Sunday, January 8, 2012

OMG, we are bad

Hello Everyone,
Well, this is really embarrassing. It suddenly occurred to us that it has been a while since we updated this blog. What a shock when we realized that it has been a WHOLE year. So you must be wondering what exactly have we done in the last year (besides drinking wine and kicking back).  Well, you would be half right, at least we are drinking wine. 
So what have we accomplished? Well, we are actually living in the house and have been for the last 5 months. We have completed the roof, all the inside framing, insulation, concrete sub-floor, plumbing, electrical, windows, etc. It's probably easier to say what's left to do. We still have to do the exterior, finish mudding the drywall, painting some walls, floors, kitchen, 2 bathrooms, deck and front porch.
Last September I made a concentrated effort to complete a bathroom and a bedroom before Sara arrived, so we actually have indoor plumbing (no more outdoor showers), a bedroom (fully painted), and a kitchen that while not pretty is completely functional.
We actually have had house guests and many dinner parties. The last one was an elaborate affair. We invited 28 people for late thanksgiving/early Christmas dinner and served a 38 lbs (16 kg) turkey with all the trimmings. It was indeed special and a great success. I suspect it will become a tradition.
Anyway, the house is coming together and although the outside still looks the same, the inside is looking more and more like a finished home.
One of the more exciting discoveries is that the house does not appear to need any heat. Yup, you read right! We built the house with the objective of high efficiency (thick walls and ceilings, above average large windows, and insulated floors), but it has exceeded even our (and every Italian that has visited) expectations. Not only do we not have ANY source of heat, but it seems we wouldn't need it. The big windows at the front, the sun, and the overall efficiency of the house are all doing their part. We have a constant temperature of over 20c at most times. In fact, we usually sleep with the bedroom window partially open as it is too warm otherwise.
You might suggest that we have had a mild winter and that Italy does not get cold. And you would be partially correct. Most days are above zero, and most nights only go to -5c or so. And the winters are typically shorter than in Canada. Regardless, most Italian families spend a large portion of their salary on heat from Oct 15 to March 15 even in a comparatively mild winter. We will spend nothing! We are seriously hoping that this house, which we still intend on certifying CasaClima (Gold+), will become something of an example that we can duplicate with other clients.

So let me go back and show you some of our advancements:
The seemingly endless insulation, which will ultimately give us zero energy consumption!

These are panels of foil backed fiberglass insulation 120mm thick. More insulation!
Loose fill Perlite. 

Loose fill Perlite with Fesco V on top.

25cm total floor insulation!
So, what we did was spread loose fill Perlite (an inert volcanic substance) over the entire floor of the house. This product is odd in that it has virtually no resistance to compression when you step on it (a narrow load), but is amazingly strong when a board is placed upon it (a wide load). we spread 20cm (10 inches) of Perlite and then compacted it. On this, we placed 5cm (2 in) of Perlite Fesco V board. This is a pressed Perlite product that allowed up to created a wide load over the floor.
On top of this we laid a plastic water barrier, a plastic grip, hydronic heat pipes (which we may never use!), a wire mesh and 6cm of self leveling compound.

Standing up the last cedar columns

Hydronic heating tubes ready for concrete

Pouring the self leveling slurry. Goes in just like water. hard in 24 hours.

3 hrs later we're done! Waiting to dry.

Final depth of concrete.

So, finally after many weeks, the windows finally arrived! Couldn't wait to get them in. They are beautiful units. 92mm thick, with triple glazing. They are truly amazing. The only problem with them is that they are heavy heavy heavy. Made installing them a bit tricky. Especially the large ones that weighed over 350 kg (almost 800 lbs)!!

AND not least a septic tank! WOW!

Getting Ready for Windows.

1st window installed. Beautiful!

Finally, a kitchen window!!

And certainly not least important......

Starting drywall for .....

......a temporary kitchen.

Our pride and joy.......

This was truly unbelievable! We received 27cm (over 10 inches) of rain in one 24-hour period. It broken every record! The weather system was said to be subtropical, something that no one can remember ever happening. Simply crazy!

And, a wonderful day! The flags (Canadian and Italian) are flying over our completed roof!

Working like a beaver on a bathroom for Sara.

Doesn't look like much....

But it is a working tiled, shower completed bathroom. (Sara loved it. Phew!)

More drywall (our bedroom)

And a finished bedroom!

First dinner party!!!!! Yippee!

Alec, working away on, yup, more drywall.
We even found time for a Halloween jack-o-lantern.

We woke up one morning to find this gal prowling around our yard.

So we decide it was time to have a BIG party. We invited 26 people for a late Thanksgiving/Early Christmas dinner. We cooked up a turkey that weighed 36 lbs with all the fixings. I'm sure we'll have more dinners! 

The table awaits the hordes.

The oven with turkey and the table of appys and bread.

We're READY!
And you KNOW that in Italy, it's all about the food. YUP a loaf of bread!
So, where are we now? We've had our dinner parties and we're in Canada skiing for a bit. Here are a few pictures of the house at present. The drywall is almost done (except for the last taping and sanding), painting and floors to come. And then finishing: kitchen, baseboards, doors. In the spring full guns on the outside. BBQ, pizza oven, stucco and porches. 

BTW, I promise I won't wait as long to update. All the best!