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Little Cabin in the. . .  Backyard???

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We have "re-constructed" an old Forest Service building that was given to us!

We sort of designed as we went along, somewhat, and made it a little smaller and more cozy.

We started all this in the Summer of 2008.

Click Here for our Cabin Archive page with older photos from Summer 2008!

Now, it's 2011.  I've archived most of the pictures of the initial construction that took place in the summer of 2008, so this page will load faster and be more of the current work we're doing.

The really fun part about this project is that now we are finally enjoying USING it!  We still have some of  the detail work, window trim and facia paint to finish, adding shingles to the Add-On gable end, and an outdoor sink just outside the back door.  We've started the landscaping, and hope to be painting it again this summer, since we were only able to get one base coat of color on it - and in some spots, not even that!  There is still quite a bit of the exterior trim that needs the brown paint, and the verticals on the main cabin gable end, over the top of the Add-On roof to be finished.  The goal is to have it finished by the end of this summer! 

Stay tuned and we will update the site with pictures as the project continues!

This is where we left off in the summer of 2008 - the standing seam metal roof had just been installed the day before Thanksgiving.  At least we got it water tight for winter!  Toward the bottom of the page, I will but in a break with some text and then continue with pictures from the summer of 2010.  Enjoy The Cabin!!


The Front of the Canopy with a Small Tree Motif, and provision for a porch light on the ceiling of the porch, too!

Standing Seam Metal Roof Adds an Old Cabin Look with New Materials - Still Missing the Gutters!










Another Look at the Metal Roof - You Can See the Difference in the two Roof Pitches in this Shot

It was Such a Relief to Have the Roof on Before the Winter Rains Came - The Roofers Finished Two Days Before Thanksgiving!


Let's start by looking at what we've done to the Add-On since last summer...


We used some bead board we got in the auction on the Add-On "kitchen" walls. Door on the left leads to the main room, and the one on the right will be an under stair closet.

There will be a small fold-down table under the window, and the door on the right will lead out to a lean-to.

Above, the back wall of the add-on before cleaning and sealing.

The picture to the right is of the back Add-On wall, sealed with a lead-encapsulating sealer paint.  We weren't sure if it was lead paint, but we decided to err on the side of caution and use this product just in case.  It takes two coats, and then we will prime the walls and ceiling with a light grey primer.  After that, Bonnie must decide the color scheme for this area.  Bonnie is leaning toward painting the lower walls and gable ends sort of an antique shade of yellow, and probably an off white on the ceiling boards.

The kitchen gable ends will be covered with drywall, but then plastered in a 1930's style "swirl technique.

Kim, our favorite drywall installer, putting up the Add-On gable end walls. This guy does great work!

Ready for texture!  We're having a "swirl/plaster" look done.

Gable end walls textured and ready for primer/paint.

Here's a picture of the rear wall - see the painted areas? We had planned on painting this wall, so we had to sand it all off...

So we could go with a stain instead!  Bonnie wanted to allow the beautiful grain of the wood to show through. Good choice!

Look at how rich this wall turned out! Next we will put two coats of amber shellac on it to warm it up even more, then on to choose paint colors!

The underside of the loft looks so good with the stained wall!

Bonnie painting the first coat of color.

This looks grey, but it is Dried Chervil, sort of a light green.

Here's Bonnie in the loft, blowing the dust off the rafters, ceiling and floor after some sanding.  Then she will put down a second coat of polyurethane on the loft floorboards. (Look right ------->)

Here's the pretty floorboards in the loft!  Bonnie did a nice job!

Add-On before siding......

Add-On siding in place and ready for priming and painting!

Above I am figuring the angles of the staircase stringers and where it will meet the upper floor.  It is an "alternating tread staircase", which allows for a steeper angle - you can see in the picture to the right how that works, but when the treads are in place, you will be able to see it more clearly.  Look below for pictures of the finished staircase... it looks good!

To left, Bonnie is working hard as we plane the back side of the stringer against the wall, trimming it to a narrower thickness so it won't stick out into the actual stairway quite so far! We had more board than space!

Below is a stack of 2 inch pine boards that will become the steps for the stairway in the picture directly above. I'll have to plane them down and shape them - this will be a pretty cool staircase!

To the left - Bonnie and I planed and cut to width and rough length all of the boards for the window and door frames.  Now it's up to me to puzzle the pieces together! Never built a window or a door frame... this should be fun!

Fitting treads to their slots.  Some required a little hand-fitting with a chisel to fit their slots more precisely.

Staircase Treads shaped, formed, and finished... ready to install!

Installing the treads on the back stringer first.  This was an interesting challenge!  Screws from the back side, which will be up against the wall, hold the treads in place before the outer stringer is attached.

Outer stringer in place. The back of the staircase will be closed in,  forming one of the interior walls of the closet.

A shot of the Alternating Tread Staircase from above.  You can't really get the idea of what it's like in a small picture, so I left this one big.

A/C unit hooked up to the ductwork and RUNNING!  It works really well, pushing cool air in and pulling the inside air out to re-circulate.  Pretty neat system, for a window A/C unit!


To the right, I am hooking up the Infrared Remote Repeater to the A/C unit.  It allows the remote control to be used inside the cabin to control the A/C functions.  It is all connected and works great!  Everything the unit could do in direct line of sight with the remote now happens by just pointing the remote toward a little sensor inside.  I just love it when a plan comes together!!!

I call this "the doghouse" - it covers the A/C unit.  It is open at the back for air flow, but protects the unit from the weather.

The Add-On interior walls are now a pretty yellow color. Bonnie wants to do an antiquing technique on these.  The ceiling will be Bleached Wheat.

A little detail - pushbutton lights throughout the cabin!

Making the window frames in the shop. This one is a casement.

A momentous moment - "breaking the seal" to install a window!

Shimming and leveling the first window Bonnie and I installed.

An inside view of the front wall - finally, a little light in the room!

Outside view, front double-hung window. Both sashes work!

Prepping the front door - no details, but hanging this was a pain!

Look! Our cabin has eyes and a mouth now!

This is the look I live for!!!  Bonnie is seeing the kitchen cabinet I built for the first time. (see the right frame ----->)  I made this completely from parts and pieces we got at the Black Family auction when we bought all that wood so long ago.  That countertop is ONE PIECE of one inch thick pine!  The sides and face frame are cut down panels that used to be large pantry cupboard doors, and the weathered doors in front had to be cut down both in height and width.  The hardware was already on the doors!  The T&G pine backsplash is the only new wood I used.

I couldn't handle it any more - I finally put up the chandelier! It's cobbled together from bits and pieces, from candle holders to a wall hanging, and restoration electrical hardware.

Here's the front of the cabin with all the rough-sawn trim boards installed.  The next step is to put the concrete porch in, and then the siding can go on!

The three windows in the west wall - two side casements will open outward. They flank a large, double-hung center window, all looking out at  white and pink roses!

The west windows trimmed out - the top piece of trim is a full ten inches wide - we had to have this one specially rough sawn. We didn't have anything wide enough that was thick enough!

OK, yeah, it's a stump. Bonnie's boss was cutting down a big old cedar tree, so... She wants it to look like it's been here forever.

Prepping for the Add-On flooring boards.  Cutting and puzzling them together is quite a process!

Forms ready for the concrete porch.

Our incredible neighbors who do all my hard work for me!  :-)

It's taking shape....

Making a broomed top surface and pretty edges.

Here's the back "stoop"... (thought I'd throw an old term in!)

...also broomed and edged to match the front porch.

And here is the front porch, without the forms... Finished!

A sneak peek at what the siding will look like - see the tree?  :-)

Bonnie's brother Randy, who is a professional welding artist, came for the weekend and welded our loft railing for us!

Randy and I discussing how the loft gate guarding the stairwell hole should work, and still be safe for the kids in an emergency.

Here are the finished railing parts with two very happy cabin owners and one well loved and appreciated brother!

The final result - a railing made from an antique crib (Bonnie's Idea), designed by Curt, and executed by Randy.

Another view from the floor of the cabin looking up at the loft.

Here is a look at the gate as you ascend the stairs to the loft.

This is the gate when it is closed. You might be able to see at the corner there is an original caster that rolls on the surface of the loft floor, supporting the weight of the gate. You can see it better in the picture at the right ------> ...  It also folds in on itself, also clear in the picture on the right, and the whole thing tucks against the gable end wall so it is out of the way when you climb into the loft - it's a tiny space up there, meant mainly for a kid's play area, so space is an important consideration.  Randy's advice on this gate was invaluable as we sort of "designed it on the fly".  We originally thought an iron grate would cover the stairwell hole, but this is such a more elegant solution!  We both just love the way all of this turned out, and we can't thank Randy enough for taking the time out to come down and custom build this rail system for us!

Bonnie reading to the kids... in the loft! It's already in use!

Tree feature from the original Forest Service building.

OK, the siding is DONE!! We are thrilled with the results - now it's time to put on some color - watch for those shots soon!

Above, a closer look at the front wall siding and porch.


To the right, a look at the complicated corner where the main cabin siding meets the Add-On siding.  Short little pieces all needed an angle on one end and a square fit in the corner against the Add-On wall.  With my back issues, this one took a day to complete... with a lot of breaks.  But it came out great!

Getting a little color on the outside now. Tan with brown trim.

The door is now a deep red, but these are the basic colors.

Inside trim is the same dark stain as the back wall, with two coats of amber shellac - it looks wonderful... especially in person!

The picture to the right is of one of the windows in the Add-On. You can see the richness of the wood coloring, and the window stools at the bottom. The only thing missing at this point is an apron board under the sill to finish it off.

OK, now we jump to a little project I did - these are the "guts" that I stripped out of a brand new $20 electric utility  heater......

To put inside a classic old kerosene burning heater I picked up for $35 bucks at an antique store.

I took all the flammable parts off the original - you can see a small hole in the tank right by the filler cap that made it dangerous.

I was able to alter the old valve handle and body to connect to the rotating electric power switch  and keep the old classic look.

I bent a new sheet metal back for it, and mounted the thermostat switch - sort of back where it isn't seen much.

And I cut some of the metal parts from the new heater body to use as grill work inside to protect the exposed electrical components.

OK, on to some exciting progress - here, Bonnie and I are planing some of the floor boards for the main room.

This was the second session of planing - my very helpful neighbor came over and helped me plane the majority of the boards for the floor several days before this - I'll tell you with no hesitation - without his help, this cabin would not have been built!

It is amazing how much sawdust and chips this process creates - we were ankle deep in no time!

These are the floorboards in the cabin waiting for installation.

This is the cleanest the floor has been in a very long time!

First task is to dry-fit the boards and trim around the floor vents.

We will be installing the floorboards with old fashioned cut nails!

Tar paper all laid down and ready as a moisture barrier.

In go the first nails! These are really hard nails to drive in!

Here it is! Stained with Golden Oak, and 3 coats of Tung Oil.

I don't know about you all - but we love the look we got!!

There's my neighbor David again - helping with the Add-On floor!

It took a morning to put in the floor, but look at the results below!

This is looking into the Kitchen from the main room.

I absolutely love this transition in the flooring - it worked SO well!

Flooring tucked into the closet as well...

Ready for stain - just watch this transition in the next few shots!

These were taken in the evening with artificial light.

The stain on this wood really richens the color.

It looks a little yellowed here, but it washed out with the flash.

Here's a daytime shot with the baseboards installed.  Nice, huh!

Finally got the closet door hung, now that the floor is done.

This is looking out to the main cabin from the Add-On.

Notice the baseboards are all installed? They look really good!

Another angle - you can see the back door.

Looking from the base of the stairs toward the SW corner.

From the SW corner back toward the base of the stairs!

Lily watching Uncle Aaron bring in the rocking chair! We couldn't wait! Even though the Add-On is not totally done, and we have a few pieces of trim to install as yet, we had to get some furniture in there and start enjoying it!  It's been such a long wait!

Bonnie, Laurel and the kids relaxing in the furnished cabin ------>

This desk/table was a rare find - it folds out to seat 6!   Really!

The picture to the right is the pass-thru door to the Add-On from the Main Room.  The trim around this door was a decision a long time in the making, to be sure.  We finally decided a single face board that wraps the edges just a little, would work the best.  The darker trim around the windows and exterior doors would have been just too heavy with the natural wood finish around the door.  

This piece was quite difficult to mill - it is basically "C" shaped - first I 'hollowed' it out on the router table then mitered the corners, as shown in the picture above.  I think it turned out well, and Bonnie likes it.... that's the real test... and it passed!

Above is a shot of the trim on the canopy painted brown, with the little tree motif light green in 'homage' to the original Forest Service building.

To the right is an antique lantern we picked up for $10 - for safety reasons and so the  kids could use it up in the loft, I electrified it with a rechargeable battery and a switch on the top.  You can see the cord plugged in while it charges.  It's sort of silly, but we use this to get from the house to the cabin in the evenings after dark!

Hey, it adds to the experience, and that's what it's all about!

To the left is our little woodstove, reconditioned and ready to go - we couldn't resist a short little "burn-in" to set the polish.  Even though it won't be an actual wood burning heat source, we will use it with canisters of "gel fuel", that is made for ventless fireplaces.  The stuff crackles and pops like a real fire, and does add a little heat, but it's mostly for the ambiance!

Below is the stove installed in the cabin... with our dog.... and our lantern... Looks like home, doesn't it?

Here (below), I'm cleaning up the kitchen cook stove while the little stove flames away during it's burn-in. Lots of rust!  LOTS!

But it was worth it - look to the right at the cook stove actually in place!  Does that look great or what? Bonnie wants me to put fake stove pipes up into the wall to make it look operational.

Inside the cabinet is a mini refrigerator, and behind the oven door, there's a little toaster oven tucked away!!  Then in the closet, a microwave is ready to use - all the modern convenience of technology... hidden away in the trappings of the past!


Our little "farm table".  I built this in my shop, from an old carcass and some of the wide wood we got at the auction several years back. 

I added a drop-down leaf on one end to add more space whenever we need it. There's the leaf up and ready to support all the Thanksgiving dinner dishes.

The table is set for our first "event" in the cabin - Thanksgiving dinner 2009!  And we get two this year!

Dinnertime!  One Thursday, and one Friday with Zach, Laurel and the Grandkids!

The Work Continues...

With the interior pretty much done, except for curtains and some window sash painting - the cold weather hit, and we waited until Spring to continue work on the exterior paint, landscaping, lean-to with outdoor sink, and the gable end treatments.

Here's a look at some of the first things we've tackled this Spring:


Here's a front view of the cabin - you can see some of the landscaping in front.  Decomposed granite pathways with planting beds out front.

Over on the right, you'll see the posts for the lean-to that will cover the back door and our outdoor sink.  The middle one will be cut down to make a shorter post that will support a gate to the garden.  You can see our tomato cages on the right. Below, the roof framework for the lean-to takes shape, and next to that is the finished structure.

Imagine walking through the little kitchen, out the back door, under the lean-to, through the gate to the garden, picking some beans, tomatoes and chard, and washing it all up in the outdoor sink.  Then cooking things up in a little country kitchen.

Hard to beat, huh??

We added a new white wall shelf, antique toaster, and yes, I put in the fake stove pipe up the wall for an authentic look.

Another little red wire shelf, a white one, and some wood canisters from Bonnie's Mom round out the look!

Above, there's a look at the new full size sleeper couch we put into the cabin.  Now we can use it as a guest room for those who are brave enough to spend the night out there... without a bathroom!  (Our plan includes a travel trailer nearby that will have facilities, but for now. it's a long way to the inside plumbing!)

<<<<<====  One of the first projects of this Spring!

We built a decomposed granite path from our back patio across the yard to the cabin.  Much nicer than slogging through the mud.  This area of our yard is always in the shade, so it never dries out, and grew lots of mossy, muddiness - so we figured, why not turn it into a nice little path!!


OK, here we go!  The following are shots of the interior of the Cabin as it is year-end 2011.

We are using it regularly, enjoying the peaceful solitude it provides as an oasis in our own little backyard!  Somehow, reading a book - whether to a Grandchild or to each other - is so much more enjoyable in this wonderful environment.

Wide shot of the kitchen as it is Today...

Looking Toward the West Windows in the Main Room....

Looking Toward the Stair Wall and the Kitchen Door...

Now, THIS  Looks like a Comfy Little Loft, Doesn't it??



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