Near the Finish Line: Landscaping, Kitchen and Pool! It’s Summer — Stacked Barn – Chapter 8

Welcome to The Stacked Barn project where I lead you through a year-long odyssey that I’ve never been on before: the building of a new house. I’m going to show you how my new home gets built – step by step. Chapter Seven is here. This is Chapter eight.

I last reported to you on the very last day of March, so it’s been exactly three months, during which time a few difficult problems, including rain, slowed down the final push. Oh, and it was Memorial Day and the official start of summer so the building community was crazy and stretched, affecting every job.

For these three months I’m going to show you the pictures differently to heighten the change over 90 days. Here we go!

April 1 – July 1

As soon as we passed the last frost, landscaping began quickly, working around the house construction and the pool installation. Over the past 90 days most planting, grass and watering systems are in. The front is waiting for a final pull together as soon as the trucks leave.

Rough building dirt and no topsoil…

Topsoil is in!

Pavers, recycled from rear terrace are in as is the driveway bed…

Only thing missing here is grass and water…

Drive is complete except for stones that go on top of crushed concrete base.

April 1 – July 1

Ground still frozen at times, pool filled with rainwater and ice from the winter and the yard is ungraded with only sandy construction soil visible.

Very quickly grading got done, topsoil dropped and sod laid down. This was another of the very impressive, fast moments.

Here you see the pool has been drained in preparation for finishing, but it’s filled up with pollen droppings from the surrounding trees.

This was one of the most amazing days. On June 3rd these guys showed up early in the morning and by lunchtime they were TOTALLY done applying quick drying marble dust to the interior concrete shell and ta-da! the pool was done. They put garden hoses into it right away and it was full the next morning.

Later that afternoon…

The next weekend we were in!

If you look out the window and only in one direction, everything is perfect. 🙂

The deck is a complicated affair with HEAVY pergola, outdoor shower, planter boxes and space for redwood hot tub.

All the outdoor boxes around the house are planted with three types of lavender that I chose to mix the look, make it less formal and also test which would do best in the environment.

Ultimately, I want the house covered up and hidden behind green, flowers, birds and buzzing bees.

The decking is all Dinesen outdoor planks, the same wood as inside the house. Inside it will be treated with a white, soap based coating, while outside it gets one coat of WOCA preservative and will weather naturally.

April 1 – July 1

One of the inspirations for the whole project are these long, wide planks of Douglas Fir from a company called Dinesen, based in Denmark. Yes, all the wood for the floors and some of the walls and ceilings was shipped from Denmark, but there’s nothing like it in this country.

The Dinesen planks also have their own finishing process, which is common in Scandinavia and consists of a few coats of what they call Lye, which will be required for ongoing maintenance (a fact which may convince many to steer clear).

The Lye finish protects and treats the wood, keeping it from yellowing and hydrating the wood so that nicks and dents disappear.

Fausto, who is an amazing painter, had never used the Dinesen Lye treatment before. He proceeded very slowly and tested extensively before attacking the walls. Nevertheless, he wasn’t happy with his first pass and sanded the wall down to start again.

The master bedroom has the added attraction of a Shaker inspired Wittus stove designed by Antonio Citterio. Citterio is the designer behind many of the elements in the house. Shaker is part of the original inspiration. The combo was a total surprise to me.

Bathrooms have been done and are ready and waiting for the rest of the house to catch up. All bath and kitchen hardware is by Antonio Citterio for Hansgrohe as well.

Installing this stove after the roof had been put on (my fault) slowed us down as we had to cut through the roof, etc… With all that done the upstairs can be completed.

In the past week the upstairs are complete and floors have been sanded.


April 1 – July 1

The kitchen already had all its IKEA cabinets and had been waiting for door panels from SemiHandmade and the Carrera marble countertops to be measured and cut. They’re done!

Oh yes, the hot tub was assembled inside and has been waiting for warmer weather.

The marble was beautifully done by Anthony from Bridgehampton Stone & Mosaic. Each piece runs perfectly into the one next to it. The shelves are mitered to create the thicker profile and hide LED strip lighting along all the fronts.

Outside the kitchen is my hideaway: the Workshop… All that remains of the original garage, it is a fantasy come true. With heat and cooling, it is a snug plywood room with plenty of work surface and storage for building, fixing, artwork and even napping, if necessary.

The Screen around the staircase was another tricky piece of woodwork that had to be figured out. Dinesen planks were replaced here by American Douglas fir pieces that were already cut down to size to prevent warping. After the screen was complete, the walls and ceiling around it could be finished and then the staircase in the last week.

I love this bench area. Its where you’ll take off your shoes, hang up your coat and drop your bag. It was inspired by this house by Rapin Saiz Architects in Switzerland.

April 1 – July 1

A lot of subtle things have happened down here. Look for the walls to be painted, all the storage built-ins completed, lighting AND the last minute addition of a fourth bathroom nearly complete.

Yep, that’s a small stage in the background. It’s the centerpiece of The Plywood Theater, which will consist of stage for theatrical and film productions and a Soda Bar with a neon sign. 🙂

Oh, and there’s laundry and a nice big wine rack.

We used all the remaining tile from the upstairs bathroom down here and didn’t need to buy any more. The pattern was a lot of fun and took hours to work out based on what we had left over.

This will be the Plywood Bar, with a real old soda fountain tap sticking up.


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