Monday, December 21, 2009

Long overdue update!

Welcome back Riverbenders! It has been over four months since our last post and a lot has happened since then. It's not that I haven't had some time or just keep forgetting to post. I just haven't been taking photos lately and I wanted to have some photos to show what we have added. I managed to get out today and shoot the highlights of our recent additions. The past four months were busy indeed. We've had a few major projects and literally dozens of small ones. Only a few really come to mind right now, so I'll start with them, with more updates to come.

First, the biggest ongoing project (Aug-Nov) was the construction of our new stamped concrete walkways. We formed and poured literally hundreds of feet of walkways that go to nearly every place at Riverbend that our guests and staff would walk. The walkways are 3-4 ft wide and are made up of dozens of separate pours that went on all Fall. Though we still have plans to add contrasting borders to the segments in the main courtyard, the walkways are essentially done.

They are comprised of very strong (4000 psi) concrete with fiber reinforcement. We stamped them with a stone pattern and then stained them with a very inexpensive and ecologically safe fertilizer, called Iron Sulfate. The fertilizer is mixed with water and sprayed on the concrete, creating a chemical reaction that stains the concrete to a range of rusty browns. Then we sealed them with low VOC, water based sealer with a matte finish to maintain traction for wet/bare feet.

The guests are all very happy to be able to walk from the springs to the rooms and restroom without shoes and without tracking in pebbles. Checkout the video walkthrough of some of the walkways, below.

The next big project, which we actually did before the walkways, is the construction of the new 12x50' porch covering. The old covering was a very weathered mis-mosh of old twisted 2x4s and 1x4s that did provide sunscreening, but no protection from the rain. We replaced the bad tree-trunk posts and kept the good ones. Then, the structure was reframed and covered with a seamless, and hidden fastener, metal roof colored metallic copper. We then faced the beams with rustic tree bark and added low voltage dome lights and spot lights. The resulting porch is a happy marriage of modern technology and old rustic charm, which is the basis of everything we try to do now at Riverbend. Before and after, below.

The next big additions are our new stone tree wells. The trees used to be simply bordered by a few loose stones laid halfway in ground. The new wells have a concrete foundation and are mortared stone walls that double as casual seating for guests. We stained the mortar joints black for the same high contrast effect on our rock pools and we sealed them with a wet-look sealer that brings out the random local stones' color. The new tree wells, not only add to the look of the place, but will help us to deep water the trees with river water, by flooding them. Coming soon: low voltage dome lights around the exterior of the wells.

In addition to the artwork of our talented hard-scapers, we have also started to add some commissioned artwork from outside sources. Right now, several of our rooms are appointed with the work of the very talented, Mary Alice Winchell. She has sent us more work, that will likely be used in some common areas. Her work is already featured throughout La Casita and the Public Pool Bath House. Stay tuned for some photos of her work, custom made for Riverbend.

We recently acquired some stunning pieces from Aryen Hart. His work consists of metal, treated with heat, grinding, and chemical reactions, then printed over with archival ink and sealed with a gloss coating. Photos don't do his work justice. His work comes alive with spot lighting and movement, like a hologram. We hung 3 of the 4 pieces that we have in front of our King Suites, which really classes up the courtyard. The pieces that we got seem to go perfectly with our Flowing Water motif.

Another well known artist, Georgia Stacy, custom made us a gorgeous entry gate last spring. She designed it for us to be used for our main entrance, but we felt that it fit better between our colorful mural and straw-bale wall. We finally installed it recently, and though it will likely be enhanced somehow on the sides, it already adds so much to the look of our front facade. The flowing water motif shows up here, loud and clear. Click her name above for just a few other examples of her master wood carving skills.

Well, there have been countless other little projects keeping us all busy around here and if you haven't been here in a while, a stroll around the property will reveal many of them. However, I want to save some of them for future posts.

I would like to give a shout out to Big John Murphy, who is here right now brightening up the place with updated and new paint jobs, Keith Pedersen, for his master carpentry and masonry skills on the porch and walkways, the Rios brothers for their work on the tree wells, and of course, Jeff Thomas for his ever dependable help on nearly every project that we have taken on in the past 3 years. Thanks guys! Riverbend has you written all over it.

1 comment:

  1. I would like to tip my hat to Jake who never ceases to come up with great ideas to make my job easier
    the dog