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Affordable Natural House: Past Progress Photos

house just before purchase

March 2001: Just before Purchase

nine eleven, foundation poured September 11, 2001: "Little House" in the rear has been jacked up and leveled, with new foundation beams and piers.

Day is living there and directing the construction. The foundation is being poured for the new portion.
Christmas, 2001 -  roof trusses up Christmas 2001: The workshop is long over and the stawclay walls in the "Main House" are complete. The roof trusses have been installed, including the upper "piggyback" framing and vent channels for the oversized roof venting/cooling system. The horizontal plywood siding panels are a strong architectural feature that also have an important function: to anchor and laterally brace the roof trusses.
March, 2002 - roofing mostly complete March 26, 2002: About a year from the date we purchased the lot. "Main House" roofing -- recycled shingles -- is mostly complete. Second floor is sheathed in fiberboard, awaiting the windows.
April, 2002 - connector section being built April 18, 2002: The "Connector" walls are up, and the wood I-joists have been delivered, ready for installation. Furring strips have installed over tarpaper on the "Main House", ready for the installation of the re-used shingle siding.
sunny day, installing the windows May 13, 2002: Windows have been delivered and are all installed, except the big front round-top unit. Shredded clay (pile in the foreground) and straw bales (under blue tarp, at left) are ready for the weekend workshop. Behind, the "Connector" roof is framed and decked.
May 18th, big red mixer delievered May 18, 2002: The big front round-top window unit is installed, and the Big Red Mixer is ready for the weekend workshop. We've been enjoying lots of fine building weather.
July 12, children playing on the sand pile July 12, 2002: Not much change to the street view of the house, but lots is happening inside and behind. The Big Red Mixer is working to mix up the first layer of the earth floor for the living space of the Man House. The roof trusses over the Old House are installed, and the sheathing is about 50% complete. The neighbor kids are enjoying the sand pile while it lasts.
August 20th, custom-made curved cedar trim August 20, 2002: Will is just finishing putting in the little round attic window that he made from curved cedar strips. Bill is installing the re-used asbestos siding shingles -- carefully. The Big Red Mixer's work is done, and it will be leaving soon. The first coat of interior plaster is dry, and the last bits of interior framing are underway.
September seventh, front doors installed September 7, 2002: The real appearance of the house is starting to emerge, as the 3 front doors opening onto the screened front porch/patio are being installed. Formwork for the porch is just beginning. Meanwhile inside, Will is building the stairs to the second floor.
beginning the earthen stucco October 9, 2002: The newly-poured foundation for the front screen porch is just visible behind all the plastering equipment. Anthony and Bill are placing the first coat of earthen plaster on the front wall; Will and Prairie are not far ahead of them, installing the last of the door trim.
Halloween Day October 31, 2002: Exterior work is complete enough for now: two coats of earthen wall stucco are dry, yard is cleaned up for the coming of Winter, and we're working indoors now. Electrical rough-in is well underway, plumbing rough-in is finished and the cast iron radiators are about to be installed.
snowless New Year January 10, 2003: We are poised to turn on the heat any day now. The cellulose insulation is packed into the ceiling cavities and upper walls. Will is finishing the custom insulated ceiling hatch. All doors, windows and custom transoms are in. The big rooftop louvers are in. Electrical & plumbing rough-in work is complete and so is all the heating distribution system -- the cast iron radiators and the water tubing in floors and ceilings. All that remains is for Douglas to mount the little Quietside boiler on the wall, connect it to the tubing, and turn it on. Out front, the green tarp covers a small stack of insulation bales that are waiting to be blown into the ceiling of the workshop.
snowy Wisconsin Spring April 9, 2003: Work has slowed down considerably, as the crew has moved on to other work, and Lou only has weekends to devote to the interior finishing tasks. However, this Spring classes from several departments at the University of Wisconsin and East High School students have toured the house and learned about natural materials and energy-efficient integrated design.
May 27, 2003
September 6, 2003: The front yard is cleared and all the sand and other plastering materials are up on the porch platform. This weekend we installed recycled porous paving blocks for the driveway. Slabs of concrete -- the original front walk -- which we salvaged back in 2001 are placed as 'runners' under the vehicle tires.
May 13, 2004: The front yard is roughly graded the porous paving is down; topsoil will have to wait for another day. Most of the work is proceeding indoors: kitchen cabinets and countertop installation, earthen plastering, This week we'll move outdoors briefly to pour the wheelchair-friendly front walk.
February 14, 2005: The front porch is full of barrels of clay and sand, with work proceeding indoors. Exteror painting and staining at least is mostly finished.
June 2 , 2005: We host a plastering workshop for a University of Wisconsin-Madison class, Designing Green Communities , co-taught with Dr, Sue Thering (center) and Shawn Kelly, FASLA (right). The following week, class participated in a "charrette" to vision a new mixed-use development for one of Wisconsin's tribal communities.
May 2, 2006: A beautiful Spring.
October 7, 2007: Lou opens the house again for the annual Solar Tour sponsored by the Midwest Renewable Energy Association and the Solar Energy Society
November 3, 2008: As for exterior work, most of the summer was spent cleaning, repairing and setting the antique carved stone sections that form the porch railing. This involved casting concrete piers to match, with reinforcing bars to strengthen and stabilize.

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