Author Archives: Jonathan

About Jonathan

Jonathan is a geospatial systems integrator, cross-country runner, husband and father. For as long as he can remember, he has been fascinated by systems. This blog explores the integration of building systems and surrounding site systems such as vegetation, hydrology and wildlife.

On the agenda of the Zoning Board of Appeals

The ZBA has put our plans on the agenda for review in April. Our architect says the process should be smooth, since we are not in violation of anything but what’s grandfathered in and can’t be changed (such as the … Continue reading

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Where do the cars go?

We’re looking at alternatives to the initial driveway design and extra car parking spot idea. A semi-plan view further illustrates the idea:

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Driveway redesign

We look forward to eliminating a large part of our existing driveway.  Here are our architect’s first plans for how that might look. Our own initial idea was to park the car inside the screen porch during the cold (and … Continue reading

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Preparing for the Zoning Board of Appeals

The existing house doesn’t comply with the zoning bylaws. When built in 1910, the setbacks from the property line must have been narrower than they are today, because two corners of the house extend into them, most significantly on the … Continue reading

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Renovation elevation drawings on three sides

The architectural elevation drawings are ready!  They show the vertical views of the three sides of the house that will change during the remodel. That odd notch you see on the back (South-facing) corner is necessary for getting through the … Continue reading

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Four levels of architectural plans

After a month of consideration and discussion with our architect, we have worked out the majority of the circulation and layout (what designers call the “plan view”) of all four floors, from basement to attic.  The following drawings are created … Continue reading

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Three Eastern White Pines

A stand of three mature and stately Eastern White Pine trees watches over the back lawn, driveway and woodlot (shown here in the context of the garden shed). The lowest branches are about thirty feet from the ground, so even … Continue reading

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Sizing a rainwater cistern

What dimensions would a rainfall cistern need to be to (a) hold all the rain that falls on the roof over the average year, and (b) satisfy all the indoor water use of a family of four for an average … Continue reading

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Dreaming of metal roofing during Hurricane Irene

As Hurricane Irene knocks wrist-thick branches from the trees around our house onto the roof, I can’t help thinking of Stewart Brand’s How Buildings Learn, and his observations (p. 114 – 118) about maintenance based on choices of building materials: … Continue reading

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A shade model of the whole property

After several false starts with handmade terrain and paper plot plans, I’ve discovered Google Earth Terrain.  Downloading this data for my neighborhood has enabled me to adjust the model so the parcel boundaries, fences, trees, roads and neighboring structures all … Continue reading

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