701 Shelby on a Saturday morning.
701 Shelby on a Saturday morning.
I thought I would take a few moments to share a few of the details for the siding installation, as most of the fiber cement has now been installed. We were stepping slightly outside the normal bounds of siding installation (especially for the builder) and I wanted to share how we are achieving the results. We wanted a simple pallet of materials that still allowed for an interesting end result.
The primary exterior cladding for the home is fiber cement. However, we did not simply want to install fiber cement lap siding in a traditional fashion. We wanted a vertically oriented pattern, to contrast with the horizontal nature of other features of the home (overhang, cedar rainscreen, etc) but did not want to simply do this through the addition of a batten on top of 4×8 fiber cement sheets. As a result, we decided to reorient lap siding vertically. We took 12″ lap siding and ran it vertically.
Further, we know the value of a rainscreen system for cladding a home and wanted to incorporate this design element into the house. The basic concept of a rainscreen is to allow for an airspace behind the cladding material, allowing the cladding to breathe. If water penetrates the outer cladding layer (which it almost always does at some point), the air space behind the cladding allows for the water to exit the system and to also dry out faster because of the movement of air within this cavity.
We have achieved the air space behind the fiber cement lap siding by running fiber cement furring strips vertically at every joint, spaced 12″ apart. We then chose to leave a 1/4″ reveal between each of the 12″ vertically oriented lap siding pieces to express the joint and to create a subtle shadow line. We noted the use of caulk at the joint between the lap siding and the furring strip to ease the worries of the contractor, though we believe this is overkill as the system is designed to breathe and dry out. You can essentially think of the design as a reverse board and batten system, with the batten beneath the seam instead of on top of the seam.
I have to say, it has been quite a challenge convincing the builder of the feasibility of the design and also the merits of it. In the end, though, I hope he understands the value of the system, both aesthetically and also fucntionally speaking.
*Will post some pictures of the actual installation soon.
The week has ended with the construction of the block foundation walls. Now we can finally begin to visualize the footprint of the house. It’s great to see it slowly rising out of the ground.
We did encounter some design changes as a result of the grading of the site. As you can see, the block rise 5 courses out of the ground…more than we originally anticipated. This is not a major difference, the biggest result is simply the slab will be elevated higher than originally anticipated. As a result, the interior of the foundation walls will simply be filled with a larger volume of compacted pea gravel as a solid base for the pouring of the first floor slab.
The second prominent material on the exterior following the fiber cement is cor-ten steel. Cor-ten steel is a weathering steel which has, in recent years, become part of progressive architecture’s material palette.
Cor-ten steel was developed to eliminate the need for finishing or painting. The material develops a thin outer layer of rust upon interaction with the elements which, in turn, protects the remainder of the material from erosion. This is what is so great about the material. Over the first few years, you get to actually witness the process of rusting occur. You see the material develop this outer layer of protection, which becomes a beautiful rust color.
The use of cor-ten as a cladding material has become popular in recent years, with many prominent projects using it as well as a number of residential projects. Here are a few just to give you a sense of its finished appearance.
Here is an image before and after the rusting process from the Parish Church of Santa Monica by Vicens & Ramos:
You may also be familiar with cor-ten through the work of Richard Serra:
In the design, there are primarily two zones which will be clad in the cor-ten. Two sections on the west wall and the dining box on the east side of the house. Both allow you to experience the material up close, from the patio out back, on the west balcony, and at the entry on the northwest. As you enter the front of the house, you will move past the polycarbonate on your right and the fiber cement on the left and the cor-ten surrounds the entry door. You experience virtually all cladding materials in that small sequence, in a good way.
Recently, we gained access to some free pavers…and couldn’t pass up the opportunity. So, we’ve decided to start to conceptualize on what the back patio and landscape might begin to look like. Here is the area we are talking about:
The pavers are a nice gray color and are 5.75″ x 11.75″. They should make for a really nice patio surface and make for a nice floor transition from interior to exterior.
I don’t yet have any drawings of the specifics of the landscape but we will in the future. We are, however, imagining a rectangular firepit with some built in seating as part of the patio.
Further, we will be doing a full out landscape plan for the entire property which will include various native plantings and a series of raised garden beds. We have enlisted the help of local landscape architect Karen Hartlep to help us with this process…though we have a ways to go before we are ready to do any plantings.