Shame on me! Letting a promising blog die on the vine is so tacky. It may be common as hell but but still tacky. 10 months between posts is a bit much. So now what? Give in to inertia or fight to get back on track with a new post or two. I'm going to keep at it (NOT DEAD YET) and try and resurrect my smarterthanthewood thought stream So here goes...
As a designing builder my focus is usually on the next new home but occasionally a small side project comes along that provides a real creative challenge. The opportunity to do something we haven't tried before gives that project a little more buzz than it's size might typically impart. We got a chance to design and build that 'new thing' earlier this Summer in what I will call an estate entry for lack of a better description. The owners of a home we had finished a couple years earlier had been wanting a way finish off their project with a more formal property entrance. We were between new homes at the time so I jumped at the challenge of creating this new grand entrance to their place.
Most of the construction here in the Methow Valley is in the rustic mountain lodge or western ranch vernacular. Typical driveway entry's are modeled in the old west working ranch style. Two log posts with a horizontal log across their tops and maybe a 'Bar S Ranch' type sign hanging from it. In that this home is in a slightly more developed neighborhood of 5 acre ranchettes with irrigated pastures we wanted to do something a little more refined without being stuffy. Our design started with a truncated base of concrete and river rock supporting a pair of columns, each made up of four 8x8 posts, one on each side of the drive. A larger 6x12 horizontal beam tied the two columns together fifteen feet in the air. It looked good on paper but a little ordinary to my eye. Drawing on a design element we had used on the exterior of the home, I converted the horizontal beam into a gable truss to mimic the homes primary entry detail. When I showed the two options to the owners they immediately chose the enhanced version.
|Chief Architect rendering|
|Massive steel tiedowns embedded in concrete|
|Beam truss ready to set|
Using only kiln dry FHC (free of heart center) fir to minimize wood movement and shrinkage, we then fabricated the beam truss and vertical posts. With the custom steel tiedowns firmly embedded in the masonry bases we created a 4 post 'sandwich' support for each end of the horizontal truss. A crane was then able to set the finishing touch across the drive entry.
|Completing the picture|