Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Pain with the Stain

Most of the materials of the Nob Hill Haus have been selected for low maintenance and longevity we tried to stay away from using wood in exposed situations as much as possible- Most of the facade is integral color stucco, the rainscreen looks like wood, but is made of phenolic panels. This leaves us only with one element- The deck. The decking is Mangaris hardwood while the supporting beams consist of douglas fir. Since the deck has the most sun exposure, it's been taking the most beating- even though the exposure is not as bad as it would be on the South side. But nevertheless, the stain (we used Penofin, a penetrating oil) faded eventually after 18 months and we had to get on it and spend a few weekends sanding the deck, fixing some of the broken-off screws and staining it twice. The photo shows the (then) faded stair with the freshly stained deck at the bottom. Looks like new again- until next year...

Monday, September 3, 2012


Yesterday, around 4PM we noticed a huge smoke cloud looming over the San Gabriel Mountains and blocking the view towards Mt Baldy. That was no ordinary rain cloud, it looked more like a smoke cloud from a fire- so we checked out the news and learned about the 4000 acre (by Monday morning) big Williams Fire which had spread fast on Sunday, but the fire fighters seemed to have made soem headroom in the meantime. The smell of burnt trees was in the air this morning as the clund started moving along the Mountains towards the West. Later that day, the wind direction changed again and blew the plume towards the Inland Empire.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

on the cover

The Nob Hill Haus made it on the cover of the August issue of Builder's Magazine-as the feature story about a collection of 5 sustainable homes! For us, that is quite an achievement. We got an almost 5 page long article on the inside and are really proud of it. As part of a special symposium, the L.A. County Health Department and the Environmental Protection Agency will tour the rainwater harvesting system next week. They’ve been using it as a case study project for rainwater use in residential applications. We have September in the meantime, but there's still water in the cistern for them to see! In the garden, the figs are ripe, but the squirrels get them faster than we can pick them- a real bummer.