Siding, more windows, plumbing, trenches and more

I’ve heard before that professional builders would hurry to finish all of the exterior work before the winter. That would have been a really good move. It’s about 20 degrees outside with a nice breeze from the east.

However, prior to the really cold weather we were able to get a lot of things done. We got a backhoe to come out and dig the trenches for the water and sewer lines. Underground to protect them from freezing. Where the lines come up under the cabin they will be insulated and a heat strip installed which kicks on when the temperatures drop.

I’ve also had great help with putting up the last siding, trim, and setting the windows. Thank you to Fernanda, Joel, Tasch, Nurver and these little carpenters.

The next steps will be pretty exciting. Finally the inside work begins. Next week we will start connecting the bathroom, hook up the fireplace!!! and stove to the gas lines.



Bayern, Traditional Cabin Builds, and Tennessee Cabin Progress

Servus aus Bayern!

So, I am here on a work-trip and although that is a lot of fun, progress on the cabin has of course slowed a bit. However, it is sitting nice and dry and once I am done here, I will go straight back to work. Promise. Hopefully we will finish it up this summer. And yes, I know my timeline has been a little off 🙂 Ok, it has been a lot off, but I can’t wait to get it done and share that beautiful little spot with you all.

Meanwhile, I might as well show you some of the really cool cabin construction around the Alps and maybe even take an idea or two back to Tennessee.

There are three different styles that I’ve seen in the area. The first is a really traditional style from a historic museum village. The second is the typical “Bayernhaus”. And the third are more modern cabins, like the ones built on the water in Berchtesgarden.

These are the traditional cabins from the museum village. They were built using hand tools only!  That is of course amazing. As you can see  below, they carved joints in the large wooden beams so that connections can be made without using nails. It looks really cool.

Also another traditional method. I have never seen a roof like this. Rocks on top of shingles and simply held in place by boards. Although it looks really cool, I’m pretty sure this is not the safest way of securing your roof.

Obviously, German windows are the best. I love the opening mechanisms because you can tilt and open all the way. Also the way they are framed and decorated is just really nice.

Up top is the typical Bayernhaus. Obviously super elaborate and maybe not so much to copy here, except for some of the balcony features. Below are the cabins by the water. I love that there is a cabin with horizontal- and another with vertical-siding boards right next to it. This is something I’ve been trying to decide and after seeing this, I think I will go with the horizontal siding on mine.

Ok, that’s it for now, outro with some Bayern dancing 🙂


Framing walls and roof trusses

A lot has happened at the cabin site since the last post! Here is an update of what went down after the time lapse video. Thank you for all the great help in getting this done! I’m really grateful for all of the awesome people I’ve met here.


The trusses were engineered and delivered after a 6 week wait time. Ughh! Half of the building will have attic trusses so that the second floor loft will have lots of room. The other half are scissor trusses which make really high ceilings in the living room.

Ultimately, these trusses would have to go up the hill, on to the platform, and sit on top of the walls. Usually this is done with a crane especially because they were made of 2×8’s…heavy and really clumsy to handle.

We didn’t have a crane. So we decided to leave part of the wall unfinished so that we could squeeze the trusses through the opening. Then we would stand them upside down on top of the walls and flip them with a rope and push stick.


We built up the walls and cut in openings for the windows and doors. I had previously scoured Craigslist for used windows and saved a ton of money that way. Used windows are the way to go. In one case somebody had brand new casement windows for sale. He was stuck with them because he special ordered the wrong size for his openings. I would not have this problem as I’m building the wall openings specifically to match whatever windows I find.

Here is the process for hauling the trusses up the hill. Really thankful for the help here because I could have never done this by myself. One by one we would work them up and then flip them onto the walls. This was clearly the hardest thing I’ve ever done in construction and thankful that everyone walked away injury free.


This then is the final product for now. It is just awaiting sheathing and gift wrapping the whole house. Oh and siding, roofing, plumbing, electricity, flooring, a bathroom, kitchen, wraparound porch,  ….:-)




Full time at the cabin retreat

Last week I packed up my little pickup truck and left DC to camp and build full time at the cabin site. The goal was to finish the foundation and get the framing done so the building can be dried in (roof put on) before the winter.

Here is a look at my little setup: outdoor kitchen, tent cover for tools and Deluxe Camper Shell 2000 – including duck tape to stop the rain from getting inside 🙂


It took a little longer than expected but here we are. The foundation is done and work on the flooring/framing has started. I will put together a little video again of the surrounding area and the current build process of course.


It’s been pretty straight- forward work, but the holes had to be 3’ deep, past the frost line and the ground was just full of rocks all the way. Now 16 pressure treated 6×6 posts are in the ground and held in place by a total of 3840 lbs of concrete (240lbs per post) – A lot of digging and mixing. It was also trickier to get the posts lined up perfectly square and level because the lines I used were not attached really well and so it took a lot longer than expected. However, a few days ago the last post was set and the lumber arrived for the framing to begin!


Now the fun part starts! No more digging!

I’ll update next week when there should be more progress on the flooring. I’m using 3/4 “ OSB board for the subfloor and attaching it to 2×6 floor joist 16 inches on center.

Here is another panorama look at the cabin’s current state:


Tiny Cabin build – Foundation work

Put together a little video to show the progress made last week at the cabin site.

The first two 6×6 foundation posts are in concrete and outline the entrance to the tiny 24×24 cabin.

A huge thank you to Dannie and Donna at the roan creek campground who have been amazing and a huge inspiration for this project!

Also Fernanda! Excellent Camera Woman and Pyromaniac.

10 additional posts still need to be put in the ground but the first ones are always the hardest. So long as we don’t run into giant rocks anymore that work should be finished by the end of July so that we can begin working on framing the structure.

Also, in a few weeks there should be electricity!!

(Henner! Bäume fällen ist gar nicht so einfach. Da gehört viel dazu. Schick mir gerne ein paar tips rüber wenn Du was siehst.)

Post and Pier foundation work

The site is finally cleared! Last month we cut in a little road, located a spot for the power connections and began with the foundation work. This took a whole lot longer than expected and hand digging foundation holes for the post-pier footers is taking me into mid-July. Here is an update of what has been happening at the camp site. I’ll hopefully get to finish pouring the concrete for the July 4th weekend.