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A pediment and roof reach towards heaven

Branford Town Hall
Town Hall in Branford, Connecticut
December 27th, 2006

On my last day in Branford, Connecticut before I headed home to Emigrant, Montana I visited a few of my favorite local buildings. The Branford Town Hall, pictured to your right, is a colonial style building that shares many features with ancient Greek temples. Note the triangle on top of the columns which is called a pediment. The Ionic columns rest on a pink granite porch called a portico.

The First Baptist Church, pictured below, has two pediments. One is part of a portico and contains Doric columns. Doric columns have a simple top or capital while Ionic uses a scrolled and more decorative top or capital. Unfortunately vinyl siding and aluminum trim hide most of the Baptist Church's original features.

The three rooms housed grades one through six in the neighborhood school I attended for 5 years. The classically designed building borrows many ideas from the Greeks and Romans. Note the Roman keystoned arch and Greek pediment above it. Delicate scrolling adorns either side of the arch which frames the main entry doors. The facade and color scheme is original but the doors, steps railings and air vents were installed recently.
The yellow clapboards act as a canvas that accents the white trim. White backgrounds were originally seen as architectural design errors because they did not allow ornate white trim to stand on its own.

First Baptist Church in Branford, Connecticut
First Baptist Church in Branford, Connecticut
Canoe Brook School
Canoe Brook School has a pediment with
delicate scrolling above the front entrance
Broken Pediment
A welcoming entryway with an
open top or "broken" pediment

Pediments were sometimes used by ancient Romans to create little houses for their various gods inside a temple like the Pantheon. American colonial architects often placed pediments above the main entry door and sometimes over windows. The pediment pictured to your left on the Samuel Pond house in Branford, Connecticut is called a "broken pediment" because the peak is intentionally absent.

Note the windows above the entry door. The three part window composition mimics the entry door that is flanked by two columns. The door and window trim would appear more distinctive and beautiful if the clapboard siding was a contrasting or neutral color. The original windows used small pieces of hand made glass four wide and three panes tall. Modern, single pane aluminum storm windows were placed over the original windows. Newer aluminum gutters and leaders were probably added at the same time.

Sometimes pediments are surrounded by flattened columns called pilasters as in the photo to your left and below. The most best designed entryways have comfortable metal railings and if necessary, wide, easy to climb stairs, that literally invite passersby into their respective buildings.

Pediment
A pediment with pilasters
Samuel Pond House
The Samuel Pond house built in 1712
has pediments over each window

I am back in Emigrant, Montana

Pediment under construction
A pediment takes shape on the south wall
December 28th, 2006

Justin and Aaron were busy sheeting the roof as two inches of fresh snow drifted from the heavens. Undeterred, they ceased working only long enough to greet me when I stopped by in the late afternoon. In just ten days the outside house and garage walls were sheeted, the house roof trusses installed and now the roof sheeting was going on. Both as the home owner and primary snow shoveler I was delighted with their progress. Although it would be four to five months before I could move in, I reasoned that my snow shoveling days were finally coming to an end.

Rafter Framing
A sea of studs and rafters slowly gets covered by roof sheeting
Garage Framing
The garage walls are framed and sheeted
 
Home exterior Sheeting job
Window and door openings are
cut into the house sheeting
January 5th, 2007

Acold sunset descended over my new home. Three inches of snow fell overnight. In the morning Aaron and Justin cut holes in the walls for window and door openings. Soon they will be wrapping the house with a Tyvek vapor barrier. Then glass windows and temporary wooden doors can be installed. Nighttime temperatures hover around zero degrees Fahrenheit and rarely climb above freezing during the day. Occasionally stiff winds blow the snow into deep drifts and leave wide, open patches of bare ground.

Emigrant Peak, Montana
Mountain view from the garage window
Panoramic View windows
The east side offers the most panoramic views
and thus receives the largest windows
 
Black Sooty Snow
Black sooty snow and barren, wind scoured soil
January 8th, 2007

Black snow and barren patches of ground are a legacy of last summer's ferocious forest fire. With the trees and vegetation gone, there is nothing to prevent the fierce winter winds from scouring the black soot off the soil after the fresh fallen snow is blown away. Most of our soil moisture in Montana comes from melting snow so the chance of trees growing on the barren soil next spring seemed bleak. Where the burned skeletons of trees remain, the snow piles deep. Next spring the soil should be wetter there and new trees and plants may take root.

 
Tyvek House Wrap
Justin and Aaron carefully wrap the house in Tyvek. The framed and sheeted garage sits to your lower right
 
Ralph James
Ralph James of Bare's Stove and Spa
January 10th, 2007

Ralph James of Bare's Stove and Spa journeyed up the mountain today to finalize measurements for the wood and gas stove fireplace inserts. He carefully calculated the space needed for each unit and then conferred with Aaron and Justin.
The house's primary heat source is a propane furnace but a backup system is always a wise choice in the mountains of Montana. At 40 degrees below zero Fahrenheit, propane remains a liquid in the outdoor tanks and can no longer power the furnace. A wood burning fireplace insert will easily heat the living room and downstairs, and should be pleasant company for everyone, on cold winter nights.

Visit the Bare Stove and Spa site at bares.com/ by clicking on the underlined text.

Winter Emigrant Peak
Clouds settle low in the valley on a bitter cold,
26 degrees below 0 Fahrenheit, morning
Phoenix Villa in Winter
Men create beauty amidst nature's devastation
 
Garage Trusses Installed
Trusses are installed on the garage
January 10th, 2007

Abeautiful bright and sunny day. The temperature hovers around zero while Rich cuts wood and Aaron and Justin secure a truss to the garage walls. I shovel snow, take photos and help guide the trusses into place with a long guy rope. As long as the sun stays out the temperatures are bearable. When I stepped into the shade my moustache grew icicles within a few minutes.

When it was 20 degrees below zero a few days ago, tap water poured from a cup on to a wooden deck, froze within a minute. My moustache icicles formed even more quickly.
By 4 PM the sun dipped below the western ridge and we called it a day.

Rich Spallone
Rich cuts custom truss spacers with an "antique" Skil saw
Aaron
Aaron securely nails each truss in place
 
Wrapped in white Tyvek and snow
The house and landscape are wrapped in white
January 18th, 2007

Sean of Western Glass supplied double pane, coated and argon filled, custom designed Milgard windows. Justin and Aaron meticulously leveled, plumbed and installed several windows after they finished skillfully wrapping the house in Tyvek. Next week they will finish the house and garage windows before moving on to the tile roof. 40,000 pounds of roofing material is scheduled to arrive at 8 AM on Monday morning.

Visit the Milgard Window site at milgard.com/ by clicking on the underlined text.

Garage Truss Work
Aaron and Justin secure another garage truss
Garage Tyvek Wrap
Wrapped and almost ready for windows
 
Winter Rocky Mountain Sunset
Emigrant Peak Winter Sunset

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