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The Scratch Coat of Stucco

October – Progress in Pictures

It’s hard to believe October has ended, but a look back at the work done at Desert Lookout proves it has been a busy month. Inside and out, dramatic progress is visible. Stucco and tile, trim and stairs… we’re all getting very excited by the signs that we are nearing the end of construction.

The Scratch Coat of Stucco

Elite Plaster applied the base – or “Scratch Coat” – of stucco early this October.

Scratch Coat

The grooves of the base layer of stucco will be hidden by the finish layer.

We’re making leaps and bounds with our water treatment system.

Desert Lookout Composting Toilet

The toilet in Desert Lookout is a traditional composting toilet – going directly to the Phoenix unit on the main floor.

Dishwasher connection

Not just a hole – this area has been dug up to disconnect the dishwasher from the sewer. It is now going to the composter/evaporator unit in Desert Lookout.

Surface finishes like tile are being installed.

Jason is installing tile some if is left over from Desert Rain and some has been collected as remnants from other construction projects in Bend.

Jason is installing tile. Some of it is left over from Desert Rain and some has been collected as remnants from other construction projects in Bend.

Finish work is well underway. Window and door trim is in, stair treads have been installed, and beautiful details are being added.

Steve is working with Versatile Carpentry to install the finish work at Desert Lookout.

Steve is working with Versatile Carpentry to install the finish work at Desert Lookout.

Tamarack Stair Treads

Pieces of Tamarack ready to be made into stair treads for Desert Lookout.

Tom and Bill

Tom and Bill from Versatile Carpentry find time for a little silliness while installing the finish trim to Desert lookout.

Finish Carpentry

Rather than source the wood needed to create a specific style of finish work, we are using remnants from Desert Rain and customizing the finish work to meet the supplies we already have.

Stonework on Desert Lookout

September: Progress in Pictures

September came in fits and starts for us with the construction of Desert Lookout – the newest part of our Living Building Challenge Project. We took huge steps forward, followed by small sticking points, and then more big lurches forward. This is nothing new for a building outside of the traditional box and we continue to keep our enthusiasm for moving forward.   Installing the Phoenix composting system was a huge mile stone for us. You can read more about how this component will  compost and treat our blackwater here.

Tom and Advanced Composting Systems

Tom and Glenn Nelson from Advanced Composting Systems in front of the newly installed black water composter.

Blackwater Composter

Our new Phoenix will compost our black water – a very important part of the LBC water petal.

The Phoenix Composting ToiletWe’re very pleased to be including biophilia into our landscaping:

New plants for Desert Rain

New plants for Desert Rain from Winter Creek Restoration are ready for planting.

Desert Lookout will have a hybrid insulation system which helps us manage expenses while maintaining a high level of insulation.

Blow in with spray foam hybrid insulation

A hybrid insulation system is helping us manage expenses during construction while providing long-term benefits.

We moved beyond another challenge of building a LBC project, getting the eve trimmed back.

Trimming the eve

We had to trim back the original eve to allow for the solar collector.

drying out the cistern

The leak in our grey water cistern had to be repaired. A large fan was used to dry it out before applying a new layer of waterproofing.

Bob Buckmann with TVM

Bob Buckmann with TVM was in the grey water cistern, checking on a new layer of waterproofing.

Richard from Clausen Drywall.

Richard from Clausen Drywall has been drywalling since he was a teenager, working for his dad.

Hand texture for the drywall is complete

Hand texture for the drywall is complete.

Jared and Scott from American Painting and Prefinish .

Jared and Scott from American Painting and Prefinish are staining the wood siding.

ready for stonework

While we get ready for stonework, Winter Creek Restoration has been planting.

Ready for stonework

We’re ready for stonework.

 

Stonework on Desert Lookout

Stonework on Desert Lookout.

Another month down. And we’re ready for October!

July 2014 – Progress in Pictures

Summers are always busy, and the crews of tradespeople working on Desert Lookout are making the most of longer and warmer days.  We started this July with a minimally framed structure, and have watched the roof go up, the windows go in, and now the exterior siding is being installed. Inside, rough electrical is being installed.  It’s hard to believe how much construction progress has been made.

Cory Tennison from TAC wrapping up the framing process.

Cory Tennison from TAC – in the middle of the framing process.

 

Blue skies in Bend.

Blue skies in Bend.

Quality Truss delivered our trusses.

Quality Truss delivered our trusses.

Part of the TAC team - Kenton Lueck and Marvin Raby stalled the Desert Lookout Roof.

Part of the TAC team – Kenton Lueck and Marvin Raby stalled the Desert Lookout Roof.

Desert Lookout - Ready for windows.

Desert Lookout – Ready for windows.

Tom - taking a break to check out the siding prep and new windows.

Tom – taking a break to check out the siding prep and new windows.

Salvaged wood waiting to be installed as soffits.

Salvaged wood waiting to be installed as soffits. Read more about it here.

Don Kruse and Bill Mastous from TAC are installing the siding.

Don Kruse and Bill Mastous from TAC are installing the siding.

Mike, from All Phase Energy is installing the rough electrical.

Mike, from All Phase Energy is installing the rough electrical.

Bill Kaiser from Elite Plastering is on deck. We'll be ready to start the exterior siding soon.

Bill Kaiser from Elite Plastering is on deck. We’ll be ready to start the exterior siding soon.

 

 

 

 

 

A Peek Inside Desert Rain – Progress in Pictures

Since Barb and Tom moved in to their new home earlier this year, we’ve had many requests for pictures of the finished interior. While aspects of our project are still underway and we will be taking many more photos in the future, we’ve put together a small selection to share with you now.

desert rain living room

A place to gather and connect: The living room is a place to connect with friends and family as well as the beauty outside.

Desert Rain Kitchen

The warmth of the reclaimed wood makes the kitchen an inviting place to gather.

Desert Rain Dining Room

The dining room, just off the kitchen, has windows on three sides, creating an openness and connection with the outdoors.

Looking at the kitchen from the living room

The open floor plan keeps the kitchen and living room connected.

Study and Guest Room

Barb and Tom wanted space for guests and space for contemplation. This room can be used for either.

Desert Rain Hallway Bench

Small spaces like this bench in the hallway create a space to reflect and find solitude within the openness of the Desert Rain floor plan.

After a Short Break – Desert Lookout Construction Begins

We had a short break in construction this winter along with a brief hiatus in sharing updates on our home, the project, and the process.  But rest assured, we were not resting. During this time, we were preparing for Desert Lookout.  This new structure will include an office/apartment, a garage, a yoga studio, and –  perhaps most importantly – will house the composting/evaporator unit for blackwater.
Staking Desert Lookout in early April 2014.

Staking Desert Lookout in early April 2014.

Early this April, we received the exciting news regarding the approval of our permit to treat blackwater — toilet and dishwasher wastewater — on site, without putting it into the sewer lines.  Desert Rain has become the first in the state of Oregon within a city sewer district to receive a such a permit, and with this good news in hand, we broke ground on April 15.
Breaking ground on Desert Lookout.

Breaking ground on Desert Lookout.

Breaking ground and preparing the foundation has gone smoothly and quickly. Now, we’re excited to see the Desert Lookout structure rising.
Desert Lookout Foundation

The framework in place for the Desert Lookout foundation

The framing of Desert Lookout is nearing completion in Early June 2014.

The framing of Desert Lookout is nearing completion in Early June 2014.

 

 

Desert Rain in Bloom

The apple tree in full bloom indicates new life, a new season, and change. For me, the apple blossoms mark my one year involvement with the Desert Rain project. Documenting the process through photos, interviews, research, and writing has allowed me to learn as I share the information through this blog. I have gained valuable knowledge about sustainable building techniques, materials, and the Living Building Challenge . I have seen the tenacity necessary to keep this challenging project moving forward. I have observed the team spirit and the ‘takes a village’ concept at work. I have seen a construction site transform into a home.  Along the way I have met wonderful people, especially the homeowners – Tom Elliot and Barbara Scott – committed to a greener building environment. I invite you on a photo journey to celebrate my  year of memories with this project and a few of the many elements necessary to turn dream to reality. Like the apple tree – Desert Rain is blooming!

DR ready for plaster

Desert Rain on May 10, 2013 wrapped up and ready for the exterior plaster. The plaster story will be upcoming soon.

Desert Rain May 2012 - framed, sheathed, and roof in place.

Desert Rain May 2012 – framed, sheathed, and roof in place, the envelope waiting for the many elements that make a building a home – windows, electrical, heating, and plumbing systems, doors, floors, and finishes.

framing inside

Staggered framing with 12″ walls on the north side of the house and spray foam insulation create a tight, energy-efficient building envelope.

insulation in main room

Spray foam insulation in the exterior walls and ceiling was blown in with a layering process to maximize the efficiency of the envelope and minimize off-gassing. Cellulose insulation was used in the interior walls for sound barrier.

Radiant heat ready for concrete

Radiant, in-floor heating tubing installed and ready for the cement floor to be poured.

pre-cistern slab pour

The 35,000 gallon cistern as it was in May 2012. A poured concrete slab for a lid/garage floor, the framing of the garage on top, electrical systems, and an additional 5,000 gallon cistern for graywater show significant change to this part of the site.

garage May 2013

The garage on top of the cistern – May 2013.

solar thermal room

The mechanical room with the solar systems for hot water and power. The rustic, reclaimed wood on the walls in contrast to the high-tech components is part of Barb and Tom’s vision for the design and elements – ‘funky meets contemporary’.

Farm sink

The farm sink, cement countertops, and cabinet bases are in place. The countertops and diamond polished cement floors are covered for protection. The unveiling will create a dramatic change.

interior master bedroom

The interior in the master bedroom shows some of the finishing touches: clay plaster on the walls in 3 different colors, reclaimed wood on the wall and trim, Forest Stewardship Certified wood on the ceiling – all of the elements blending together for beauty, function, and meeting the criteria of the Living Building Challenge.

Tom, Barb and Jim

Tom Elliot and Barbara Scott (homeowners) with Jim Fagan of Timberline Construction, share the Desert Rain story with a group of students. Sharing the process of their Living Building Challenge home has been a significant goal for Tom and Barb.

These few photos are a glimpse into the scope of Desert Rain and building to meet the stringent requirements of the Living Building Challenge. Years of research, design, decisions, and dreams are in this project. I encourage you to browse through the Desert Rain website and the past blogs to learn more about the process and the Desert Rain story. Thank you Barb and Tom for giving me the opportunity to be part of that story.

main house morning sun

Desert Rain in the early morning sunlight of May 2013.