Palladian Floor Spring Progress

Page 21
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Spring Progress
May 27th, 2007
May was an exceptionally productive month. Beautiful hardwood and tile floors were installed in every room in the new house. Exterior trim started to adorn the windows and eaves. Simpson MDF interior doors arrived and a few were installed in the basement. Crown molding, baseboards and chair rail soon followed. The garden pathways grew from a single pink surveyors's string to a geometric design that spanned the front yard. Eighty-eight Colorado Blue Spruce trees replaced acres of lifeless Douglas Fir. Beautiful wild flowers carpeted nearby hills as the forest gradually showed signs of recovery from last July's ferocious Big Creek fire.
Front Yard
Green grass and a new white house stand in stark contrast to blackened, fire killed, Douglas Fir skeletons.
Freshly planted Colorado Blue Spruce trees are a cheerful sight at the beginning of the driveway.
Lavender blooms of Threadleaf Phacelia thrive on burnt, mountain sagebrush, hillsides.
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Palladian Floor
Bill and Alex of Taylor Tile cut and installed a Palladian tile floor in the foyer.

Visit Bill Taylor's Neptune Brewery web site at to purchase his micro-brewery beer made from a Renaissance recipe and fit for the god of the sea, Neptune. Or visit the brewery at 119 North Street in Livingston, Montana.
Call (406)222-7837 for hours.
In 1564 an Italian architect named Andrea Palladio designed a stunningly beautiful tile floor for the San Giorgio Maggiore cathedral in Venice. Although relatively simple, the unique three dimensional design appeared complicated and difficult to build. In Radical Classicism by David Watkin, I discovered a drawing on evenly squared paper, of a section of Palladio's completed floor. I pulled out a piece of ordinary graph paper and started to redraw the intriguing design. Almost instantly the genius of Palladio burst forth as the secrets of his design revealed themselves. Study the photo and you will see the three dimensional aspect of Palladio's design.
Our Simpson MDF doors with raised molding arrive.
A raised gravel rectangle marks the spot of the future greenhouse.
Rich, Chuck and Kim installed Slatwall on the back wall of every closet. Slatwall is widely used for retail clothing store displays. It comes in pre-finished 4 foot by 8 foot long sheets and is symmetrically grooved. Chromed hooks, shelf brackets, clothes rod holders and a wide variety of other accessories easily fit into the grooves. Everything, shelves, closet rods, hooks, etc are adjustable and can be repositioned at will. A man's closet with two clothes rods can easily be converted to a women's closet with one rod. Shelves can be added and removed in seconds. Hooks, baskets and bins can be placed almost anywhere.

We purchased our Slatwall, accessories and clothes hangers from Neil at Gershel Brothers. Neil took exceptionally good care of us. He even replaced a few sheets of Slatwall that were damaged in transit, for no charge.

Call Neil at 800-962-5307 or visit the Gershel Brothers web site at
White Slatwall with a chrome clothes rail holder came from Neil at Gershel Brothers.
A bedroom closet with a Slatwall back.
The front yard garden paths as seen from the upstairs master bedroom window.
Door Trim
Door casing and baseboard trim.
The winters are long and cold in the high mountains of Montana. I whiled away the hours reading books about classical architecture. In my mind I trod the corridors of European palaces and Italian and Polish villas. I studied their rooms, looked at the views from high windows and wandered through their formal gardens. Slowly I learned how the language of classical design helped to create these timeless buildings. Simple geometric shapes are the letters of the Classical alphabet. Combinations of shapes in turn, form words.
Note the various shapes in the three trim pieces to your left. Circles and curves form a rosette. The baseboard and the door casing trim share the half round shape found in the rosette and add more shapes of their own to the composition. Do you find the combination of shapes appealing or even beautiful? What does it say to you?
Classic Trim
A wide variety of shapes are incorporated into Classical trim.
Fine Detail
Note the delicate Acanthus leaves, fine details and beautiful shadow lines in this ceiling light medallion.
May 31st, 2007
Although two wells came with my old house, neither yielded more than one gallon a minute. My neighbors pull from 5 to 30 gallons a minute so there is plenty of water available. Rich recommended Dean Petty of Water Locators. Dean uses a new technology called electro-seismology that has a proven track record. Dean studied the geology of the house site, the previous well driller's reports and then carefully walked the property. He chose two locations and made several test holes around each. Then he detonated small explosions in each hole and recorded the sound waves as they pierced the earth in search of water. When a sound wave hit liquid water, it would induce a small electrical charge, which Dean carefully noted. By the end of the afternoon Dean found two possible drill sites. Two weeks later he gave me a 14 page detailed report and a map for the well driller.

E-mail Dean or call him at (406)556-1957 (office),
(406)580-3372, (cell) or write to him at
PO Box 881, Bozeman, MT 59771
Dean Petty of Water Locators, LLC
Mike Wood prepares a drill hole and
electrical sensors for an explosion.
Seismic Chart
Water is indicated by yellow and red on
this seismic chart.
June 1st, 2007
The fast, efficient and hard working folks from Fridley Concrete in Livingston, formed and poured the greenhouse foundation in just a few days. The front of the future greenhouse will sport a Greek Portico with Ionic columns and double entry doors. Inside will be potting benches, growing tables, a small pond, waterfall and reading chairs. In the rear of the greenhouse I will place a garden storage shed.
Even in the dead of winter the sun is bright in Montana. My previous greenhouse, quickly warmed to 70 degrees Fahrenheit a few hours after sunrise, even when the temperatures outside were sub-zero. I am hoping that this greenhouse will help to shorten the fierce Montana winters and allow me to get a head start on spring planting.
front yard
Under a bright blue sky a concrete pumper truck makes quick work of the greenhouse foundation.
Fresh Concrete
A mono-slab foundation with a porch extension rapidly takes shape.
Skilled Workers
Highly skilled workers put the finishing touches on the mono-slab.
The basement hallway already needs remodeling...
This is the first real house I have ever designed. My only other house building and design projects consisted of a four story tree house when I was 15 and a two story log cabin when I was 18. The tree house was a fun gathering spot for my friends and I. The log cabin I lived in for over 10 years. It was a warm, peaceful and quiet place. I studied my college subjects there, wrote in my journals and went for wonderful hikes in the woods.
I often made mistakes when designing my new house. A drawing on paper is very different than actually building something. One of the mistakes I made was with the pendant lights in the basement hallway. They hung too low and the light pattern was too sharply defined. Fortunately the electricians did not mind doing a little remodeling. They replaced the pendants with domes which evenly and brightly, lighted the hallway. Eventually Kim will add wall panels which should add a sense of rhythm and harmony.
Closet Trim
Look inside the closets and this is the trim you will discover.
Door Jamb
Primary rooms sport pilaster, arch and keystone trim pieces on the outside of the door jamb.
A little peace and quiet is comforting. Too much though makes me lonely. When that happens I simply hop in my Jeep and drive a short 25 miles to Yellowstone National Park. There are thousands of people there. Ironically, peace and quiet are rarely more than a few hundred feet from the road, on any trail that leads to the back country.
I like to mingle with, talk and listen to the tourists while walking along the broad boardwalks throughout the park. I think that the Old Faithful Inn is the best spot for people watching. Folks come from all over the world to see the famous building and geyser. When I tire of people watching, I often hike some of the many trails, surrounding the Inn. Here are a few parting shots from my last sojourn to what is often called "the world's largest log cabin".
Old Faithful Inn
Inside the Old Faithful Inn at Yellowstone National Park.
Inn Lobby
The first floor lobby and massive fireplace in the Old Faithful Inn.
Old Faithful Geyser
The Old Faithful geyser as seen from the Inn's second story balcony.
Old Faithful Geyser
One of the most popular spots in the park!
The Adirondack architectural style lends irresistible warmth and charm to the Old Faithful Inn.
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