smallrooms®

A Journal of Detailed Moments

Welcome to the third reincarnation of smallrooms®. This new version doesn’t start with a fancy entry page, but instead opens directly with the journal. The entire site, for the most part, has the same information and images as the 2012 design. But in this reincarnation, the images are larger and sharper, and the overall design is cleaner and less blog-like. Additionally, the copy is set with a sophisticated web font at a larger and looser scale, making it much easier to read. Please remember that smallrooms® is a journal and will always be an evolving work-in-progress.

Country Retreat

Tumble Moon (Update 9)

This fifth site plan, with the exception of some adjustments, is what we have finally decided on.

The fifth and final site plan concept. The wood steps down from the porch have to end in a wood landing because the landing will be about 2′ above the slope below. This is too much grade change for the lower steps. From that landing down to the parking area are formed concrete steps with stone veneer applied to the top surface. There are two identical runs of steps (4 risers and 3 treads) and one 4′ x 4′ landing. We may not need the retaining wall you see near the bottom of the slope, because the lower steps are now going to be formed concrete.

Michael Parkey, the landscape architect, is currently tweaking this concept, and the final site plan should be ready for me to show you in a couple of weeks. Stay tuned.

Country Retreat

Tumble Moon (Update 8)

Because the sunlight was so harsh, the garage was the best structure to showcase our chosen paint colors in a photograph.

Here’s the progress as of Thursday, June 29. All the cabinetry had been installed, and the carpenter was informed on how to proceed with the trim work. The painter applied floor stain samples and interior paint colors for our approval. Unfortunately the floor stain was not at all what it was suppose to be, but the selected interior wall, ceiling, and window/door trim colors were perfect. The design and materials for the front steps and the descent down to the driveway were finalized, and one final site survey was done. I know I’m forgetting several somethings, but the following photographs should illustrate how far things have progressed.

Country Retreat

Tumble Moon (Update 7)

Since this is my favorite one, of course it would be the most expensive. Only one car will be parked in front, so it would be in position 2. I don’t want a car blocking the steps. And if there is a second car, it can park in front of or in the garage.

My landscape architect’s accompanying letter:
Attached are three sketches for the driveway, parking, and porch steps.
 
There are two major problems that we are trying to solve. The first is the elevation change from the finish floor height (FF) of the house (assumed to be 100.0′) and the garage and parking area. The difference is about 10 feet. The second is the tight maneuvering space for cars between the garage and the house.

Country Retreat

Tumble Moon (Update 6)

If you’re wondering how to climb up to the front porch, stay tuned for my next post, Tumble Moon (Update 7).

Last week we all met at Tumble Moon to go over wood floor options, exterior colors, and interior paint, tile, and countertop colors. And most importantly to work out the site’s grading and how to develop the approach to the front of the house, which I will cover in a future post.

Family

Riding the Wave

Pop, my paternal grandfather, surfing in Hawaii, sometime in 1911. I have no idea if this is good surfing form. Probably not.

Before the world went mad in 1914, my grandfather as a young man, with change in his pocket, did some adventurous traveling. I’ve always loved this photo, because it’s the only one of him that indicates that he may have had a sense of fun and a less-than-serious side to him. We never knew him this way. He was always the staunch general to us.

I’ve let April slip by without feeding this blog because of reasons I don’t want to get into. I am now back on track.

Country Retreat

Tumble Moon (Update 5)

The bed alcove on the second floor.

The house is now a structural reality. Charley McKenney and I met the general contractor Pat Fuhrmann today along with his subs to go over the custom cabinetry and the electrical needs for my tiny house. It was perfect spring weather with an incredible cross breeze blowing through the window and door openings. And the views from the windows are even more spectacular than I had imagined. Again, I should have taken my fancy camera with a zoom lens, but instead shot the following photos with my iPhone.

Interior Design

What’s Hanging (part 6)

With all the windows in my breakfast room, it’s impossible to shoot this watercolor straight on.

The artist is unknown, and it wasn’t a gallery purchase, but after three decades, it’s still one of my favorites. Two friends of mine were honeymooning in Mexico in 1986, when their cab driver on finding out they were architects pulled over to show them his collection of watercolors he had stashed in the trunk. Ellen and Karl were so impressed, they bought a few. And I was lucky enough to be given one of them on my birthday.

I’ve lost touch with Ellen and Karl, but perhaps someone from HKS Architects will read this and let them know I still think of them.

Country Retreat

Tumble Moon (Update 4)

Just a hint of what views can be seen from the finished house. I will have to take my fancy camera out there on the next visit, so I can zoom in on this view and capture all the lush landscape details of the Red River valley. This photo was taken with my iPhone which doesn’t have much zoom ability.

With the foundation complete, I and my architect, Charley McKenney, took Eco Friends Pest Control out to Tumble Moon to do the first phase of the termite treatment. The second and final treatment will have to wait until after all construction and exterior grading have been completed.

Country Retreat

Tumble Moon (Update 3)

Please don’t laugh. I know it’s just the garage, but it’s physical proof of progress. And this makes me happy.

Tumble Moon now has a well, pump house, and garage. Things are really beginning to pick up steam, and if I’m not careful, I could easily become overwhelmed. Even though I experienced the renovation of my home here in Dallas, building something from scratch is a whole ‘nother ball game. And then there’s the driving back and forth to Saint Jo in a single day (two hours there and three frustrating hours back) that will have to be done more frequently.

Landscape & Gardening

What’s Blooming Now

Taken just before today’s nor’easter blew in.

My Giant Leopard Plant (Farfugium japonicum ‘Giganteum’) is in full bloom and would have continued this wonderful show for another two weeks if a nor’easter hadn’t blown in. When I snapped the photo this afternoon around two o’clock, it was 71 degrees outside, then two hours later it was 55 degrees, and now six hours later, it’s 27 degrees. Their beauty will not survive. Our Texas weather extremes can be devastating to us gardeners.