In the coming months (if it ever stops raining), we will be building four concrete retaining walls.  These will transition from the North side corners and either side of the entrance wall.  I was concerned about steel rebar rusting in the “cold joints” created by connecting the new walls to the structure so I researched steel alternatives.  I located a company in Salem, Oregon called Marshal Composite Technologies, LLC. They developed and manufacture  Fiber-Reinforced PolymerpastedGraphic.pdf (fiberglass) Reinforcing Bars called C-Bar.  I spoke with their general manager, Cameron Crawford about purchasing fiberglass rebar for our retaining walls.   Fiberglass rebar makes a lot of sense.  It’s stronger and lighter than steel and can’t rust. Which is very important near a marine environment like our house.  If only we had thought of this earlier and built our whole structure with fiberglass rebar.  It would have extended our house’s 900 year life span by a few hundred years. Marshall Composite Technologies, LLC usually provides reinforcing rods for big projects like bridges, sea walls and large buildings. Our retaining walls are relatively small in comparison. Cam offered to donate the C-BAR we would need.  I make it a general rule to never turn down offers of ice cream, chocolate or rebar, so we graciously accepted. pastedGraphic_1.pdf

I sent Cam drawings of the walls we intend to build.  Not only did Marshall Composite Technologiese donate all the fiberglass rebar we will need for all 4 walls, but their engineer figured out all the different lengths and bends we would need. When we arrived on Friday, all the bars were precut and bundled.  Cam handed us a detailed schedule of the different lengths and where they will go in the walls.

Happy and grateful, we tied the longer pieces to the ladder attached to our roof rack. (to keep them stable), and headed home.


Thank You, Cameron Crawford and all the other fine folks at Marshall Composite Technologies, LLC.  Your generosity is helping us fulfill a dream of building one of the most sustainable, GREEN homes in Oregon.

Putting The Tub To Bed

Today, the guys from Lincoln Plumbing came by and  installed out bathtub. After making the necessary plumbing connections it was set into a bed of mortar. To give us a bit of a thermal break from the cold concrete floor, we placeed a quarter-inch foam pad under the mortar.

(No cold bottoms sitting in the tub :-)


The plumbers also installed the tub and shower valve and connectors.  These will be connected to PEX water pipes some time down the road.



Tiny Bubbles..:.:.::..:.::..

After much anticipation, our beautiful bathtub finally arrived. Because of the narrowing of the bathroom walls, we can’t just slide it into place.  We built a temporary platform to hold it directly above where it will sit. That way the drain pipe in the floor can be set where it will join up with the drain. We will then lower the tub into place onto a bed of mortar.  To help with this, we rigged up a block and tackle winch.  The plumber is coming next Thursday to make the permanent connections.


pastedGraphic.pdfFollowing the manufacturer’s recommendation, we filled the tub to check for leaks.  We also ran the thermal air system which created a delightful bubbly bath. If the water had not been about 50 degrees (no water heater), I would have jumped in.



Now that the tub is “in the bathroom” we can finish off the wall framing adjacent to the kitchen. In the picture above it may look like we have installed too many studs.  In an effort to create the maximum sound barrier between the rooms, we staggered 2X4 studs on either side of the 2X6 floor and ceiling plates.  This will allow us to weave insulation between them so there is no solid contact between the opposite walls creating the maximum sound break.


are you kiddin me?????????
Sunday, March 25, 2012 – 03:56 PM
Dear Anonymous:
Steve hardly ever kids about the house…
Monday, March 26, 2012 – 12:02 PM

The Icicles of March

Last week the weather report called for days of gale force winds. And while we did have a few very windy days, the real shocker was waking up to eight inches of snow last Tuesday. pastedGraphic.pdf

Not to mention six downed trees in our driveway.  All night we could hear the Snap, Crackle and Drop of the trees from our thin-skinned trailer. It was a bit worrisome laying in bed wondering if that sound was going to be “too close” for comfort.

Jeff & I spent three grueling hours in the cold, wet, slippery stuff with a temperamental chainsaw just to clear the driveway enough to get to work.


On the bright side, we will have lots of firewood for next winter.




In another weather related tale, we decided to put a tarp over the worse offending leaks in our shell.  Whenever it rains we have to spend time with the shopvac removing the puddles of water accumulating in our house.

We are so looking forward to the final waterproofing.


Not much else happened on the house this week. Though we did start working on the forming for the retaining wall on the NE corner. We will need to have this, and the one on the NW corner done before we do the waterproofing this summer.

Sleeping In The Job

One of the things we did on the house this weekend was fitting the platform plywood above the guest room closet.  This will be a great storage place for christmas ornaments and such. But I also discovered it is quite a comfortable perch.  In fact, since we are forecast to get hurricane force winds all week, perhaps this might be the safest place to sleep. (instead of the trailer)


We are still waiting for the bathtub pastedGraphic.pdfto arrive before we can finish the bathroom walls but we did work on some details.  Jeff and I are not big towel rack fans but we do like hooks. We figured out where we would want some hooks and added bracing for behind the sheetrock. This way, they will be attached to solid wood rather than just to the drywall.

pastedGraphic_1.pdfWe also did a test fit of the “bendable” plywood for our radius corner.  It looks very cool!  Now that we know it will work, the cavity behind it will get filled with fiberglass bats for sound insulation between the bathroom and kitchen/living room.


very cool
Tuesday, March 13, 2012 – 01:56 PM
We didn’t end up having gale force winds.  Though we did Wake up Tuesday morning to about 8″ of snow and 6 downed trees in our driveway.  On the bright side, we’ll have some nice firewood for next year.

A Good Valve-ue

Since we are waiting for our bathtub to be delivered, we decided to work on the wall framing that will hold the plumbing fixtures for the tub/shower. Since every brand has its own proprietary components, we had to make a decision of what kind of shower fixture to get. pastedGraphic.pdf So a trip up to George Moreland Plumbing in Lincoln City was in the plans for this weekend.  They have a nice showroom.  Jeff and I wandered around and found the most beautiful Italian tub faucet, shower head and valve that we thought would be perfect for our bathroom.  That is until we found out the price. $1,800.00 I guess we have impeccable taste. We ended up with a Price Pfister unit which is considerably more affordable. And it has a lifetime guarantee! Though they might not be aware that we are installing it in a house that is supposed to last 900 years.  We will hold off buying the actual fixtures, part of their “Contempra” collection, but we needed to buy the valve parts for the rough-in.


Sunday ended up being a gloriously sunny day.  We took the opportunity to open up all the doors and windows to help dry out the structure.  With all the rain we have been getting  and the fact that the shell leaks, it was good to get rid of all the trapped moisture in our house.  We can’t wait until the structure is fully waterproofed.


Either can I for your sake especially,
Whatever you do it is going to look great –especially seeing the one you recently visited in CA!
Don’t no if you can tell but this is my verrrry new I-Pad from your favorite store!
Monday, March 5, 2012 – 01:21 PM
your son
Way To Go Mom!  I knew some day you would become an Apple convert.  Though I’m really jealous. Do you want to trade it for my “Classic” iPad?
Monday, March 5, 2012 – 02:03 PM
Don’t listen to him, Barb. You keep that brand spankin’ new iPad for yourself. Should come in handy for your trip.
btw: the tub should be here next week. I may go ahead and fill it with water from the garden hose and lay in it. Just cuz’  I can!
Monday, March 5, 2012 – 03:55 PM