Doesn’t everybody like getting presents? I know I do … especially when they come in giant, wooden, heavily screwed and impregnable crates.
Just like this one:
Measuring somewhere in the neighborhood of 14″ wide x 10″ tall x 22″ long, this was a gift from the contractors who are responsible for building my cabin project in the North Woods of Wisconsin. We had been patiently awaiting the arrival of this box, and its contents, since my last trip to Wisconsin, and by the time it finally arrived, we were particularly anxious to open it up. However, part of me thinks that the contractor decided to have a little fun with us when they crated everything together.
See that screw up above? That’s called a “Robertson” head screw. Unlike most screws that either require a Phillips or flathead screwdriver, this one requires a square head. This crate is basically constructed using nothing but these Robertson head screws … Because of this, I can’t help but think that my contractor friends up North had a good laugh when they screwed this crate together knowing that when it arrived we wouldn’t be able to actually open the darn thing up.
Do you disagree? Tell me … what architecture office would have a Robertson head screwdriver? What a terrific joke to play on the stupid architects.
Except I’m not just some architect in the next cubicle over … it just so happens that I have an entire collection of tools up at the office.
Who’s laughing now?
So what sort of goodies were in our box? Custom made metal samples (among other things) for some benches we designed to go outside the guest bedrooms. Do you remember this sketch:
If you do, then you are fairly amazing. On the upper right-hand corner of this sketch, you can see at the top that we are intending to have a small shelf for books and games for the visiting guests. In addition, there are coat hooks for people to hang up towels in the summer and heavy coats in the winter. What we were interested in learning from out samples was wether or not the angles could be bent out of 3/8″ steel plate -OR- if we needed to weld two pieces together at right angles.
So here is a look at one of the metal samples we had made … it weighs a lot. And since the contractors didn’t want these samples bouncing around, they really locked them down … with more Robertson screws.
Once we pulled everything apart, we found a “secret”compartment that had some sheet metal samples. It was like a present within a present because I love all things metal.
Secret compartment full of goodies!
So here are the two steel samples we were waiting on – two different hooks and two different shelf styles. For those who want to know, we chose the coat hook on the left and the bent steel plate on the right.
This is a look at the welded connection – not very nice to be honest. I’m pretty sure I could have welded this (and I’ve only had one welding lesson). But props to the steel fabricator for putting the weld on the outside corner rather than the inside.
This is a look at 3/8″ steel plate that has been bent. Now this is what were looking for – nice! The irony of this is that after waiting a month to get our samples, I was actually on site 3 days later and I just could have looked at them at this time.
So here is the cabin project – slowly but surely marching along towards completion. We are at the point now that I am flying up to the job site about every 4 weeks and the difference I see between visits is becoming more and more remarkable. This was the first trip where we found an actual cabin. Everything prior to this point was all about the potential and possibility. This time it was easy to stand in the space and see that what we have been envisioning from the beginning was coming together.
I do love this phase in a project. Standing on the job site with the client, as she put herself in these spaces and imagined how they will be used, you can see all the conversations, time, and effort spent on getting this far have manifested themselves in to something incredible. I really like the fact that the owner likes walking the project site with me. I get to point out all the little things (“Do you know why those electrical wires are different colors?”) and I have no doubt that this knowledge will help her value the end product in a more significant manner.
This cabin really is all about the view and the surrounding woods. As such, the house is defined by its verticality, and the windows that penetrate its exterior. Almost every single window on the second level is a module measuring 5′-6″ high x 8′-0″ wide.
That’s a big window – especially when you start grouping them together.
Since this is in area of the world that is new to me, just about every view is a good one. Most people think the good view is only the lake view – which is understandable because it is the reason most people put a cabin up here. For me – looking in to the woods is just as good. In fact, I think it’s rather amazing. From my last visit, I found it remarkably peaceful to stand on the second floor gazing out into the woods, seeing the snow fall and watching it build up on the now leaves tree branches. The lake was frozen over and it simply looked like a giant field of snow. With this cabin, you are going to get to experience both types of views and I have a feeling that the client will start receiving visitors year round. (Including me … I’ve already renamed the “Guest Suite” in to the “Bob Borson Suite” just so there aren’t any questions about pecking order between me and the other visitors.
But this is the view towards the lake that makes everyone stop and say “whoa”. That window is 32′-0″ across and 5′-6″ tall, and there are only two steel columns during that span. We’ve pulled those columns out of the line where the windows will be installed so that the windows can run uninterrupted from one side all the way to the other.
Pretty nice space, isn’t it? I’ll be going up for my next site visit in about 4 weeks and by that time, there should be windows, drywall, exterior finishes, and the metal on the second floor exterior should be well underway.
Exciting times to be sure.
[ps – if you want to catch up and see what happened when I last went out to the job site, here it is ‘A Trip to the Frozen North‘]