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Building the Maxon House: Week 26

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In our latest Backstory series, Seattleite Lou Maxon recounts the thrills and trials of ditching the suburbs, buying property, and designing and building a modern house with Tom Kundig of Olson Kundig Architects. Week 26: Overview and Intermission

Six and a half months ago I introduced the Dwell audience to our project. Time flies. Four years ago we purchased land and the crazy journey began. In 26 weekly installments I've shared the good, the bad and the ugly with you in the hope that it inspires you to go and take a chance on that project you've always been dreaming of, whether it be a room remodel, house remodel, or a full-on start-from-scratch dream project.

This post and slideshow signifies the end of the first half of the series. It's a chance for me to step away and take a break from the weekly blog, and celebrate the milestone of finally receiving our building permit—and a chance for you to go back and read some of the past posts to catch up with our story. There's been a lot of photos shared, some behind-the-scenes video sneak-peeks into the project, some fun interviews with the different players involved and lots of heart-on-the-sleeve commentary from the trenches on what it takes to take on a project of this scale. I've enjoyed the comments (most of them) and questions. We've had a great number of Dwell readers continue to the conversation on our Facebook page and many visit the website for the documentary film series.

Both online platforms will continue and the Facebook page is a great way to stay connected to the project. During our halftime intermission we will be securing the final details of our construction loan, helping our kids transition into the school year and generally just taking a big sigh of relief as four years for us of preparation, permits, surveys, drawings, concepts, revisions, clearing, thinning, mitigation, wetland reviews, drainage studies, geotechnical drilling, hiccups, pleasant surprises and more have resulted in the end goal of getting the designs approved and green-lighted for the second half of the project: construction.

The Dwell editors have promised to let me come come back and share more stories when we break ground on the house. What took us four years to to achieve you've experienced at light speed in just 26 weeks. I encourage fans of the project to reach out via Facebook; we are more than happy to field questions and share further details about our project. Although we cannot promise to answer every question we will do our best.

I look forward to the moment that we can visually walk you through the finished project. Thank you all for the opportunity to share our story. We hope we've inspired some to take the plunge and others to start thinking about their own modern dreams.
 
Cheers!
Maxon Family
 

  • 
  A sneak peak down the road en route to the future home site. The experience of entering the property and the thinning and forestry work has been carefully planned and executed over the past four years. The goal of the final residence is to virtually disappear in the landscape. The materials of the house are inspired by nature's palette.
    A sneak peak down the road en route to the future home site. The experience of entering the property and the thinning and forestry work has been carefully planned and executed over the past four years. The goal of the final residence is to virtually disappear in the landscape. The materials of the house are inspired by nature's palette.
  • 
  Before the big machinery could do their magic their path was covered in recycled rocks to minimize disturbance to the site. Here, a low-perspective shot looking at the road to the future well site.
    Before the big machinery could do their magic their path was covered in recycled rocks to minimize disturbance to the site. Here, a low-perspective shot looking at the road to the future well site.
  • 
  Machinery takes an evening rest on the newly created road. "Breaking ground" is a little deceiving since we've been breaking ground for awhile. A lot of work has to be done before the actual house is under way.
    Machinery takes an evening rest on the newly created road. "Breaking ground" is a little deceiving since we've been breaking ground for awhile. A lot of work has to be done before the actual house is under way.
  • 
  The entrance to the site has evolved since our first visit before we purchased. There is still much to do in terms of the experience entering the property and mounting of the final Maxon House signage and address, but it's a start.
    The entrance to the site has evolved since our first visit before we purchased. There is still much to do in terms of the experience entering the property and mounting of the final Maxon House signage and address, but it's a start.
  • 
  Some site construction and clean-up in preparation for the drilling of the well.
    Some site construction and clean-up in preparation for the drilling of the well.
  • 
  Service trucks enter the site. We've become good friends with many of the contractors and sub contractors so far in the process and its been great to assemble a talented crew of individuals with varied specialties who are passionate about helping us realize the vision for our project. You spend a considerable amount of time with everyone so it's important to pick people you can collaborate with and get along with.
    Service trucks enter the site. We've become good friends with many of the contractors and sub contractors so far in the process and its been great to assemble a talented crew of individuals with varied specialties who are passionate about helping us realize the vision for our project. You spend a considerable amount of time with everyone so it's important to pick people you can collaborate with and get along with.
  • 
  Sneak peak at the view from the living and entertaining area of the house which cantilevers over the towards the valley views beyond.
    Sneak peak at the view from the living and entertaining area of the house which cantilevers over the towards the valley views beyond.
  • 
  A close up slice of the final entrance signage made of cor-ten steel and cut out lettering for the Maxon House logo and address numbers. Every detail of the project—from the entrance to the site, the path the driveway takes through the forest and the entrance to the house—has been debated, detailed and designed to enhance the overall experience.
    A close up slice of the final entrance signage made of cor-ten steel and cut out lettering for the Maxon House logo and address numbers. Every detail of the project—from the entrance to the site, the path the driveway takes through the forest and the entrance to the house—has been debated, detailed and designed to enhance the overall experience.
  • 
  The boys trek through the forest exploring their new backyard. We've seen animals, we've built forts and most of all we've learned about the site over the course of four years and multiple visits. Can't wait to call this home!
    The boys trek through the forest exploring their new backyard. We've seen animals, we've built forts and most of all we've learned about the site over the course of four years and multiple visits. Can't wait to call this home!
  • 
  Pictured from left to right, Edward LaLonde, Tom Kundig and owner Lou Maxon share a moment during a visit to the house site.Don't miss a word of Dwell! Download our  FREE app from iTunes, friend us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter!
    Pictured from left to right, Edward LaLonde, Tom Kundig and owner Lou Maxon share a moment during a visit to the house site.

    Don't miss a word of Dwell! Download our FREE app from iTunes, friend us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter!

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