By the second half of November 2020, the second story floors started to take shape. The floor was essentially framed with wood (MDF) I-Beams (I’m sure there’s a technical term for them). Then, like the first floor, it was sheathed in tongue-and-groove OSB. The floors were solid, and getting the opportunity to stand up on the second floor was a treat.
From early on in our process, we planned to build an “upside-down” two-story home, with the kitchen and main living area on the second floor. Our lot slopes down to the south, which is where both the sun and the big views are. And the views are bigger from higher up. While we were able to approximate the second-story views during the design process by standing on dirt berms or the roofs of vehicles, standing on the real second-story floor was the real test of whether the design plan was going to work out.
It worked out. The second-story views were great.
Second Story Flooring Delays
A couple of things slowed down the second story build a bit. The first was the LVL beams that were required for the kitchen “kick-out” that we added to make the HOA happy. They were delayed a bit, which was obnoxious since we didn’t need the two feet of extra space in the kick-out from a practical standpoint. It was just aesthetics to appease the HOA on a wall that hardly anyone ever sees.
The second delay was ordering steel and the process to get it fabricated. The window wall over the garage door opening involves a fair amount of structural steel, in part to avoid racking (twisting) in a window wall that doesn’t have much structure. And in part to span the double-door garage opening.
Steel, like a lot of building materials, was running high, and slow. Shaun was ultimately able to find what we needed for $8,000 – after getting bids running from $12,000 to $15,000. So we had steel onsite, but we needed to wait for the fabricator to show up and weld on the plates required to attach the steel to the other bits of the house.
First Second Story Wall
Meanwhile, the framers got the first second-story wall in place. It would provide the windows for my home office, as well as the first of the corner windows for the master bedroom. They also started to map out the other rooms on the first 2/3 of the second story. The section for the garage needed to wait until we got some of the steel in place.
The office windows included the tightest “sight picture” that we had planned for the house. I wanted my computer screens against the East wall, out of the sun glare, but wanted to have a narrow sight picture of the Keystone ski resort out a narrow window. The good news was that things lined up as planned once the wall was in place. The other windows would give a view of a small grove of pines off of the office.
Overall, it was nice to have the framing progress coming along and see some real developments from week to week.
Ray Booth: Evocative Interiors is absolutely not our style at all (more on our style here). “Evocative” is mainly used as a synonym for “opulent.” And all of the interior design showcased in the book is expensive. LOTS of crown molding, and complicated woodwork, and stone, and textiles. And lots of spaces that look like they’ve been staged for a photoshoot in a place where nobody lives or has a junk drawer. There are lots of better options for inspiration; we’ve collected some on our Resources page.