Bring it!

We've had two days of this ^ mixed bag of fun moving west to east. This looks tame in comparison to last nights radar.

We've had two days of this ^ mixed bag of fun moving west to east. This looks tame in comparison to last nights radar.

  • Ottawa is getting hit by a hard spring ice storm, the worst we’ve ever had (this time of year). We’re in the middle of a multi-day onslaught of ice, snow, rain, a mix of everything, and fierce wind. It’s nutso. Trees are coming down, giant ice pellets are sliding off buildings and trees and onto sidewalks. People are afraid to go outside, and the city has ground to a halt. I am able to take great comfort in our house during times like these. It’s quiet. It’s warm. It’s a peaceful refuge in contrast to the great shitty outdoors. And if the power goes down, we'd be a-ok for the first week without heat. Thank you house.

Looking forward to spring, however, and getting to play outside.

Outside the house

Inside the house

Construction week 15: wall to wall

This week our crew squared up the first floor walls, installed some LVLs (laminated veneer lumber) to support the floor above, framed some interior walls and started putting up floor joists for the floor above.

With the first floor framed in, it's starting to look and feel like a proper house :) Have a look at Mark's Periscope from this past Friday.

We can't believe our luck with the weather these past couple weeks. It has been positively balmy. If mother nature keeps this up, we can shave R-20 and a foot of insulation off our house. Just kidding...I have full confidence that Mother Nature will show up with a vengeance. As she always does for us here in Ottawah. We'll take what we can get.

Floor joists going in.

Floor joists going in.

Our spectacular kitchen window. Deep walls = added counter top!

Our spectacular kitchen window. Deep walls = added counter top!

Windows waiting for a home


So there may not be a hole in the ground yet (or even a building permit in hand), but our beautiful Gaulhofer windows have landed on Canadian soil. They are being held for us until the building shell is ready to receive them. The window in front in the photo is the lift-and-slide unit that will let out onto our rooftop patio, and bring in all of that gorgeous sunlight at the top of the house!

The windows are u-PVC with aluminum exterior cladding. We went with Gaulhofer for two reasons: one, the windows are beautiful, robust, extremely well built, and very high performance, and two, because of the exceptional service and attention we have received from Adrian at Herrmann's Timber-Frame Homes. I would highly recommend them to anyone without reservation. Although these are not the most affordable windows, I believe that windows are one element in particular that should not be nickel-and-dimed when building a home. Windows are the weak point in nearly any wall assembly, and are also unique in being one of the only elements of the building envelope that we will touch and interact with regularly as occupants. The feeling of quality to hand when opening and closing the windows will be a signature example of the level of quality I believe all elements of a home should aspire to. Couple this with thermal performance suitable for Passive House applications and you have a wonderful thing. The choice to put Gaulhofer windows in to our home was one of the easier choices we've had to make so far.

A quick progress update: we are expecting the structural engineer's review Monday or Tuesday, which means our permit process can get rolling again...

Gaulhofer windows

gaulhofer passivhaus windows

Windows are especially important in order for us to obtain Passivhaus certification in this climate. They've got to be the bees knees. And they are. We decided to go with Gaulhofer simply because they have been tried and tested. Mark has heard nothing but positive reviews on the windows themselves as well as the service and install. These babies are Austrian-made marvels that will be be a joy to use and last a life time. They are rock solid. 

We have been working with Adrian from Hermann Timber Frame Homes. He emigrated from Austria, started a family business of building homes, and became frustrated by the lack of quality windows and hardware options available in Canada. So they started importing European building products. He's one of a handful of reps now in North America bringing these windows over.

The windows represent a rather large chunk of our budget. Doors and windows will be coming in at around $50k, without install. Yikes. Sure hope our building permit comes through, along with the preliminary modelling because those windows are now set in stone. We jumped ahead and ordered them because Gaulhofer was offering a bit of a promotion — their UPVC window line, with upgraded aluminum cladding at no additional charge. It's good that we jumped ahead too so that we're not waiting for them to arrive from across the Atlantic, which can take a good 2-3 months...

We're invested now. No turning back.