So Did You Ever Finish?

December 2nd, 2011 by Doug

I must apologize!  Time and life just seems to get away from us and much has happened since my wife and I started this project.   We have completed this cabin and started another!  We also purchased an existing cabin rental business too!  We have learned much over the past couple of years and are thinking about sharing, but finding time seems impossible.  Running a business and trying to raise 3 kids has been a challenge, but we are having a blast!

Living Room of Log Cabin

Living Room









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Log Cabin Kits A Waste of Money?

February 25th, 2010 by Doug
Log Cabin Kit

Are Log Home Kits a Waste?

One of the first questions I almost always get asked about our log cabin project is which kit did you choose?  This question usually comes from someone who has looked into building a log home at one point and been exposed to all the “kit marketing”.  The follow up question, after I tell them that I only bought logs, is do you know how to cut the logs and do all that stuff?  The really amazing part about all of this is that a majority of log cabin kits on the market have to be cut on-site.  You won’t read that on too many log home sales brochures or plans.  What you may see is something like “random length logs”.  This means the log company will send you enough linear feet of logs so you or your builder can make them resemble the log home plan you’ve been carrying around at lunch.  Is that really a kit?  Maybe, but more likely not. Read the rest of this entry »

Foundation Type: Which one? Slab, Crawl Space or Basement?

January 20th, 2010 by Doug

Over the past twelve years I have repaired or built on many different home foundations.  So when it came time to build our cabin foundation I was a little surprised by how strongly I felt about one over another, and in the end surprised by the choice we ultimately ended up with.  Our choice of going with a concrete slab foundation was mostly based on building cost and maintenance.

Cost Estimate Basement vs Crawl Space vs Concrete Slab – Excel

Cost Estimate Basement vs Crawl Space vs Concrete Slab – PDF

Basement Foundations

A basement foundation would have been great for installing mechanicals (HVAC, well pump, etc.), but no bones about it, this would have been the most expensive option.  If you think about it Read the rest of this entry »

Selecting A Log Supplier! What to look for?

September 19th, 2009 by Doug

Three different logs - Two different suppliers

Different suppliers

Choosing a log suppler is probably one of the most important decisions to be made when building a log cabin.   And in a strange way, I was lucky to read some really terrible stories early on about purchasing log packages that scared me to death!  The realization that it’s possible to end up with nothing and be out a ton of cash is down right sobering.  I don’t want to spend too much time talking about the indicators I use when trying to decide if a business is reputable or not, but more time spent discussing how to find the best value when it comes to log suppliers.   Since my cabin and 80% of log cabins being built these days use milled logs, I will focus on them. Read the rest of this entry »

Drainage Tile For a Slab Foundation?

September 16th, 2009 by Doug
DIY House Basement and Forms

Basement and Forms

Now that the block is done I could start getting the concrete slab ready to pour.  I still needed to rough in the plumbing and fill the slab with gravel which will take some time, but I began to wonder about drainage tile.   When building the basement for our home six years ago, we went out of our way to ensure water stays out. But what about on a slab foundation?  After some research on the subject, I came to the conclusion it would be cheap insurance considering water and wood don’t mix well and I am building a log cabin.

Drain tile has a pretty straight forward goal of trying to keep ground water away from the building.  It is nothing more than a pipe (usually 4″ diameter) that has holes or slots cut into it that gets buried around and below the grade of the slab.   Read the rest of this entry »

We need to Build a Log Cabin NOW! But I need a plan.

July 30th, 2009 by Doug

Wow! I can’t believe it’s been so long since I’ve posted. Time really has a way of getting away from a person. Over the past few weeks our lives have come to an annual apex of sorts. School for the kids is letting out for the summer, swim lessons are starting, semester at college is ending, kids and adult church programs are ending and with each of these come the closing rituals of dinners, finals, ceremonies and field trips. No doubt time has been precious these days making it extremely difficult to focus on the cabin, but the good news is the foundation walls are done and the log package has arrived!

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Oh No! Worst timing!

April 2nd, 2009 by Doug
Bent Hydraulic Cylinders

Bent Hydraulic Cylinders

A couple of days ago while doing some back grading with my tractor I managed to bend two hydraulic cylinders on the front-end loader. I heard a loud pop and knew something was wrong but really did not notice a problem until I tried to go back to work and the bucket would not go down! Oh No!

How could this happen? In two days a semi will be showing up with our log package! How are we going to move things around? This could not have happened at a worst time. After I got over the shock of the damage, I settled down a bit and phoned the dealer to get replacement parts. To my surprise, each cylinder was $650 plus shipping and it would take several weeks to get here! Not good.

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Two Bedroom Design

March 29th, 2009 by Carrie

After we decided that we wanted to move forward with building a rental cabin, we next needed to decide what we wanted to offer in the cabin. Did we want to go with a strictly rustic, straight out of Little House on the Prairie log cabin, or something more updated? We thought about what we would like in a vacation cabin, and drew from experiences we have had on past vacations. We also had to factor in what size cabin we wanted, and still smarting from our recently-assessed home, we also factored in what taxes were going to cost us on this new cabin.

All of these ideas came together rather quickly, and we decided that we liked a 2-bedroom cabin for various privacy issues. Remembering that “everybody needs a little time away”, it is always nice whether various friends are on the trip, or if you are coming with your family or even extended families really benefit from having at least 2 bedrooms to separate everyone into. To go with the cabin theme, we determined that a log cabin design often lends itself well to a loft area. And we implemented the open-floor plan that so many people enjoy in more modern home designs.

Cabin Foor Plan

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Blocking Up the Foundation

March 12th, 2009 by Doug

Shovel a ton by hand!

I knew better than to try to put in a foundation this time of year in southern Illinois, but for some reason I thought I could beat mother nature.   But I was wrong, and am now paying the price.

No more did we get the footings dug and poured before the rain came and washed in a large amount of dirt, completely covering the new concrete footings.  Feeling bad for the block layer that was scheduled to start Monday, I spent a fair amount of time Saturday uncovering the footings.    That is AFTER I shoveled one ton of sand out of the back of my truck, to mix with the mortar.  I should of known better, because it rained Sunday afternoon and undid all my hard work.  Now with the footings wet and covered in mud again, the block layer (Maurice Taylor, of Taylor Made) had to wait until Tuesday to start.

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Laying Out the Foundation

March 6th, 2009 by Doug
13 Crazy Guy.jpg

Down and Dirty

WOW! It sure has been a busy couple of weeks, but I finally got a second to catch my breath and write a little about what has been going on.

Cabin Staked-out, Dug, and Concrete Footings Are Poured!

A little over a week ago I was able to get the foundation all staked out and dug on the very same day. Thank goodness for good neighbors, as we dug a couple of hours past dark to get the job done in a single day. Early the next morning Carrie, my friend Lester, and I poured the concrete footings. I needed to get the concrete trucks in and out of the job site before the morning sun had a chance to thaw the ground, so at 6:30 AM the first truck arrived. Since they are just footings and I am having the foundation blocked, no fancy flat work was needed and we Read the rest of this entry »