One of the most interesting outcomes for me in the process of designing and building a house, has been the learning that there is so much that you don’t see, not only behind the scenes, but underneath them. And what remains unseen, is as important, if not more important, than that which is visible. Such is building and such is life.
I now understand more fully, the expression, ‘from the ground up’; and that what stands firmly on the land is only as good as the foundation it rests upon. For our project, while I know very little about house construction, I have made a conscious choice to learn as much as possible about every aspect and to participate hands on, every chance I get. And while I have always appreciated those in the construction industry, I now have a new found respect for all those involved.
Because we started with raw land (there was a dug well onsite, and hydro at the main road), we had to clear trees in order to create a space to build. We intentionally chose not to clear a swath of land, but to measure our footprint and take only what was necessary. We carved out an access road to the house site, procured the necessary services to have water drawn up from the well (this will be our back up water supply to our rain water system), and organized power to be brought from the road onto the site. Today, underneath the ground we walk on, is a maze of trenches, pipes, and cables, winding their way to our new house, providing some basic and much appreciated services. Where there were once trees (don’t worry, we have lots left), there is now a hole, a carved space poised to receive the foundation that will hold up what’s built, and where we will hold each other up, as our lives move forward.
In life, a foundation represents stability, the base on which our strength is forged. It’s that solid platform on which we stand, hold steadfast our beliefs, bear the weight of what’s heavy; it’s our safe place to land. House building is similar. Everything rises from the foundation; a firm land base on which concrete footings and walls bear the weight of the building and the brunt of the build.
This week I watched with anticipation, as more than 30 meters of concrete poured from a height into formed wooden frames while a skilled team of five, coaxed it into place, smoothed it out, and helped it settle into a permanent place hold. And just like that, in less than a few hours, the shape of what’s to come was set in stone. I marveled at what would soon be buried, sitting silently in its own strength, ready and willing to take on the weight of our lives in the home of our dreams.