38x30 in Iowa

Started by Alan Gage, April 03, 2011, 05:07:57 PM

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Alan Gage

Quote from: alextrent on March 30, 2012, 09:18:40 PM
Boy, I got to tell you, you have a lot of talent. Did almost all the stuff I hired out.  I did plan and honcho, but a long way from actually doing it. Mine was quicker but I bet yours  is more satisfying.  Hats off!


Thanks Alex! It is very satisfying but I certainly didn't start out planning to do this much. Originally planned to hire out the insulation and sheetrock and certainly didn't think I'd be building my own cabinets. At first I just wanted fast and cheap but the more I learned and the more time I put in the more I started to make it my own. Now I'm determined to do as much of it as I can myself. It hasn't felt like work though. Still pretty fun.

Certainly easier in my mind that hiring a crew that doesn't speak my language and getting them to build what I wanted, even though it's not what they're used to. :)


Alan Gage

More in progress pictures to come but I just had to share some of the weekends progress.

Cabinets are almost done!

20120415_001 copy_web by Alan  Gage, on Flickr

20120415_003 copy_web by Alan  Gage, on Flickr

Very happy with how they're coming out and very relieved that the gaps came out right when I put on the fronts.



You certainly have done a beautiful job on the cabinets!  Lots of work on those, for sure  c*

You will know the truth & the truth will set you free


Those are fantastic.  They look like they could be in Architectural Digest!  [cool]
Home: Minneapolis, MN area.  Land: (no cabin yet) Spooner, WI area.  Plan: 20x34 1 1/2 Story. Experience Level: n00b. 
Build Thread: http://countryplans.com/smf/index.php?topic=10784.0

Alan Gage

Long overdue update. Pretty much taking the summer off on the house. Out of money and drive.  The kitchen is done for the most part. Still a couple drawers to build but I've been spending my time working on my dad's rental house and building cabinets for my mom and remodeling her kitchen.

The house has been performing great in the hot weather though. Hasn't been terribly hot here this year but a couple weeks ago we had 3 days in a row in the low to mid 90's with lows in the mid 70's. No air conditioning in the house and by the end of the hot spell it was only 79 degrees inside.

The other night it dropped down to the upper 50's so I opened every window in the house and got the inside temp down to 62 degrees. It was in the mid-80's the next 2 days and today was the upper 90's. Still only 75 degrees in the house. Lovin' it. It's colder than my mom's house and she's been running the AC for the last 4 days. It was as pain putting in all that insulation and trying to detail everything for energy efficiency but it's more than paid off.

I'll have to get some more pictures posted one of these days.



I noticed you were on tonight and was wondering how your project turned. It's one of my favorite builds on the site.


I too would love to see the finished project!

Alan Gage

I'm glad you enjoyed reading the build. I thought I'd posted an update to this thread but I guess I didn't.

After building and working on the house for a year (spring to spring) I took some time off and never really got back to it. It was hard to regain that drive. The next year I built a large shop on the property that gave me a great space for woodworking and then I got into building cedar strip canoes which took up my energy for a couple years.

Besides not having any trim or interior doors the house was complete and functioned great. I couldn't have been happier with the layout and performance. It heated easily in the winters with a small wood stove of just over 1 cubic foot. It took less than 3 cords, and sometimes closer to 2 cords, to heat it for a season. The only time I ever ran the electric baseboard heaters was when I had to leave town for more than a couple days during winter.

I was a little worried about the grade beam on top of crushed rock foundation but since building the house we've had winters with near record snowfall and near record cold and on signs of settling or cracking evident in the foundation. The concrete slab floor performed great and I'm happy I went that way. Easy to clean and maintain and no cracks.

I thought I'd be in this home forever but I started feeling like I wanted another big project and when someone expressed interest in buying it I found a replacement property about 15 miles from town right across the road from a little slough in a large public tract of lakes, prairies, and wetlands. We don't have a lot of public land in Iowa so this is a pretty neat place and somewhere I've spent countless hours ever since I was a little boy. There are a handful of houses out there but I think this one has the best location for year round living, little traffic, and no neighbors. I figured it was the only chance I'd ever have to live out there so I took it and started a major remodel on a house that hadn't been lived in for 4 years or updated since it was built in 40 years ago. Busted my butt on it all summer and then stalled out again.

Then I bought a used sawmill and 5 acres of beautiful land just on the south edge of town at a steal of a deal. I spent all this past summer getting that property setup for the sawmill and collecting and sawing up some logs. I cut my own ash for the flooring (to install this winter) and will cut out all my trim and siding as well. I'm finally getting back into working on my house this fall but the more time I spent on my new land with the sawmill the more I like it there. I'm seriously considering building a new house and moving to that property in a couple years. We'll see what happens.

Somewhere I've got some newer pictures of my house build but not on this computer. I'll post them later when I'm on my laptop. But this is a picture of the house I bought last summer:

20170604_018 by Alan, on Flickr

And this is the view off the front deck:

20170604_045 by Alan, on Flickr

Both the house and the view look better now. It was an overgrown jungle when I moved in. It's only a 1 acre lot but I cut out 45 trees and some very large limbs over the winter and there were still over 40 trees left on the property. Then I planted 80 trees and shrubs in better locations and to fill in some of the holes. Still plenty of shade in the yard but at least grass can grow everywhere now.



Alan Gage

I went digging around and the only completed pictures of the house I could find were of the kitchen and it was still missing some doors and trim panels at the time. I'm friends with the gal that bought the house so one of these days I'll see if she'll let me take some finished pictures. She fixed it up much nicer than I ever had it.

I was very happy with the kitchen layout. Nice to work in. I think I had just over 4' of space between the counters, which most information said was too little, but I thought it felt about right. Enough room to move about but just turn around and you're at the other counter with no walking. I'm 6'1" and washing dishes hurts my back so I made the sink counter either 38" or 39" tall. The peninsula counter is the standard 36" in case I wanted a lower surface and so that standard stool heights would work. It was nice having a choice of counter heights. I sold the house to a gal that must be 5'4" max and when I asked her how she got along with the counter height she had no complaints.

20120513_003 by Alan, on Flickr

The only cabinet door was under the sink. The rest of the kitchen got drawers. This made for lots of easy to access storage. I measured most of my kitchen stuff before finishing the layout design and was surprised how much would fit in a 6" drawer and how few things actually needed a 10" or 12" drawer. I left out a cabinet in the middle of the peninsula so that there would be leg room for me to have one stool inside the kitchen. This let me face my guest(s) but most importantly let me look out my living room windows when sitting at the counter.

20120513_007 by Alan, on Flickr

I agonized over counter top material. Go cheap and easy or go fancy and expensive? I couldn't make up my mind and decided to build my own temporary counter to get me by until I made up my mind. Ordered two 10' sheets of maple veneer MDF and it turned out great. What I thought would be short-term counter was still going strong 5 years later.

20120513_004 by Alan, on Flickr

There's a place in the area that does granite counters. I looked through their cut-offs and found a piece big enough to do both sides of my stove. I think it cost me $75 to have them cut to size and the front rounded over. Made a nice place to set hot pans.

20120513_006 by Alan, on Flickr


20120513_002 by Alan, on Flickr


20120512_001 by Alan, on Flickr

I do miss that kitchen even though I don't get into cooking anymore. Looking forward to redoing the kitchen in my new house.



I love the opening in the peninsula. I could see using it as an area to sit and use as a desk .    [cool]

Alan Gage

Quote from: Rys on October 20, 2018, 08:41:53 AM
I love the opening in the peninsula. I could see using it as an area to sit and use as a desk .    [cool]

I used it as a desk plenty. Was a nice big surface to spread out maps for trip planning.