I am building my first home. Lucky me because it is in the woods! It is an adventure I surely will not forget.

Me with Rory

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Thank you, Daughter.

She rotated them and put them in jpegs for us to see.
What do you all think?
Love them, right?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


I spoke with cousin G this morning. He and I had written before about my log home adventure and I hadn't thanked him enough, so after a couple of missed calls, we spoke at length today.
He built his own log home probably obver 20 years ago from his own red pines. He had them cut at a mill into D logs with no t & g. He laid them up with two gaskets with an air space in between. He has also helped 2 friends build their homes from manufactured logs.
He is a great resource and cousin all in one. Lucky me. At the end of our conversation he invited me over. I think I will take him up on the road trip offer.
One of the issues I need to resolve is how many and how big around red pines I need. I have started measuring and counting the ones at the property. The property is thickest in white pine which I won't be using for the ceiling beams and posts. For that I need red or yellow (no yellow here). I have found more 8" diameter trees and a few 14" wide ones so far. I thought I needed 14" for the open area and smaller diameter for porch posts.
He said I don't need thicker logs in the open area. I have heard you have to go thicker and he says no because there is no down pressure. It make so much sense.
It is all good info and everything I research opens up so many possibilities.
I think having an understanding that no one answer is perfect will help me with the final municiple approvals.
Cousin said back in the day when he got his approval he drew a stick framed house and gave it to the building inspector. Cousin got the approval and then went ahead and built a log home. Great story! Too bad things have changed so much. I have to have stamped plans (either architect or engineer) for submission.
All of the regulations regulate people right out of the ability to build. Especially poor people. Back in the day a family could scrape together enough money and helpers and put together a concrete foundation that they would live in while they toiled away at building the upper floors. In my county the regulators won't even discuss it. You are laughed at if you mention a grey water system. And if your water isn't mineral free you are paying for a treatment system.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Coming along

Daughter's drawings are coming along. They are helping so much. I will be using these as most of the final drawings to have stamped. I hope to find someone who will take her drawings and build on them for the final architectural ones. They work as conceptual drawings, too.
Daughter has the interior design end down pat with her hard work and BFA last May, but we need the structural elements as well. I have been researching some of these items, but I would have to do that for a while. Like: what is the snow load where I live? Then calculate that with the span and roof pitch to calculate what size roof rafters I need. Time to get on the phone with my lists of contacts such as architects, engineers, etc. and find the one to do the finish job.
The one drafts person that was going to call me back (she has serious illness in her family) hasn't called back, yet, and I don't know if she will really be available even though she would like to be.
I wanted to post the drawings, but I can't seem to post PDFs. Maybe later I/daughter can convert to jpegs.
It is exciting to see her drawings as it makes the project come alive.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Draft search

Been busy making decisions on the house. Overall size, kitchen size, bathroom layout, etc. I have also been on the search for a reasonably priced draftsman or architect. Some want to charge for concept drawings, construction drawings, and supervision of the build. That is great for them, but I only want the construction drawings and some won't break it out. The other hump is many have never done log homes because most everyone buys plans from the kit company and as you know I am not buying a kit.
The mill I am getting the wood from does do drawings and I can get stamped drawings for $1,500. While that is more reasonable than others it is way more than what I will spend on it, hopefully.
I do have a backup person, but I am looking at options.
It is all good as I know this challenge is only bringing me closer to the perfect person to work with.
They are getting closer and closer.
Pretty soon I will see who it is.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Soooo much research

There is so much out there to consume, read, analyze...it makes me near crazy. I have been buried with possibilities this past year and have finally settled on what I knew years ago I wanted.
A simple story and a half log cabin.
I have been round and round with the endless possibilities of housing options. Once I focused on the log cabin, I thought it would be simple to finish up the plans, but no.
What size kitchen do I want and where will the stove, sink, fridge go? How big a bed is going in the downstairs bedroom? What size room should that be? What dimensions?
Then there is the old age issue.
Daughter pointed out I should have a separate tub and a stand alone shower for wheelchair or walker access. I am glad she thought to tell me. She also drew a handrail on the wall next to the toilet.

There is so much to design. Like for example, have you thought about how far I want the log to stick out at each corner? One house I measured had it out 11", at another house the logs only protruded 7".
Yes, I have been measuring house's exteriors and interiors to give me a better sense of dimension. My sister's house exterior is 28 x 44. Bros girlfriend's New England home greatroom is 13 x 23.5. I love it, yet, I realized my 8.5' couch will not fit in there except to run it along the one wall not facing the fireplace
And how about, how do I want the stair landing to turn? A sharp 90 degree right angle or two 45 degree ones? My interior stairs are going to be half log...but do I want them bolted on top of a full log stringer or set into (mortise/tendon) a half log stringer? Or on top of a salvaged barn beam...... How fat do I want the porch posts? Do I want my porch flooring bread boarded?
Do you see my quandry?


Princess sent me this great book as a present. It has the most wonderful images of out-buildings.
Thank you, Princess, for thinking of me. You have a great eye for discovering what I like.


Building Green, hosted by Kevin Contreras, has a DVD series out at our public library. It is really informative. I never saw an earthen floor like this one before. To seal the clay, straw, and sand linseed oil is mixed with beeswax and smoothed over the surface. The host passes on this type of floor and goes with concrete.
Contreras is building a straw bale house, in bros town somewhere, and takes the viewer through this process. One thing that really cracked me up is the show goes to 'the dump' in my brothers town. Bro always talks about how great this dump is and he even takes visitors there. Another thing is the host demolished the existing house to put up this enormous straw house. The house looks so big a family of 10 could live in there. The host did try to give it away but ran into some problems. He did manage to give away doors, windows, bricks, etc. before the demo.
Contreras talks about saving tons of money by going with steel framing rather than wood. His framing costs would have been 100 grand, but is only 55 grand with the steel. This house must be a half million dollar home at least! He is spending on just the framing what I want to spend on my entire house. The project has more guys working on it than you can believe and yet not one woman.
Despite it's flaws, it is worth screening. They have a Web site also buildinggreentv.com