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The Architect
Bob Harper
Monday, 5 June 2006
Mock-Ups on the Mountain

Once again........your computer screen glows with images and words from Vermont.......

In years past, mention has been made of Bob Harper's wonderful study in natural light, which this big wooden tent is. Also referred to is the lack of the complete cross illumination scheme, since the second floor was completely covered, and the plan called for half of the upstairs to be open . A vertical 18 foot wall of windows!

Problem has been we loved the view out the upper windows, and wanted access to open, close, and clean them.

We have never seen this 18 foot wall of windows. As the design process unfolded in my mind, it became obvious that a bridge to the windows was necessary, and the real epiphany came when a balcony was added relating to the window like a inglenook relates to a fireplace. There were structural challenges with the outside corners of this balcony, and I considered chain to the ceiling joists (which I never mentioned to louise....smart me). I also drew brackets coming off the wall underneath, but this was imagined without actually checking the available vertical space between the first floor windows and the framing of the bridge, and it would have been insufficient. On the drive up an idea which had been passingly considered, returned with insistence. Build a double 2x8 diagonal brace from the front wall to the bridge framing, notch it to receive a double 2x4 on edge, and through the magic of cantilevers, the outside corners become rigid.

Thank God it rained all weekend, and we had no choice but to remove the temporary floor and joists and actually frame the whole thing.....well not the whole thing as the balustrade is imagined to be elegantly joined out of mahogany (The voice of Bob Harper in my head saying, for the love of God at least use mortise and tenon joints.) But the unfolding process required a mock up to look at and the love of life required a temporary railing for getting up at night to pee, and the love of grandchildren required that the railing have unclimbable vertical balusters that were structurally viable. Ripped up a lot of scrap and unused 2x4 and what you see is another Great American Quickie.

We will get around to elegance and hardwood eventually, but this will do for now. Have I mentioned that this whole design event and execution blew us both away. As Louise would say, EEEEEEEHAAAA! She ran to North Adams and found a used walnut rocker, and on the way home we stopped at another favorite antique barn just before the Taconic Parkway and found the second rocker. Mission accomplished.

Love to all.....BSB

Posted by Bennett at 9:30 PM EDT

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