December 4th, 2009


Its been a little while since the last real update and there have been a bunch of little things that have gone on. The most significant right now is that we are dry inside… Not just because of the weather, but the last leak seems to have been taken care of just before Thanksgiving.

The scuppers showed up a couple of days ago for the drainage of our ecoroof. TPO membrane can only be heat welded when dry, and fortunately, the weather has been cooperating. It looks like at this point we’re done with the membrane until the steel frame around our roof deck goes in, then the ecoroof guys will come back and do a little more work on the membrane to make sure no water gets into the house through the connection points where the steel frame attaches.

Now that the scuppers are in, the downspouts were hooked up. On the north wall our air gap in the rain screen is a full three and a half inches (more than twice the other sides) because it allows us to run piping in the gap. In the picture above the pipe on the right is our downspout from the upper ecoroof, and the pipe on the left is our vent pipe for our plumbing fixtures.

Additionally, speaking of venting, our rough plumbing has passed inspection pending a minor change to the way that the venting pipes are arranged. The inspector would prefer that they join together in a different order, our plumber is going to make the change but is pretty sure that this is totally bogus, especially since our pipes are larger than necessary anyways.


We are around the corner from Pro Time Lawn Seed, we have started putting together more specific plans for our landscaping and had run across a mix that they sell called “Fleur de Lawn” that is supposedly drought resistant and low maintenance so I wandered over to talk about seed mixes with them. We don’t want a real lawn, what we’re looking for is more of a shaggy meadow, something that would be nice to lay around on but wouldn’t require us to water or mow. So they showed me some test patches and were awesome enough to give us a bunch of their PDX mix which is mostly clover and dwarf yarrow and fits our zero effort requirements. Not that we’ll be planting for another three months, but we’re all set for when spring comes around.

The Neighborhood

I want to bring up a comment we recently received on our blog from a neighbor who doesn’t much approve of our house. You can read it here. When starting this project we were worried that the neighborhood might get upset with us for building something modern in an area that is really really into the aesthetic of the old craftsman and victorian homes that make up most of the residences. We were even prepared for some amount of harassment from residents who are trying to get the city to implement historic design review for Buckman, but have been pleasantly surprised with the overwhelming support and enthusiasm for what we are doing. I’ve been living in the neighborhood for about six years, Katherine for almost three. And we’ve felt throughout the process that we are meeting the ideals of Buckman, a low key but central urban neighborhood, with an efficient home that cares more about a garden and trees than a big paved space for cars… We just chose to do so with a different vocabulary.

Anyone interested can read the Buckman Neighborhood Plan here. Its a good read, and gives an interesting insight into the state of the neighborhood twenty years ago


  1. At one time in my life, I would have been inclined to agree with your neighbor about modern building in an historic neighborhood. An interview I conducted with architect Paul Spreiregen ultimately changed my mind, and I now believe that beautiful, well-designed architecture that is sympathetic to neighboring historic structures does not need to copy older architectural styles in order to fit in. What I like about Buckman is the variety of interesting architectural styles, and I welcome seeing the finished Harpoon House, which so far I think is terrific.

    Comment by bohemiangirlpdx — December 8, 2009 @ 16:04
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