Remember, remember…


Today, the Design/Build crew was hard at work on cladding the exterior and polishing the interior. We managed to get a good amount of parapet caps on the east wall of the Blue Mountain Cabin, as well as sanding the first application of drywall mud. Wherever the drywall was already sanded, we began to apply a second coat of mud. It’s starting to look sooo good!








Coop was busy pressurizing all the plumbing lines to test for future leaks.




Congratulations, we passed!




Meanwhile, Johnny began to cut out the various components for the kitchen cabinetry.




We are all working very hard and learning so much.



~Arron & Johnny

Chill Monday

After a week of much needed rest and outdoor excursions, we are excited to be back for another eventful session. It seems like everything that we have worked for and everything that we planned for are finally coming into fruition. It is a critical session for us, as we are expected to finish the majority of our work by the end of this three-week session. Kitchen and Bathroom teams are planning to cast two concrete counters and one concrete sink this session. Interior group is working hard on interior finishes and will start on interior built-ins next week. Exterior group is wrapping up on steel cladding and will move to reclaimed barn wood cladding this session. Patio group is finalizing the slat details and will cast the concrete fire pit. After a year of planning and hard-work, it is surreal that our objects of affection, the cabins, are coming into form.

johnny sun tanJohnny getting his tan on.

cam plasteringsam plasteringCam and Sam, our mudding masters at work.

ryanRyan snoozing working on the Monument Valley bunk bed.

dan+arronArron and Dan, Rock the Catspaw.

Kathryn and BeccaBecca and Kathryn testing the latest Bluff fashion, drywall mud clothing.

Angle BracketLastly, a gift from our saving angel, custom shelf brackets for our concrete counter and sinks. We are working on similar brackets for Blue Mountain floating benches.


terveiset kylmästä Bluffista

Lời chào từ Bluff,

Pipsa and Linh

Session Three End

As we began session three, we had come to the realization that we had fallen somewhat behind. In previous posts, we have discussed equipment malfunctions, minor setbacks, and material miscalculations. As the session progressed, adjustments to our schedule were made in an attempt to get back on track. In most cases, this would be a huge source of stress; however, we took these setbacks as a challenge, and made up for several days of lost time throughout the session. In fact, it is safe to say that much fun was had by the end of session three.


Today, we installed the concrete sink and counter top. A team of six was required to lift the sink, and as many as eight were working to get the sink through the door, and set in place. Although the labor was intensive, and the process to install was difficult, the results were astounding!



Exterior cladding continued today, and a rhythm has been established throughout the cladding installation team. Progress has increased from one half of a wall per day, to over 1.5 walls per day, and now we have two cabins, with all major walls completely clad in weathered steel.




Drywall in Monument Valley was completed today with the exception of some additional mudding and sanding. With that, attention turned to Blue Mountain, and significant progress was made as the ceiling and east wall have been completed.




It is fair to say that this session has presented significant challenges for the group. However, it is also fair to say that these challenges were met with extreme diligence, hard work, and ingenuity. Ending this session on a positive note only makes us eager to begin working in session four.


We will leave you with this lovely sunset!






~Arron & Johnny


Wednesday, Session 3, Week 3

Wednesday saw much progress and excitement for the productivity our “early morning” week and extended hours has afforded us.  Though everyone is a little more tired than usual, the quality and quantity of our work has kept the group in high spirits, almost racing to the site each day to get just that much further with our design (and to waste the first 5 minutes on site staring in awe at our cladding.)  Speaking of cladding, the crew, lead by Zane, has been exceptionally diligent making sure each and every piece is designed, cut, and folded properly before being bolted to the furring strips.

Cladding crew discussing window detailing

Cladding crew discussing window detailing

Dan and Arron cutting steel cladding pieces

Dan and Arron cutting steel cladding pieces

Detailing has been a huge driving force in both cabins and cladding is no exception.  Much thought was given to how the metal sheets would come together, giving us some amazing moments on the exterior finish.

Corner steel and bolt detail

Corner steel and bolt detail

Meanwhile, the interior team has been hard at work hanging drywall and finally creating the spaces we have imagined for so long.  In Monument Valley, Ryan took on the task of sheathing both beds, including the lit cubby holes that the interior and electrical teams collaborated on to create what we hope will be some wonderful details.  The ladder to the loft was further developed, channels were utilized to provide a small reveal at the base of the walls, and everybody who had even a few minutes of free time jumped onto the team to help the mudding and taping.  Though we always knew we wanted to pursue trimless window frames, it took several tries and lots of blocking to see that detail come to fruition, however we soon all agreed it was worth the effort.

Cam mudding drywall joints and screw holes

Cam mudding drywall joints and screw holes

Pipsa and Johnny spent much of the afternoon dropping the ceiling in the bathroom of Monument Valley to make the space more comfortable and to make room for the rain shower fixture which Pipsa specified.

Dropped ceiling in Monument Valley

Dropped ceiling in Monument Valley

After slaving away for weeks, Johnny was finally able to see the fruits of his labors as he took of the formwork of the dual kitchen/bathroom sink.  It looks amazing and everybody is very excited to place it in the wall though is probably weighs 600 pounds or so and will take a huge group effort to move without damaging it or ourselves.

Jonny removing the formwork from Blue Mountain's double sink

Jonny removing the formwork from Blue Mountain’s double sink

By the end of the day, Linh and Sam had the entirety of Blue Mountain insulated so drywall can start being installed, Jason had thresholds for the bathrooms fabricated, and Coop had made great headway with the shower mixers, all of which needed customized holders.  All in all, we left site in high spirits and came home to some awesome chili courtesy of Matt and Robin!


Kathryn and Becca

Session 3: End of Week 2

Saturday on site was a big working day for the cabins. The insulation blower was fixed and allowed for a much cleaner work site compared to the day before where we manually had to put insulation in the walls. By the end of the day, the blower worked out so well that we were able to complete over 90% insulation on Monument Valley Cabin. In addition to the insulation being blown-in, drywall was screwed to the ceiling to Monument Valley. Plumbing team also made progress, with passing their first of four air pressure test. No leaks makes for a happy student plumber!
On Blue Mountain Cabin, cladding team was preparing the weathered steel sheets. By mid-day, the first sheet went up which was such a pleasure to see! Our exterior vision of the cabins, at that moment, came to life. The treated material and the horizontal layout of the sheets united the Navajo landscape and the Design Build Bluff cabins together in a way that gives respect to the culture and new age of translating architecture.
Kitchen team also poured the complicated design for Blue Mountain sink after 7+ mock-ups.  Johnny, lead of Kitchen team, carefully managed the pour as 4 team members manually hammered the formwork to get rid of air bubbles.  The smallest of this year’s team members proudly put her stature to good use, as she was the only one who could fit under the formwork comfortably to hammer from below.
Last Monday, Sam, Matt, and Cam met with our client, Martha and 2 members of the council to give an update on the design.  A few weeks prior, some of the members mentioned some concern on how close the fire pit was to the wall, so patio team presented some new ideas to relieve their concerns. The conclusion was to go with a propane-fueled fire pit.  Electrical team had presented the lighting fixtures that were going in, and the council expressed excitement for the fixtures and what other designs the DBB team has to offer.
By the end of the work day, smiles and accomplished were upon us all.
The whole group came together to hand insulate the walls after the fiasco

The whole group came together to hand insulate the walls after the set-back.

14 - 814 - 714 - 6

Matt & Robin cleaning the blower before cleaning themselves at the end of the day.

Matt & Robin, covered in insulation at the end of the day, setting priorities straight and cleaning the blower instead.

Plumbing test! Psi stayed at 52 after a 30min test.

Plumbing test. PSI stayed at 52 after a 30min test.

Cladding team weathering the steel

Cladding team weathering the steel




- C&C [Coop & Cam]

We love insulating!

We love insulating!



The Last Week of Session 3 is Under Way

Seth continues to weather more and more steel panels on site.

Seth continues to weather more and more steel panels on site.

With all of the insulation fully installed on Monument Valley, we have begun applying the sheetrock and it is about 60% complete. It is exciting to see a new layer of the ceilings and walls being applied which further create a unique sense of space within these tiny cabins. Once the sheetrock is fully installed on Monument Valley, we will shift our attention to finishing the insulation for Blue Mountain.

Matt, Robin and Johnny lift sheetrock into place in Monument Valley Cabin.

Matt, Robin and Johnny lift sheetrock into place in Monument Valley Cabin.

Matt and Becca installing an aluminum F channel.

Matt and Becca installing an aluminum F channel.



Cladding team has been working exceptionally hard weathering the steel sheets and applying them to Blue Mountain. 2/3 of the west wall  is cladded and we are now starting to get a glimpse of how incredible these cabins will look on the outside. Cladding team aims to have six facades fully cladded in the weathered steel by the end of session and are off to a good start!

A group of students hold a piece of weathered carbon steel cladding in place.

A group of students hold a piece of weathered carbon steel cladding in place.

Students level a piece of weathered carbon steel cladding on Blue Mountain Cabin.

Students level a piece of weathered carbon steel cladding on Blue Mountain Cabin.


Arron cutting a piece of cladding at our metal cutting and bending station.

Arron cutting a piece of cladding at our metal cutting and bending station.

Seth has the steel weathering down to a science!

Seth has the steel weathering down to a science!

Finishing touches are being applied to the roofs and they are almost (99%) completely waterproofed. Bathroom and plumbing teams have been busy grinding the bathroom floors, finishing the rough plumbing (with pressure tests) and prepping the bathroom walls for wood cladding and cement board installation. Johnny, our kitchen lead, has also led the pour of our double sink for Blue Mountain Cabin on site over the weekend with the help of four other students and Atsushi.


Sam finishes adhering the EPDM to Blue Mountain's roof.

Sam finishes adhering the EPDM to Blue Mountain’s roof.

Exterior cladding on Blue Mountain Cabin

Exterior cladding on Blue Mountain Cabin


We all look forward to using extended work hours this week to end session 3 strong and on schedule before a week break and our final 3 week session in November.


Ryan & Dan

Session 3 Week 2 END!!!



As assumed there have been some further set backs such as the blower for the insulation breaking and tools just dying on us. Fortunately, Dan and I were able to take the blower back today and have San Juan Building Supply fix the broken switch so we have a blower again!!! Other than that, cladding screws came in so tomorrow we will be attaching the exterior steel cladding, starting to attach drywall and finish insulating the Blue Mountain Cabin. Next week is going to be a long one with extended work hours, but our goals are to have cladding and drywall complete by the end of the session. Arron and Robin got the decking for Blue Mountain Cabin finished and Johnny has made great headway with figuring out and prototyping our concrete sinks and counters; these pours are scheduled for tomorrow morning! Pipsa was excited today to see her beautiful brushed nickel bathroom fixtures come in (and if I may say so, the over head shower head looks awesome!). As much as we have left to do, we feel like it is coming together so fast. Sooner than we know it, we will be handing keys over to Mexican Water Chapter and this chapter of our lives will be complete. Until then, there is still work to do, fixtures to be installed and cladding to be put up.


“Always Try, Never Regret”


IMG_0636Becca and Pipsa moving aluminum for flashing.IMG_0635Johnny hard at work mocking up the counter tops and sink, Atsushi mixing concrete.IMG_0643 IMG_0642  IMG_0640Matt and Dan blowing in insulation. IMG_0639 IMG_0638Sam loading loose fill fiber insulation into the blower. IMG_0637


This week, we have gotten a lot done, solved some problems and come together to make sure we stay on task and keep with our schedule. Even though we have come across some technical problems, we have figured out how to make it work.


For now this is Jason J-Bird Patel And Sam Palmer-Dwore The Raptor signing off, have a great weekend!



Mid-Week Progess and Setbacks

With so much happening at the same time, this session has seemed to go by so fast. This week alone windows and electrical were completed, many of the furring strips went up for exterior cladding, and multiple other details have started.

Our project contains ten windows and one skylight between the two cabins. At last check, that is the most any DesignBuildBluff project has had. Needless to say, the windows bring in a lot of natural light and create great framed views to the exterior, but the quantity also provided a lot of challenges. Custom flashing was needed for all windows that didn’t already have nailing flanges. Also, some of our rough openings were a little too tight for some windows which took quite a bit of time and adjustments to fix. All in all, after the flex flashing, silicone, spray foam, and nails had flown, all the windows are installed and are ready to withstand the harsh Utah climate.

Within the next few days our goal is to complete the blown-in insulation, finish the furring strips, and begin putting up pieces of the weathered steel cladding.


Zane completing window sealing.



Exterior view of Monument Valley Bunk window.



Arron completing the patio deck for Blue Mountain.





Atsushi cutting windows out with a steel saw. IMG_7590

Blue Mountain bed platform sunrise window.


Stay tuned for big changes and the transformation that is to come!


-Seth and Zane

First day of Cladding

After a semester of planning, mock-ups,and many trial and errors, our team is excited to finally get started on exterior cladding. While Seth was busy weathering the steel panels, another team started on putting up the furring strips on the exterior walls. As much as our team tried to prepare for the cladding process, we still discovered many details that will need to be re-examined as we proceed. We have realized that our group is interdependent on one another in order to complete our individual tasks. Patio and exterior cladding teams are working hard to coordinate the planned details. Electrical and plumbing teams are coordinating with wall and interior finishes in order to complete their goals by the deadline. It is a critical session for us as exterior cladding and dry walls are expected to be 100% done by the end of the month in order for our project to move forward. As a team, we are both excited and cautious for the days ahead.

pipsa + furring

Pipsa laying out furring strips and establishing a nailing pattern for the metal panels.


C:UsersLinhDocumentsMonumentValley_MasterFile_10.14.14 - She

Cladding Details

Seth weathering steel

Our weathering master at work.

Johnny mixing concrete

Johnny testing our 4th sample of concrete. He is very protective over it.

cam + patio

Johnny, Cam, Robin and Jason finishing the last patio detail in order for cladding to go up.

MV interior

Monument Valley Interior.

BM interior

Blue Mountain Interior.


Greeting from Bluff with love.

- Pipsa & Linh


Weekend Update with Becca and Kathryn

Steel cladding being weathered

By the end of last week the students were working hard to get closer to their weekly goals. A few hiccups have stalled a number of teams, but have given us an opportunity to learn how to be better prepared in the future. What started as a standard material run escalated into a plumbing lesson for Becca, Pipsa, and Coop since the size of the water heater we intended to use isn’t ideal for the gallons per minute we’re anticipating, and budgetary restrains prevent us from purchasing a new water heater. Our client, Martha, stopped by the cabins to have a discussion with our electrical team about planning for wireless internet and a TV in both cabins.

Our personal highlight from last week was Thursday night school with Johnny, who taught us the methodical art of calligraphy! Blue Mountain patio is starting to take shape this week as Arron and Robin have finished planing and treating our decking beautifully. The bed framing in Blue Mountain is well on its way, too. Monument Valley is also coming along; the bunk bed has been framed, complete with built-in cubby holes, for which our electrical team has already wired lighting and outlet details. Although one of Monument Valley’s windows was discovered to be unusable, our windows team was able to use an extra window with the same dimensions as two others in the cabin, and what seemed like a time-wasting disappointment turned out to be a truly satisfactory amendment to the design. Yesterday ended with a brainstorming session on how to keep our beloved fire pit design in Monument Valley while minimizing the risk of fire hazards.

Both cabins moved forward together on Saturday as kitchen team worked hard to complete mockups for the sinks in both cabins and cladding team began washing and weathering steel with coats of vinegar and hydrogen peroxide. Monday both cabins had their electrical work professionally checked after having to rewire multiple wires that had been accidentally compromised by miscellaneous construction work. We’re excited to see how both cabins continue to develop this week with plumbing, HVAC, drywall, and cladding!


Jason and Arron hanging the door for our second means of egress for Monument Valley

The Monument Valley loft

Installing cubby hole lighting in the bunk bed

Window separation

Window Installation


Becca and Kathryn