itself is a bit of art in itself, I think it is best to keep the surrounding accessories pretty simple. I have spent hours Googling "A-frame remodel" and "A-frame decorating" and there are little to no resources available on the subject.

I've even come across someone advising an A-frame owner to hang artwork on the angled walls. I seriously advise against this (and frankly, don't understand it--would the top of the art attach at the wall and the bottom hang about 2 feet from the wall? Would you actually attach the art at an angle?) Enjoy the walls for what they are because the tongue and groove can actually be very soothing and spa-like. It also casts a very warm glow.

From decorating my own house I find the styles that seem to work best with an A-frame are modern, transitional, craftsman and mission.

Fixing up...the living room, continued.

This is a series of photos showing the progression of the living room. The first picture is how it appeared when we moved in. The owner was kind enough to leave us one thing of color in the house--the tree that was planted in a concrete bucket!

Here we have installed a new hardwood floor and painted the flat wall Tuscan Beige. At this point we didn't have children, so the small living area suited us fine.

The fireplace is nice to have, however it was loaded with cigarette butts and ash from the previous owner. We were told the granite blocks are from a construction project in downtown Boston, but I still don't love it.

We have replaced the chandelier in the dining area with a modern piece and added a new dining room table. The living area, beyond the dining table, has been modified. At this point we have children and had to remodel our basement for additional living space.