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Other Pic Pages: Foundation - Radiant Slab - Geothermal Loop - Wood Framing - Mechanical Systems - Equipment Room - Monitoring - Interior Trim - Exterior Trim

Construction Timeline: (Internal finish/trim)
Framing is complete, so now watch the exterior get finished. (3/12/2003 - 10/10/2003)  

NOTE: Newest pictures at the top.
Click on any image for an enlargement. 

October 12, 2003. Most room furnishings are complete, and color is being added slowly.
Here you see the "Feature Wall" in the living room.  It contains the fireplace and wide screen TV.  The bump-out section of the feature wall is deep enough to hide the bulk of the TV and stereo equipment, and is stepped to provide small nooks for plants etc.  You can see through the doorway into the bedroom and sunroom.

The fireplace hearth wraps around to turn into window seats that span the front of the room.

This is the view looking outwards from the Master Bedroom.  The "Bahia Grass" wall color creates a very soothing feel to the room.  Once again, the windows feature wrap-around bench seats for viewing the wildlife.

Here's the other side of the bedroom.  Lisa refinished the "crate" bedroom furniture we had in a Red Mahogany stain, and it looks great. The rich color matches the stained concrete floor wonderfully.  Note my faux fern on the far wall.

Here's the master bathroom twin sink vanity.  It uses a laminate top with rolled front.  The design is "Fallen Leaves".  The natural Maple cabinets are full "Kitchen" height to eliminate the typical "stooping" that occurs at bathroom vanities.

The master bathroom doesn't have a tub, instead it has an oversized two person shower.  The independent opposing shower heads provide a luxurious shower experience, without the cost of high-end shower fixtures. Notice the glass block window into the sunroom.  This lets great natural light into the shower/bathroom.

The kitchen was designed by a good friend of ours, Pan Kanewske.  The best feature was Pam's idea to put the curved glass-block window on the rear counter to highlight the spiral staircase, and let light into the rear of the house.
  The placement of appliances, various drawers and cabinets has also worked out great.  We installed large drawers with heavy-duty full-depth slider in most locations.  This enabled us to store plates, bowls and other heavy items in easy-to-access locations near the floor.  This helps towards the "Universal Access" nature of the house.  

We also selected a glass-top electric range, with controls mounted at the front for safe-easy access.  For lighting, I provided  fluorescent area lighting, and selective spots for downward task-lighting.

July 1, 2003. Cats relaxing indoors.
I guess the window seat concept is working out well.  Here the two cats share the bedroom bench with Juan (our wooden lizard).
June 6-8, 2003. We tackle the last remaining etched floor.
We left the living room floor to last, as we wanted this to be our best (most experienced) effort.  We came up with a cool 3-part design comprising an outer region of 16" tiles, a thin inner border and a central region of diagonal 24" tiles.

Lisa's got her roller out pressing down the tape for a sharp edge.

Once again we scrubbed the floor clean and then laid out the design.  We finally found some 1/4" tape at Wall Mart called "Quilting Tape".  Don't ask me how it's meant to be used, but we cleaned the place out :)

Here's the floor after it's been stained.  By now we had discarded the two step staining process (using a 1:1 diluted solution).  Here we have used a single 2:1 stain:water mix for a single application.

After removing the reaction residue, here's what the unsealed dry floor looks like.  The color is OK, but once it's sealed it looks wild.

Here's the final effect.  You can see Lisa at the newly installed Kitchen Island & Counter, in front of the main living-room floor.  There will be a semi-circular table in front of the counter to break up the wide expanse.

Just in case you were wondering about that cool faucet, here's a close-up.

Here's a bit of a close up showing the border around the center region.  Before sealing, Lisa stenciled a gold design in the center band.  We found from the Bedroom floor that the gold details added richness to the "Cola" color.

One more final zoom to show the gold trim detail.

The entire floor took three days to complete, but much of that is waiting for the floor to completely dry after cleaning, etching, and cleaning again.

May 24, 2003. Lisa and I spent Memorial Day weekend installing our spiral staircase kit from The Iron Shop.
  Lisa got to play with all the Boy-Toys.  Here she's drilling out the spindle tops to accept the larger screws required for the Aluminum handrail required by the BOCA code. The kit had about 56 of these :)

(Note: A standard kit has a vinyl handrail).  

Lisa also got very handy with a  hex-key (used to attach the treads to the center pole) and the socket wrench and flat wrench combination (required to mount the spindles to the treads).  The pic here shows her flexing her muscles locking a spindle in place.
Here's Lisa at the end of day-2.  The stair metalwork is complete.  Now we need to paint and install the wooden treads.
We added a 18' length of rope-lighting to the spiral, and took this night photo.

This lighting is low wattage, but really provides great step illumination. 

May 19, 2003. Lighting and tiling gets underway.
Compare this picture with the one below to see the completed ceiling color and hand blown blue glass sconce lights from Besa.

Later on you'll see the ceiling fan and spiral staircase here.

You can see how stressed out the cats were due to all the construction.... NOT.

After having a lot of indecision about our bathroom tiles, we got to see the designs materialize.  Here the team from Delano's are about half way through the "Hopscotch" floor pattern in the master bath.  Jon (on right) does the detailed design and installation work, and Brett keeps him supplied with materials, and does all the tile cutting.
At left: Willy (standing) and his team finish up the kitchen electrical installation.  Here they are installing GFI outlets in the center island, and the range outlet on the left.  

Notice the curved glass block wall in the background.

May 15, 2003. And the floor staining continues.

After the office, we tackled the master bedroom.  In addition to trying out a new tile layout, Lisa tried her hand at applying some decorative gold trim.  Here she is applying a gold star.

Another stamp Lisa used was this great sun.  Most of the designs we've used relate to the sun, earth, water, or points of the compass.

Once the floors are sealed, the gold designs stand out against the dark earth tones.

In addition to basic tile designs, we also crafted a four-pointed compass in the floor under the location of the spiral staircase.

The compass accurately indicates the alignment of the house. 

May 13, 2003. The internal features are coming along nicely.
 Ok, Ok, Ok,
What's the point of having a tower, without painting a sky on the ceiling?  This cerulean blue will match the kitchen counter-tops and hand blown sconce lighting.

Watch out for that last step Jim... it's a doosy.  Actually, the parts for the Iron-Shop spiral staircase are ready to be installed.  Woo Hoo another project :)

May 10, 2003. The internal features are coming along nicely.
  Another cool feature of our house is the wrap-around window seats.  Both the living room and bedroom have 18" high window seats in front of their windows.  The addition of back rests provide a cool place for morning coffee of evening ice-cream.
May 5-9, 2003. Our main task in the coming weeks is applying the acid-stain to the concrete floors. This neat technique leaves a finish that looks like rich stone at a fraction of the cost.  It has the bonus of providing the optimal radiant heating surface. 
Here's Lisa in the Guest Bedroom.  This was our 4th room so we had the pattern down.  First we scrub and squeegee the concrete floor, and then we lay down 1/4" masking tape to simulate tile grout.  Lisa's making sure the tape is down with a home-made roller. (Nice socks Lisa)

After taping, we spray the floor with the diluted Kemiko acid wash stain. During the etching process, a brown residue is formed which must be scrubbed off. The floor gets two acid applications before rinsing.  This floor was done with "English Red". 

After the final rinse, the floor needs to be sealed.  We've tried a couple of different products, and we're still refining the process

Here's Phil in the same location after sealing.  On this floor we tried a clear oil-based Polyurethane sealant designed for wood floors.  The oil based product brings out the wet-look of the color.

Here's "Sky-Cat" checking out the new floor.

Meoow...  Not only is the floor warm it's smooth as well.

April 28, 2003. We've moved to Deep Creek for the final month of construction.  Interior trim is heading towards completion.


Here's Lisa and me with our two cats (Jazmin and Sky) in the new kitchen. Our design was conceived by a good friend (Pam Kanewske), who incorporated a curved glass-block wall to highlight the spiral staircase. The cabinets are made by Kraft-Maid and they have a natural Maple finish.  The counter will be blue laminate with a white cast iron sink and Trevi faucet.
April 10, 2003. First full coat of color is on and the wood trim is going on.

This shot looks dark, but it's just that there is so much light streaming in through the window it's hard for the camera to deal with the contrast.  This shot shows the office with it's Hunter Green walls.  This color is very "in" for offices these days.  It heralds back to the early "boardroom" look.  You can see the basic wood window trim in pure white.  All our interior trim is this same white.

Here's my favorite shot again.  We're looking up through the gallery into the tower.  You can just see the Octagonal roof shape.  The spiral staircase will go up into this area.  You can compare this shot with the one at the top of the page before the drywall was edged and painted.

The tower ceiling is going to be painted Cerulean Blue to simulate an open sky & Lisa will eventually stencil gold stars and a moon on it.  There's also going to be high efficiency ceiling fan mounted in the center of the gallery ceiling to aid air circulation.

March 18, 2003. Drywall taping is in full swing. 

Here's the view from the living room into the kitchen area, towards the pantry. This looks like the second coat of mud. still drying.
Gary knows that we'll be doing an acid etch on the concrete slab floor, so he spent a day taping down a protective layer of cardboard before they began taping.

This is the guest bathroom.  The shower is fully wheelchair accessible.  The shower pan will extend out into the room, and there will be a gentle slope up, and then a gentle slope down.
Also note the extremely robust blocking (remnant 12" LDL) in the wall  to attach grab bars and fold-down shower seat.

Here you can see another view of the Therma-Tru front door.  Although the sheetrock is nailed to the door jamb, it's not required to mud it, as the edge will be covered by wood trim.

Here's a similar view of the rear/side door in the sun room.  It turns out this room will be the temporary home for our 2 cats while we live in a nearby rental waiting for the house to be completed.
March 12, 2003. The interior finish has begun in earnest. All the interior sheet-rock has been installed, and we're giving the house a day or so to heat up before starting the taping. (The HVAC system has just been turned on so it will take a few days for the radiant slab to come up to temperature.)

Lisa's standing in the living room, in front of what will become the fireplace and entertainment center.  The cavity wall behind Lisa will contain the fireplace and the wide screen TV.  A 12" deep facade will be mounted in front of the wall, to form a focal point, and there will be a hearth in front of that.

Another neat feature of the house is the spiral staircase up to the "Tower".  A curved glass- block wall (from Hy-Lite Products) will sit above one of the kitchen counters and run up alongside the staircase. The glass block wall will take the same shape as the curved section of wall you can see here.  This wall section will be directly above the glass block wall.

The garage was the first room to be finished.  This was so that it could be used for staging the other materials.  It was given a coat of primer to seal the walls.  It looks REALLY GREAT!

You can see the interior doors all ready to go.  We're using solid core doors with a Birch veneer.  It shows a great grain and has a very smooth finish.  We were just going to paint these, but they look so good we're now going to do a clear finish.

Other Pic Pages: Foundation - Radiant Slab - Geothermal Loop - Wood Framing - Mechanical Systems - Equipment Room - Monitoring - Interior Trim - Exterior Trim

© 2000-2018, Phil and Lisa's relaxed lifestyle home.
An exercise in Energy Smart, Not So Big living. -


This site is all about building a cool, energy efficient house, that makes maximum use of earth sheltered design, passive solar heating and cooling, geothermal exchange energy management, and right sizing of the house for it's designated use. The home's placement is on a south-facing hillside in Deep Creek Lake, Maryland. This site describes the design process, the technologies used and the expected results. We also have a comprehensive Links Page for anyone who is also interested in designing a similar project.