It was a lot more work than I thought it would be, but not too expensive. Built for around $4,000 (plans to use recycled materials vanished when my time in Maine was whittled to three weeks--it would take me that long to just gather them), it still needs insulation, but I'm not sure I'll even connect it to the grid for a while. Following is a chronology of the project.
|The property is just off U.S. Highway 1 in Washington County, the easternmost U.S. county. It is an incredibly beautiful piece of land.|
|Pete and I removed some bushes and a few small trees from a clearing next to the drive, and marked the corners and spots for concrete footings using simple geometry, ropes, spray paint and measuring tapes.|
|Digging the nine holes for pouring footings. |
We left as much of the beautiful vegetation in place as we could.
|We cut up a cardboard tube to use as molds for the concrete, placed a board across the top and used a laser leveler to be sure the tops of all footings were even. Here Pete mixes concrete in the rain.|
|We left the cardboard on the footings. The differences in height are due to the slope of the land. Drainage tile will be put across under the cabin and the area around the building filled with gravel to lessen the slope to the driveway.|
|Next, support beams were added. In hindsight, an option would be to extend the ends a bit over the edges of the forms to hide them, but they will be covered with gravel anyway.|
|Plywood was laid over the support beams|
|Floor joists are added...|
|filled with fiberglass insulation, and covered with another layer of plywood. This was done to discourage insects and rodents from chewing through the floor, as well as to insulate the floor. The seams were then sealed with duct tape.|
|The stud walls were assembled, then raised into place.|
|We decided on a 12 foot front wall, and 8 foot side walls. The reason is that we wanted it simple, so a shed roof required only that we put on a flat roof. We also figured a loft would fit nicely above the front windows.|
|All four walls in. The two side space triangles were completed with more studs above the wall sills after the roof joists were in place.|
|Roof joists go up, held in place by hangers and driven screws.|
|Shell nearly complete with windows and doors (we put two doors in because a door with a window was cheaper than a window). In retrospect, I would opt for two windows instead of one of the doors.|
|Yes, this actually happened. My bad. One needs to concentrate at all times!|
|Interlocking spruce siding|
|Wes made all of the scaffolding so I didn't have to rent any. He put the roof on in a matter of a few hours, saving me hundreds of dollars in labor costs. Roofers charge $200 per hour just for the labor.|
|Wes celebrates completion of the roof.|
|I put everyone to work, including my son Jonathan, who took time out from his flight schedule to come where he thought he would be relaxing.|
|And shamelessly, I had my mother work on caulking the windows.|
|About two weeks after starting, I put on the final piece of siding. The trim had yet to be finished.|
|The view from the cabin. I can handle doing nothing but look at it. And no mosquito bites.|
|View from the drive. Beyond the storage shed at the top of the drive is the building site for the eventual cottage. This cabin will then be the guest accommodation.|
If you want to do something like this yourself, you can. It helps to have someone experienced in construction help or at least supervise. Be very careful: despite the seemingly easy project, it is hard work, and dangers lurk everywhere from falls from ladders (we each had one) or the roof, to mishaps with power tools (fortunately none during this project).
I do not plan to build anything larger, or probably not anything else, period. It was like my one and only marathon. I did it, but once was enough.
Please don't bother posting any "should haves." I have a long list already, and there is nothing I can do about it anyway!