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Work-In-Progress
Home Sweet Home
You oughta be in pictures - 8 
4th-Mar-2008 07:46 pm
land
Views of outside from inside the house.

These pictures should answer the questions of 1) why we bought this property and 2) why we built where we did (on the hill.)

One correction: The first picture is the view from the *west* side of the study, not the east, as stated. (I've corrected the picture in the gallery, but the pointer isn't picking it up.)



astud1 astud2
astud1
This is the east wall of my study. The private road is clearer -- look through the left most window. My desk area will be a sideways U. "Desk" along the north wall under the rightmost window. "Desk" along the west wall, under the middle window. "Desk running parallel to the north wall roughly between the left and middle windows. The open end will face the east wall, where the storage closet is. In front of the left most window will be a comfortable reading chair and table.
astud2
The north wall (front of house) as seen from the door to my study. Look closely, you'll see the private road stretching from right to left towards the left middle of the picture. In the right window, you can see the driveway where it splits from private road and circles up to our house. I'll be able to see deliveries arrive.
vstudndrive vstudngeo2
vstudndrive
View from my study, northwest corner. Private road at the bottom of the hill divides our property. Driveway branches off to the east roughly parallel to the front of the house.
vstudngeo2
Taken from front porch looking north northeast. The driveway will circle in front of the house. Behind the driveway is the cleared area for the geothermal loop -- future home of American Chestnut and fruit trees, wildflowers and a small grotto.
famview frmfam
famview
The view as seen from the east side of the family room
frmfam
Taken from the kitchen looking southeast through the family room. Gas fireplace on the right in the middle of the room.
frmlliv vrmliv2
frmlliv
Taken from the entryway looking south through the living room sliding doors to the balcony. The extension to the left is the family room; the side door to the balcony is to the left. The archway at the left of the picture leads into the kitchen, or at a slight angle, into the family room.
vrmliv2
Taken from the entryway looking south by southwest to the balcony. Master bedroom is to the right.
frmbalc wdssnow
frmbalc
On the back balcony looking south into the woods. Master bedroom is at right.
wdssnow
Taken from the balcony. The winter view of our south forest. Right now, the forest is our landscaping.

Comments 
5th-Mar-2008 05:20 pm (UTC) - your pictures
Hi carole,
Thi is Eva from the NYTimes house blog. I created a Live Journal account so I could tell you how much I like your house. We lived in a setting very much like yours. Now we live among towering Douglas fir but there is a big spot in my heart for what looks like poplar - that is what it would be in western Canada.

I wonder if you will become fascinated by landscaping next. That is what happened to me. After building our dream retirement house that need was satisfied and I am into gardening madly. Your site looks a lot easier to deal with than ours. Are you eeping it as natural as possible? Our house in the bush (which is what we call the kind of environment you have)looked as if it were dropped into a meadow. We had garden beds right around the house but other than that - nada.

Eva
5th-Mar-2008 06:34 pm (UTC) - On gardening/landscaping
Actually, I think you can post as "anonymous" (though I could be wrong) but I'm flattered that you joined so I would know who you are!

Oh, yes. Gardening is very much in my future. I know next to nothing about it, but I intend to learn. One of my clients is a master gardener whose business is selling heirloom bulbs. He and I are talking.

I intend to clear as little as possible. When we bought this land, my husband and I agreed that it was ours in conservatorship. I hope to plan mostly local natives, with zone-hardy accents in controlled beds.

At some point in the future, I'll start blogging about my landscaping plans. I won't do anything for at least a year, other than beat back the woods weeds, since I want to see how the land looks for 4 seasons. Then I'll start designing.

Some things I know about. No grass. No mowing. I intend to use walkable ground cover in place of grass, and put different kinds of greens, textures and heights as the outer border, to keep the woods at bay directly around the house and pathways. Flower beds will be against the house and some seasonals will be in pots. The courtyard will have my cutting garden.

There are *plenty* of challenges. First, our land is entirely heavy clay. I have lots of soil amendment ahead of me. Second, a lot of the woods are being taken over by garlic mustard, a non-native invasive. Even if I catch *every* seeing flower from now on, it will take 5 years to get rid of them (that's how long the seeds lie dormant before flowering.) This will not be an easy task.

I learned with my very first house that you don't buy a house -- you buy a life-long project!

Welcome!
5th-Mar-2008 06:42 pm (UTC) - Re: your pictures
Oh! I forgot to mention ... when you said "what looks like poplar" you were talking about our woods?

Ours is a deciduous forest of ash, hickory, walnut, cherry, (not the fruit tree) maple and oak. There are fir trees scattered in, but the climax is the bulk.

I should mention that the ash is all dead. The emerald ash borer devastated ash trees in Michigan (it was once the leading supplier of ash for baseball bats!) and all but eliminated it in our county. (We are not allowed to take fire wood out of the county for this reason.)

While the site for our house was by far the prettiest, we almost didn't do it there because of all the trees we would have to clear. Then we noticed that the large preponderance of them were dead, or soon to be dead, ash. So we went ahead.

Our current house has two large poplars, and it is a ubiquitous tree in the state, just not on our new property. One of the poplars at the current house is taller and broader than the house itself. As one friend put it "That's a big piece of tree!"

Edited at 2008-03-06 12:15 am (UTC)
6th-Mar-2008 02:27 am (UTC) - gardening
Carole,
It sounds like you will have a great time with the landscaping as well. You might want to look into native prairie grasses. We had that in our established Saskatchewan meadow and it was wonderful. The problem with grasses are the volunteers and it is quite difficult to get a native grass meadow going (now I don't know what native grasses for Michigan would be or if a meadow would be what is called for on your site.) There is nothing prettier than a true meadow. We tried to duplicate the effect here on the west coast but were quickly overrun by succulent and aggressive grasses - some might be native but regardless those are "thugs". I have ended up landscaping quite a lot but the further from the house, the more native and drought tolerant the landscaping gets. We have a beautiful ground covering evergreen shrub called salal that grows at the forest's edge. I have planted some deciduous trees among them to give relief from the towering cedars and doug firs.... and we do have some meadow left and do not own a lawn mower.

In any case, I want you to know that sitting here amongst flowering daffodils and other bulbs in bloom, your picture from the balcony fills me with longing for that particular type of landscape. A highly natural approach suits that landscape well. Good luck.
7th-Mar-2008 10:41 pm (UTC) - stuff
Anonymous
Carol, I am a refugee from the NYT too.

You do realize that we are all waiting to hear about all of your "finishes", right??? LOL LOL Cabinets, flooring, lighting, etc.

Love the house. What is the outside siding material?

We once had a house in the woods (first and second growth forest, actually). It was an endless battle against weeds which blew in from every direction and from an empty field nearby. My advice is to use landscape fabric if you put in any beds.

J
8th-Mar-2008 05:33 am (UTC) - Re: stuff
The siding is the Hardieboard discussed on the NYT blog. I love it! I'm looking forward to the low-maintenance part of the deal.

Yeah, I realize that the forest and I have a long fight ahead of us. I'm hoping to use decorative grass borders and walkways of something porous but inimical to plant life to keep the forest at bay from around the house. I'll use walkable ground cover in place of grass inside that protective border -- I've promised Husband that there will be no mowing!

As for the beds ... well, I plan on all of them being raised beds. For one thing, it makes it easier on me as I age. For another, our soil is heavy clay, and I will need to do some heavy amending. I suspect that will be easier in raised beds. So, I should be able to keep them relatively weed-free. Other color accents will be in pots.

The cutting garden for the courtyard -- yeah, I haven't figured that one out yet.

Some of the details you are missing are in previous entries. I'll post urls in my next entry so you can find them more easily. Other choices are coming to this journal sometime this week.

Welcome!
9th-Mar-2008 01:48 pm (UTC) - Re: stuff
Anonymous
Hi, Carol, Dream House Diaries reader here. I notice a definite plan on your part in designing your home and the thought that has gone in-appreciated.

I once built an earth-sheltered house on wooded property and I always liked to think of the "weeds" as native plants! ; ) LG
9th-Mar-2008 05:16 pm (UTC) - Re: stuff
Unfortunately, one of the most prevalent of our "native plants" is poison ivy! I really do not want that close to the house. :-)

My mother taught me that the definition of "weed" is "any plant that is where you don't want it to be." A prize rose bush in the middle of a wheat field is a "weed."

Given our setting, I am hopeful that I will be able to have a wild look to the planned garden parts, so it blends in better with the forest around it. If I can pull it off, I'd like to have some weeds that serve some purposes. Jewel Weed is a natural antidote to poison ivy and poison oak (the second most prevalent weed on our property!) Milkweed is ambrosia to butterflies. That kind of thing.

Of course, I'm a neophyte gardener, so for all I know, I'm dreaming the impossible.

Friends of ours are considering one of the plots in our subdivision. If they buy (unlikely so far, but I can always hope ...) they plan on building an earth-sheltered house. So I'm curious -- how did yours work?
16th-Mar-2008 02:33 pm (UTC) - Re: stuff
Anonymous
The earth-sheltered house we built was the quietest, safest, most comfortable home I've ever lived in. There was nothing high-tech about it. Poured concrete for the floor and side walls except the south-facing wall which was conventional + conventional roof. Lots of windows in the south wall allowed the sun to heat the concrete floor, I thought the polished concrete was a beautiful floor. The only heat was a wood stove, which was more than adequate to heat the house since we were only really heating from about a 50 degree start point due to the earth around us. Of course, if I were building today (that was 20+ years ago) I would do some things a little differently, but I would gladly go back to that house now if circumstances would permit. I would build another, but now I live in the flatlands and it's hard to find any slope, much less a south-facing one. Thanks for asking about it. You'll find that you really come to love and be invested in a house you build much more than any pre-built house you could buy. That is, if you put any thought into the building at all or any effort (husband and I did everything but the concrete), unlike P&A who might as well have bought one of the stock plans or "tract houses" they disparaged so much in their blog.
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