Small Cabin

Small Cabin Forum
 - Forums - Register/Sign Up - Reply - Search - Statistics -

Small Cabin Forum / Member's Projects and Photos / Our 420 sq ft of heaven in Northern MN
<< . 1 . 2 . 3 . 4 . 5 . >>
Author Message
# Posted: 8 Dec 2013 01:21 - Edited by: jaransont3

I got the other ottoman glued up, both of them sanded, and then Jill and I got them stained. Tomorrow I will give them a couple of coats of polyurethane and then I will only have the upholstered cushions to make. Looks like they will be ready for the trip to the cabin for Christmas.

# Posted: 8 Dec 2013 04:47

Outstanding job!! You have done a great job inside and outside. Awesome.

# Posted: 12 Dec 2013 00:26 - Edited by: jaransont3

Jill and I finished the ottomans tonight. We are very happy with the way they turned out.

The cushions are removable to access the storage inside.

...and can be flipped over for a work surface/table.

FInally a close-up to show some of the details.

We can't wait to get them to the cabin over the Christmas break.

# Posted: 12 Dec 2013 07:15

Those are very nice.

# Posted: 12 Dec 2013 14:11

I agree with Owen. Nice job.

# Posted: 12 Dec 2013 17:26

Nice job.

# Posted: 13 Dec 2013 19:12

Looks good, and you can never have enough storage at the cabin. Sarg68

# Posted: 23 Dec 2013 08:58 - Edited by: ILFE

First, i would like to say, this is an amazing thread! You, your wife, and your family have really done a fantastic job. Truly, as you stated, "a labor of love," and that it is.

But, I read this earlier...

Quoting: jaransont3
Unfortunately, with the cabin being over 800 miles away...

Now, I really know it is a labor of love! Over 800 miles to your cabin?! Man, you guys must really love that place. I used to drive for a living, prior to retiring over 13 years ago, to Southeast Asia. (I owned a small trucking company in the south.) I do not think I could drive that distance, even for a place as beautiful as you have there! :D

Do you think you and she will ultimately retire there? Or, will it always be a "get away" place for you?

Again, super work. Thanks for the images and write up. Kudos to you and Jill!

# Posted: 28 Dec 2013 11:26

Quoting: ILFE
Now, I really know it is a labor of love! Over 800 miles to your cabin?! Man, you guys must really love that place.

Yeah, we do love it up there. Don't think we will retire there full-time, but will certainly spend more time there than we get to now.

Thanks for the compliments.

# Posted: 28 Dec 2013 12:34 - Edited by: jaransont3

Merry Christmas everyone! Jill and I got back from our cabin late Thursday. We had a great time with family and getting to spend our first Christmas at the cabin. It was wonderful.

We arrived Saturday afternoon to find our neighbor had done a wonderful job keeping the drive into the cabin clear...especially since there was easily 14-16" of snow on the ground and cabin roof.

Cabin was only 10F inside when we got there, but we got the generator hooked up, the battery box plugged in and a fire going in the stove. The new ottomans looked great in the cabin.

By the time we went to bed the cabin was already up to 60F inside. Extra blankets and the dogs helped keep us warm through the night.

I love the crisp clear MN mornings...

Sunday and Monday we spent time getting some of the door, window, and baseboard trim installed with my new Bostich compressor and nail guns.

Even got some primer on some of it. We think it definitely helps to make the cabin look more finished.

We also installed a small ceiling fan. Really helps even out the temperatures in the cabin.

It runs just fine on our Honda generator, but I switched the wiring to try it off the battery/inverter and the fan motor has a very noticeable hum when it runs. Guess that is what comes with a PWM inverter instead of a pure sine wave. I switched the wiring back to the generator side for now.

We had sort of scary/hectic Monday evening. Monday night was supposed to be the coldest night during our time there with lows below -20F. The temps had been dropping all day. Our little restored 50+ year old cast iron boxwood stove was keep up just fine, but we were burning it pretty hot. I was taking a break from the trim work and laying on the couch getting ready to order some pizza when I glanced at the stove and saw a narrow bright orange streak going across the side of one of the large cast iron side panels.

A crack about 12" long and 1/16" wide had formed in the side panel about 1/3 of the way from the bottom. Pretty scare to think if that panel had failed completely.

I damped the stove down and as it cooled off the crack closed up. Re-stoking it caused the crack to open up again. NOT GOOD.

I order the pizza and wings, picked it up and took it to my mom's place. Got online there and did some internet research/shopping for a local source for a new stove. Fortunately we have a Menards about 40 minutes away that was open until 9pm and they had a Drolet Eldorado stove in stock and on sale.

We left Mom's at 8:00pm and were on our way back home with the new stove by 9:00pm. It came fully assembled fortunately. I had let the old stove go out when we left for dinner. By the time we go back there with the new stove the inside temperature was down to 32F. My youngest son, Ethan, had made the trip to the cabin with us and having his young strong 19 year old body there to help with the 270+ lbs stove was great. We had our first fire in the new stove burning by midnight. Inside temperature had dropped to 29F by then.

We stayed up for a couple more hours fiddling with the stove to get the setting rights and get it up to temperature and get some heat in the cabin. Finally filled it wood at about 2:00am. The cabin inside temp was near 50F. Last time I went out to get more wood I checked the temperature with the reading in our car.... -27F

The 50F felt chilly when we crawled into bed, but it was comforting to know it was 75F warmer than it was outside.

The stove worked great the rest of the trip. Is definitely more efficient. Took some getting used to. There is not much of a lip when the door is open and you are supposed to load the logs cross-wise. Round ones tended to want to roll out. I think I am going to cut my future would short enough (about 10" long) so that I can load it end-wise. Safer and I should be able to get a little more in it. It comes with a small blower, but it is not Ultra-quiet like the Drolet website claims. Pretty loud actually. Don't think we will use it much.

Christmas Eve day Jill and I headed out to get our Christmas tree.

Lots to pick from...

Decided this small Balsam would be perfect...

and it was.

Beautiful Christmas morning! Nice warm fire in the new stove, drinking hot chocolate with Jill and my son Ethan, enjoying the view of the snow covered MN morning. Doesn't get better than that!

We headed back to Dearborn on the morning of the 26th. First order of business when we are back there in the spring....

Put up more firewood!

Only about 8 sticks left and half of those I grab from my Uncle's place the night before.

We had a great time. It was really cool to share the cabin with my son Ethan. He had not been there in a couple of years and he was excited to see the progress we had made. He is also excited about making a trip there on his own in the future. That is one of the things that I wanted to have a cabin for.

It has been great year. Looking forward to 2014!

# Posted: 28 Dec 2013 12:54

Quoting: jaransont3
It runs just fine on our Honda generator, but I switched the wiring to try it off the battery/inverter and the fan motor has a very noticeable hum when it runs. Guess that is what comes with a PWM inverter instead of a pure sine wave. I switched the wiring back to the generator side for now.

You will definitely have to switch to a pure sine wave inverter, to stop the "hum" in the fan.

# Posted: 28 Dec 2013 19:27

I just LOVE reading your updates! How many times do you find yourself getting up in the night to keep the fire going? What would ou estimate your temps to be at when you wake?


# Posted: 28 Dec 2013 20:04

With the old stove, I would have to add wood every 2-3 hours depending on the type of wood. We burned a lot of old dry balsam and spruce. Not the best wood for sure, but I have lots of on the property that is dead standing and I need to get rid of.

With the new stove it more than doubled that time even with the same wood. The last night we were there I got some oak logs from my uncle. They burned almost the entire night. If we weren't leaving first thing in the morning I probably would have put more wood on at 5 in the morning or so. As it was, we were up at 6:00am to pack and get ready to head out and there was still a decent bed of embers.

As for the temperatures in the really depended on the outside temperature. We never woke up to less than 50-55F even when it was -27F. We still have lots of air leaks and drafty single pane windows without storm windows. The floor is also still not insulated.

# Posted: 28 Dec 2013 20:15

Hi, I was wondering if you were going to bulk up the rafter ties running across the cabin? They seem a bit small in comparison to the size and height of the room. If not, one detail I've seen that looks quite nice is to chamfer a decorative bead along the lower edges with a router and stop the detail within 5 inches of the wall. Early settlers used this detail to make basic lumber look more refined.

# Posted: 28 Dec 2013 20:29

Yeah, that is the plan. We are going to wrap the rafter ties with 3/4" boards on the bottom and both sides. I will probably leave the top open to running wiring in if necessary in the future.

The goal is to take the 2x4 and make it look like a 3x8 or so. We will also add false rafter beams to complete the illusion and hide the seams in the ceiling sheeting. We are also planning on a simple corbel/bracket below each of the beams against the wall for some more detail.

I love the idea of the stop chamfer on the bottom edges. Will have to steal that idea. Thanks.

# Posted: 20 May 2014 12:13

Jill and I are finally going to get back to the cabin next week! We are so ready to get out of the city and head to the north woods and our little cabin. 5 months away is too long.

We plan to do some relaxing, but also have long list of projects to work on too. The top three priorities are:

1. Get the rainwater collection system finished so we can start collecting water.

2. Get the pumps and plumbing inside the cabin installed so we have running water to the toilet and sinks and maybe the shower.

3. Build the woodshed and put up firewood. We burned through almost every last stick back in December when we were there.

We have lots of other small projects to work on too: more interior trim work, a small split rail fence, finishing up the porch railing and stairs, some wiring, and some insulating. The list is always longer than we can ever hope to accomplish in a week, but the good thing is we plan to be back for the week of July 4th as well.

# Posted: 5 Jun 2014 23:36 - Edited by: jaransont3

Jill and I had a great week at the cabin last week. Hard to believe it had been nearly 6 months since we were there for Christmas. Fortunately the cabin was none the worse for wear. We had a chance to relax and to get lots of projects done.

Here are a bunch of pictures....

Front Porch

The Loon Puzzle we finally finished and Mod-Podged. I even built a frame for and hung it on the wall by the end of the week.

Built a small fence to control traffic and to add a little visual interest.

Did it all with my chainsaw. Will eventually replace with cedar when this one rots away. It will be interesting to see how long the maple and balsam last.

Readying the bonfire...

Got our woodshed built. Not many sticks in it yet, but it will be full by the end of the 4th of July week when we are up the next.

Got the deck jacked up, leveled, and on its piers and footings. Need to build steps up to it next trip.

Had a friendly, but short, visit from Henry (just over an inch across) before his untimely death...

Jill got a bunch more of the trim primed and painted. Still more to install and paint...

Got the soffit and fascia and rain gutters installed on the back inside corner. This is the section we are using to fill our cistern.

Used wedge shaped open cell foam inserts for the primary leaf diversion. Seemed to work good.

Another view of the fence.

About where we left it for this trip.

Dug down to the cistern and got it plumbed for collection and feed. The white PVC comes from the gutters and first flow diverter. The blue PEX feeds the cabin after picking up from near the bottom of the 300 gallon cistern via some rigid PVC pipe in the tank.

Started wrapping the 2x4 ceiling joists with some 1x6 knotty pine...

We like the results...

They will eventually get stained darker to match the floors and counter tops. We are also going to add a false ridge beam and rafter beams.

This was one of our thrift store finds. Jill did a great job sprucing it up with some Old English and elbow grease. No more living out of suitcases when we are there.

We managed to get a very relaxing canoe ride in our river.

Our first flow diverter really works! It rained hard Friday night and by Saturday afternoon the weep holes had done their thing and drained it. The diverter had done its thing in collecting all the pollen and shingle grit and dirt that washed off the roof.

My brother came out Saturday and we got most of the internal plumbing finished up. We came up a few fittings and hoses short so I will have to bring those with us next time and finish it up. Also have to vent the water heater and run the gas line to it.

More plumbing and we got the medicine cabinet and bathroom sink mounted.

Better shot of the assembled first flow diverter. I divert the first 5 gallons. I should collect about 60 gallons per inch of rainfall if my calculations are close. I assumed 60% efficiency in collection. We got it installed just in time too. It rained all Saturday night and all day Sunday and into Monday. Local weather station reported over 4 inches of rain total. Cistern should be dang near full.

Jill planted lots of flowers and hostas and stuff. Should be really nice when we get back up there....assuming the critters don't eat it all. My mom and I built the trellis.

and finally....out other thrift store find. The lamp and lamp shade for about $7. Jill and our niece gathered all the greenery and Mod-Podged it to the lamp shade. Turned out great.

We are really looking forward to getting back up there for the week of July 4th. My youngest son is coming with us this time. His 19 year old body will come in really handy for filling the wood shed. Having running water will be really nice too.

# Posted: 6 Jun 2014 10:08

# Posted: 10 Sep 2014 23:26 - Edited by: jaransont3

It has been awhile since I updated this. Jill and I have made two trips back to the cabin this summer, once for a week over the 4th of July and once for a week over Labor Day. We had relaxing and productive trips each time.

Here are a bunch of pictures from both trips.

First July...

The wild flowers we planted in the spring bloomed beautifully.

We converted an old carpenter's tool box to a bench by adding some legs...

We installed a small air conditioner in the wall. We did end up using one evening to cut the humidity and heat in the cabin. It worked great running on our Honda 3000iS generator...

We also dragged my childhood canoe out of the woods, banged out the dents, sealed a couple of leaks and got it registered. It was very nostalgic taking it back down the same river my brothers hunted and trapped as kids...

We did a bunch of clean-up around the property and had a chance to burn it. It was a heck of a bonfire...

We got our antique medicine cabinet installed...

We also got some more of the false beams installed and got them stained. WE are very happy with the look...

Jill's lamp is holding up nicely even if the leaves turned brown. It still looks great!

One of the more important things we got done was to mostly fill the wood shed. There is some maple and oak in there, but it is mostly balsam, spruce and jack pine.

This is kind of where we left things for this trip...

and September.

Still some wild flowers blooming...

even as the leave begin to change colors...

Our old chocolate Lab, Coco, still loves it up there, even if he is moving pretty slow these days...

We got the rest of the beadboard, chair rail and base molding installed in the main room of the cabin...

and just about all of the window trim...

I installed the trays from the carpenter's tool box above the kitchen windows to store some glasses and mason jars with dry goods...

Added some copper reinforcements to strengthen them and to tie them in with the rest of the kitchen details...

Jill made some banana bread in our little stove and even baked my mom a birthday cake in it, but we had to bake each layer separately since we couldn't fit two 9" round pans it it at the same time.

Jill got out her Mod-Podge and made us some coasters..

We had some evenings and nights that were cool enough to start a fire in the stove. Sasha, our pitbull, found her favorite spot to be right in front of the stove when it was burning...

We got our canoe out a couple of times on the river. Saw some Canadian geese, lots of ducks and several bald eagles. We even managed to catch enough bluegills and sunfish to make a meal...

My brother and his family came and spent one afternoon with us around the campfire. Todd and Janet on the left. Jill and I on the right...

One of big projects for this trip was to insulate the water lines leading from the cistern into the cabin. I boxed in the area under the cabin with OSB and then added 6 inches of foam insulation and sealed it with spray foam. I also added a light socket and bulb that will hopefully keep everything from freezing if we get there in the winter. I also dug up the top of the cistern and added a check port. It was nice to see the cistern completely full of 300 gallons of nice cold clear water. Sorry forgot to get a picture of that.

Jill also got the windows in the main cabin painted white to match the trim. It really unifies the look in the cabin versus the natural color the windows were originally...

We got some of the false beams up...

trimmed out the riser for the stove...

and got almost all of the green board installed in the bathroom. We came up one sheet short, but will take care of that next time before we start the tile.

Like I said, both trips were very relaxing and productive.

# Posted: 11 Sep 2014 06:09

great pics and progress on your camp. LOOKS GREAT!!!

and luv your pups....I have a choc female lab and a American staffie...great dogs!!!

# Posted: 1 Jan 2015 11:47 - Edited by: jaransont3

Jill and I made it up to our cabin for Christmas last week. We got there Christmas Eve and stayed through the 30th. We had a great time with family and friends. My youngest son Ethan made the trip with us which is always fun. We always brought our two dogs. Unfortunately, we had to put Coco down a couple of months ago, but Karmann (our new German Shepard puppy) made her inaugural trip to the cabin and loved it. Sasha showed her the ropes and introduced her to the cabin life.

Not much snow up there this trip and the weather the first few days was quite mild for Northern Minnesota this time of the year with highs around 30 and lows in the teens. It did get cold before we left and was -16F the morning we headed back to Michigan. Our Drolet woodstove did a nice job of keeping us warm. Our water system worked good and the only freeze-up we had was the last morning. The lines leading to the kitchen sink froze where they run under the cabinets along the uninsulated floor near an outside wall of the unskirted cabin. The feedline from the cistern never froze in the insulated and lightbulb heated box I built. The rest was fine also.

I am confident that once the floors are insulated the cabin skirted that we won't have this problem again. Probably would have been ok this time if I had thought to leave the cabinet doors open.

We burned about 7 gallons of gas in our Honda generator for the entire trip. Not bad at around $2.00 a gallon. Our two golf cart batteries and inverter are still working great for when the generator isn't running and easily make it overnight even with the bulb burning for the waterline and a fan running to help circulate the heat.

We got almost all of the rest of the false beams installed and added some decorative corbels under them at the walls. We are really happy with the look.

Ok...enough babbling. Here are some pictures....

Our little Christmas tree...

Sasha and Karmann enjoying a little quiet time in front of the fire...

Puzzle time...

Future project. I mocked up a backsplash I want to build for our little cookstove...

It will be fabricated from steel and powdercoated to match the stove...

Yummy baked apples with oatmeal and cranberry filling...

The lack of snow made hiking easier...


The corbels I added to the underside of the beams...

Beams almost done...

My new phone has a feature that lets you take a composite 360 degree picture. Pretty neat...

One last shot of Sasha and Karmann enjoying the cabin life...

Jill and I hope everyone had a great Christmas and we look forward to sharing our cabin adventures in the new year and reading about all of your's too.

Happy New Year!

# Posted: 1 Jan 2015 12:10

Thanks for the inspiration J&J. Place looks great.

# Posted: 1 Jan 2015 20:34

I really enjoyed catching up on your cabin story. It looks completely wonderful! Thanks for the update.

# Posted: 10 Aug 2015 22:27 - Edited by: jaransont3

It has been a long time since I updated this. Jill and I skipped our usual trip to the cabin in the Spring, but did get back for the week of July 4th like we usually do. It was a relaxing and productive trip.

It started out a little creepy when we were greeted by this rather large "friend" in the bathroom. Yes that is a 4 inch hinge on the window!

After dispatching of our guest, we got settled in. The dogs didn't take long to get reacquainted with their favorite spot.

It rained the first night and part of the day so we managed to finish the puzzle we started last trip. The simple pleasures of cabin life...

Second morning was cold enough to require a fire to take the chill off, one of the things I love about northern Minnesota.

The wild flowers were in full bloom...

attracting the butterflies...

and other critters...

Adirondack chairs out and ready for the campfire nights...

The dogs enjoyed the river...

Jill and I even managed to get out in the canoe and do some fishing. We caught enough crappies and bluegills for at least one good meal...

As I said, it was a productive trip also. One of the things that has been on my list of things to do for a long time is finish the entry end of the porch. It has been like this for years...

after a few hours measuring, cutting, and assembly, it turned out like this...

The big project for this trip was getting the floor insulated finally. Polar Insulating did the job in a few hours...

We are really looking forward to warmer floors this winter. Still need to skirt it all. That is on the list for our trip over Labor Day along with adding 1" of foam insulation and new siding to all the exterior walls.

One last project was a TP holder that Jill made. We love it...

We are really looking forward to our trip in September. It is our favorite time of the year at the cabin.

# Posted: 13 Sep 2015 22:44

Jill and I got up to the cabin for the last week. We had a great time and made some significant improvements to the cabin. Fall is our favorite time of the year to be up at the cabin with the warm days and cool nights. Almost no bugs. The start of the Fall colors. It is just great.

This trip was pretty busy since we had some big projects planned and we managed to get most of the things checked off the list. We started with a trailer full of materials...

This is what the cabin looked like when we got there...

One disappointment was that the river was so low that we didn't even bother trying to put the canoe in this trip.

First night there it rained some so we got a chance to work on a puzzle. Even our pitbull Sasha helped. We nearly finished it this trip. Love the simple pleasures of cabin life.

First order of business was to get the cabin skirted. I added framing built with pressure treated lumber to the bottom edge of the foundation posts and then used pre-finished roofing tin for the skirting. I didn't worry about insulating the skirting since that last trip I had the underside of the floor insulated with spray-foam. The skirting is really just to keep the airspace under the cabin sealed off.

While I worked on the skirting, Jill moved our fire pit from the back of the cabin to the front side...closer to the porch and door of the cabin. It worked out great. My brother also came out and got the floor drain for the shower installed and tied into the drain filed plumbing. Bathroom tile work and finishing can now proceed during the next trip.

Here are a couple of more shots of the skirting, including the access door to the plumbing drain valves.

After the skirting was completed, it was time to add 1" of rigid foam insulation (R6) to the outside of the cabin. I had to remove all of the window and door trip and other exterior bits then fit and nail up the foam. Between the added foam insulation, the skirting and the floor insulation from last trip, we should have a much easier to heat place come Christmas time when we are back up there next.

A beautiful mist over the Sturgeon River during one of my morning runs...

After the foam, we added new pre-finished LP Smartside siding. Really nice material to work with, although I didn't like having to nail it up by hand with a hammer. My left thumb and index finger took a beating....literally.

One of the casualties of the siding work...apparently plate glass windows don't like to have pieces of siding dropped on them. Silver lining is that the temporary foam filler panel has a much better R-value than the glass. Doesn't do much for the view though.

While I worked on the siding, Jill spent her time paint the new trim and the old door and window frames with the new trim colors.

Couple of views with the siding all up...

We liked the new fire pit location so much that we decided to add a small patio around it. We definitely have to get more of the patio stones. Hard to believe that is 40+ of them. Probably need that many again, but we are really happy with it. Jill even took the time to stain the Adirondack chairs and table.

I think Sasha she surveys her kingdom.

We did manage to get a little trim up. It is going to take a lot of fiddling around to extend the jams and sills properly...that will be a project for the next trip.

We did get all the corner trim on and the trim between the wall panels and the gable end panels. Here are some shots of how we left it for this trip...

Like I side, it was a great and busy trip. It was great to see the cabin finally all sided with the same siding. We really like the new look. We worked our butts off. This was a common scene at the end of the day...curled up in front of the crackling fire in the stove...

Until next time....

# Posted: 16 Sep 2015 18:38

You guys are awesome. It's amazing what some elbow grease can accomplish. I might be stealing your firepit/patio idea. Is that ok? The next time you visit your cabin it will be like seeing it for the first time with all you have done. What a thrill.

# Posted: 16 Sep 2015 19:44

Thanks Bret. Steal away. I didn't patent the patio idea.

Yeah, it was already really weird seeing most of the blue gone. We are looking forward to seeing how much of a difference it all makes with heating the place in the winter time.

# Posted: 17 Sep 2015 07:56

love your cabin! your hard work has really paid off with having such a beautiful place.

# Posted: 17 Sep 2015 08:29

I love the attention to detail you put into everything! Well done!

Gary O
# Posted: 17 Sep 2015 11:18

What an absolutely gorgeous pictorial.
Thank you so much for sharing.

<< . 1 . 2 . 3 . 4 . 5 . >>
Your reply
Bold Style  Italic Style  Underlined Style  Thumbnail Image Link  Large Image Link  URL Link           :) ;) :-( :confused: More smilies...

» Username  » Password 
Only registered users can post here. Please enter your login/password details before posting a message, or register here first.