Other Stuff

Now the miscellaneous stuff begins.  Most of the tasks that remain on the house are the same as for any other house.  Plumbing and wiring goes mostly inside my 2x4 interior walls or under the floor.  Cabinets work the same as in any house except you might occasionally have to mount one on a uneven wall or build it to a special height to match the crown of a log.  This means that if you're tired of doing it yourself at this point you can hire normal contractors and they should be able to take it from here (but what fun would that be?)  

The basic decorating motifs for a log cabin are; logs, massive wooden beams, rock, black iron and dead animals.  At least that's what I see in most of them.  I'll try to post anything that might be of interest here.

Our one and only stairway was going to be made out of split logs but I got tired of waiting for my miller to get around to it.  This version is made out of 4x12 (following the "massive wood" guideline above).  I couldn't figure out how to do the turn at the bottom so I went with plywood for the base.  It certainly has a nice solid feel.  Unfortunately, while we have been slowly building our house, the code people have been busy changing the codes.  Although this stairway was approved in the original drawings, it no longer passes muster.  We worked out a deal with the code people that wouldn't require us completely rebuilding the house but you need to make yourself fully aware of the stairway codes and then give yourself some leeway in case they change their minds again.

Turns out that we need a 36" high guard railing with a continuous hand rail at 36".  Makes you wonder how Abraham Lincoln survived living in those rustic shacks without the code people to tell him how many inches long a man's legs have to be.  Gorilla glue turns out to be perfect for constructing hand rails but cutting the twists and turns is a real excise in geometry (buy extra material, you're going to screw up once or twice).

The foundation needs to be critter-proofed, so after I insulated my floors and pipes, I used 1/4" cement backer board to fill in the gaps.  I screwed a 2x2 to the bottom of my lowest log and then dug down to my foundation sill.  The board is screwed into the 2x2 on top and the bottom is buried into the dirt so nothing can dig underneath.  Then I caulked the whole shebang with concrete crack filler.

In the long run, it turned out that the 1/4" board doesn't hold up if the soil gets wet, so I've had to replace some of these panels with the 3/8" board.  It turns out to be more substantial and more water resistant.

Now it's time to make those plywood floors look like something.  The problem is that most wood flooring is hardwood and that looks weird in a fir cabin.  So I found a place out in Forks, Washington that remills old fir beams and makes it into flooring.  Old growth flooring without cutting down any spotted owls.  Can't beat that.

The young man in this picture is Bobby MacIntyre. He is one of the little children you see cavorting around the early construction pictures of the cabin.  He laid down these floors in the summer of 2006.  He died suddenly of unknown causes on May 29th 2007 at the age of 20 years.  We will always miss him.

Looks pretty cozy as the snow begins to fall outside (and it isn't even Halloween yet).  Problem is, the floor looks so nice, Vanessa makes us cover it up with rugs.

We put in iron railings to keep people from falling out of the loft, finished mounting the electrical fixtures, added a handrail and trimmed out the walls.  This rail will allow us to add a small log on top as decoration but that's a job for years to come.

We added kitchen cabinets from Ikea (they were cheap).  A gas stove and refrigerator (Dometic).  It's very hard to find a stove that doesn't use electric ignition these days but I finally found one on-line (Oasis Montana).  I finished the gables and added stairways outside and they signed off my permit on September 18, 2007.  The fact that it took me 11 summers to get to this point is a mite embarrassing but it sure was fun doing it.  All tolled, we spent about $93K on the cabin which works out to be about $68/sq foot and the costs will continue to rise as we continue to work on things.  We didn't work cheap but still, you find a house you can buy or build for $68 a foot and my hat's off to you.

There's still much to do.  I need to build decks outside the cabin but they will need to be fireproof and, so far, I haven't seen any good plans for such.  I will be selling my trailer and turning that structure into a garage that will house my solar power generation site in the next few years.  After all, they made me spend many hours to wire the place, I might as well figure out how to provide electricity.  Vanessa  made Roman shades (see kitchen picture) to provide maximum insulation properties for the windows.

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This page was created by Paul Kahle 22-Jan-2005

This page was last updated on 21-Mar-2014