Panaramic View Race Against the Weather
Page 27
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Race Against the Weather
September 19th, 2007
The summers are short in the high mountains of Montana so Rich and his crew scramble to get as much outside work done as possible before the first snow starts to fly. This week they started to cut, position and carefully glue porcelain tile onto the GrateDex sheets that are a sub-floor for the library balcony. The same system and pattern will be used on the north portico balcony and all three porch floors.

Wild and farm animals are attracted to the house and can sometimes be a problem. This skunk fell or climbed into the basement window well. I put a board in so he could safely climb out. During the summer a couple of pack rats and a few birds came in through a door left inadvertently open. Cattle from a nearby ranch trampled through our yard this fall.
GrateDex Floor
The library balcony joists are covered with GrateDex sheeting and then tile is glued in place.

Visit the GrateDex web site at to see how you can create beautiful stone and tile covered decks.
Library Balcony A porcelain tile floor is meticulously laid down on the library balcony. Grout is not needed; 1/8 inch spaces are left between the tiles for drainage. Skunk Wild and farm animals are attracted to the new house.
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GrateDex Tile Deck
The library balcony floor nears completion. Note how precisely each diamond tile pattern is centered within its borders and also lines up with the adjoining pattern. Attention to detail is a true sign of craftsmanship.
October 2nd, 2007
Chuck and Shane finished the jigsaw puzzle, library balcony tile floor. Meanwhile we discovered that several of the yellow stone tiles in our three month old foyer floor were cracking. Closer inspection revealed that the installer did not use spacers when piecing the intricate tile shapes together. We reluctantly decided that the best way to deal with these problems was to tear the tile up and start over.
I contacted Drew Goneke at South Cypress Floors, who originally supplied us with Dal porcelain tile for the porticos and balconies, and asked for his advice. He searched diligently for several days and found us the exact right mix of marble and granite tile we needed and at a great price. A few weeks later the tile arrived safely.

Learn more about South Cypress Floors at or call Drew at 800-891-2623.
Foyer Floor
The three month old foyer tile floor is starting to crack and needs replacing.
Wandering Cattle
Cattle from Story ranch break their barbed wire fences and forage aimlessly through the neighbor's yard.
Chuck and Shane finished the library balcony tile floor and then moved on to building driveway retaining walls from pressure treated six by six inch timbers. The walls will stretch for about 300 feet along the driveway and will contain two to three layers of tiered gardens. Eventually I will plant drought resistant perennial flowers in each 8 foot long by 3 foot wide, bed. A few beds will be dedicated to vegetables. That project should keep me busy for many summers! Driveway Retaining Wall
A driveway retaining wall and tiered garden butt against the concrete sub steps for the main entryway.
Mule Deer and first snow October 6th, 2007 - this winters first snow caught this Mule deer by surprise. Tiered Gardens The snow melts as the tiered garden retaining wall grows.
Montana Hall Montana Hall at Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana.

Check out the Montana State University site at:
Go Bobcats!
As long term readers of The Fire Story know, the reason I am building a new house is because the old one was incinerated along with my business Branford Bike and 99% of my worldly possessions by the Big Creek forest fire in July of 2006.
As part of creating a new life, in August of 2007 I enrolled as a non-degree graduate student at Montana State University at Bozeman. Two months into my first semester I am enjoying college life immensely. It is a privilege and an honor to be back in college and surrounded by people who are pursuing and creating knowledge.
MSU Cafeteria Lunch time at the MSU cafeteria in the Student Union building. Roberts Hall, MSU Classical, polished stone steps grace the main entrance of Roberts Hall.
MSU Campus A late autumn view across a quadrangle and towards Gaines Hall. Streamline Bus, MSU Quaint, vintage reproduction busses carry students, townspeople and bicycles to all parts of Bozeman.
October 25th, 2007
Aaron and Justin, the team who framed the house, garage and patiently installed tile roofs on both, are back to frame the greenhouse. Actually an atrium, the greenhouse will have a raised glass roof, potting benches, a wading type pool to store the sun's warming rays and a pleasant nook to read, watch TV or share a cup of tea and cookies with friends. A small, enclosed storage area in the back of the atrium will open to a narrow driveway that will loop around the horseshoe court and connect to the garden paths.
Greenhouse Aaron and Justin start to frame the greenhouse.
Tiered Gardens
The tiered gardens wind their way from the North Portico and around the front of the house, to the South Portico or Library balcony.
Tiered Gardens
The tiered gardens grow from the North Portico steps towards the front of the driveway and the road.
October 26th, 2007
The weather remains surprisingly warm and allows Rich and his crew to make tremendous progress. The tiered gardens spread over 300 feet from the South Portico to the North Portico and the Park Electric transformer box. Aaron and Justin have the atrium partially framed. A new driveway drain was installed. Kim finished trimming the library and moved onto the second floor bedroom. Meanwhile, Joe continued his magic by painting more columns and a seemingly, never ending supply of trim.
Completed Tiered Gardens The late autumn sun glimmers off the first floor windows.
Atrium A tiered vegetable garden will eventually grace the eastern slope of the atrium and separate it from the horseshoe court Garden Gazebos Marble balusters and railings for Greek Temples, also known as garden gazebos, sit in the front yard.
Painting Studio of Joe Fay Joe Fay continued his magic by painting more columns and a seemingly, never ending supply of trim.
Visit Joe Fay's art web site by clicking on the underlined text.
Moonrise over the Absaroka Mountains Moonrise over the Absaroka mountains.
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2,500 Years of Architectural Inspiration

Tim's Life
Main Table of Contents

Branford Bike
Fire Story
Table of Contents

Page 28
Searching for Beauty