Jan 182011

I learned a lot about construction in Architecture school, and even more in my apprenticeship and study for licensure. I have seen a lot of construction through my work in commercial design, and I even did some construction work back in high school. Unfortunately, all of that knowledge and experience doesn’t necessarily make me good or even proficient at all the tasks involved in the various renovations I tackle around the house. A big example with the shed project is the concrete slab that is required by the Township code. As I purpose to do all of my projects within the requirements of the code, I knew I needed a large concrete pad. I’ve done small masonry repairs and concrete work before, but this was big enough to give me pause. ITABWODI? I could save a little cash by setting up the forms and mixing and setting my own concrete, or I could save a lot of time and energy by contracting the work out. In this case I chose the latter, and I’m glad I did. I spent a few minutes staking out the location per my site plan drawing, and the contractors did the rest. They did much better work than I would have, and I could turn my focus to getting materials for walls and roof.

Photo of the finished concrete pad.

The finished concrete pad.

Photo of stakes locating concrete pad.

My stakes locating the site for the shed.


Sep 282010
Shed design image - exterior perspective.

As you may have noticed, I haven’t been blogging much lately. It turns out that it’s difficult to find time for blogging when I’m spending most of my free time on a building project. They’re both enjoyable activities, but I have to admit that given the choice, I really prefer building things to writing. Those familiar with the commercial building industry might ask why I became an architect instead of a contractor if I enjoy building so much (for those who don’t know, architects have to write a lot – specifications, notes on drawings, reports, meeting minutes, etc., etc., etc.). That’s probably a topic for another day. Suffice it to say that I not only enjoy building, but also the challenge of designing; and the best way to get in the thick of the design process is to be an architect. So, being the designing/building enjoying person that I am, I’ve been really focused on getting the shed built, especially now that fall is starting, the days are shorter, and the weather less predictable.

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Apr 122010

As I write, I am enjoying the dusk of a beautiful spring day, sitting on my back patio (no HGTV, it’s not a lanai! – sorry, pet peeve of architectural terminology) with my laptop on my wireless network (this is, after all, the reason laptops and 802.11g were invented, isn’t it?).  I love this time of year because it’s not too hot yet, there are fewer bugs out at night to bother me, and the landscape is a stunning canvas of green, pink, purple, red, and just about every color the Creator programmed into nature.  There are even a few robins fighting over the territory of my oak tree – must be a good site for nesting.

Two red and yellow tulips in my garden.

Some of the colors of spring.

Ah, a good site.  That is the beginning of every architecture project, whether it’s developing a greenfield that’s never had construction or renovating a portion of an existing building or previously developed brownfield site.  As an architect, I probably look at my property a little differently than the average homeowner, and that includes a studied approach to planning every improvement, especially a building project like a new shed.  I’ve had it simmering on the back burner for several months as we have worked on more important projects inside the house, but it was suddenly thrust to the foreground this past Friday by a storm front that moved through during the night.  My wife and I only woke up briefly at about 1:45 Friday morning when we heard a noise and the power went out.  It was raining, but there wasn’t that much wind (the trash cans on curb for Friday pickup were all standing where they were left earlier in the evening).

My first view of the shed from the back window.

My first view of the shed from the back window.

I called the automated PECO response line with my cell pone and found out that out outage was already reported, but they were still looking for the cause.  They had the same message on the phone system when we got up in the morning, but that turned out to be misleading.  Hearing some trucks in the area, I walked around to see if I could see where they were working.  I got to one of our back windows and got my answer – “Honey,” I said,”they’re in our shed!”

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