thinking about spring and green roofs (again)

As we gear up for spring I’ve been surfing the net looking for the cheapest and most effective way to finish up the top of the breezeway. As we have discovered time and time again, those two goals aren’t always compatible. so really we are looking for the best possible compromise. One option we’re exploring is a green roof.



June report

This past weekend was frustrating and lovely all at the same time. K spent time on the mill working to cut the facia that will go around the cabin but unfortunately the chainsaw gave him some trouble.

Last week’s addition of the french doors has really made it possible to see what the cabin will look like in its finished state. We also made some design decisions that have been hanging over our heads for a while including the roof of the guest cabin (same as main roof) the layout of the kitchen and the upstairs loft space.


From Jun 2011

The bird nests from the past few weeks all seem to be empty but the squirrels and woodpeckers are out in full force. Also spotted a medium sized pale brown spotted frog in the pond for the first time.

Bear rumours are starting to swirl around the island again, but so far no definitive sightings (thank goodness!)


Since nearly all the windows are now installed, it seemed like a good time to give the 7L breakdown on this part of the project:

Loveable liveable and logical Because we were building from scratch, we bought windows we loved first, and designed our cabin around them. All windows are from salvaged construction projects, which covers low-cost, local and low-impact and we bought only wood or metal framed double-glazed windows so that our windows will be long-lasting and gets lots o’ use which I feel is an acceptable variation on lots of uses.

  1. Logical
  2. Light / Low-Impact
  3. Liveable/Loveable
  4. Low-cost
  5. Long Lasting
  6. Lots o ‘uses
  7. Local

Confessions of a siding geek

In the dreary afternoons of November it is truly amazing to look back on the photos of this past summer and see everything we were able to accomplish. All those smiling faces, all that hard work, it’s a reminder of how fortunate we’ve been throughout all of this.

The cabin is tarped up for the winter, and now is the time when we ponder next steps (siding, roof) and dangerously day-dream about things like finishings and floors. In the summer it is easier to remember that we always have to take everything step by step. With my hands on a hammer, I’m grounded. Here in the city, it’s easy to believe we can just fly through the next steps, and even at my imagination’s lightening speed, I’m impatient to get there.

Siding and roofing alternates between being very boring to think about and almost overwhelmingly complex. Throughout so much of our building we’ve had a solid place to start from: a great set of windows, free timber, a site we fell in love with. I just don’t seem to feel that we have that same clear sense of direction for how we finish the house. However n the process of trying to figure it out I’ve become something of a siding geek.

Some choices are easy: no to vinyl, since it fails most of the L’s except low-cost.
Logical:  We are quite close to trees so something with some fire-resistance at least for most of the cabin. This means metal or some kind of fibercement siding. But is it loveable? We don’t want anything too industrial looking though. I think we are agreed that the cabin should have some sense of natural variation. Inset cedar tongue and groove? Shakes? is there a ‘logical’ approach to this kind of ornamentation of a house? Logical/low (visual)-impact:  Colours and materials that work with dark metal window frames, fir posts and cedar decking. The east side of the cabin should be fairly dark coloured so it doesn’t stand out on the hill. The dominant colours of the hill are rock grey, dirt & bark brown, and cedar green.
Logi(sti)cal: We probably need to buy most of our siding materials from a commercial supplier (vs second hard/re-purposed)since they can put it on pallets and deliver it to the dock for the barge.

i think the look we are going for is natural but tough aka rustic modern. That still leaves an incredible number of variations and possibilities though and on a long rainy afternoon, a thousand different websites and photoshopped pictures and google sketchups to ponder as we anxiously wait for spring.

Spring 2008 – Getting started, looking ahead

We haven’t posted in a while, spending the winter in urban life, all the while thinking and pondering over the house plans. After creating the Halkett Bay t-shirts for Christmas, we’ve gone and changed the plans. This is actually a clever ploy to make you want to collect all the t-shirts in the series. I’m very excited about the ‘new’ plan since it’s really a return to our first plan, an open breezeway between the guestroom and the main cabin. We’re also making the roof of the breezeway and guestroom flat. Suddenly this all seems much more do-able, and simple. Logical. We’ll see where this philosophy gets us in the end, but for now, it’s been great to have such a clear framework to think about what we are doing. And it is too cool that the house itself is going to be L shaped.

We went up there last weekend, and spent the day evicting mice who had set up a busy little highway right into our supposedly mouseproof cupboard. Like most animals on Gambier, they seem relatively fearless. Some even ran back into the cupboard as we were clearing it out.

Kevin and Don had been up a week before, and put the $6 metal doors on the power tower. They looked great! Since I started a creative writing program this year, I’ve been fantacizing about the room at the top of the tower as a writing room/retreat.

The big build this year will be the last two weeks of August, so consider yourself invited! Right now we are heading up for day trips on the weekend as well, so let us know if you wanna be on the ‘nice day let’s go!’ list.