Friday, February 10, 2012

Demolition Woes

The snare of spiders the size of golf balls,
An outfit of vagrant cats with a penchant to make things crash in the night,
Floors and ceilings which scowl at our every movement, ever threatening collapse,
Piercing winds and frigid temperatures; We have triumphed.

The men in suits now send steel colossi to destroy what we have built.
They say you can't fight city hall -
Watch us.

We've just found that our property is on the newest bulldozer map. What's more - the city recognizes someone other than us as the property owner. Why this is and what it means is still unclear. Hopefully it can be chalked up to a simple filing error. We go to city hall today.

Our (Very) Humble Abode

Humans really like stuff. Lots of stuff. Though we're undeniably living criticism of consumerism, we've come to realize our lives are inextricably tied to the organizations of our materials: where the dishes go, what to do with recyclables, where to keep our bicycles. We cannot detach ourselves from the human nature to organize.


The cooking and food preparation area is rearranged to accommodate the sink installation in progress and two large slabs of stone which serve as counter space. A television and storage chest turned on their ends serve as legs, the latter operating as a small pantry.


The living space has acquired furniture for eating, reading, typing, etc. Aside from the sleeping quarters, it's the warmest space in the house, though requires a substantial fire on the colder days. Insulation of these walls still remains a strong consideration.

Opened basement

The floor which has been tormenting us from the beginning has finally been stripped, revealing a 22' tall space. We see this as great opportunity to expand the house again for the warmer months, but is largely necessitated by severe structural issues.


Before taking the joists down we set up a reinforcing structure - the two columns and beam above - out of scavenged 8"x8"s to receive the load from the bathroom and roof above. Whether or not we'll keep this space as a bathroom down the road we're not sure, but the shoring up of the structure will at least let us begin to consider the potentials.


The upstairs where we spend our nights is by far the most comfortable in terms of heat. Awkward dimensions and angles don't make it the easiest room to navigate, which further reinforces its existence as a static place. We now seek a way to clad the ceiling (and hopefully provide some level of fire resistance), without having to go to Home Depot to buy drywall.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Drawing from Waste

Though our ad hoc way of going about things hasn't required too much forethought or precision (compared to the typical architect's standard), more time and materials lend themselves to more complex and elaborate systems. Jumping back into our familiar world of AutoCAD would be easy enough, but doesn't fit the spirit of the project or induce the kind of spontaneous ingenuity we strive for.

Charring small sticks in the fire, we create our new drafting tools. The canvas? Our very walls. What might be considered our version of the architect's detail drawing start to clutter the large uninterrupted wall of the living space. These are only mildly speculative, serving primarily to work through whatever task is at hand.

Having knocked down a few walls, we have an abundance of doors. Noticing they're almost exactly the same widths as the two front windows, we reapply them. They perform as the heavy tapestries of the olden days used to, closed to block out the cold at night but easily opened for daylight. They're also an essential establishment of privacy from nosy bureaucrats.

After three months without a toilet aside from the backyard and the Tops Supermarket down the street, it's about time to arrange something more convenient. We bury a 5 gallon plastic bucket upsidedown below the frost line outside. Scraps of PVC then run from this at an angle into the crawl space below our first floor and then up to receive connections for urinal and sink basins.

As temperatures in the house are quick to drop below freezing, using a water trap isn't an option. For a few extra dollars valves are used to block drafts of cold air and smells. In the future this system might develop to integrate gravity-fed water by stationing our water barrels upstairs and running more piping.