New Home for Ghosts

December 13th, 2007 by Mary Schmelzer

New attic space

The new attic space now has a floor and the framing is finished. The headroom is a little low (7′) for a disco ball but otherwise it could be a party room. We’ve been asked several times if this will be the master bedroom. No, not now. We aren’t installing a regular stairs, and there are no egress windows. In the future it could be finished, but right now we are mighty excited about seeing so much open space to store all the stuff that is currently being stored in three different basements. (Not three full basements, but three very scattered basements. Hence, the excitement about a big open space.) I’m thinking that we’ll be using the attic fairly regularly, so no ghosts should be interested in taking up permanent residence.

Snow and soffits

Did we need a 7′ attic? Not really. It was a bonus from creating the roof pitch which can accept solar panels. Our other design option was to pull the roof down over the second floor windows and block daylight, but we’re counting on passive solar gain through the winter months.

In the above photo you can see that roof overhang. We’ve designed the overhang depth to provide shading in the summer so we don’t need much air conditioning, and to allow the winter sunlight into the windows to warm the house for free. (I can almost feel the ceramic tile where the sun has hit and warmed it up.)

The snow is very pretty, but it has been quite cold. Matt and Gary turned the old gas furnace back on so we wouldn’t have to worry about frozen pipes. (Bonus: the canned tomatoes didn’t have to move to a different basement to avoid bursting.) The old gas furnace has a big crack in it and isn’t safe to spend time with due to carbon monoxide. But, it is keeping the house above freezing.

Hallway framed

The second floor hallway has also been framed. To the right, where the boxes are, is the original stair opening which we’ll reuse. At the top of the stairs is a small open place that the three kids’ bedrooms will open on to. If you climb the ladder, you will enter the attic where the pull-down stairs will be. We opted for a 30″ wide ladder instead of the 24″. This proved to need a design modification since the roof trusses come at 24″ on center, but the truss manufacturer was able to accommodate. Hauling the boxes (from those three basements!) will be easier with a wider stair.

Windows are to arrive yet this week or next. The whole character of the space will change again once there are portals for daylight. The outside should also look less monolithic with windows, and we will be able to gain some heat on sunny days.

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