Exciting, Relieving, Sad… The End Is Here.

 

Welcome to one of our last entries to the Design Build Bluff blog 2014. As exciting as this semester has been and how relieved we are that we have completed two cabins, that shall now be known as the Red Sand Cabins; Sunrise & Sunset. There is a slight sadness lingering around campus with the knowledge that this amazing experience is coming to a close. This past weekend we were grateful to have Rick Sommerfeld and Jesse Kuroiwa (UC Denver photographer and media director) come out to photograph our project. We got some great shots and are excited to see what Jesse has for us after post production. Many of us are here on campus finishing up paperwork, manuals and construction documents. We will be having our ceremony for giving the cabins officially over to the Mexican Water Chapter this coming Sunday and shortly after that we will be packing up to head back for Denver. Some of us with another semester before graduation and Robin who is graduating in just a few short days.

I would like to take this time to thank some of the people who were instrumental in making these cabins happen. First to our donors who donated materials or money; Arch Metal for the steel that was used all over the cabins; BIG – D Construction for their generous donation of wood, roofing, dry wall and much more; Jeanie Wyatt, Kelli & Harry Bettis, and Lance Rosetto from Pine, Colorado Ace Hardware for letting us reclaim their barn wood; MH Lighting for the great lighting; Mitch Levin for fabricating metal brackets for the countertops and benches; and Rustica Hardware for the beautiful barn sliding door hardware.

I would also like to thank Atsushi and Hiroko Yamamoto for their great guidance during the build, Jose Galarza for giving us this great opportunity and Rick Sommerfeld for helping us through our designs.

I am so glad that I was afforded this great experience and was able to share this with some great friends. We are all so proud of the work we have done and can’t wait to come back and stay in these cabins on our next visit back to Utah.

 

Here are some photos we got a few nights ago from the photo shoot. Enjoy!

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The Final Days of Construction

Both cabins on a rainy Thursday morning.

Both cabins on a rainy Thursday morning.

Despite the weather moving in Wednesday and Thursday, our group is maintaining momentum (if not, moving faster!) As next week’s final photo shoot moves closer. Two construction days are all that remain for the project and punch list items are continuing to be crossed off our long list.

Rainwater falls from Blue Mountain's steel scupper.

Rainwater falls from Blue Mountain’s steel scupper.

Monument Valley Cabin has received it’s first coat of paint and will have a second coat applied Friday before electrical team can move in right behind them installing outlets, switches and fixtures. Finally, floors are scheduled to be sealed by the end of week. Kitchen, HVAC and bathroom teams have also been making steady progress detailing in Monument Valley Cabin.

Johnny reflecting as he completes the kitchen cabinet doors.

Johnny reflecting as he completes the kitchen cabinet doors.

Kitchen cabinetry doors are being hung!

Kitchen cabinetry doors are being hung!

Jason touches up flashing on the egress opening.

Jason touches up flashing on the egress opening.

Matt wires Monument Valley's HVAC unit while Ryan reflects after finally emerging from the bunk bed.

Matt wires Monument Valley’s HVAC unit while Ryan reflects after finally emerging from the bunk bed.

Zane preparing to mount Blue Mountain's HVAC unit.

Zane preparing to mount Blue Mountain’s HVAC unit.

Johnny reflecting as he paints Monument Valley Cabin.

Johnny reflecting as he paints Monument Valley Cabin.

The extremely detailed bunk bed in the Monument Valley cabin just got even more extensive. A hidden door detail was crafted out of the remaining barn wood and serves as a fun detail, including a door handle which mimics the same language as the bunk bed ladder. As further stages of development take place, a couple more pieces of wood will be placed within the bunk bed, finishing it off completely. This bunk bed has been a very challenging and rewarding project to work on and after all the hard work, it has become a beautiful piece of architecture.

Hidden door handle detail before wood cladding.

Hidden door handle detail before wood cladding.

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After inserting a steel plate into the door handle void, Ryan grinds the metal before cladding around it.

After inserting a steel plate into the door handle void, Ryan grinds the metal before cladding around it.

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Wood cladding being completed!

Wood cladding being completed!

The finished door.

The finished door.

Hidden door hinge detail with the door ajar.

Hidden door hinge detail with the door ajar.

In Blue Mountain Cabin, interior slats are beginning to be assembled as well as the table near the bed platform. The cantilevered patio is 100% done complete as the benches were finished Wednesday! Electrical has already installed and tested fixtures with much success and HVAC is close to completion as well.

Jason finishing the weatherproofing on Blue Mountain's entry door.

Jason finishing the weatherproofing on Blue Mountain’s entry door.

Sam constructing Blue Mountain Cabin's table in the rain.

Sam constructing Blue Mountain Cabin’s table in the rain.

Sam reflecting with Blue Mountain table nearby.

Sam reflecting with Blue Mountain table nearby.

Interior slats are ready to go!

Interior slats are ready to go!

Slat assembly club: Linh and Coop.

Slat assembly club: Linh and Coop.

With two days left, teams of students will be working to not only polish details in the cabins but also finish cleaning and grading the site in preparation for photos. We’ve all begun to realize how close to the end we really are and have been taking moments to appreciate and reflect on our experience together. We hope to have final photos up soon to show the final cabins that have been a year in the making!

 

Blue Mountain At Sunset

Blue Mountain At Sunset

Dan & Ryan

It’s All In The Details

With only 3 days of work left before the photographer arrives, all of the details are showing up quickly and beautifully! At times we feel a little rushed to get things done, but we are constantly amazed at all of our designs becoming a reality. Putting up benches, casting concrete fire pits, and putting the last pieces of cladding on walls have given us a sense of accomplishment. A lot of us are also starting to realize that the end of this whole experience is getting near, so expect to hear more sentimentality coming your way!

This last session will consist of punch lists, quite a bit of photography, computer work, and planning for the opening ceremony. The majority of site work will be done by the end of this week leaving much time for finalizing drawings and the ways in which we want to present the finish product. We cannot wait to see how it all turns out!

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Dan is proud of the final work done on the patio aperture on Blue Mountain patio.

 

 

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The west bench on the Blue Mountain Cabin patio is starting to look close to finished.

 

 

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The south elevation is close to complete with the egres exit being adjusted and clad.

 

 

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Johnny working on some kitchen details and sanding down some barn wood.

 

 

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Jason installing and finishing up door locks and handles.

 

 

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Lighting fixtures in both cabins are being installed.

 

 

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Final door handles and locks are looking good.

 

 

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Finishing details on the north and east benches on the Blue Mountain Cabin patio.

 

 

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Cam troweling and smoothing out the concrete fire pit on the Monument Valley Cabin patio.

 

 

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Arron and Dan still cutting metal. Sometimes it feels like the metal cladding work will never end!

 

Thanks for looking!

Seth and Zane

Strive for Five

Session five has been moving along quickly as the students prepare to give the keys to the Mexican Water Chapter House. Finishing details are well under way, as concrete in Blue Mountain has been cleaned and prepared for sealing. While the sealant is curing, students find work on Monument Valley interiors, patio, landscape, and cladding. The interiors team has been hard at work in Monument Valley. Final sanding and priming are quickly helping the interiors feel finished. The finishing details in the bunk bed are also nearly complete.

Sanding and priming the closet of Monument Valley

Finishing work on bunk bed in Monument Valley

The exterior finishes are coming along as well, as cladding team finishes hanging overhead slats, wood cladding, and metal cladding. As the barn wood supply begins to diminish, students sort through scraps to save usable pieces.

Finishing exterior slatting in Monument Valley’s patio

Cutting the last pieces of metal

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Sorting through reusable wood scrap

The students are excited to give the cabin visitors a place to gather outdoors as well. Patio and landscape have been making big strides this session. The formwork has been prepared and positioned for the pour-in-place fire pit while a mixing team prepared the concrete mixture.  The community landscaping space meant to be shared between the visitors of both cabins has begun to take form. What was once a trench for a group of benches has now become filled and now represents positioning for the benches being built.

Preparing fire pit form work

Preparing fire pit form work

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Mixing concrete for the fire pit pour

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Community fire pit benches under way

 

We’re excited to share more as we wrap up our project!

Becca and Kathryn

4th and DONE!

Saturday afternoon wanes as students finish up their final three week session. Photo by Anna Chmel.

Saturday afternoon wanes as students finish up their final three week session. Photo by Anna Chmel.

The last two build days of session four were marked by increased progress thanks to added help from two of our instructors from UC Denver and a former student. Students have split into three teams as finish work is completed: interiors, exterior/patio and fire pit teams.
Weathered steel cladding seams.

Weathered steel cladding seams.

In Monument Valley Cabin, the barn wood has been installed in the hallway on both sides and it looks great! All the hard work and attention to detail on the bunk bed is really paying off. The bunk bed is really coming along and the closet hidden door detail is almost complete as well as the lower bunk interior. The kitchen’s custom concrete sink and counter top were also installed. Blue Mountain Cabin’s interior is completely painted and the main interior bench was just finished up! Also, the stunning metal clad doors have been installed on the interiors of both cabins and they really add a lot to the cabins. A real sense of accomplishment is felt every day we leave site and it’s a wonderful feeling to see the finishing details all coming together.
Monument Valley's concrete kitchen sink is installed into the base cabinetry.

Monument Valley’s concrete kitchen sink is installed into the base cabinetry.

After the sink is installed, the concrete counter top is placed over the top of the cabinetry.

After the sink is installed, the concrete counter top is placed over the top of the cabinetry.

Ryan in his natural habitat: Monument Valley's hallway.

Ryan in his natural habitat: Monument Valley’s hallway.

Wood cladding detail in Monument Valley's bunk bed.

Wood cladding detail in Monument Valley’s bunk bed.

Wood cladding progress in Monument Valley.

Wood cladding progress in Monument Valley.

Exterior team has been moving quickly mounting the reclaimed pine barn wood cladding on Monument Valley Cabin’s patio. The entire north elevation was completely clad and the wood storage wall is nearly done as well. Barn wood has run out, however, prompting students to make minor adjustments to the truss furring strips on the interior side. Both of these surfaces will be clad with left over weathered carbon steel similar to the cabin’s exterior. Benches on both patios are also being detailed, flashed and completed. The form work for the fire pit in Monument Valley is nearing completion as well and will be ready to be poured in the final session.
Blue Mountain Cabin's wood patio slats in the afternoon sun.

Blue Mountain Cabin’s wood patio slats in the afternoon sun.

Sam is ready to lasso Blue Mountain's patio!

Sam is ready to lasso Blue Mountain’s patio!

Steel parapet caps are installed just ahead of the patio's barn wood cladding.

Steel parapet caps are installed just ahead of the patio’s barn wood cladding.

Sam installs tension cables about Blue Mountain patio while Zane and Seth clad the west patio wall with weathered steel.

Sam installs tension cables about Blue Mountain patio while Zane and Seth clad the west patio wall with weathered steel.

Zane and Seth cladding Blue Mountain's patio wall.

Zane and Seth cladding Blue Mountain’s patio wall.

Dan sawing down an edge as the wood cladding climbs higher up Blue Mountain's patio walls.

Dan sawing down an edge as the wood cladding climbs higher up Blue Mountain’s patio walls.

Session four has quickly become the most cramped session as various teams work in the same space to finish tasks.

Session four has quickly become the most cramped session as various teams work in the same space to finish tasks.

Monument Valley patio wood cladding.

Monument Valley patio wood cladding.

Rick and Matt help students install wood cladding in Monument Valley's patio. Photo by Anna Chmel.

Rick and Matt help students install wood cladding in Monument Valley’s patio. Photo by Anna Chmel.

Kathryn cuts more and more barn wood for the patio.

Kathryn cuts more and more barn wood for the patio.

Mounting barn wood in Monument Valley's patio.

Mounting barn wood in Monument Valley’s patio.

Robin mounting custom steel brackets that will eventually support patio benches made of the reclaimed barn wood.

Robin mounting custom steel brackets that will eventually support patio benches made of the reclaimed barn wood.

Matt and Dan double teaming Blue Mountain's electrical fixtures. Photo by Anna Chmel.

Matt and Dan double teaming Blue Mountain’s electrical fixtures. Photo by Anna Chmel.

Matt installing LED strip lighting within the slats on Blue Mountain's patio.

Matt installing LED strip lighting within the slats on Blue Mountain’s patio.

LED strip lighting installed!

LED strip lighting installed!

Fire pit team has been making steady progress despite being only 1-2 people at a time. With the trench dug by an excavator, form work for the cast in place concrete piles was completed and each is now embedded on site between the cabins. Pouring these is also a punch list item for session five as well as the benches and brick and mortar fire ring itself.
Matt assembling fire pit formwork.

Matt assembling fire pit formwork.

Fire pit station on Friday afternoon.

Fire pit station on Friday afternoon.

The trench with one of the form work assemblies in place.

The trench with one of the form work assemblies in place.

From everyone in Bluff, we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving and look forward to returning in a week for our final session!
Dan & Ryan
Monument Valley's south elevation in the sunset.

Monument Valley’s south elevation in the sunset.

Both cabins on Saturday 11/22/2014.

Both cabins on Saturday 11/22/2014.

The sunrise on the final day of session four.

The sunrise on the final day of session four.

3rd and Long

So as we come to midweek of what we consider to be our final build week before punch lists, we see ourselves working hard with much more to do than we thought. Even though we have much to do, morale is higher than it has ever been, and everyone is excited for the progress we have made. I was able to clad the bathroom door and get that hung with the donated hardware from Rustica hardware, Matt was able to get a volunteer to use a backhoe to help move sand around site and dig out foundation for our shade structure, and johnny got the kitchen concrete counter-tops installed in both cabins. There is still much to do and we are working fast and hard to accomplish our goals. Take a look at these pictures to see the surprise we got on Sunday and the progress made this week!

6Our cabins first snow day!5873The Barn Door hardware being installed, and look at those custom jambs, so sweet!1 Matt getting the shade structure area leved.2The concrete counter-top installed. 4Sam and Johnny under the counter-top with Arron helping place it with precision!

It’s All Coming Together

As the week came to an end, more and more of the finish details began to emerge. While the majority of interior and exterior details continue to be worked out, some details/finishes are becoming complete and are being finalized by each team. It is amazing to see how decisions made early on in the design process, as well as final decisions made only yesterday, equally affect the resulting details we are creating. The cabins are really taking shape, and although some of us are nervous about the amount of time we have to finish, great progress is made every day! Most of the steel has been put up on both cabins, and last week the first pieces of the reclaimed barn wood were hung on the interior and exterior. It may be “crunch time” but we are all enjoying the detail work that has occurred during this session, and the work site is filled with smiles as the details that each student is creating are realized.

 

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Patio team continuing to use the drywall lift to place and secure slats for the trellis systems.

 

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Bathroom team has installed the beautiful reclaimed barnwood walls and ceilings in both bathrooms.

 

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Linh and Pipsa (bathroom team) looking excited about the wood ceilings. Plaster on the bathroom walls is soon to come!

 

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Robin working on the bed platform for the Blue Mountain Cabin and making sure each piece of the bed platform fits perfectly with the next.

 

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The frame-less north facing window of Blue Mountain meeting the bed platform in an almost seamless detail.

 

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Johnny (Lead of kitchen team) getting ready to install the upper cabinets in the Monument Valley Cabin, with the help of Sam and Dan.

 

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The interior steel wall in the Blue Mountain Cabin is almost complete. Benches and countertops will be installed very soon!

 

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Exterior steel meeting with interior wood at this beautifully detailed door jamb. The material palette of wood and steel (coupled with glass and concrete) is something we never get tired of looking at.

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Exterior patio barnwood begins to go up on Blue Mountain. And the wall is “re-opened” for the installation of patio benches.

 

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The bunk bed details begin to meet up with other walls and wrap corners. The undulating corner condition is a beautiful way to showcase the recycled wood being used.

 

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All excess supports have been removed from the sink, and now the kitchen/bathroom sinks are amazingly cantilevered.

 

IMG_7955Continuing to work on all interior wood surfaces.

 

Thanks for reading!

Until next time,

Seth Donnell and Zane Levin

Let it be thursday!

On thursday we saw a lot of progress with finish materials. Zane’s cladding crew was able to start on the interior wall of Blue Mountain Cabin (which, by the way, looks amazing) and bathroom team was working on barn wood wall in Monument Valley Cabin. Arron spent most of his day fastening dozens (or hundreds?) of L-brackets for the slats as well as putting up furring strips.

Planing, table saw and chop saw stations are getting really busy as we’re starting to work more and more with the salvaged barn wood. Therefore, planning and managing our time is getting more important in order to stay efficient and achieve our session goals.


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Zane working on interior cladding details in Blue Mountain Cabin
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Bathroom wall in Monument Valley 
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Linh checking out the loft
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Skylight detail

 


After a long day of work, we had a nice, three-course Italian meal prepared by Becca and Kathryn. “Daan” (apparently how I pronounce his name) was in charge of the night school and he ran us through the basics of guitar playing.


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Becca, Seth, Zane and Kathryn listening to Dan play.

 

 

Halauksia,

Pipsa ja Linh

 

 

Hump Day Update!!

Wednesday saw much progress in many areas and aspects of our cabins.  In Monument Valley, Cam spent the day on formwork for the patio fire pit pour.  Additional concrete pours were done for the bathroom and kitchen counters.

Monument Valley kitchen counter

Monument Valley kitchen counter

Pipsa spent the majority of the day in the bathroom doing waterproofing prep work for plaster which will be started very soon.

Pipsa waterproofing the bathroom with red guard

Pipsa waterproofing the bathroom with red guard

After a few hours of planing, the flooring of the loft was finally installed and, despite many limitations from material size and aperture=driven aesthetics, the pattern for the top bunk wood cladding was finally established.  It has been a long process but it was wonderful to finally see a piece nailed off!

First piece of interior barn wood cladding is finally up!

First piece of interior barn wood cladding is finally up!

Drywall mud and sanding continued in both cabins throughout the day as Sam tries to make it as smooth as possible for our initial coat of primer.

Sam sanding away on the Pirate Hole

Sam sanding away on the Pirate Hole

Jason spent much of his day figuring out a detail for the closet door so the hinges are barely visible while still making sure the door is perfectly set.

Jason working on the closet door hinges

Jason working on the closet door hinges

Mock up of the hidden hinges for the Monument Valley closet

Mock up of the hidden hinges for the Monument Valley closet

Coop and Arron jumped on patio details with furring strips and additional structure to hold up the anticipated slating.

Ingenuity at its finest; using the drywall panel hoist to hold the slat structure in place

Ingenuity at its finest; using the drywall panel hoist to hold the slat structure in place

Coop putting up furring strips for the Monument Valley slats

Coop putting up furring strips for the Monument Valley slats

So excited at the prospect of spending her day on a ladder!

So excited at the prospect of spending her day on a ladder!

Window frames were painted to create consistency throughout both cabins.  Seth, as window lead, has spearheaded this process which makes everyone so happy now that our approach to the cabins does not involve seeing the pristine steel south facades with white vinyl window frames.

Seth painting the window. Dan being, well, Dan.

Seth painting the window. Dan being, well, Dan.

Um, awkward?

Um, awkward?

 

Blue Mountain also made lots of headway.  With the bathroom and west walls sheathed in OSB, interiors and steal team will soon be able to move forward with barn wood and steal walls.  Additionally, exterior cladding team managed to put of the last few pieces of cladding on the north truss and is working to finish the remaining parapet caps.

Cladding team installing the last pieces of exterior steel

Cladding team working on   cantilevered patio parapet caps

Cladding team working on cantilevered patio parapet caps

Linh was also able to finish applying Red Guard to the Hardie Board so plaster will begin in the bathroom within the next couple of days.

Sunset on site

Sunset on site

Looking forward to the rest of the session to finish everything up!

Kathryn and Becca

God is in the Details

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God is in the Details So much work has been accomplished, yet we still have so much to go. The exterior team has finished all of the exterior cladding! They have now moved on to some of the interior metal work and patio cladding. It’s really amazing to see the entire cladding of the structure done and sheathed in the patinaed steel. Kitchen and Bathroom team have also made substantial process. They poured all the sinks and counter tops today. We can’t wait to show them installed. A lot of work has gone into prep
ing and cutting the form work. It’s great to get that component done. We have also now installed the metal brackets to handle the load of the concrete counter tops. Our goal is to make it look like it’s levitating on these metal brackets

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Brackets installed in west wall of Blue Mountain cabin

Windows and door team are basically finishing up. They have painted all the frames a charcoal grey.  It really looks great with the rusted steel and gives a modern look to all the apertures.

IMG_1705Painted Window

Interiors team now has all the drywall installed and has moved onto the barn wood. For those who don’t know, many months ago we all disassembled a barn in Pine, CO. We kept all the wood from the roof and ceiling trusses and now are installing them into the cabin. Some of the wood we have left rough, some of it has been planed down smooth. Some of the Pondarosa Pine has some great pink and red heart wood other planks have shown some blue beetle kill. We are using the wood on the exterior and interior of both cabins in many different ways. Some of the beams and planks are crazy warped but we are making the best of it and trying to use every piece that we reclaimed. IMG_1714Becca Hammering Barn Wood into the ceiling of the Monument Valley Bunk

Robin and Matt signing off-