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September 16, 2007
The walls close in

As we build out the upper story, we are literally running out of space to construct the remaining walls

One of the joys of this year has been the new ability to leave our sons home for the weekend while we come up and work on our mountain house. In exchange for giving them their independence and not dragging them up to the mountain every weekend, we expect them to complete their homework and chores, as well as keep the house clean.

After our last several trips, we noticed that the house was in progressively worse shape every time we returned. After last weekend, we finally decided that it was getting out of hand. Our constant weekend absences were having a negative effect on both the house and the boys’ attitudes.

We decided that Gail would stay home the second week in September in order to get the house back into shape. Because there was still so much construction work to do, Russell would go up to the mountain by himself.

Working from Friday afternoon until Sunday afternoon, Russell set himself to a mini-marathon of wall building. On Friday afternoon he reconstructed the master bathroom/closet wall that he had constructed incorrectly last weekend. On Saturday, he spent the entire day constructing and installing a whopping five additional walls.

This bizarre little five-sided room will be be accessed by the master bathroom as a linen closet from the top (left side) and by the utility room as a storage closet from the bottom (right side).
The left wall was the one that Russell constructed incorrectly last weekend (he forgot to include the opening!).

Sunday morning, Russell spent more than an hour just figuring how to construct another one of the most challenging upstairs walls. The living room/utility room wall is not only a long plumbing wall (2x6 instead of 2x4), but the left side of it would run directly into one of the knee braces off of the center pole.

Another center pole problem: the plumbing wall between the living room and utility room will run right into a knee brace in the upper left-hand corner

Using a borrowed laser level and an improvised plumb line, Russell was able to figure out more or less exactly where the wall would hit the knee brace, and constructed the studs and top plate to accommodate it. It took some maneuvering to get the wall upright and in place, but it fit perfectly.

Russell's solution: build a carefully-measured gap right into the wall. (Constructing the wall was difficult enough; fitting it into place was a separate challenge, given the limited maneuvering space.)

On that happy note, Russell called it another weekend, packed up and headed out. There are now only two short walls left to construct upstairs. After that, we will need to begin expanding the walls upwards to the vaulted ceiling, installing joists, and dealing with that pesky center pole.

The weekend's work: seven more down, two more to go!


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