Monday, May 25, 2009

Spreading the Mulch and Laying the Rubber

We finally got the big pile of mulched construction waste in the front spread. Now we have to do the big pile in the back and then start planting native and drought resistant plants. Then, we'll hook up the pump to the underground rainwater cistern and lay the drip-lines. My brother Bill from Atlanta is visiting and was a big help spreading the mulch. That's him standing in the doorway below and his dog Sebastian in the road. Of course Shelby and Maggie helped spread the mulch, too. They also sprayed a homemade eco-friendly weed killer on the weeds before we spread the mulch. It consists mostly of vinegar with some water, salt, and liquid soap added.

With the help of Bill, Maggie, Shelby, and our son Keith, we also got most of the rubber pavers laid on the rooftop terrace. All that's left now is to cut the ones that need to go along the edges and put them in place. The pavers are made from recycled tires. We chose these particular ones not only because they had the best price ($5.50 per sq. ft.), but also because of the hexagon shape. This shape keeps the pavers locked into place without the need for any adhesive. Here is the website of the company we chose for the pavers:

Have a great week. We'll post again soon!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


The decorative gables are now finished. You probably noticed that our piles of mulched waste construction wood are still there. We hope to have that spread throughout the yard soon.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Pergolas and Pavers

The pergola on the rooftop terrace has been going up over the past few days. If you remember, we reclaimed the large double pergola off the roof of the old clubhouse here at Cobblestone Park before it was demolished. It is now finally being reassembled at our new home.

Below shows the rooftop pergola finished. We just need to remove the side cross braces that were used to keep it stable during reassembly.

Just as the rooftop pergola was finished, almost nine thousand pounds of rubber pavers arrived (below) and you can see in the pictures above we have started laying them on the flat roof. The pavers are made from recycled rubber tires.

The holes are now being dug for the second part of the pergola which will be located just off the deck below.

Stay tuned...more to come!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Dumbwaiter is In

The first step in the dumbwaiter installation is constructing the shaft.

The next two photos show the dumbwaiter opening on the second floor at the formal dining room.

The next three pictures show the opening in the pantry on the first floor. The finished pictures show the car in place with two shelves.

These last three pictures show the finished installation with the exception of the doors which will be installed soon. The last picture is the upstairs opening.

We went with the rope and pully system instead of a motorized system to save money (less than half the price) and of course to stay with our green theme.

Stay tuned, more pix coming...

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Final Leed Inspection

Yesterday, we had our final LEED inspection. Our goal was to build a house with as limited an impact as possible (that we could afford) on the environment and yesterday's assessment was the measure of our success in that endeavor. In about a week we should have the final report from the LEED provider: Claude St. Hillaire and his company, Home Energy Group, based in Charleston. Below, Claude (second from left) is discussing the inspection with our architect, Bob Bourguignon (far left), Jennifer Bourguignon, and Tony (from Home Energy Group).

The general contractor and all the subs have to provide reports accounting for what each accomplished during the building process. Here, Claude discusses the HVAC checklist with Will Andrews from Air Design Systems.

Part of yesterday's inspection was the final blower-door test. A fan was installed at the front door to simulate a 20-mph wind blowing at the house.

The object is to test the tighness of the house, especially the doors and windows. We are happy to report that the test was a success, coming in slightly better than our target.

While the fan is operating, Claude and Tony walk around the house and check all the windows and doors for leaks.

When we receive the final report, we will post it here...stay tuned!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Cinco de Mayo - Switzer Independence Day!

We've finally been freed from the bondage of gypsy life and attained the American dream of home ownership! Late yesterday our new home passed final inspection from the Town of Blythewood's building inspector and today we received our Certificate of Occupancy...

We also moved all of our stuff in, had our final LEED inspection, picked up Grandpa at the airport, and slept in our new home for the first time...yes, Cinco de Mayo has a whole new meaning for us now.

More pictures and info tomorrow, stay tuned...