Gigi and I flew out to Illinois and were able to meet up with my folks out
there and return with the Ritter Block to be used as the cornerstone of the
We stayed at Aunt Pat and Uncle Jerry’s house. My dad, Uncle Bob and
his wife Lillian also came up from Arkansas. We were given a tour of
Pinckneyville and surroundings, where my great grandather George lived,
along with his sons Charles (my granfather), Leo and Bill Ritter, my father Don,
and a lot of other Ritters. We also dropped by Aunt Eunice’s house (Leo’s wife),
who showed us through her museum and gave us a history lesson of the Ritters
here in southern Illinois.
Dad, Aunt Eunice, Niles and Aunt Pat in Pinckneyville
Here is a picture of two Ritter blocks.
The big block is 23 3/4″ long by 7 1/2″ High by 7 3/4″ Deep. At the deepest point it is 8 3/4″, due to the facade on the front.. Weighs 92 1/2 lbs. The small block is 11 3/4″ Long by 7 1/2″ High by 7 3/4″ Deep.. It, too, at the deepest point is 8 3/4″ due to the facade on the front.. It weighs 50 1/2 lbs.
The observant reader will have noticed that the title of this website is now “A House Named Anthem”. The house is named after a song called “Anthem”, that was written by Lyra, a classical guitar and violin duet. The duet consists of Maryanne Kremer-Ames, who plays the classical guitar, and Allen Ames, her husband, who plays both violin and the violyra.
We first heard Lyra’s music while we were traveling through Sedona, and
stayed at the Briar Patch Inn bed and breakfast. We were sitting out by
Oak creek, eating our breakfast, and Lyra was playing a beautiful piece that
we had never heard before.
When we asked them about the piece, they said that it was titled “Anthem”, and
that it was inspired by the beauty of the Sedona area. We liked the piece, and
the area, so much that when we got married it was at that same Bed and Breakfast,
and we invited Lyra to play at our wedding. The name of the piece they played during
the ceremony was “Anthem”.
We later found out that Allen and Maryanne were married at the Briar Patch Inn,
ten years previously.
The fact that “Anthem” is also the title of Ayn Rand’s short novel, is not entirely coincidental, either.
The Springdale Planning Council gave their approval for the
building of our house on Anasazi Plateau !
Ray Gardner gave a presentation on Feb 15 that addressed some
of their concerns about the large windows, and the nighttime light
pollution. Here’s a sampling of the presentation:
Nightime view of House from South
Sunlight at Equinox in Morning
Elevation view from South East
Night time view from Hopi Circle
Here are the plans that we will be presenting to the Springdale Town Planning Commission
on February 15, 2005. Both Ray Gardner and our builder Jason Campbell will be
attending. We also plan on meeting with the developer, Milo McCowan, prior to the
The Title Page ( Original PDF Version )
The Site Plan (Original PDF Version)
The Floor Plan – Window Schedule (Original PDF Version)
North Elevation (Original PDF Version)
West Elevation (Original PDF Version)
Cross Sections (Original PDF Version)
The Floor Plan – Electrical (Original PDF Version)
Foundation Plans (Original PDF Version)
Here are some possible stone samples, that our builder Jason Campbell
has provided. The first is local sandstone (I think it is from the Moenkapi formation),
the second is limestone, and the third is called “moss stone”, and has some
natural lichen growing on it. We are leaning toward the first two types.
Here is a PDF version of the latestHouse Plans from Ray. In this version, the cooktop (which is now a six-unit Jenn-Air downdraft model) has been moved back off the island and back to the counter, the oven centered in the island, the sink moved over to the western side of the counter, and the bar section shrunk down a bit.
I think we’re mostly done with the plan-level stuff. Time to work on choices of stone and colors…
Here is a new PDF of the latest 4.2 plans. And here is a quick snapshot of the plans:
The main differences in this plan are that we have moved the central deck over to the
eastern deck, along with the exit door. Also, Ray wanted to make the kitchen counter
more centered with the roof beams, and so has moved it about 3 feet to the west. In
the process, he has also moved out the wall to my office an equal amount, creating
a space in the northwest corner of the southwest room that can be used for the
soundsystem components. This goes along with our intent that the southwest corner
will be used for the TV, music etc center.
The new plans are not as symmetrical as the previous design, but we think this
placement of the deck is a practical improvement on the views and usage.
There is also an extension to the kitchen counter, for use by people at the level
of the great room. Not sure if we like this or not.
Our architect Ray has put together a virtual-reality representation of the Interior View of our house, using QuickTime VR. The file is about 2 megabytes, so you may want to download it first and then look at it. Here is a snapshot of the view from one vantage point:
Our Final Plans(PDF) are coming together for the meeting at the Springdale Town Hall meeting in February. This is close to the real deal, fans ! Here is a screenshot for those impatient or who do not have Adobe acrobat:
Based on our sketches, here is what Ray has come up with:
Here, as usual, is the PDF version of the floorplan .
After our Thanksgiving dinner, we re-thunk our plans and realized we like the earlier
plans a lot more. So we spent some time working out what we liked about the later plans
and tried to integrate them into the earlier (2.0) plan. Here is what we came up with:
NB: If you notice some things changed from the last time you looked, its because I upgraded
my home system from linux Fedora Core 2 to Core 3 this weekend (12/4/04), and in the process
blew away some data files. It happens. This is from a backup from a few days ago.
Ray has been able to move a few things around and clean up the design
a lot. Here is the floorplan, and here are some new 3d views of this plan:
Here are snapshots of the latest (3.4 by my numbering schema) version of the
Floorplan and the Site Plan (how the house is sited on the property):
You can also download the full pdf version of the floorplan and the
Our architect Ray has been busy, and has come up with new versions
8, 9 and 10 of our floorplan, accomodating the Springdale 1-floor
Here’s Plan 8 (click to enlarge):
Here’s Plan 9:
And here’s Plan 10:
Turns out that the Springdale folks have changed the rules about
“high impact” lots in the town, and our site now falls under that
definition. This requires that our house be no more than 20 feet
high at any point, and that is two feet over our current plan.
Looks like we will have to move the loft back down to the ground
floor and think a lot more about how to make this all work.
Here are a few 3d renderings of the 3.0 project, including a few interior shots.
Here is the latest (3.0 if anyone’s counting) version of the floorplan
(click to enlarge):
That is just a screen-capture. Here is the full PDF formatted plan. Note the Gigi Loft, and the ladder for those hard-to-reach books way up there on the shelves (the ladder is only obvious in the pdf version).
Okay, so the things we want to change with this version are…
Pretty much nothing. This is very cool.
…okay I guess we’re done then.
Amazing how much this stayed in the spirit of our Version Zero bubble diagram.
Here are a few sketches we’ve sent Ray on the Loft, the bedroom fireplace,
and so on. This first one is an overlay of the floorplan mods:
This is still not quite right, but a lot closer. The north wall of the bedroom needs to be moved up to
increase the size of the bedroom, and we want to re-open the pathway through the washer / pantry
area to have a direct route to the kitchen. Also, Gigi suggested that if we place the secondary entrance
over on the eastern side of the house, that opens up the north corner of the house as a good place to
put the water heater room, currently next to the wash area. This would then allow the pantry area to
This second one is a view of the loft area, together with an elevation view:
I’m not sure about this either. I think actually the post should go on the left side of the kitchen
entryway to hold up that side of the walkway across to the loft. Anyway, we’ll see what Ray does