On August 21, 2006, Frank Beauchamp, our foundation contractor, broke ground. Because we didn’t have a level spot anywhere near where we wanted the house, he had to do quite a bit of earthmoving to make it level. Basically, he used the existing topsoil to make a big bowl, then filled it with sand from a nearby sandpit. This gives us a level site with good drainage – especially important on a site with a nearly impermeable clay layer a few feet down.
Next, Frank laid out the foundation’s corners and formed and poured the footing. As you can see in the photo, the house has a nearly semicircular shape. We started out designing it 16-sided (nearly round) but wanted to maximize free solar heating during the many cold months here up north, so we flattened the south face and ended up with the shape you see here. One of the great things about working with Frank was that he was completely unfazed by the unusual shape of the foundation.
The white tubes in the back support the wooden posts that will hold up the rear of the roof. The “pads” of concrete inside the footing support the posts that hold up the center of the roof, as well as the second floor loft. The big pad in the middle supports the masonry stove and chimney.
Frank finished all this in a week, then it was time for Clare and I to get to work…