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.
At this moment (March-July 2021) wood prices have gone through the roof. And since our houses are wooden houses, it has consequences for our business, and maybe for you as a consumer as well. Why did prices go up, and by how much? And when will they go down again? Why did prices go up? To be honest we don’t know exactly why prices went up. Supply and demand, that’s all we know.
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? Yes, solid wooden logs do crack (laminated logs do not!
When we rebuild our website we lost quite some content. A post about a house that we built last year in St. Jean d’Aulps (just 10 minutes North of Morzine) also disappeared in cyberspace, so now we place it again. Although it looks like a log house, this actually is a panel house. We built the wooden part, a local contractor did the concrete foundation (but we supplied the windows that went into the concrete part).
And another photo of unloading, and this time the rain had just stopped. Our client watched while we were busy with panels and trucks and a crane, and she took a photo. Look at the reflection. You don’t need a fancy camera to see the beauty of reflections.
Right after we wrote something about building sites and mud, we start with another project in the polder. And guess what… rain with the first truck. At least we got some nice photos, taken by our client. Our men were less enthousiastic. Minus twenty degrees Celcius is ok for them, but water… At least next week will be better.
Not all building sites are easily accessible. Some are in the mountains and the trucks have to make tight U-turns as they climb the mountain, other building sites have no roads at all and we have to unload somewhere else and bring our building materials with some flatbed car behind a tractor. And then there are building sites that have something that looks like a road, only it isn’t. It looks like road but it’s all covered in mud and you have no idea where the asphalt ends.
Since our factories are in Lithuania, and our clients mostly in France and The Netherlands, we travel a lot. And we jump from one culture to the other, and we never notice. Except, every now and then, we feel a difference, like yesterday. We had had a meeting in the Nort-East of Lithuania, five kilometers from Belorussia. Russia itself starts fifty kilometers further and from there it is Russia all the way until Vladivostok, next to North-Korea.
We started with this project end of August, and now we are two weeks down the road: walls ready, rafter are on the roof. Our engineers decided that they needed a really serious beam at the top of the roof, serious as in: more than 300 kilo, not something that you just lift and place on top. Here comes a crane again…
Building houses is nice, but mud is not. And when we build, there is always mud. Even worse is building in the rain. If it rains we go sit inside. But then you want a cup of coffee. So you have to go outside again, to get water, through the mud in the rain… Naja, tomorrow will be better.
Building a new house takes ages. Years, literally. Buying a plot, making a design, asking for permissions, changing the design, waiting, changing a bit more, waiting a little longer. And all the time you are mentally busy, but physically you can do nothing, except wait. Just wait. But some clients can’t wait. They start with the garden. Grass, trees, hedges. And why not… We can tell you why not: because in a minute we will show up with our fifteen ton crane and turn your garden into a wasteland.