We’re having an expectant summer at Mountain Water: everything lining up yet no building popping up yet. We expected to be in the middle of construction by this time; however, our disappointment at the delay has given way to something like relaxed clarity. We were relieved to hear our architect, who is currently working on projects in several states, say that every contractor and supplier in the country is behind schedule and to learn it isn’t a peculiarity of this rural county.
As things stand now, we’ll have a new entrance road, electricity, and the concrete foundation in place by fall; the rest will go up in the spring. We’ve chosen a building technology called Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs). It takes more work in the design phase and less in the construction phase — the exterior walls arrive in pieces by truck, and the contractor assembles them, a well-designed kit of sorts. The resulting structure is very strong and densely insulated.
We’ve used this time to attend to many ranch projects — maintaining the irrigation ditches, continuing with soil improvement and seed trials, restoring an historic irrigation holding pond, sprucing up a herd of aged saw horses, and painting the Higby building (our old cabin named for its ranch of origin).
Our architect, Jamie Logan, is a gold mine of experience. She recently made a second site visit, during which she consulted with our contractor, and further refined the siting of the main studio building. She left a floor plan with us to study and adjust before our next meeting. Besides being a genius with light, Jamie specializes in designing buildings that are carbon neutral, which is one of our goals for this building. Jamie has a clear sense of our budget and keeps in sight the importance of designing for durability, easy maintenance, and energy efficiency.
Building design is new territory for us; visualizing the space and what can happen within it is quite exciting!