rest of the story....
my two sons and I built a 10' by 14' teenagers cottage out on
the back of our five acres (scroll down for step-by-step pictures).
We worked part time for three weeks and spent about $1,400. The
little house uses standard construction materials, is well winterized,
has lots of sunny windows and could easily last 50 to 100 years
with normal maintenance. It was built using a simple post and
is an updated Thoreau type of house.... sufficient for basic
comfort and shelter, but simple enough so as to leave you living
in nature rather than detached from it. Since the foundation
required so little work, we were able to do the clearing and
build the foundation in one day with only hand tools. Pretty
low impact. I think Henry would have liked it.
little cottage, when done, will be set-up to be totally self-sufficient
with a rainwater collection system (and drinking water filter),
tiny wood stove and a composting toilet. It will also have a
12-volt solar and battery powered electrical system for lights
and a few small technology devices. If all the computers go dead
on January 1, 2000 as some people predict we might all be moving
type of house makes a great getaway cottage or wilderness hide-a-way.
And it's a fine family building project since anyone between
the ages of 10 and 70 can work on it &emdash; kids don't even
get bored since nothing ever lasts very long!
are some of the features of the place.
- The structure is easily modified for
different sizes and types of roofs
- Very low impact construction. No digging.
No poured concrete. Everything can be done with hand tools.
- All materials can be hand carried
to the site.
(No road needed. We can carried everything down a narrow trail.)
- Advanced framing uses standard 2x4s
and 2x6s to their resource-efficient best.
(This easy to build construction system also increases the energy
efficiency and cuts costs since there is less wood. Use this
on your "big house" too.)
- All materials can be purchased at
any local lumber yard.
Building the Little
House - Step by Step
foundation piers are laid out. Preformed pier blocks sit on concrete
pavers to spread the weight out at the bottom of the foundation
holes. Posts will go up from these metal holders and support
the main beams.
first beam is in place. Foreman and dog are resting. Note the
short posts supporting the beam. (No need to level the foundation,
you can build on nearly any slope. Just level the beam!)
main beams are now up and the first floor joist is in place.
Notice that the joists cantilevers over the ends of each beam.
This makes the floor joists much stronger!
in 4'x8' sheets goes down over the joists &emdash; fast and solid.
and east walls are framed up and braced. These were laid out
on the deck with the openings sized to fit the windows. A happy
woodsman stands ready to chop firewood.
are all framed and roof rafters are going up. Note that we chose
the (almost) flat roof plan. Two extra plates on the south side
lift the rafters 3" to provide drainage on what will be
the future roof deck.
rafters are up and we start nailing off wall sheathing. (Notice
all the high-priced help!)
is on the roof and we're out of the weather 6 days after breaking
ground and clearing the site with hand tools. The framing never
got wet. Pretty amazing for April in Puget Sound!
So far we've spent $978.
11...The walls are sheathed and tarpaper is up. Roll roofing
is installed on the roof deck and the view is GREAT.