When it comes to materials choices for your home, flooring is one of the biggest design decisions you will make. It’s a major visual presence in every room, and, unless you jump around a lot, you will be in almost constant physical contact with it.
Our cabin is nearly ready for use! Alex, my mom, Leon, and I headed out to Winthrop for a three-day weekend to celebrate my birthday and work on what seems to be a never-ending punch list of little tasks that need to be completed before we start enjoying the house. I spent much of the last couple trips sealing and installing the custom rusted-steel trim for the baseboards and doors. It came out looking really cool, I think, and adds a nice rustic touch to the look of the place. Thanks to our neighbor Michael Guilfoil for the idea.
The house is feeling much brighter and more spacious on the inside now that it has been painted. Our drywall installer sprayed on a very light orange-peel texture and then two coats of zero-VOC paint. We chose to pay a slight premium for this premium paint to avoid the odors and off-gassing of traditional paints.
People often write to me via our blog for our first zero-energy house and ask what we would have done differently with the benefit of hindsight. In all, we're extremely pleased with our Seattle home, located in the Ballard neighborhood. At the time of construction, it was the first net-zero-energy house in the Seattle city limits, and it's been just perfect for our growing family. While it's hard to come up with things we'd like to change that aren't related to wishing we had a bigger budget to buy more expensive finishes and such, there was one area we wish we'd given more thought to: acoustics.
The house is really coming along. Here's what's happened lately:
- Finished air sealing and achieved .50 ACH at 50 pascals with blower door test
- Installed Roxul Safe-N'Sound acoustical mineral insulation in all interior walls and most floor joist bays
- Completed exterior siding
Last weekend was a reckoning of sorts. We've been focusing on making the house as air tight as possible ever since the framing stage. The structural insulated panel (SIPs) construction goes a long way, but ensuring a tight envelope requires attention to small details, like filling or sealing off all cracks and gaps around windows and doors and between panels. The foam and caulk guns have been our constant companions of late.
With this snazzy new standing-seam metal roof, the house is starting to look pretty put together, from the outside at least. Our 16 to 21 solar panels (still deciding on the number) will clip onto the raised metal seams. We've designed the south-facing roof to be at the ideal pitch to catch the most sun.