The Cedar Log Cabin
The Story of Living In & Restoring a Settler's Log Cabin
The inside of the add-on room was just bare studs and wood siding. The outside was cement over wire mesh, put over it the same time as the rest of the cabin. It was one open room.
The add-on room was badly sagging on the north-west corner due to a poor quality shallow foundation, that was eroded by water running down on it and freezing and thawing. The floors were in very poor shape, but one good thing was the floor joists had been replaced at some time. It was dirt underneath. There were big holes in the rotted wood along the bottom that animals used to come and go from the cabin when it was uninhabited. It was a disaster.
The first job was to repair the foundation and jack up the sagging corner. Next, fill in two windows that were poorly located, and replace rotted wood. One of the poorly located windows was partly filled in, and an opening for the cat's pens put in. After that, insulation, drywall and paint. When that was done, the room was divided for a bathroom, closet and kitchen. A window was put in on the west wall in the area that was the kitchen.
The back room never got finished, but it was made decent – a big improvement from a complete disaster. My personal point of pride in the back room was the two doors I made – one for the bathroom and one for the closet. They were made of white cedar that came from trees that fell in storms, that I made into boards, and then made into the doors. I also made the cupboard doors from a fallen white cedar tree as well.
The bathroom and closet doors were solid 1 3/4” thick cedar and the cupboard doors were 3/4” thick cedar. The process of making the cupboard doors can be seen in the chapter on making lumber here.
This is the how the back add-on was attached to the main cabin. The rafters were just set on the main room roof of the cabin and the old roof shingles from the main part of the cabin left inside.
The back room before starting work looking west. The doorway to the main room of the cabin on the left.
The sagging north-west corner of the add-on room when the cabin was purchased. Picture says it all.
After the foundation was repaired and the room jacked up, all the holes were filled in, new lumber replaced the rotted, all gaps caulked, 5 1/2” of foam insulation was put in the walls & 4” in the ceiling – the insulation was caulked as well, and then everything drywalled.
To take the load off the cabin's main room rafters, I jacked up the rafters about 1/16” off the cabin's main room roof and built this structure made of new wood to take the load and put it on the log walls.
The add-on just after getting the roof done and the overhang over the back door done. The stand with the wooden box over it is the generator. When not in use I used it as a table to set things on when coming and going from the back door. When there was a power outage I would lift the box off the generator, start it up and use it for lights, the fridge and TV until the power came back on.
When I moved, the add-on was not finished, although it was quite liveable and I was overall happy with the progress.
The closet was turned into a pantry with shelves. The bathroom area never became a bathroom, just a storage room. The well and septic system were never put in, and the bathroom was dependant on both. The kitchen area had become quite acceptable. I eventually bought a used 20 inch, 1960's electric stove after the wiring was done. I still had to make water from snow in the winter, and get well water by hand or utility pump from the dug well to do dishes when not frozen, but I was used to that, and had the routines down pat.
This is the best picture I have of the kitchen section of the back room. This is the north-west corner taken from the doorway to the main room. To the right of where I'm standing you can see the entrance to the cat pen, and the two steps below it for the cats to walk up. The window has trim made from a cedar tree, barked and sliced lengthwise in half. All the shelves are made from cedar left over from doing the roof. I'm doing the dishes, by the way. One bucket for soapy water, one for rinsing. Photograph by Pamela J. Walsh.
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