San Juan Island Small House Update

For those of you who have been following along on this and previous projects, you will know that heights are not a favorite in our household. Working at heights is tricky and Shawn especially is not a fan. I don’t have much height to contribute to the effort, either! When we designed this house, we chose to build in pergolas on both the east and west sides, not only for the beauty of them, but because they provide us with structural staging for doing the finishing work on the second floor, both finishing the roof framing (bracket installation, merge and barge rafters, eave decking) but also finishing siding, trim, etc.


Local San Juan Island Lumber from EggLake Shake


We were able to go to a local mill and purchase island grown cedar for our pergola, milled to order, and the results have been wonderful. The pergolas are very simple in design and we like that they speak more through the wonderful native material than anything especially fancy in terms of design (though one could argue persuasively that simple design can be very elegant). We were able to do all the lifting of the wood ourselves (glad we used cedar instead of doug fir) and really the building of the structures was very simple and straightforward. We had one very large timber over the front porch entrance that was very difficult indeed to lift, but once we honed our communication on who should lift what end when we were able to finish the project. Still a bit of trim left to do (covering the ledger board, i.e.) but otherwise, we are close to done with all of our pergolas and porch work.

Today we cut the rafters that go over the front porch entrance and I primed them and got the first coat of paint on them. First thing tomorrow I’ll put on the second coat and after lunch in the afternoon they should be ready to install. Shawn will work on siting the brackets and this week we’ll be on to working on the bracket installation, barge and merge rafter installation and then the eave decking. Then it will be on to putting the plywood on the roof, though whether we’ll get to that this coming week remains to be seen.

The hand painted small house

Painting at times has been a side job for me this week while Shawn did a lot of the cutting of the cedar pillars, beams, rafters and battens. I am slowly getting all the coats on the carriage doors Shawn built last week. Should be able to finish that work sometime this week. Then we’ll have to make time to install the jambs and actually hang the doors. It has been a great week in terms of getting a great deal of satisfying work accomplished. We really like the way the pergolas have turned out and the porch entrance was a real treat to see up and installed. The pergolas round out and ground the building, anchoring it nicely and somehow all the beautiful island cedar just looks so appropriate with the rock wall. I guess they are all parts of our island and so thoroughly belong here. We feel very fortunate to be working with such nice material, it was a true pleasure to work with, even at its heaviest (which wasn’t really too bad) and to stand back from work like that just gives you a glow of satisfaction.

Thanks for reading! Hope you’ll join us again next week and see how we do with the last leg(s) of the roof assembly.