A House In A Field

Driveway Light




Annual mowing of the field…


“What the heck happened to you guys?”

We’ve received more than a couple of emails along this line over the last few months.  After two years of steadily posting every discussion, debate and 2×6 — a few of you thought we fell off the planet.

To be fair, some of that was planned.  We always thought that it would be fun to record the construction of a “house,” but felt it should stop when that house became a “home.”  (And lets face it, everyday life is far less interesting than major construction and just as messy.)


One of our many co-habitants on Dash Landing

But given that we still haven’t pulled the assets off the site for our Blurb book, we decided to “renew our lease” with WordPress for a bit longer.  And with our one-year anniversary of Dash Landing this week, it seemed like a perfect time to fire up the blog.

Our first year has been almost uneventful :

  • Yes, we had some “settling.”  Our contractor, our architect, the trades all warned us that we’d see gapping between baseboards and walls, a few drywall ripples, etc.  But honestly, it was a lot less than we were expecting.  There’s only one spot that’ll need a touch-up of any magnitude.
  • We’ve (almost) finished the workshop above the garage.  We’ll post photos shortly.
  • Speaking of photos, we had a big photoshoot here a few weeks ago.  The photographer was Rob Karosis.  The images look great and we’ve heard that they’ll be in a few magazines coming up.  (We can’t post them — sorry.)
  • The single most eventful issue we’ve experienced was a broken valve in the basement.  Long story short : one of us was out-of-town for a meeting, the other doing errands.  All of a sudden, our cell phones started going crazy with alarms — water in the basement.  Turns out that a $5 valve on our well pressure tank split.  Water spraying EVERYWHERE.  The installer said that he had never seen it happen in 20+ years of installing wells.  The moral of the story?  A water sensor alarm in your basement can be a lifesaver.  Without that warning, we would have had a disaster.  The other moral is that it pays to stay on good terms with your trades.  Within two hours of making the call, our plumber, our well driller, our geothermal and our water treatment guys were ALL on site.  Each wanted to make sure that everything was kosher.

We’ve got a big backlog of photos that we’ll queue up to post.  And as always, if people have questions about materials — drop us a note.

Sunset on the Landing.

Sunset on the Landing.



Overhead Shot

Math is your heating friend.

_SMF0553-EditAfter “who designed your house?” and “who picked the colors?” the third question that we’re invariably asked about Dash Landing runs along these lines — “How’s the heat bill?

After receiving today’s Central Maine Power bill (Greeting Comrades!), the answer is “pretty good.”  We think…

The geothermal expense comes through our electrical bill.  This makes it pretty tough to separate from normal lighting, power consumption, etc., but we’re starting to see enough of a pattern to get a sense of performance.  Here are the bills for the first three months of occupancy — and again, this is all heating, hot water and normal use :

February : $302

January : $291

December $331

The engineering estimates for heat varied from about $750 to $850 a year.  Consider that our electrical bills on Flying Point Road were $175 to $200 a month with oil heat.   A little back of the envelope ciphering and it looks like the estimates were right on — maybe even a little high, especially considering that this has been an especially cold winter in Maine.  (1400 degree days vs. a more typical 1200)

We shared the news with the group today.  And the best quote came back from our geothermal person, Dave Leonard :
I have seen this performance in any of the current ” best practice” builds.  Modeling and following the directions, surprisingly, works…kudos to the team.
Math is a magical thing.

The First 90 Days.

wpid3135-SMF2652.jpgWe realized last night that we’ve now been in Dash Landing for 90 days.

And according to a lot of smart people that’s the best time to sit down to “reflect” on a new project.  Take stock.  Assess outcomes.

So here’s where we stand :

  • Every time the roof unloads at 4:00am (yes, it’s always 4:00am), we’re glad we spent the extra time planning how the various roof lines and entrances would intersect.   The amount and velocity of snow coming off the metal roof is nothing short of awe-inspiring.  The whole house shudders and it sounds like we’re living under the “L” during rush hour.  And we’re glad we don’t have to shovel it.
  • Knock on wood — the forced air geothermal heating system is working out just fine, thank you.  This will go down as one of Maine’s colder winters in recent memory and the house has been always been toasty.  The initial engineering estimates put the annual heating / hot water costs at $810.  It’s tough verifying that number because it flows through our electrical bill, but by using our Flying Point Road electrical bill and doing a little math, we think we’re in the right neighborhood.
  • The walkway between the garage and the house is a non-issue.  It’s one thing to ask Rob to separate the house and garage to keep the overall “scale” down, it’s another to realize that you’re now going to have to walk outside every morning to get into the car — nevermind the fact that you’re going to have to always use an entry key.   But we’ve grown to like the walkway and a keyless entry pad makes life infinitely easier.  The only small downside is that the snow on the cars in the garage never melts.  And we’re going to have to insulate the upstairs workshop sooner rather than later.  (Someone here gets a little whiney about a 20 degree workshop…)
  • We’ll need to adjust one of the curbstones that lead to the house.  Looks great and just the right height, but it’s directly under the walkway roof drip line.  Frozen stone + constant water = slippery.  We think if we just tip it up enough for the water to drain, it’ll solve the problem next winter.
  • The sliding door in front of the laundry area was a huge improvement.  We should have made the change earlier.
  • We’ve got  settling.  Everyone was quick to prepare us for it, so it hasn’t been a surprise.  Cabinets, counters, moldings, etc. — joints and caulking are opening up just a bit.  We’ll wait until the summer and fix everything all at once.
  • Driveway sensor.  Who knew that such a small thing would be so nice?  One of our design requirements for Rob was that we wanted to see people coming into the driveway.  (Not possible on Flying Point Road)  He delivered on that request, but another friend also suggested a driveway sensor.  It’s buried next to the driveway, connects to the security system and chimes whenever a vehicle goes by.  Awesome.  And don’t get us started on the dog shower / shoe drainer.
  • We’re not big entertainers and our holidays tend to be spent at Sugarloaf.  But we’ve been having a few old friends over to dinner and the house really entertains well.  The relationship of the entry, the kitchen and the dining area is just about perfect.  And the bedroom and office are far enough away that we don’t worry about cleaning them.

Bottom line – Couldn’t be happier.


Snow leads to fire.

Another snowy night here in Maine.   We celebrated with a walk around the neighborhood and the first fire on Dash Landing.





Snow in the field.



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