long overdue for a post on our progress at the cabin: this Fall we did a good amount of demolition…I always say demo is the easy part: anyone can tear down a wall! it’s fun, a good way to get in some exercise and get out some stress. reminder: the main living spaces of the cabin have beautiful open wood ceilings. but as seen above, the two bedrooms had dropped ceilings, making the rooms feel cramped. I was convinced that there was the same wood above, in an enclosed attic….there was no access so we just had to bust through. and… what was up there? we found .. knotty pine tongue & groove, woo-hoo!! exactly what we hoped to find. we continued to pull down the tiles. in one corner, we found what looked like an old hornet nest. I knocked it over, and heard the sound of dripping onto the floor…what the hell liquid could be dripping? it turned out to be….ANTS by the hundreds:Scott ran out to buy Raid at the local market while i sprayed them with clorox or whatever cleaner we had. not fun. but we bagged them up and pushed on. this is our first peek up into the ‘attic’ over the bedrooms. wood ceiling untouched since 1963. the gable exterior wall had no insulation in it, not surprised to find.
we also removed the small funky closets that were built into the bedrooms. our thought is we’ll never really need bedroom storage in a cabin, and they took up valuable floor space in the cozy rooms. Scott on the left capping wires where a ceiling fan was, so we could remove the second bedroom ceiling (which was plywood, while the front first bedroom was fiber panels). we also decided to remove the electric wall heaters, ill-fitted where larger ones must have originally lived (see middle pic). we figure…use space heaters for now and someday, add a furnace. hope we’re not being too cart-before-horse 🙂 the top ridge beam in the main part of the house is a 4×12 that continues over only half of the bedrooms; then converts to a 4×6 for the last 8′ of the house. weird, but my structural engineer Larry said it’s fine – and we’re OK to remove all the 2×6 ceiling joists at the bedroom ceilings. another discovery is that the last 3′ of the 4×12 it is majorly twisted and partly split. since we’ll be inserting a wall below the ridge (to separate the bedrooms) this is OK to live with. in late september, our first visitor was my college buddy Randy, who enjoyed beating down some joists and paneling with us – and posing all the while. we got a good amount more done with an occasional PBR break. ….there I am crawling above the bedrooms to get a better angle on the demo… hard to tell from these photos but the amount of cobwebs, spiders – dead and alive – in the ‘attic’, among the rafters etc, is unbelievable. we were covered. on left is a chunk of the tongue & groove ceiling, which is a true 2x thickness. i haven’t confirmed the roof construction but I believe it’s this 2x + rigid foam insulation + sleepers + plywood + paper + composite shingle on top. right: the entry to each bedroom protrudes into the rooms, but we’ll leave the ceiling vaulted above, creating a shelf / ledge over the doors. no fake ivy here! just more breathing room / will make it feel bigger. in october mom & dad came to visit and i put dad to work installing 2x framing to extend the dividing wall up to the ridge beam. toe-nailing ain’t easy, especially when the top plate and beam aren’t parallel. we got it done.. and with a lot less swearing than i recall him doing in the 80s when he would work on his own house! 😉 another weekend i did a little work on my own: this triangle opening is between a bedroom and the bathroom, so the wall needed to extend up to the roof. i infilled it with 2x’s. the roof pitch is 4:12. i just had to continue and remove the last non-vaulted area: the bathroom that had wall paneling on the ceiling. now, look at that extra height! the wood ceiling will look great against the new tiles we’ll put in – further down the road. on the day my parents and I left, this praying mantis visited and had a showdown with the pumpkin…we didn’t stick around to see who won but the pumpkin is still there.
in general this has been a huge learning curve for us and i’ll fully admit: even though i’m an architect i’m seeing construction in a clear way for the first time. profanity is at an all time high, arms are scraped and my hands ache, but in a good way, from using tools other than a keyboard and mouse. loving every minute of it. stay tuned – more to come!
****almost forgot about the wall paneling: we’ve decided…..to keep it! we love its funky vintage vibe, and think it lends to the overall cabin feeling. more on that next time.