Saturday, November 12, 2011

Great Room Framing

The wood framing for the Great Room is nearly complete, which included boxing out the five lower windows in the stone wall. I'm sorta glad I didn't stop by the site when the guys were working on this. One run of studs had to follow the rhythm of the brick floor (the first course of which is seen here) and another set of studs had to frame the "random" window openings. Add to this the unforeseen necessity of carving notches into the backs of many of the studs where stones protruded farther than others, and-  well, it was right for me to buy them coffee today.

As a reminder of where these five windows are in the house, here they are from the outside. I also like how the sun rakes the wall at this time of day making each stone stand out.

I didn't realize I framed my vehicle in the next shot. After the stud walls were built against the brick and stone walls, 4x12 beams were set on the four brick columns. These beams support the ceiling joists seen here, as well as the high walls that will support the central skylight.

This space is built like Solomon's Temple: thick exterior walls of masonry, interior walls of wood studs and paneling. Minus the pure gold coating that Solomon put on everything, of course. I couldn't quite get that into my budget.

The Great Room is the jewel of this house. Here all the materials and details seen organized rather loosely everywhere else - brick patterns, steel connectors, wood beams, stud walls - get fixed into order, crystallized into perfect form.

I had a similar feeling looking at the Great Room in this phase as I did the rest of the house: I really like the light coming through all that framing; how sad to have to cover it up with plywood. But I quickly remembered that this covering would just help the central skylight assert itself.

There's a kind of "wrapping" that occurs throughout this space - wall studs line up with floor bricks, as I said, but also ceiling joists line up with these studs, and the skylight wall studs line up with ceiling joists. So there are continuous lines going from the floor to the wall to the ceiling to the skylight, and back around to the floor. Exposed screws in the finish boards will express these lines in the finished house.

The space in the midday sun:

Then of course I had to pay a visit to the new rooftop.

I like the shapes made by the sun shining through the brick screening. That's a nice surprise.

The next two photos are from my first stroll across the top of the stone wall.

The skylight opening is about 10 feet square. I just realized that's a third of the width of the oculus of the Pantheon in Rome, one of my favorite buildings. Not bad for a 1400 square foot house. Well now I have to show a couple pictures of the Pantheon. Might as well. There are some essential similarities to my Great Room.

And yes, in these last two photos you are getting glimpses of the joists of the porch roof... Next post.


  1. Chris, the house looks great and your narrative of the process is really useful. I have to say, if I bring Bay out there she is likely to assume you included the big stone wall as a climbing feature for her.

  2. Bay would be mistaken; I included the big stone wall as a climbing feature for ME. But I guess I can share.