The 57 acres that comprise Cedar Ridge Farm are located in the beautiful rolling hills of South Central Kentucky. My wife, our four children, and I are on a homesteading adventure as we work toward increased self-sufficiency. We grow much of our own food and enjoy being in touch with the agrarian roots of our lives.

One of the major projects we have undertaken is the building of our own home. The house we're building has three major distinguishing features: 1. we're building it without incurring any debt; 2. it is a timber frame structure; and 3. the exterior walls will be plastered straw bales. We live debt and mortgage free, and building our house with that approach makes perfect sense. Large timbers in a home possess a beauty and project a sense of strength, stability, and warmth that we want in our home. Straw bale walls provide insulation and make ecological sense. This blog is a record of our home-building project.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Windows, the first ones installed

the house

Every step of the process is exciting as we watch the house come together. I’ve devoted a lot of time so far this year working on the house, and there are a lot of hours of work yet to come. It’s a long, arduous process, but we are getting there little by little.

Yesterday, we had another milestone on the project as we began installing windows and doors. Previously this week, we put the second coat of plaster on about 100 feet of wall. One of the casement windowsThis brought us to the point of being able to put in some windows and doors in preparation for siding these walls.

It was a little over four and half years ago that I purchased 15 large casement windows off of Ebay and traveled to Flushing, Michigan, to pick them up. They’ve been stored in the barn since then. Dad and I brought five of them to the house yesterday to clean off the accumulated dust and dirt and to begin setting them into the openings for them on window from the insidethe house.

I am very pleased with the quality of these windows. They are well made, opening, closing, and locking very nicely. They are also beautiful. They lend a certain elegance to the house, I think. Anne is also pleased with them.

As casement windows, they crank open. There are two 27” windows on each unit. When opened, unlike double-hung windows which only open half (at the most) of the window, these windows open the entire area, providing great ventilation. We are going to really appreciate them.

the kitchen windows -- to be replacedWe also put in the kitchen windows, but I’m going to take them back out. They just are not of a good enough quality. Additionally, since they are double-hung, it will be difficult to open and close them, because it will require reaching over 24” of counter and 18” of window sill. Not an easy thing to do. So, I’m going to get some casement windows for the kitchen, too. Hopefully, I will be able to find some whose quality will be acceptable. The others will be saved for a later building project.

The windows certainly change the look of the house.

We also installed two doors. On Thursday, I purchased two more exterior doors which I needed. I got them from the local guy who had just gotten a trailer load of doors and windows, among which mudroom door and dining area windowwere the two 15-light 36” exterior doors I wanted. We put in one of these yesterday and another full-light door I purchased previously.

One of the doors presented a challenge because it was 1/2 inch taller than standard, meaning the opening I framed was not high enough. We were able to make some modifications which allowed the door to fit in the opening.

We’re all excited and look forward to continued progress on the house.


Ruth said...

Those windows certainly are pretty! And I like the door, too. They do make a difference to the look of the house! :)

Anonymous said...

I was wondering why you did not use a house wrap like Tyvek? I have been "lurking" here for awile and am happy to see that you have made so much progress this summer.

curdy said...

Really coming together nicely!

dp said...

One of my concerns with straw bale walls is to make sure than any moisture that gets in (such as via humidity) can get out easily. One of the rules of thumb is to make your exterior walls as permeable or more permeable than your interior walls so that any moisture that moves through the wall from the warmer, more humid interior to the exterior does not get stopped on the inside of the exterior plaster where it would cool and condensate. One of my approaches to help with moisture concerns is to use a clay plaster which is good at absorbing and releasing moisture and has a good permeability (unlike cement stucco). I'm also siding the exterior of the house with an air space behind the siding to keep rain moisture out and allow space for ventilation outside the plaster surface. I don't believe that a house wrap is necessary, and even though they are supposed to be vapor permeable, I think the walls will "breathe" better without it.

Ruth said...

Kirstin said, "Wow! It looks good!!! Neat!" :)

kentuckyagrarianwannabe said...

DP it is really coming together and looks great. I know how rewarding it is building your own house and how everytime you complete something (task) how it keeps you going. When I built my house and when I first started, it was like what have I gotten myself into, but with every task completion it became easier. Congrats and keep up the good work!