Small Cabin

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

Small Cabin Forum / Member's Projects and Photos / Central MN cabin build
Author Message
Peewee86
Member
# Posted: 30 Oct 2019 18:30
Reply 


Several years back we purchased just under an acre of wooded land. This thread will follow our cabin journey.

We had been looking at properties and kicking tires for many years. I had told my self that I wanted at least 3 acres. In the spring of 2017 my wife sat me down and said, “Your son is nine years old. In five or six years he may not want to hang around you as much. If you are going to do something now is the time.” That summer we purchased a travel trailer and set a goal to find a piece of property by the end of that summer. Although the size of the land was a compromise its location for us has been ideal. I found our property only 150 yards down the road from some land that my uncle and cousin have owned for a dozen years. It is nice to have family close by. The property is less than 1000 feet from the second largest lake in Minnesota and our rear neighbor is one of the fairways of a golf course resort. It is an 80 mile drive from our home.

We spend that first summer removing roughly 150 trees. The canopy overhead was so dense that there was very little sunlight.
Thinning out the trees
Thinning out the trees
Ready for the excavator
Ready for the excavator


Peewee86
Member
# Posted: 30 Oct 2019 18:39
Reply 


With the trees down I had an excavator remove all of the stumps. Between the platform for the cabin, the driveway, and a pad for a future pole barn they brought in 75 ten yard dump truck loads of class five gravel. For several days straight every 15 minutes the trucks would show up, empty a load and pick up the stumps that had been removed.
Another load delivered
Another load delivered
Landscape fabric under the driveway
Landscape fabric under the driveway


Peewee86
Member
# Posted: 30 Oct 2019 18:52 - Edited by: Peewee86
Reply 


By fall 2017 the property looked a lot different.
Planning for the cabin build started in 2018. That is when I found this website.
Excavation complete
Excavation complete
Our son enjoying the freedoms of being “up north”.
Our son enjoying the freedoms of being “up north”.
Sunset from the lake just down the road.
Sunset from the lake just down the road.


Sprinkler Guy
Member
# Posted: 30 Oct 2019 19:56
Reply 


Did I read that right, you got 750 yards of gravel? What did you do with so much on such a small lot? Looks like a nice place

Peewee86
Member
# Posted: 30 Oct 2019 20:04 - Edited by: Peewee86
Reply 


Yes you read that right. 750 yards of fill. $11K excavator bill.🙁 This was not only for the cabin foundation we also have a pad for a 40 x 60 pole barn that will be put up in several years.

I looked at many cabin designs. Traditional log siding look was not important to me. I like the look but I wanted low maintenance. It seems that many on the site want to build pier foundations. I imagine that’s because of the cost and the simplicity of doing it themselves. Our soil is a mucky clay and our frost depth is 60”. It is not the best for a sonotube pier foundation. I am aware of a few pole barns in the area that have had trouble with the frost lifting up their posts. Ultimately we decided to go with a monolithic slab foundation. The perimeter is 18 inches deep with a 5 inch thick field. I have 2 inch insulation under the entire slab but we do not have the insulation wings going out from the buildings perimeter like a true frost protected floating slab would have. I was lucky that I have a concrete company just down the road. He told me if I could be flexible on timing and paid cash I could get a better deal. The 15 x 36 foundation cost $3400 including the insulation. Because of the soil conditions my excavator had built up the pad nearly 30 inches with class five. I should have good drainage.

The slab was poured in the fall of 2018. There was no movement or any cracking through its first winter.

We did not put plumbing lines in the concrete. Our plans are for a composting toilet. Any other gray water lines could be run horizontally above the slab.
Foundation insulation and rebar
Foundation insulation and rebar
Poured slab.
Poured slab.


Peewee86
Member
# Posted: 30 Oct 2019 20:49
Reply 


Our plans for the cabin started out small. We started out as 12’ x 30’. 30 became 32 and then 36’. 12 became 14 and then 15’. I wish we had gone to 16’. My advice to those who in the planning stage is to build as big of a footprint as you can afford.

Our highest priority was lots of windows. We wanted it to feel like we were in the woods while standing in the living room. I searched on craigslist for more than a year looking for windows. I would usually start negotiations at about $.20 on the dollar for a new never installed Craigslist window. It wasn’t in the budget to buy all of them brand new. We drew our own design and it was somewhat based on buying windows at bottom dollar prices and then designing around them.With all of the windows I had to learn about brace wall codes. Overall the county inspector has been good to work with.

For the framing construction I hired some of the Amish community. They were paid per person per day. Their work has been good but my project is at the bottom of their priority list. I have had trouble getting them to come back to finish.
The lumber pile prior to the first construction day.
The lumber pile prior to the first construction day.
The first wall.
The first wall.
Day 1 progress
Day 1 progress
Day 2 progress
Day 2 progress


Peewee86
Member
# Posted: 30 Oct 2019 22:28
Reply 


After several weeks away the framing crew came back and gave me another day. The cabin is starting to take shape.
2DFCE6CF313F480DA.jpeg
2DFCE6CF313F480DA.jpeg
Framing day 3
Framing day 3


Peewee86
Member
# Posted: 30 Oct 2019 22:37 - Edited by: Peewee86
Reply 


We used green treated plywood for the bottom two feet of exterior wall sheathing to protect from moisture. This is snow country. Unfortunately, once again it would be several weeks before there would be any further progress. I didn’t post a floor plan. My wife and I drew our own plans and I was intentionally vague with the plans that I submitted to the county for the building permit. I figured it gives me more flexibility. The building inspector has been pretty laid back. The two small windows in the back side of the cabin will be for a bathroom and over the kitchen sink.
Wall sheathing
Wall sheathing
Framing day 4
Framing day 4
First of the windows installed.
First of the windows installed.


fitzpatt
Member
# Posted: 31 Oct 2019 13:25
Reply 


Looks great! Looking forward to more pictures of the progress.

Peewee86
Member
# Posted: 31 Oct 2019 20:25
Reply 


This view from the inside on the upper level shows where the spiral staircase will start.
Living room view
Living room view


Peewee86
Member
# Posted: 31 Oct 2019 20:30
Reply 


Once the Amish crew was able to come back we were able to get our roof and most of the windows installed. I had to order three windows new to match others that I had found on Craigslist. They were not delivered on time to be installed on the same day. The lower level bedroom has out-swing French doors because it will serve as a golf cart garage until we are able to put up a pole barn.
Windows and Roof
Windows and Roof
Golf cart garage
Golf cart garage
Living room picture window
Living room picture window


Peewee86
Member
# Posted: 4 Dec 2019 00:12 - Edited by: Peewee86
Reply 


This fall I Installed the remaining windows and got started on the front door awning.

As I looked at my previous posts I realized I had never shown the living room end wall of the cabin. The three lower windows were a find at a Habitat for Humanity ReStore. They are 72” tall plus a 12” transom. Installed 2 feet off the floor, the tops of the windows are 9 feet high. I had to order the small matching window above and it cost more than the three lower windows combined. Progress has been slow.
Front door awning
Front door awning
Living room end wall front
Living room end wall front
Living room end wall back
Living room end wall back


Peewee86
Member
# Posted: 4 Dec 2019 00:20 - Edited by: Peewee86
Reply 


The payoff for all the glass is the panoramic views of the trees from inside the living room. It’s too early to start thinking about furniture but my brother was redecorating and gave me a leather dual reclining couch that was virtually new. Hopefully it will not get ruined as interior construction continues around it.
Living room view
Living room view


Nate R
Member
# Posted: 4 Dec 2019 08:13
Reply 


Looking good, thanks for sharing your story!

Can you tell me the size of the windows on the right in the picture above? Curious how that compares to my plans for my main windows....I have similar thinking, that I want a decent view of the trees/forest outside.

Brettny
Member
# Posted: 4 Dec 2019 09:59
Reply 


Very nice build.

I have two similar shaped picture windows above 8' in my house. They don't even come close to facing south but still let a ton of light in.

Aklogcabin
Member
# Posted: 4 Dec 2019 12:05
Reply 


Nice job man! I suspect that the money spent on the excavating costs will benefit you in the long run. You’re doing a great job.
Bet you’re already planning out all the cool things you are going to do, at the cabin.

jhbr55
Member
# Posted: 4 Dec 2019 13:04
Reply 


Peewee, By chance are you on the west side of lake Mille Lacs?

Peewee86
Member
# Posted: 4 Dec 2019 16:33 - Edited by: Peewee86
Reply 


Nate-The three windows on the right had a rough opening of 90” x 72”. They are facing south. The patio door on the north side is standard 6 foot width but is taller so it also has an 8 foot header height. We put a patio door in instead of more windows so we would have close access to a wood pile for the wood-burning stove. Both of those openings on the load bearing walls have microllam (LVL)headers. They aren’t that much more money in the whole scheme of things. I’ve seen what a sagging header can do to a window.

Peewee86
Member
# Posted: 4 Dec 2019 17:59 - Edited by: Peewee86
Reply 


Jhbr- This is the Internet. Are we supposed to reveal our location? Ha!

We are on the southside a little less than 1000 feet off the lake. The zoning changes at 1000 feet and I had to move the cabin over a little bit to get my building permit approval. My rear neighbor is a golf course fairway at Izaty’s. During the summer months the woods are too thick to see anybody. It feels private.

It really is a wonderful location. I would’ve liked more acreage for privacy, but the trade off is within a golf cart drive I can get to two different bar/restaurants, a public swimming beach, a pier for fishing, tennis or pickle ball courts, a swimming pool, and two golf courses.

Golf carts are the method of travel for many people in the area. On summer weekends for every person that drives a car down our road there will be five golf carts that will drive by.

jhbr55
Member
# Posted: 4 Dec 2019 20:50
Reply 


Peewee, We have a small off grid cabin on the west side. Your description in your initial post sounds like the area we are in. I am very familiar with soil conditions you refer too. Love your place.

Peewee86
Member
# Posted: 28 Jun 2020 16:16 - Edited by: Peewee86
Reply 


We have had some progress since my last post. Here are a few updated photos.

The siding is finished except for the small area around the front door. We plan to install some decorative veneered stone to accent the front door. I didn’t want to pick out a color before we had the siding up. The wall corners will not stay white. They are a two piece design. The outer snap on cap will be painted black to match the roof.

I was able to obtain all of the vinyl siding for free. It had only been installed for about seven years on a building where I work but due to an insurance claim it was all replaced. As the siders pulled it off I told them if it was damaged in anyway to throw it out but if they were able to pull a full 12’ piece off without any damage to set it aside for me. I still have an additional 600 square feet of siding left over if I ever want to build a matching shed. I’m sure the used siding saved me more than $2K.

As you see it now I have just passed the $25K mark for my total investment in the place.($16K in materials and $9K in labor) I plan to take over a majority of the labor from here on out. It will be hard because when we are up there my wife expects me to spend time with the family rather than working all day on the cabin. I will have to find that balance. Happy wife, happy life.

I ordered a spiral staircase kit last month but it was damaged so I am waiting several more weeks for the replacement to arrive. Hopefully I will have it installed in the next month. -PeeWee
033B3CBC409D43949.jpeg
033B3CBC409D43949.jpeg
ECF33EAC64A04F208.jpeg
ECF33EAC64A04F208.jpeg
FA43CA8ADB214E97B.jpeg
FA43CA8ADB214E97B.jpeg


Peewee86
Member
# Posted: 28 Jun 2020 16:27
Reply 


We have a family of barred owls living right by the cabin. I haven’t found the nest yet but there were three of them within 50 feet of the cabin last Saturday. If I’m going to get in to nature photography need to get a better camera than what’s on my cell phone.
Barred owl keeping an eye on us
Barred owl keeping an eye on us


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.