Ed's Work Space Happening

Ed & Brad building shelves in the barn's office/guest room.

Ed getting his work space set up.

Loading the shelves.


Is it a porch or is it art?

Here comes the glass

Here is the beautiful laminated glass for our entry porch.

Getting the glass on edge before it is put on the skids to move to the roof.

Putting the glass on the skids, being so very careful to support it so it doesn't bend and crack. 

Slowly, inch-by-inch, the glass is moved up the skids to the porch roof.

Working the glass upward and forward...

Moving it into place.

Making fitting adjustments.

The smile of gratitude and pleasure that the glass is in place and in one piece.

Testing the structural integrity!

Installing the entry roof support

Putting into place, clamping, welding, adjusting, and taping to get ready for the roof of glass.

Welding Trusses for Entry Porch

Here Brad and Josh are busy building the structure for the front porch roof.


Stream from tip to toe...

Our stream is largely finished from the headwaters to the outflow. A few days ago Brad and Austin moved the last three large boulders into place. Since then, smaller rocks, gravel and plants have been tucked in here and there. We're also in the process of placing lights which is a tricky, tricky business. We view this area from the top, bottom and bridge so placing the lights so they don't zing you is quite challenging. We're anxiously awaiting spring and the new growth to pop forth on the plantings. The cushioning is very much needed to move from the man made look to a more natural mountain stream look.


Guesthouse Deck is very, very close to being done

Except for two boards at one end, Brad finished up the guesthouse deck today.  It is interesting how such a small deck can make such a huge difference.  Now we can step out our bathroom doors onto a clean surface and enjoy the early morning light -- out of the rain.  Also, having this landing off the doors will help keep the sand outside.  Even with shoes off, there's Annie's 4 feet, plus residue sand creeps in with all of us.  


Another view...

The guesthouse  and main living buildings as seen through one of our new vine maples.

Stream Details

The first photo shows the liner we've used for our ponds and stream. It is a very heavy rubber purchased from a wholesale nursery supply company. Underneath the liner is a felt pad to protect the liner getting punctures from sharp rocks. The second picture is the route of the hose that will be used to pump water from the lower pond to the upper pond. We're also going to install low voltage lights in this same ditch.


Our new deck...

Here's our guesthouse with a new deck happening. Although Brad worked late, well into the dark of the night, he didn't quite finish it up. However, it is far enough along that we are excited about it and pleased with the results. The second picture shows how the wood is dropped between two pieces of angle iron, holding it firmly, without nails or screws.

Guesthouse Deck...

Our new deck off the guesthouse is going to be constructed of steel and recycled wood.  The metal posts supporting the roof will have metal welded to them to support the deck.  Along the building itself, the steel will attach to the building.

To support the corner of the steel, a footing was poured by Ed and Brad.


Greg & Val



Joani and Dale

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Chairs and other items waiting to be advertised on Craigslist.

Our covered patio has been the staging spot for sorting our possessions.  What stays, what goes, and what's in limbo.  We have thrift store piles, Island recycling piles, piles for items to be advertised on Craigslist, boxes of treasurers for friends and family, and landfill piles.  

How our porch presently looks -- a mess!

A box ready for the thrift store.

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle dominate my life right now.  Although our previous home on Saratoga Road was only 1000 sq. ft., because of it's cottage style it could handle more decorator items -- art on the walls, baskets on the shelves, candles on the tables  -- than our new,  more contemporary and smaller, spaces.  Now, at 860 sq. ft. (according to the assessor) we have fewer shelves, display walls, and closets.  More importantly, however, we want our new contemporary space to look crisp.  Without any clutter whatsoever.   The task is challenging and frequently heart wrenching.

For days and days now I have been going through a life time of treasurers.  The questions:  will we use this again?  Can someone else make better use of this?  How many weeks, months, years has it been since we've used it?  Regarding our photographs.  Is our access to them impossible based on the magnitude of the collection?  Would we enjoy them more if their numbers were fewer and their organization better?  Will we read this book again?  Are we hoarding?

When Ed worked at General Telephone years ago, the big planning question was, do we develop our capacity for Mother's Day (the busiest day of the year) or for normal traffic?  We ask ourselves the same question.  Do we want to design our home, furnish our home, maintain our home for the busiest day in our lives or our normal day-to-day lives?  This question must be asked often, especially in relation to kitchen and dining items we've had in excess for holidays.  Is its use important enough for storing it the rest of the year?  We're finding that we can now answer with no.  No, it's not worth storing all year just for one or two days.  We'll make do on those days.  

Recently I made that decision regarding a bunch of Christmas tins.  I had purchased them from our local thrift store for filling with candies for Christmas gifts.  Many of the gifts went to family members so when the holidays were over, and the candies were gone, the tins were left behind.  My decision was to let the thrift store store the tins.  Next Christmas I can buy them again.

Our friend Elliott has been a mover and shaker in helping us find homes for many of the items we no longer need.   He's been the adoption agent.   For example he placed a pottery lamp by Peter Wolf, a lamp we had used and loved for years, with Peter's son.  How cool is that?  Tables, rugs and other items have gone to other community folks.  Bookshelves to a family needing to organize their library.  Trinkets here, there, and everywhere.  And then, once Elliott's carried our stuff home, gone through the boxes, keeping some items, finding homes for others, he carries all the remaining items off to the thrift store.  What a friend!  Most people offer moving help at the front end of the process.  Moving from one dwelling to another finds friends carrying boxes in and out.  Not Elliott.  His help has been at the tail end of the move, at a time when help is so very, very valuable, and unexpected.  At a time when exhaustion and way too many decisions have left us screaming for help.   Ah, there's Elliott.

We are now out of the storage area that we've had for the past three years while we've been living in our temporary apartment residence.  When we left Saratoga we placed many boxes in storage.  We didn't have a clear picture of our new home and what we'd need so we stored way too much -- just in case.  We were, after all,  still in the design process and the size, layout and spaces were not yet determined.  We didn't know what would work and what wouldn't in the new spaces.   Our logic was that once we had our new space we could more easily tackle the decisions of what to keep.  So now it is decision  time.    We are eliminated some items because after not having them for three years we now don't care about them any more.  And others because this house is more contemporary and our old things don't fit the new surroundings.  Still others because if it doesn't get used often we don't want to store it for occasional use only.   And, finally, our tastes have changed.

In the  process of designing our home our friends advised us to build lots of closets.  We rejected the idea.  In our thinking, more closets equal more stuff.  Both Ed and I were committed to living a life of simplicity.  Fewer things to maintain, store, think about, deal with.  A simpler life would mean, we though, and still do, more time and space for the really important aspects of our lives.  Besides, if we don't make these decisions now, at our ages, we're simply leaving the task for our kids.   Nope.  Don't want to do that!  Fewer closets equals less stuff!

What's hidden from view in this process is the anguish of parting from "old friends".  We're talking baby clothes, gifts from my long deceased parents, antiques from our grandparents, hand embroidered pillow cases, collections of crystal ice cream dishes, candle sticks, bird houses, books and skulls.  Treasurers of a life time.  With the ice cream dishes I didn't even unwrap them.  I simply dropped them off at the thrift store, intact in their storage box, labeled "ice cream dishes".  Straight from storage to Good Cheer.

Several years ago I was offering everything I was ready to rid myself of to my son.  Not junk but things with value like an antique china cabinet.  After a few of these transfers Brad said to me, "mom your life is getting simpler but you're making my life more complex."  Now I don't offer but he understands he can have what he wants.  Less pressure that way.

At any rate, the job is not done, but we're getting closer and closer to having our possessions reduced down to simply what we need.  More sorting will happen through the years as it is an ongoing process, but happen it will.  Our commitment is huge to keep simplicity a key concept in our lives.   That doesn't mean our hearts don't feel like they're breaking a bit from time-to-time, but the rewards far outweigh the emotional strings.



Travis, one of our summer workers, now attending college and taking architectural classes, has chosen our buildings for a rendering project.  The first rendering is of the main living building and the second is the guesthouse.   Very fun!  We hope his  architectural leanings spun off working with Brad on our home.



More Recycling!

Look what Brad found on Craigslist? Sintesi chairs made in Italy. Excellent condition even though they're about 30 years old. Just the look we were after. Contemporary and comfortable. Under the chairs is our newly polished floor. Little-by-little our space is coming together. Today was our day to work on our sorting and storage but instead we ran off to Edmonds to track down the chairs. The porch is still a disaster with stuff, and more stuff, waiting for a home.