holly_stockley

Tales of the Great Architect Adventure

Holly Stockley
3 years ago

By request, I'm going to start a thread here chronicling the process of building a custom home designed by a real, live architect. We have come to the point where we had access both to sufficient income and a significant cash down payment to make it possible to buy a small piece of acreage and build a home on it. My husband and I have two daughters, who are both ASD - this brings a few challenges into the design of a home, which we'll get to later.

The very first step WE took was to contact our builder. He and I go back to junior high school, high school, and college. When you've had that many long conversations with someone that cover the gamut of subject from politics to poodles, ethics isn't a question mark. He's far enough in HIS career at this point to be building beautiful custom homes. In his business, he works with a number of architects, and in this case recommended the one he thought would fit our project best. And so the first appointment was scheduled.

Comments (360)

  • CEM TOSA
    5 months ago

    Following

  • One Devoted Dame
    5 months ago

    Miss Holly, I have been thinking of you and your project a lot, lately. Hope y'all are doin' okay. <3

    Holly Stockley thanked One Devoted Dame
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  • PRO
    Diana Bier Interiors, LLC
    5 months ago

    hey, beckysharp, just clicked on that link--LOVE that kitchen. So historically authentic and modern at the same time.

    I can just hear the comments on Houzz, though. They'd go something like this:

    You need the cabinets to up to the ceiling!

    A beadboard backsplash is going to get so dirty!

    Inset cabinets have much less storage room!

    You must have all drawers in your bottom cabinets!

    What shade of gray is that???

    Where is the island???? (Isn't it a state law that every kitchen have an island?)

    Wood floors are impractical in a kitchen.

    That pinky-beige color is dated (sic).

    I would have used fake marble quartz on the counter tops.


    Can you think of any more???

    Holly Stockley thanked Diana Bier Interiors, LLC
  • DLM2000-GW
    5 months ago

    @Diana Bier Interiors, LLC - how about a few more

    Curtains in a kitchen = a mess or fire hazard waiting to happen (I do have to kind of agree with that one)

    Read this first: Ice Water Stone Fire and should you break that rule your kitchen will not function

    3 different cabinet colors? Too many clowns

    Holly Stockley thanked DLM2000-GW
  • Holly Stockley
    Original Author
    5 months ago

    Becky, I love the Remodelista article! While those aren't my colors, I think the whole thing was done with a sensitivity to Larsen's aesthetic that makes it into a very pleasing whole.


    For a number of reasons related to financing, comps, etc., just prior to the Covid craziness, we started looking into having some of the plan modified for timber framing. (Weirdly, it's a separate category for comps. Who knew?) That project is ongoing, but my state is under a SIP order and the lockdown is definitely having a deleterious effect. I happen to be considered "essential" so my income is thus far, unaffected. But I worry about how many small businesses are not going to come out of this on the other side, intact. I'm not particularly worried about my builder, whose wife is a CPA and usually makes sure he's never overextended and can weather bumps in the road. The local economy as a whole, however, is going to take a hell of a hit. This is a resort town, and the "season" starts soon.


    ODD - thank you. The little one has been struggling, tending to become depressed and withrdrawn. We took the whole family out for a walk at a county park yesterday (still permitted by the SIP) and then for ice cream (drive through) from a local place that makes their own. She's a much happier little moppet today. We'll see what tomorrow brings.


    Diana, and DLM2000 - The slightly evil part of my personality sort of looks forward to some day being able to post real live photos of the "breaking the rules" kitchen planned for this place. ;-) Although I think beadboard as a backsplash WOULD drive me batty. Still, I'm sure the utter lack of quartz, white cabs, "modern" flourishes, open shelving, or other current "must haves" will get it shelled from on High by the Decorati.

  • PRO
    Diana Bier Interiors, LLC
    5 months ago
    last modified: 5 months ago

    Here's another--what about RESALE???? recouping your INVESTMENT???

    or "change your lightbulbs to LEDs!!!" (Actually I don't see any lighting, wonder where it is?)

  • Holly Stockley
    Original Author
    5 months ago

    I think it's supposed to be a take on the actual historical kitchen, so there isn't any electric lighting.


    But if there were lights, I'm sure they should be 4000K LEDs, although the lack of uppers will mean the poor homeowner will have to forgo undercab lights - Egad!

  • One Devoted Dame
    5 months ago

    (Actually I don't see any lighting, wonder where it is?)

    It's big, it's bright, it's free... It's our favorite star. :-D

  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect
    5 months ago
    last modified: 5 months ago

    I don't see any electric lights either, but there appears to be several bulbs in the sink.

  • Holly Stockley
    Original Author
    5 months ago

    Just because my taste is eclectic at best, and to go along with the Remodelista link... here is a Russian design blog presenting a Swedish "cottage" that was built in the 17th century:

    https://www.pufikhomes.com/en/2019/07/chudesnaya-shvedskaya-dacha-s-dushevnymi-intererami-v-kotoroj-vremya-ostanovilos/

  • DLM2000-GW
    5 months ago

    Russian design blog..... Not sure I've read those three words together before! This should be interesting to look at.

  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect
    5 months ago

    Your architect is half Russian.

  • Holly Stockley
    Original Author
    5 months ago

    I am now profoundly disappointed at the complete lack of furry hats involved in our meetings....

  • PRO
    Diana Bier Interiors, LLC
    5 months ago

    Wow, Holly, that home is really awesome! So authentic and lived in without being cluttered. Love the finishes and the old wood floors and trim.

    Holly Stockley thanked Diana Bier Interiors, LLC
  • booty bums
    5 months ago

    I don't see this house getting built.

    It's been nearly 3 1/2 years since the OP first started this thread, and now she's "looking into" changing the house to a timber frame?!?!?!

  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect
    5 months ago
    last modified: 5 months ago

    “Good Things Come To Those Who Wait”

  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect
    5 months ago

    Timber frame is only a method of construction, and the house was designed to accommodate that method if desired.

  • booty bums
    5 months ago

    Mark -

    What do you mean by saying the "house was designed to accommodate" timber frame?

    Wouldn't the plans have to be completely re-drawn to account for using 12" vertical and horizontal exposed beams, versus conventional hidden 2x4 or 2x6 framing?

    Wouldn't the layout and design have to be reconsidered? Location/placement of windows, doors, cabinetry, ductwork, ect?

    Wouldn't you need to seek out another homebuilder skilled in timber frame construction?

  • shead
    5 months ago
    last modified: 5 months ago

    @booty bums, I think your questions are valid and I would be interested in seeing how this change impacted overall design and specifications. It's an interesting turn of events, for sure.

    However, your contentious first comment set the hostility into motion. If you'd simply asked your questions in a non-confrontational tone, I doubt Holly and Mark would have responded with "hostility."

  • beckysharp Reinstate SW Unconditionally
    5 months ago

    Clearly unfamiliar with cpartist's odyssey, and many others.

    Our own homebuild was delayed twice, more than 10 years. Originally because we got busy (very) with life. And took us four years for the actual construction, which we did ourselves, in part because we kept working throughout (farming and construction projects for clients), and also because at the beginning of the process my husband was diagnosed with cancer and scheduled for surgery, and at the end had a heart attack.

    But we have a lovely new house we've been in now for about two years, and we appreciate it all the more for all the challenges. We also found that the delays made for a better build in the end. If we'd gone ahead with the build around 2000, when originally hoped to build, it would have been a very different house, and not for the better. I discovered GardenWeb during our second delay about 10 years ago, when I was helping my father across the continent go through cancer treatments; thinking about my future kitchen in a house that wasn't close to getting built kept me sane and gave me something to hope for in a very bleak time. I learned so much from so many threads, in the Kitchen forum, this forum, Bathrooms, often just from reading and listening, and following up with recommended resources.

    This is a free forum, and I'm incredibly grateful for those who share, not just about their projects but the process. I never shared much here of our actual journey, because it was so discouraging for so long, we were proceeding in fits and starts, and didn't want to deal with dolts, witlings, and curmudgeons.

  • booty bums
    5 months ago

    I'm sorry for offending you. I didn't realize my comment would have been seen as rude or contentious.


    Despite Mark's claim, I think it is safe to say the house was NOT designed to simply swap out traditional framing for a timber frame construction, without significant impacts to the project as it is currently designed.

  • Holly Stockley
    Original Author
    5 months ago

    Nobody said that it was. But it WAS designed with timbers in the living/dining area already. Which can be very easily transitioned to a true structural frame. In point of fact, the timber supplier felt it would likely be LESS expensive to do so, then to try to wrestle faux beams into place once the frame was already up. We've discussed both hybrid and complete timber framing. And - fun fact - none of the plumbing or ducting is on the exterior walls. Which is as much do to with the local climate, as anything else. Which means that transitioning to a timber/SIP system is actually very easy and doesn't require entirely re-engineering the design. Second fun fact - the SIP company would be the ones responsible for planning those items (mostly electrical) that DO need to pass through the panels. And that's if and only if we frame the entire design, as opposed to a hybrid version. Although the hybrid does negate any functional benefit of using SIPs in the great room, in terms of energy use.


    As to the builder, he's not your average tract home GC. He has a history of working with historic homes, building different types of "cabins," and converting things like an old airplane hanger into living space. I think he can handle it. He's also that rare GC who is, himself, an accomplished woodworker. He's worked with both timbers and SIPs in the past. I think he can handle it. It's not like I asked him to build a field stone farmhouse. Although I'm not sure even that would really throw him for a loop.


    ALL of this said, doing something totally custom from the ground up, as opposed to plopping a stock plan on a subdivision lot and calling it custom, takes a lot longer than you think it's going to. Between glitches in land acquisition, financing, sudden concerns about water issues from the county, worldwide pandemics, and getting everything in line to build what is a one-of-a-kind project... it takes time. Especially when everyone involved are actually craftsmen. The timber guy hand cuts frames in his shop with his son. The guy restoring the Swedish Tile Stove lives so far out in the boondocks, he has very spotty cell service BUT he has access to a ceramics artist who is refiring some of the pieces to repair chips and glazing issues. The millwork supplier is busy researching the appropriate trim profiles for the style, while simultaneously sending out his "tree guy" to look over the walnut plantation on the property, with an eye toward some barter. All of this takes a lot more time than just phoning in an order to a lumberyard. I have joked before that the house project and 2 special needs children are the Good Lord trying to teach me patience. The other side of that coin is I have very little of it for obnoxious, judgmental strangers on the internet.

  • Holly Stockley
    Original Author
    5 months ago

    But we have a lovely new house we've been in now for about two years, and we appreciate it all the more for all the challenges. We also found that the delays made for a better build in the end. If we'd gone ahead with the build around 2000, when originally hoped to build, it would have been a very different house, and not for the better.


    This is what I'm hoping for. We spent all of last summer and fall struggling with heart problems with my husband. He had a cardiac ablation over the winter, and was supposed to get the "all clear" from the cardio's office... just when they stopped seeing patients.


    Meantime, I have two Autistic kids currently separated from their various therapists at home all day... and I'm one of those "essential" people still working. Full hours, plus a little. It's making it harder to get all the ducks in a row. And then someone starts shooting my ducks!!

  • beckysharp Reinstate SW Unconditionally
    5 months ago
    last modified: 5 months ago

    I'm sorry for offending you. I didn't realize my comment would have been seen as rude or contentious.

    Even if one didn't read and consider the more than 300 comments in this thread detailing Holly's and her family's journey thus far, probably not a bad idea for a new Houzz poster wanting to ask a question, Holly's original post at the very top -- detailing only some her family's various challenges (I'm going to assume just the ones she's willing to make public), which make life in general let alone building a custom house taxing -- might give one pause before making such a comment, which might charitably in the very kindest light and in non-pandemic times be considered flippant at best.

    Holly Stockley thanked beckysharp Reinstate SW Unconditionally
  • beckysharp Reinstate SW Unconditionally
    5 months ago

    We spent all of last summer and fall struggling with heart problems with my husband. He had a cardiac ablation over the winter, and was supposed to get the "all clear" from the cardio's office... just when they stopped seeing patients.

    Oh, Holly, I'm so sorry to hear about your husband's health situation but glad to hear that he's in "all clear territory". Can they do the visit by phone or with some sort of tele-health hookup?

    The biggest problem for my husband after his heart attack and two stents was the side effects of all the new meds. It's been more than two years and he's still adjusting them. It often seems they cause more harm than they prevent. Argh.

    Meantime, I have two Autistic kids currently separated from their various therapists at home all day... and I'm one of those "essential" people still working. Full hours, plus a little. It's making it harder to get all the ducks in a row. And then someone starts shooting my ducks!!

    Sending you virtual hugs and strength. I've been thinking about families like yours during this time and how hard it must be without the usual contingent you rely on.

  • booty bums
    5 months ago

    Holly -

    I'm not following your comments related to the timber framing...

    None of the plumbing or ducting is on the exterior walls. Which means that transitioning to a timber/SIP system is actually very easy and doesn't require entirely re-engineering the design.

    First, you only mention plumbing and ducting. What about exterior doorways, windows, cabinetry & light switches on exterior walls, ect.?

    Secondly, you only mention exterior walls. But with timber framing, there will be many interior vertical posts and many interior horizontal beams. These will certainly have an impact on windows, doors, cabinetry, ductwork, electrical placement.

  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect
    5 months ago


    What do you mean by saying the "house was designed to accommodate" timber frame?

    The house was designed on a loose grid pattern, the use of timber framing would have little effect on the layout.


    Wouldn't the plans have to be completely re-drawn to account for using 12" vertical and horizontal exposed beams, versus conventional hidden 2x4 or 2x6 framing?

    The Construction drawings should not have to be altered, but I may be required to produce a structural drawing(s) for the timber framing itself.


    Wouldn't the layout and design have to be reconsidered?

    No.


    Location/placement of windows, doors, cabinetry, ductwork, ect?

    No.


    Wouldn't you need to seek out another homebuilder skilled in timber frame construction?

    No. The builder selected is very experienced and knowledgable, and wears a tight fitting suit under his clothes with a big "S" on the chest.

    Holly Stockley thanked Mark Bischak, Architect
  • beckysharp Reinstate SW Unconditionally
    5 months ago

    The builder selected is very experienced and knowledgable, and wears a tight fitting suit under his clothes with a big "S" on the chest.

    That's how I feel about my husband the builder : ) .

  • Holly Stockley
    Original Author
    5 months ago

    Why on earth would you expect there to be that many 12"x12" posts? This is not a fortress. Oi.

    Even my framing guy remarked that there was no need to do that, given the structural integrity of the SIPs. To quote him, "You can use a full frame if you want, but what purpose is there to having a post in the closet?" This from someone who's fairly into authenticity, who really wanted to cut beams from trees on the property.


    Suffice it to say that using some timber framing through the great room and part of the kitchen/hall with hybrid methods through the rest of the house makes it a pretty easy transition. Interior walls end up being standard framing.

  • Holly Stockley
    Original Author
    5 months ago

    My youngest's teacher just came by today, and left a box of things to do on the porch. Worksheets, and a (very appreciated) laminated board with some of the PECs cards she uses at school. (for the unintiated, that's Picture Enhanced Communication, which allows a nonverbal kid to at least express some of her wants and needs). I'll try to get her to do a couple worksheets... a little later. I put her in the tub a bit ago, and she was not amused. Currently, she's up in her room contemplating the indignity of having her protective crust scrubbed off. Never mind that she will happily soak in the tub... as long as it's her idea.


    So far, so good. I have things for each of them to do, and they're starting to settle into the new "routine" such as it is.


    I have a long weekend off, so I'll try to set things up for my husband to work with them over the next week.


    And find a little time to sneak out and graft a few more apples, since I had some more scion wood show up today. ;-)

  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect
    5 months ago
    last modified: 5 months ago

    So where on your drawings would these posts be located?

    Wherever they are needed.

    You're saying massive posts can simply be plopped onto your plan without disrupting anything?

    Massive posts would be plopped in the barn, properly sized post would be plopped wherever they are needed.

    How is this possible?

    Easy.

    These exterior and interior posts will protrude into the living space, beyond the conventional framing shown in your drawings, correct?

    Possibly.

    And you're saying that will have no impact?

    No.

    If you stick a a few dozen 12" x 12" posts into your plan, can you explain how they will not impact countertops, cabinets, closet space, light switch placement, bathroom fixtures, ect?

    I would not locate them there.

    Holly mentions SIP construction, which means the posts would not be hidden within the walls.

    No it doesn't.

    GIven this, help me with a few specific examples...

    There will need to be a post in the corner of the master bath.

    Will there?

    How will this have no impact on the tub?

    Architectural structural design and mirrors.

    And what about the exterior kitchen wall. The beams won't intrude into cabinets/counters, or the space for the refrigerator, or the pantry?

    See answer directly above.

  • booty bums
    5 months ago

    Holly -


    Mark said his plan was "designed to accommodate" a timber frame construction method and..

    • His plans would not have to be altered
    • There would be no need for any re-considerations to the layout/design
    • There would be no impact to doors/windows/cabinetry/ductwork/electrical/ect.

    I was simply trying to highlight the fact that adding several large posts and beams to his existing plan is bound to have some impact, despite his claims otherwise.


    I will also point out that I was reacting to your initial comment that you were "looking into having some of the plan modified for timber framing." You never mentioned anything about using SIPS or "hybrid methods" that would eliminate the need for interior posts (a critical component of timber frame structure such as yours).


  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect
    5 months ago
    last modified: 5 months ago

    Has anyone seen the play, or watched the movie "Much Ado About Nothing"? . . .

  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect
    5 months ago

    I'm not sure if you are smart enough to know that whatever arrises in my project for my client and their builder, that I am able to handle it. I can use the 43 years of my architectural education and experience of designing houses, restaurants, hotels, hospitals, factories, offices, and other building types to solve a minuscule question like where a column should go. If you have a valid concern regarding the Stockley project, then you should pay me to address your concern. If you want more of an answer than what I have given you, then that will take time and I do not work for free. I don't think anyone likes to be second guessed by anyone about something that is none of their concern.

  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect
    5 months ago
    last modified: 5 months ago

    Brush up on that reading comprehension and quit making false claims of what you think others know and calling fiction fact.

  • leela4
    5 months ago

    I'm just curious.

    booty bums-why do you care? What point are you trying to make?

  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect
    5 months ago

    What makes you an expert to be so antagonistic and over reactionary?

  • Mrs. S
    5 months ago

    This is an internet forum. People post about various issues, and others respond with their thoughts/opinions. That is all I am doing.


    bootybums: This is NOT what you are doing. You are not the OP. Holly posted this thread for a reason, and she stated it in her post. This is not reddit. If you want to debate about something, then it is polite to start your own thread. She didn't ask for your advice. Did you read her original post? This is a lovely, interesting thread about a house-building chronicle, and doesn't need this sort of interruption.


  • cpartist
    5 months ago

    Mark -

    I'm simply pointing out what I see an inaccurate statement from a "pro" on this issue. That's what this forum is for...a back and forth sharing of thoughts/opinions.

    Are you also a pro? If not, I suggest you keep your unwanted and unsolicited comments to yourself. If you are a pro, let us know your qualifications so we can have an accurate assessment of why you are supposedly an expert.

  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect
    5 months ago

    Booty bums - Now I realize you are an ignorant simple minded troll. Your inflammatory posts serve no purpose other than to expose you for what you are. They are full of fiction and lies. Another comment from you will only reinforce the truth I have brought to light. Take the OP's advice and go away. Starve.

  • beckysharp Reinstate SW Unconditionally
    5 months ago
    last modified: 5 months ago

    We understand. It's a pandemic and you're looking for someplace to release your frustrations. This thread isn't the place.

    These are Holly's Tales, and Holly's Adventure. Be kind, be willing to listen, or be off.

  • One Devoted Dame
    5 months ago

    Suffice it to say that using some timber framing through the great room and part of the kitchen/hall with hybrid methods through the rest of the house makes it a pretty easy transition.

    This is so good to hear! :-D

    Interior walls end up being standard framing.

    Sorry, I know you're fairly far from this point, but I couldn't help thinking about your wall and trim colors.

    Speaking of colors, what did you end up going with, for windows? Red? :-D

  • Bonnie Riley
    5 months ago
    last modified: 5 months ago

    Sorry this whole thread got a "bum" steer! I just discovered it and have enjoyed reading the whole thing, right up until near the end.


    Your stove!!! I look forward to seeing it in all its glory. For a time, we lived in Toledo, Ohio, and they had an absolutely gorgeous ceramic stove on display at the Toledo Museum of Art. It was possibly my kids' favorite thing in the whole museum. The only picture I can find of it has a random, unknown human, but maybe this picture will help bring some joy back to your wonderful adventure.


    Holly Stockley thanked Bonnie Riley
  • Bonnie Riley
    5 months ago

    Found a different picture. This ceramic stove is gorgeous in person!


    Holly Stockley thanked Bonnie Riley
  • Holly Stockley
    Original Author
    5 months ago

    Thanks, Bonnie!


    I had to go investigate that one. Apparently it's Swiss, made between 1875 and 1900, but is a replica of the style of stove from the 1500's. That makes sense, looking at it's decoration.


    I do love all the varieties of them. I've noticed sometimes the German or Czech versions have a seat like the one you shared. The Russian ones sometimes even incorporate a sleeping platform. That sounds toasty!


    Still looking forward to getting started when we get all the kinks worked out. Like Becky, the longer I'm forced into a holding pattern, the more "good ideas" I have. :-) Even if my builder is starting to get something of a "now what?" reaction. Heh, bless him, I think he'd love to get going, too. He's now met my kids and would like to get us all settled into our new digs, too.


    In the meantime, Pinterest is my friend... (check my profile and look for the "Posts" link for some discussions of some of the other details)

  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect
    5 months ago

    Do you know if the stove is still on display?

  • Bonnie Riley
    5 months ago
    last modified: 5 months ago

    Mark Bischak, Architect - The ceramic stove at the Toledo Museum of Art is always on display. It's a part of an entire room, a room brought to the museum in 1926. The room was originally in Villa Solitude, built in 1630, which stood by Lake Zurich in Switzerland. The room was bought for the museum by a donor named Nettie P. Ketcham. It's an absolute favorite of Toledoans, and is often referred to as The Swiss Room.

  • indigoheaven
    5 months ago

    Holly - Yikes! I wonder if a moderator could "clean" up this thread. It's unfortunate that your delightful thread has been hijacked. I used to reading this Forum. Oh well...

  • Holly Stockley
    Original Author
    5 months ago

    Looks like somebody did clean most of that out. I suspect I called that correctly when I tagged "booty buns" as a sock puppet for D E. Heh.

    Carry on with pretty pictures and such!

    I just discovered that Flickr has a group devoted to "ovens and stoves" that is mostly various tile stoves and outdoor ovens. There are a fair few industrial ovens in it, too, which I don't quite get. Not sure why those are worthy of photography. But, since I'd like an outdoor wood fired oven as well, I just lost an hour or so into perusing THAT.

    Mark, I tried searching Toledo's collections to see what it said about that piece, and came up dry. Although I can't imagine it's a lot of fun to take down and put back up. We might have to try to find someone "on site" in Toledo to ask. I know a gal...

  • Bonnie Riley
    5 months ago
    last modified: 5 months ago

    Holly - I also looked and looked for more information on that stove in The Toledo Museum of Art. It, and it's surrounding Room From Villa Solitude, more commonly known as The Swiss Room, have been on exhibit since 1926. No luck, and I raised 4 kids in Toledo. We were frequent visitors. The display is now roped off, but my children's pre-school teacher, who is now 87 years old, and lived in the museum neighborhood as a young girl, has stories of sneaking into the display and eating lunch, pretending to be warmed by the stove. The museum, itself, is really wonderful should you ever find yourself in Toledo. I was absolutely amazed at the quality and variety of art, and the connected Center for Visual Arts is a Frank Gehry design. The surrounding neighborhood, known as The Old West End, is worth a look, too - Old West End, Toledo, Ohio

    Holly Stockley thanked Bonnie Riley