Framed

With all the concrete work now finished and the road side of the property back-filled to the retaining walls, it was time for Rob’s crew to start framing the rest of the basement and foundation.

While Rob’s carpenters were busy getting their saws and work areas set up, Jesse placed the big stones on our downhill rock wall with the mini-excavator, then Dale and I laid the top couple rows with rocks recovered during the excavation of our foundation. On top of the rock wall, we planted four mature, dwarf conifers that Ron gave us from a demolition job he and his excavation crew were working on elsewhere in Bellingham.

It was critical that the wood-framed walls of our basement be plumb and level. Since the house is already built, there is very little margin for error. In fact, besides the need for the foundation to be absolutely square, it can only vary by 1/4-inch in elevation all the way round.

Our contractor, Rob, had four carpenters working during this stage in two teams: his son, Jovon (with the Mohawk) and Phil:

…and his foreman, Luke, and Mark, a transplant from Colorado:

The two teams started at opposite ends, planning to meet in the middle, but somehow the laser level was bumped (the yellow tripod thing in the photo below), resulting in the two teams having a variance when they met to set the long header (above the ladder in the photo).

So, part of the south wall had to be rebuilt to make it level and then Jovon started nailing up the sheathing, a waterproof chipboard material.

Our house – which at this point was still sitting in Timberland Home’s construction yard south of Seattle – is designed to be taken apart and transported as three separate modules. Two modules are 50′ by 15′ (although one of these is 34′ of house and 16′ of deck) and the third is 30′ by 15′. The two longer modules get bolted to each other, making a rectangle 50′ by 30′ and the shorter module is turned 90° and gets bolted to the 30′ dimension of the other two. The entire, assembled house is 65′ by 30′.

The part of the foundation that looks like it’s cut out will ultimately have the deck above it, but each of the three modules has to be fully supported all the way around each module’s perimeter.

Thus, we had to build a framed wall down the middle of the foundation, as you can see by comparing the photo, above, with the photo, below. Still unfinished in these photos is the framed wall that must still be built to support the smaller module.

Here you can see the finished product with all the exterior and interior walls completed:

With the framing complete, the rest of the sheathing was installed:

Here’s a view from the southeast corner: you can see a second rock wall we had to build on that side of the foundation.

And now we’re all set for the setting of the house on the foundation. This view is from the road on the north side of the property; you can see how level the foundation is:

The house was to be transported to our property on three separate tractor-trailers, each equipt with a special pneumatic suspension system. The two larger modules were scheduled to be brought up the night before the set and staged in nearby Mount Vernon; the third, smaller module was to be shipped straight up from Timberland, south of Seattle, to our property – all three to be set on the foundation by crane on July 30.

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