Friday, March 13, 2009

Cole & Son woods wallpaper

So I think you all have sufficiently talked me out of corrugated metal for the great room ceiling. I'm still enamored of it but see the drawbacks. I'm not giving up on using it somewhere in the house, though. I love it too much. Any good ideas for placement? Maybe as wainscoting in the guest bathroom?

Speaking of interior materials, I wanted to share another recent obsession of mine...Cole & Son's woods wallpaper. This stuff is popping up all over the place (design mags, blogs, etc.) but I never seem to get sick of seeing it. It is so serene and hauntingly beautiful. I feel calmer every time I look at it. I think I want to put this on the north wall of our master bedroom, behind our bed. The window centered on that wall will look across the field to the woods so it seems like an appropriate spot for it. I'll probably buy it from the Anthropolgie website.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Corrugated metal ceiling?

I have been trying to visualize our great room for awhile now. Most nights before I fall asleep, I pretend that I'm walking into the house. I normally make it through the mudroom into the dining area before conking out. Sad, I know. Therefore, the ceiling in the great room has never revealed itself to me. What do you see when you look up? Is it a great expanse of drywall? (The good: reflects light nicely, quite modern and minimalist; The bad: could be a LOT of white, very bland) Well, luckily for our new house, I wasn't all that tired last night when I climbed into bed and managed to actually make it through the snooze-inducing entrance and into the great room. Whew. And when I looked up, I was surprised to see corrugated metal! It's probably due to my near obsession with Blake Dollahite's house.

So here are some inspiration shots. You tell me. Am I nuts or should our great room ceiling be corrugated metal?

Blake Dollahite House

Dorval-Hall House (Keith Moskow, architect)

Lami Design Colorado Plat House

Sunday, March 1, 2009

SIPs it is

The purpose of this post is to correct a huge oversight on my part and I want to thank poster "Mario in VT" for bringing it to our attention....we never shared our decision re: SIPs vs. ICFs! Oops. It's a minor decision, really. It's only our entire wall system (!) So sorry for that omission. Apparently I've been much more worried about critical issues like whether to purchase a refrigerator with a top or bottom freezer.

Anyway, we have decided to go with SIPs. We actually really wanted a full ICF house. There has been some debate about whether ICFs truly offer a tighter envelope over SIPs. I think what attracted us to ICFs is that in addition to the (potentially slight) advantage in terms of insulating power over SIPs, we also liked the idea of not using any wood. Over time, that wood will begin to decay and concrete is here to stay. It also seemed like a good way to avoid using any more natural resources. Then again, producing concrete is very taxing to the environment. So we explored using a large percentage of fly ash, a waste product that is harmful when released into the atmosphere. Using fly ash also decreases the amount of damaging-to-produce concrete. Anyway, we were leaning towards ICFs although it certainly wasn't an emotionally wrenching decision to choose SIPs instead. We basically want the tightest building envelope that our budget will buy. And once we received the bids back (two from ICF companies and two from SIP companies), it became obvious that SIPs were more budget friendly. I will say that there wasn't a huge difference. But the difference was big enough that we couldn't justify choosing ICFs over SIPs. However, we will be using ICFs from Vermont ICF for our basement.

We are buying our SIPs from Panel Pros out of Keene, New Hampshire. These will be 6.5" Insulspan panels, R-26. So far, Panel Pros has been great to work with. Our total panel package came to around $27,000 without installation. This price includes structural design and delivery. With Al's help, we are going to install them ourselves. Panel Pros also quoted us on a SIP roof but because of cost constraints, we are going to go with a traditional truss roof and blown-in insulation.

Here is a link to Insulspan's website that has some great, basic information on SIPs. Fine Homebuilding has a nice overview article, too. This is the most basic diagram I could find of a SIP. Also, check out this ridiculous YouTube video (the music is classic) of the guys at Insulspan putting up a SIP building. Okay, and this one is just weird. It's called: Insulspan SIPs & ICFs used to build "The Moon." I don't get it. And yet I watched it. I really have too much time on my hands.