Our house is a very, very, very fine house...

Our house is a very, very, very fine house... by wonderaz - 2009-03-23 05:15:53
Ahhhh wonder's first blog.
I blame Simon.
This is a house blog. Since I do get asked on occasion about it, I should blog it.
I lived in Sedona for almost 30 years. Nice town, picturesque and all that. Got real ritzy as towns like it do. Aspen, Arizona I call it now.
I have owned a couple of houses in Sedona. The first was a 2 bedroom stucco in the middle of town that I paid the princely sum of $48,000 for... it's worth around $350,000 now. I sold it way back when for $56,000.
When prices started climbing everywhere, I was looking around for someplace interesting but before I knew it, the prices went through the roof. Worse here than most other places. I realized I wasn't going to find anyplace in Sedona that I could afford and like so I headed south.
I put a few places in escrow, good deals but not exactly what I thought I wanted.
Then I found this place.
It's in Cornville, the next town south of Sedona and just downstream on Oak Creek, the creek that actually makes Sedona so spectacular, Oak Creek Canyon and all.
Oak creek meanders through Cornville and at one point makes a long horseshoe. A road called South Aspaas Road (a dutch name I was told, just like Sedona) runs down to the end of that horseshoe. Down there was 20 acres that used for pasture for horses belonging to Georgia Frontier, now deceased, the owner of the LA Rams. A buddy of mine bought the property when she was through with it and divided it up. I had first shot and bought 3 acres at the bottom left of the creek's curve, right across from Little Sugarloaf, a small steep hill that is State Trust land. No one will be building across the creek from me, the last people that did, did so over 800 years ago. Their ruins are on top of the hill and it is protected by state and fed. Yay for me. If you Google it, the map shows a street at the bottom called Oak Bend Dr. That doesn't exist and my property is to the east of it.
My land is 5 sided with the back line to the middle of Oak Creek. We have the best beach for a long ways either direction. Not big but a real beach, sandy with easy egress to the water. Most of the creek around here has a drop off bank. if we walk across the 10 acres in from of our property, we can get in the creek and tube around to the beach, about a 20-25 minute float. Mostly lazy with a few small rapids and beautiful. Sometimes the Great Blue Herons will let you float right past them without flying off.
The land is alluvial silt. Fairly flat and mostly 25+ feet above the creek. This stuff is a nightmare to drive on, worse than sand for bogging down in.
Mesquite trees dominate with a few flowering desert willows along the upper bank of the creek. I wish we had some big cottonwoods but we don't. Grasses grow where the mesquites are thin.

Big Al and I designed the house. The first house was about 3800sf plus garage. Very nice place. Then we decided to also build a smaller house that we could rent out. Theeeeen we decided to design the smaller house first, build it and live in it while we built the big house. And Theeeeen we decided that the big house was ridiculous and incredibly unaffordable and that we would be smart and build the smaller house and be happy in it and forget the bigger house.

The house is 3 bedrooms, 2 1/2 bath, separate kitchen and a combo living/dining room.

None of the bedrooms are big, the master bedroom is only 12.5x16 and the other two are close to that size. We didn't want a big bedroom and the closets are large enough to hold all our clothes so we won't be cluttering the bedroom up with chests of drawers and such.

The master bath has a jacuzzi tub and separate shower and you walk between the walk in closets to get to it.
Another full bath off the living room and a half bath in Little Al's room. There was a shower in her's but I eliminated it to give more room in the kitchen. She is going off to college anyway.
The laundry is off of Little Al's room, basically in the middle of the house. I hate them in the kitchen or garage.

The kitchen is not too large, big enough for the chef though. Large walk in pantry was a must. Big window over the big 3 compartment cast iron sink, custom made (by me) curly maple cabinets with orange marbled resin flagstone counter tops (by me). The counters will also be 3 inches taller than normal.

Living/dining area is around 28x16. Wood burning stove centered between the two on the kitchen side and a foyer off the living room. We already have the dining room table, Alligator Juniper, built it when I had the furniture business.

The front door is going to be trick. Alligator Juniper door, 7 foot by 4 foot at the widest point, hinged top and bottom because the sides of the door are curved/freeform. Reverse jambs in Juniper trunks on either side with the bowed out door hinging in on opposite sides of the hinge point. The natural hole in the center of the door will have a fused glass insert.
I'm already working on that. The wood for the door is cured and slabbed and we start shaping and pinning it this next week.

Floors are marbled slab concrete. Pex lines will be run to heat the floors in the winter. I just got the manifold for that. I also have two 4x8 solar water panels for heating the floor. Only the living, dining kitchen and baths will be heated. The bedrooms will start out marbled slab but will eventually get carpeted. There is no sense in heating a floor that is getting carpeting.

The house is being built out of....

That's a whole nother blog methinks.

Rastra, that's the stuff the house is built with. It's 20% concrete and 80% Styrofoam. the blocks are 15"x10"x120" You can see them best by clicking on this http://www.rastra.com
The Rastra units are stacked and glued with some fierce expanding glue they supply. Rebar is run horizontally and vertically and when grouted, it's one strong wall. Huge R value too.