Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Oh Scupper, my scupper

With even more rain on the way (we're already way above the average rainfall this season), we had to rush the installation of waterproofing on the roofs. One important item to get the water down from the roofs is the scupper.
When you look at buildings with flat roofs, you're most likely to find them near the top- about 2ft below the coping of the parapet. In most buildings, the scuppers are the stepchildren of the designer's attention. They're normally unsightly sheet metal boxes, that get squished into a hole through the building and beaten, stepped on, hammered on and in the end they look dinged and dented like an old coke can.
When we go back in history, the grandfather of these sad metal boxes are the glorious gargoyles of the grand Gothic cathedrals of the Middle Ages in Europe. Being most of the time the only elements in the whole building for which no proprietary design was dictated by church regulations, they were the true pieces of art of the stone masons. The masons used them to portray their superintendent, a financier or their own wife- as a dragon, gnome or another outlandish creature.
No two gargoyles were alike and each one of them seems to make fun of the hassle and bustle far down below...
Fast forward to 2010.
For us, the scuppers (and we have 4 of them) should be more than they are for most other designers- they are part of the building and deserve some attention of their own. That's why we didn't go with the standard home-depot hole-in-the-wall, but with a custom made streamline scupper that pays tribute to their own important function-to get the rainwater off the roofs and into our cistern.
Oh scupper, my scupper.....

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Moving to the inside

With most of the framing complete, work has continued on the inside- The photo is taken from the living room and shows the kitchen/dining/entry area (see sketch from February 4 2010). Electrical and plumbing subs started to put their part of the work in place and next week, the built up roof over the bathrooms & kitchen will go up. With more rain in the forecast, it is about time to get the place waterproofed so that the other interior trades such as the mechanical sub can get started as well. We're about four to six weeks behind the initial schedule at this point.

Friday, April 16, 2010

"Das Boot" has arrived on Nob Hill Drive!

It appeared like a shadow from the murky waters of the North Atlantic, gray as the ever-present mist over the cold and unforgiving ocean, barely distinguishable from its surroundings. Just like straight out of Wolfgang Peterson's movie "Das Boot". But it is not a submarine- it is our rainwater tank. And it is not going to dive into the waters, but get buried in the dirt and filled with water- Anyway, it is almost a shame to hide this thing away in the ground, because it looks really cool. But it will serve its purpose to store 1500 gallons of rainwater from our roofs and help reducing the water usage of the Nob Hill Haus. So take a final look at the submarine before it dives away- never to be seen again...

Thursday, April 8, 2010

A place in the sun

This morning we met with our solar PV consultant on site to explore the solar potential of our roof.
With LADWP steadily reducing the incentives to go solar, we felt it was time to check out, whether a PV system would be right for us. John from California Green Designs brought his little Solmetric SunEye, a high- tech fisheye camera with computer that determines the solar potential of a given site. What you'd be getting is shown in the picture- A scale with the month of the year running from top to bottom and a scale depicting the time of the day is on the bottom, running from left to right. Along the edges of the photo you can see the trees that cast shadows on the early morning and late afternoons on the roof.
We came out at an average of 96% for the whole roof- mainly due to the tilt of the roof and the orientation of the site. But it still is a good number and it makes it worth the effort to go solar.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

On top of things

With the roof sheathing completed we climbed all the way up and enjoyed the commanding view from Glendale to South Pasadena and the San Gabriel Mountains. Soon, the roofing will go up and then, the solar PV array will occupy the roof along with the solar water heater. We also worked out most of the details with the window manufacturer- We'll be using class 1 clear anodized aluminum windows with Solarban 70XL dual glazed panes.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Framing almost complete!

Abe is now almost done with framing- The roof sheathing is up and only the ripping, parapets and guard walls are missing. The photo above already gives a pretty good impression of what the house will look like. On the inside, most walls are framed, too and when walking though the house, you can already get a pretty good feeling of the spaces, visual connections and views. The design plays out well in reality so far- We have views of Mount Baldy from almost every room and bedroom #3 makes up for the lack of it with it's generous opening to the deck.
The stair from the first to the second floor with its open side connects the upper floor visually to the first floor and creates the impression of flowing spaces.
While the last remaining framing is being put in place, Abe is also working on the concrete stair from the sidewalk to the garden which will take approx. 2 weeks. Then, the only remaining concrete work is the garage floor slab and the driveway. We expect to start with the interior some time next week- Plumbing will be the first discipline to be installed.