A Box in the Woods – Acquistion and design

August 26, 2012


Well we rustled up some big old beams, and these will be the things that hold up my little building. These are ginormous hunks of wood, 6″ x 17″ x 12 feet long. You wouldn’t find timbers like this today, not new. These are recycled road barrier wood, replete with 60 penny nails bent over at their heads.

I have some concerns about the creosote that coats these timbers, concern that my little box in the woods will give off a smell like a wharf. But I don’t know that there’s anything to be done about it.

Jon, my brother-in-law, is coming up from St. Croix to help with the building. Jon arrives September 6th, and we really need to have the footings in place before he gets here, so as not to delay.

I also need to have my main structural and exterior materials selected and ordered before he arrives. I mean, I can dilly dally a tiny bit on actually getting windows, for example, but I’ll need to have their sizes determined. And so on.

Of course I have some “specialty” things in mind. I want to use EcoBatt insulation, a glass wool product that is without formaldehyde. And there is Advantech OSB, also without nasty additives. But when that ole push comes to shove comes about, we’ll just have to find a balance between product availability and desire.

I thought I wanted a heated tile floor in the kitchen, but after looking around at prices, I don’t want to pay that much for such a small area of floor. And this, after I’ve already acquired the tiles I love. Fortunately, I bought those at ReStore so I’m not out of pocket very much (and now I’ll put them up for sale on Craigslist and probably recoup my money).

And then I recently came into a wee bit of unexpected money, which I am currently thinking that I’ll spend on the tigerwood flooring that I love. It’s completely out of place for a small cabin in the woods, but I love it. And with a 55 year warranty, well.

I’m still going back and forth on wall treatment for the interior, and I have about another week or two I figure to get this decided. The possibilities at hand include OSB, sheetrock, corrugated steel, and birch plywood–or some combination thereof. I am inclined toward OSB for the main ceiling, because who wants to finish sheetrock on a 12:12 pitched ceiling, 20 feet at the peak? And I had been thinking birch plywood for the main walls, because I like the look of it and it doesn’t require tape and mud and paint. But now I’m vacillating because of the whole tigerwood flooring revision to the design. Hmmm.

I’m hopeful of harvesting some old beams from my grandpa’s now-decrepit cabin and using those to support the loft area. I think it would be pretty swell to use 2″x12″ flooring on top of these, sort of rough and Laura Ingalls Wilder and all. But we’ve yet to retrieve those beams, so that scheme is pending.

To get a 10% off entire purchase coupon from Lowe’s hardware, I submitted a change of address form (which costs a buck). Conveniently, I had one more physical address that I had never updated to my PO Box. Now, 10% off might not usually amount to much, but when thousands of dollars of building materials are about to be purchased, well, 10% begins to add up (the savings might just about pay for the new tires I need on my car).

So you might wonder why I don’t call this structure we’re building a “house”. Well since a house usually includes plumbing, and plumbing requires a septic system, I’m not building a house right now–because I can’t see the point of a full-blown septic system for a structure that is in use part-time, by one little human. So, for now we’re building an artist studio; maybe someday she’ll qualify as a house.

Leave a Comment