If we were to name this place, perhaps it would simply be The Guest Shack. The original fairy tale plan was just that. We would live in this more modest space while the main house was being built. But, guess what? The size of this 28x36 place is just perfect for us. So, we’re staying. It’s a sleeper of a home in that it looks pretty small from the outside. But, once inside it has a big feel thanks to the high ceiling and open floor plan.


Construction started with the floor. The beams went in first. Then, the 2x6 pine tongue & groove (T&G) was installed running the 28 ft width. Once the floor was constructed, a sheet of protective plastic was put down. The 4x6 framing went up next, followed by the first layer of wall serving as the visible interior wall. This is 1x6 pine T&G car siding. The unusual height of the 9’ 3" walls along with the vaulted ceiling allow for headroom in the loft. The1st level bed, bath and entry ceiling are 7'.


Next, the roof was started. Like the walls, the first layer was the pine 2x6 car siding. The next 6 layers are as follows: 2 sandwiched layers of P2000, 1x2 spacers, 1/2" OSB, layer of double bubble silvered on both sides, and finally sheet metal roofing.


3 more layers were then added to the outside walls. First, a single layer of P2000 foam board, then 1x2 vertical wood spacers screwed into the posts. Finally, the 2x6, D-log, pine, T&G siding.


Once the walls and roof were complete, windows were put in place. Then, the loft was constructed and the stairs and railing installed. It’s not really part of the “shell”. But, it was the last part completed by the construction crew. The loft has the same flooring as main floor.


Finally, the exterior was finished with Olympic Maximum toner. If you missed the main Building Page, and are looking for a little more dirt, go there for the more “entertaining” part of the story.


Looking for more info on the P2000 insulation system? Check out the Passive Solar page.

home  construction




ONE BIG ROOM click photo for next image

W ith the building crew now gone, I had the daytime task of staining the interior while Paul was working for a paycheck. Scaffolding was rented to reach as high as the 15’ peak. The toner was first sprayed on using a hand pump sprayer. Then, it was worked it into the grain with a big brush. 5 days later, that part of the interior finish was was finally done.


Since we had very little storage room at that point, a shed was in order to house all the shop equipment. Memorial Day weekend a shed kit was constructed. That following week the move was started from the rental house. Make sure to read the story on the rental house. It’s a goody! We had until the end of June to get out of the rental. So, we chipped away at moving pretty much every day.


Temporary power was hooked up the 3rd week of June and we were able to put away the generator. Paul was now able to continue working the paycheck job without skipping a beat. Also, and don’t tell anyone, we move in and “camped” indoors for about a month. I guess that’s what you call it before the plumbing is in place and usable. BTW…we did extend the rental of the porta potty to cover this time.


Interior work continued with a start on the bathroom. The tub/shower surround went in first. As for the photo, Paul is not a giant. This tub is a good size for kids or smaller adults. At the time, finding a one piece surround was a challenge, as the box stores had moved away from that design. I see now that they are once again carrying them as regular stock. The toilet was installed next. Then, the sink. As part of the bathroom project, Paul installed the entire household plumbing system as well. The first day of running water was the first day for out of town, overnight visitors. Pretty Rustic!


Next was building the cove for the washer, the bedroom closet and the other bedroom wall. This was followed by the rest of the staining which we both worked on. Then, the electrical conduit went in and the wire was pulled. The electrical had to be in, and inspection passed, before the kitchen could be installed.


A couple weeks later the cabinets arrived and we had them installed in a day. 3 weeks after that the countertops arrived. By the end of August, this place was  starting to resemble a real, live home!


Absurd: 3 days into staining, I could no longer stand the thought of getting back up onto the scaffolding. The sway was just too scary. With each climb up there, I thought it might be my last. I was sure that at any moment I'd be making the plunge to my death, and never quite sure if I had good or tattered underwear on for my trip to the hospital. Paul came over after work the 4th day and climbed to confirm something definitely wasn't right. Thank God! I hate risking being labeled as a whiner. A call to the rental joint confirmed that a cross bar had been left behind. So, the next morning I made the pilgrimage back into town to collect up the missing part. The guy at the rental place was apologetic and I took him up on offer for a free weekend extension of the rental. When the crossbar was installed it made all the difference in the world. The fifth day, I admit…I whined. It was Saturday…Paul was there and only a small square of wooden ceiling left to finish. After getting grief from him for not finishing what I started, he begrudgingly made the last climb up the scaffolding to finish the job. This is when I took his picture to pay homage to his kind deed.


Absurd:  Once we had everything moved in, it was time to tackle finishing the floor. We ended up running out of time and couldn't get it done before hand. This was going to be a real pain...and it was. I broke it down into 4 sections and just shuffled stuff around. Oil based poly and 2 cats on the loose made for an interesting situation. I made serious attempts to construct makeshift walls with the black plastic sheeting to dupe the cats into believing they were impervious. But, they turned it into an exciting game instead. When all was said and done we did have amazingly few paw prints in the floor finish. Perhaps a little more fur than I would have liked. But, no one can see that.


Sensible: Finish the floors before you move in!

basic  floor  plan

We have 1008 sq ft on main floor and about 300 in the loft. The kitchen area includes an island to provide more cabinet space underneath. Hindsight tells us adding another 6" to 12" to the island countertop dimensions would have been a good idea. Current seating arrangements for 4 at the island are a bit cozy. This island measures 4' x 6'...a tad too small.


Also, just a heads-up for those of you maybe considering an open floor plan like this, there is not much privacy if you are a visitor. The only closing door we have is to the bathroom. Oh, and a slatted door to the utility room. Our sweet camper offers a nice alternative to the loft for overnighters.

Our  off-grid  building  workhorse

This Sportsman 7500 is just as dependable today as it was when we were building. When we have a houseful of visitors, it gives our battery bank the occasional boost it needs to keep the house humming.

Staining the interior went much faster using a sprayer. We used a 1.5 gallon because it was easy to move around. First we sprayed a 8-10ft square patch. Then, worked the toner into the grain with a good quality 4" brush. 

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