We had some small outstanding works to be done with a client for whom we built a house about one year ago. Good opportunity to take some photos and put them on our website. And we were lucky because this client had just built himself a wooden terrace. Originally this was a concrete terrace, but wood looks so much better. It sort of places the house on a pedestal.
When in the neighborhood sometimes we drop by older clients, just to say hello, or to regulate a window (which can be necessary in a log house from time to time). So we dropped by this log house that we built some three years ago, and guess what: they turned a muddy plot into a little Valhalla. For those that are familiar with Almere in The Netherlands: in the background is the famous flying saucer house.
Today we started with the assembly of a new log house. This log house is a bit like all the other log houses that we built, except for one thing: solid wood. So far we used laminated logs, i.e. logs that have been cut into 40 millimeter planks, dried, and then glued together. Such “gluelam” logs have some technical advantages: they are physically more stable, they don’t warp or crack, and they can be made in any length.
The Eric & Flo is one of our most popular houses. A strikingly simple and timeless design, and also very powerful from every angle. In 2017 a Dutch client wanted a copy. Now an exact copy was not possible because of the Dutch building regulations and we had to raise the roof by a few centimeters. Also this client installed underfloor heating with a heatpump whereas the original Eric & Flo has no heated floor, not even heat-pump, just a wood burner… But other than that the house is almost identical.
In 2016 we built a house in The Netherlands, but were too busy to put photographs on our website. Better late than never, so here are some photos of this house. Architects design (Edward van der Drift), 190 m2 footprint. This is when we had just handed over the house. The weather was terrible that summer but with some snow everything looks better. We placed bitumen on the roof, our client later added sedum for the green roof.
Previously we wrote about “damp closed or damp tight buildings” and the fact that nowadays almost all utility buildings (offices, hospitals, airports, schools, …) are damp closed, i.e. moisture can not leave the building via the roof or the walls, or even via windows as often such building have no openable windows. Instead all air is refreshed via an air conditioning system that pre-heats incoming air using heat exchangers and heat pumps.
In 2020 we built a house in Denmark, close to Legoland. Appropriately our house was made from wooden logs that you stack together, not too dissimilar from plastic blocks that you stack together. These photos are far from perfect. Made with a phone, we forgot to bring our camera, sorry about that. This was nog a small house. We built it for a Dutch family that emigrated to Denmark some twenty years ago.
In the South of The Netherlands we built the Riethoven house. Designed by the owner himself, this house is both a log house and a panel house: the ground floor is a log house, and then the second floor is a panel house, but constructed in such a way that you can not see the difference. If you would not know any better, you would think it is all logs. The panel construction gave us just that little extra flexibility to meet the demands.
About half our projects are in France, and as a result we travel through France regularly. And for tax purposes our accountant wants us to keep a log of our travels. No problem,we have an app that logs our whereabouts, every now and then it generates a file that keeps the accountant happy. Just for fun we placed the logs on a map. TomTom is our friend, except for those moments where it goes wrong, for instance when TomTom doesn’t know about this small river that we can not wade through.
As for any other type of house, our wooden houses need a foundation. And foundations are a very local thing, in that the actual construction is very much dependant on the local conditions. In the Alps and the Pyrenees you need to drill away rocks until you have a flat surface. In The Netherlands everything is already flat, but usually soggy so that your house will sink and disappear in the mud.
For panel houses we usually take a 10 ton-meter crane, that is: a crane that can lift one tonne over a 10 meter distance. Or 500 kilo’s over a 20 meter distance. For the average house with 6-meter panels that is just enough to lift panels from a truck, swing around and hoist the panel on the foundation. For an average house we need a crane for about three weeks.
We were doing a hand-over inspection of a house that we had finished, and then we saw the electricity box. Very often these boxes are a little ehh… unorganized, to put it kindly. Apparantly the idea is: you close the door, you don’t see it, why bother. But this one was different. Done by an electrician with a little OCD. Very nice!
With temperatures going down in Lithuania, and wind coming from the North-East, usually after a few days the Dutch go skating. And indeed, with Lithuanian temperatures going down to -25 Celcius, the ice started growing in The Netherlands and then the Dutch get into this frenzy where they all hope for the Great Event: the Elfstedentocht. And with Covid-19 the Dutch government did not want to let that happen, twenty thousand people on the ice was not a good idea, but also, they were reluctant to call off an event for which the Dutch had been waiting more than twenty years.
Almost finished: an American barn. More to follow… In Almere in The Netherlands by the way, where something comparable, but bigger, has been built a couple of years ago: the “Rode Donders”.
Last year we built a panel house in St. Jeans d’Aulps, about ten minutes from Morzine in France. And we promised to add some more photo. Here they are. It looks like a log house, but like many houses in the Alps it actually is a panel house. We also have photos from the interior and then the difference is more obvious. We will show you later. The style is very different from our Eric & Flo or the At & Alet, but this house totally fits in it’s environment.
Just handed over to client: a new loghouse in Oosterwold, Netherlands. Inspired by the Eric & Flo, 120 m2 brutto surface.
It is well known that timber from the North is heavier. It grows slower, and it is more dense. Better quality wood. We came back from a business meeting just South of Vilnius and when we drove through a forest, we made this short movie. Nice, made us think of slow growing pine. And then in the evening when we came back from work, we looked at the dashboard and saw the temperature…
We often use larch on the facades of our houses, because it is very weather resistant. Doesn’t rot, needs no maintenance, protects your house for fifty years. But there is one thing about larch that is not to everybodies liking: it turns grey. Some people like the natural greying of larch, because it is natural. But others prefer to keep the original colours, for instance as in this house. We like the greying, but if you want to keep the original yellowish-orange tint of larch, then you must treat the facade with special products.
The Eric & Flo still is, after eight years, the house for which we receive most requests. These photos we received today from our clients in the Lozère. Winter wonderland with a beautiful house…
Log houses and cracks Log houses are built from wooden logs, that is: solid or laminated wooden beams, from eight centimeters thick upto thirty centimeters thick. We usually build our walls twelve or sixteen centimeters thick. Twelve is more than enough for a two-level house, but if you got money to spare then sixteen or twenty centimeters just looks nice. Otherwise there is little difference. But what about cracks?