house in the pocono mountains

Started by pocono_couple, May 26, 2009, 11:28:24 AM

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I have been visiting country plans website for a number of years.  Thanks for the inspiration to all of those who took the time to post pictures of the progress they were making, and thanks for all of the information which has been so helpful.

My wife and I began our building project two summers ago when we bought a small piece of land in the Pocono Mountains.  We started with a shed the first year.  It is neat to see that a few others began the same way.

Power already existed when we bought the property. ( the previous owners used to bring an RV to the land)  so we build the shed near the power, knowing that we would have to move it later.   With this in mind, we built it on skids.

this is what things looked like in the beginning.


after a while the shed looked like this.  My wife thought that the roof was kind of high.  Little did she know of what was ahead!


so this is the shed with only the last step of applying bleaching oil left to do.  The windows were salvaged from a project that I was doing at the school where I teach.  I built new frames for them.  The window on the back side was from a house that I used to own in Maine.   The shed served the purpose of having a place to store tools and materials as we began to tackle the main project.   


So.. on with the main project.   I did send for plans for the builder's cottage, and I hope to build that some day.  But we needed a little more space so, after a lot of research, we settled on a set of stock plans that we would have to modify slightly, adding 2 feet to the width.
We had the foundation poured in the fall, and my son helped me to frame in the basement walls over thanksgiving.   We finished the first floor deck and then covered everything with plastic for the winter. 

Last spring (08)  we uncovered the deck, and started with this.

Most of las summer was devoted to the project.  With the exception of 2 or 3 instances when we got some extra help to raise a wall or a beam, my wife and I have done all the work.   The goal was to have everything closed in by fall.   We did not quite make it, but things were in good enough shape to survive another winter with no problems.   The roof was in place, and the window and door openings were covered.


Here, the first floor is nearly framed and sheathed.  As I look at the stacks of material in the foreground, I am reminded that I am intimately acquainted with each piece of lumber that is in this house! 

This picture reminds me that we were quite a bit higher at this point than we were when we were putting the roof on the shed!  My wife did work up the nerve to climb up and help.  Although, I don't think that she really relished the idea... especially in the back of the house.  it was pretty high..


time for some roofing!   Notice that the piles of lumber that were stacked in front are now gone..   getting those 5/8 "  sheets of plywood up onto the roof was a bit of a challenge.. especially when I was working alone..   But they are all up there, and the roof is on,  and the house survived another winter.   I should mention here that the neighbors that we have in the area are wonderful.  They have been helpful in terms of keeping an eye on the place as well as offering the use of tools.   There is nothing like finding a friendly neighborhood! 

And that brings us up to the present.   I did some interior work over spring break,  at least I worked on the days when the temps were above 20 degrees.   And we had the septic system installed in the last few weeks.   the shed was moved to its permanent location.   We are ready for another summer of work!

the shed out back by the well... a few window boxes and a sunny day will make a big difference! 


WOW! Everything looks good.  [cool] What a wonderful location to build. I know how it is to build with just yourself and spouse....I'm doing the same thing. My husband and I are building on weekends in Arkansas. I tell him all the time that he works me like a man.  :P But hey, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Born Free - Taxed To Death



wow very nice, what are the house dimensions? Got a floorplan of what it will look like?

  this is the web site where i bought the plans.   the  dimensions on the plan are 18 by 26, but we already had a foundation in that was 20 by 26 ( talk about changing canoes mid-stream)  so we added two feet to the width. 
  the designer calls the house carpenter gothic, and the exterior calls for board and batten siding.  we will opt for cedar shingles  with white trim, just like the shed.   our lot is only 50 feet wide, so we had to find a narrow plan to work with the setbacks.    we had to put the well in first since it is located near the back property line.  The foundation followed and then the septic system.   That leaves a little room for a garden out back and in the front, and a little grass over the septic system, and that is about it!   The basement is supposed to be my boat-shop, but it is already filled up with stuff - and we don't even live there yet!  oh well....


Terry,  do you guys have pics of the house that you are building?


My husband and I are building on our own also.  We started with a couple of friends/family helping and they have all slowly found other things that 'take their time'. 


smcdaniel..  that is probably a good reason to keep the plan small!    It is nice to know that friends are available once in a while, but i guess that i would be careful about tapping that resource too often..  do you have pics of the house you are building?   


Awesome project.  Love the shed.  Can't wait to see progress on the house.

Can I ask how hard it is to install cedar shakes and approx. how many bundles you used on the shed? 


thanks CBC.   i was born in PA, but i lived in new england for about 16 years - the cedar shingles are definitely an influence from that time..  we don't see a whole lot of them down this way.  in fact, my wife and I took our trailer back to NH to pick up a load because, locally, they cost about 3 times as much as up north.  I am not sure that we needed to go that far, but we were headed in that direction anyhow.
   I seem to think that we used 14 - 16 bundles on the shed.   4 bundles are approx one square at 5 and a half inch exposure. 
   As for putting them on.. no big problem, but it is rather labor intensive.  we did it the old fashioned way - hammer and 2 and a half inch stainless shingle nails.. ( that goes for the house too. we don't have a nail gun)  we nailed a  1 by 3 board up with two small nails.  and then placed the shingles on it..  i set the first nail and then my wife followed and put in the second nail.   I have read about using staples and a gun to put the shingles on.. i am sure that it is done this way commercially. 
  after they were in place, we put bleaching oil on the shingles.  this helps them to weather evenly.  i don't think that we will have to touch them for 25 years or more!    let me know if this answers your questions. 


ok.. time for a question of my own - the first of many, i am sure.   i will be running 12 gauge wire throughout the house.  is there any reason not to just use all 20 amp circuits and 20 amp  outlets?   is there an advantage to using 15 amp circuits and outlets?   we are not quite ready to begin the electrical phase of the project, but i am beginning to purchase items that i will need.   thanks!


15 vs 20amp is cost only.  You can run 20 amp everywhere. 


My camera batteries are dead, so I did not get a chance to take a pic, but...  today was pretty productive.  I got the interior steps built.  This was something that i was putting off for quite some time.  The plan involved three winders.  I think that things worked out pretty well.  Steps sure beat a ladder for getting to the second floor!   Tomorrow I might get the rest of the interior walls finished.   It has been raining, so it makes a lot of sense to be spending time inside, but I am anxious to get the deck down on the front porch.   After that, the back deck needs to go on so that i can use it to put the last windows in.   One thing at a time!


just spent a few days building a website, and didn't know that it could be so physically taxing to sit and do nothing all day!


ok.. time to add some more pics.   here is the shed with sunlight, leaves on the trees, and flower boxes - quite a transformation from the first pic!


here are some interior pics.   the first is from the kitchen looking into the living room.

next we have the stairs leading to the second floor

the bathroom at the top of the steps

and looking through the closet space from the back bedroom to the front bedroom.  I think that my wife and I will take the room in the front with the balcony!


We decided that we really could not wait to plant a garden till the house was done... who knows how long that could be!  So, here is a pic of my wife gathering the first harvest.. we had chicken and pesto sauce that night!

we are waiting for another sunny day before we take pics of the most recent updates..  the front door is in.. the deck is on the first floor porch.. if only the rain would stop, we would have made even more progress!



 your place looks great! Is that a carolina dory to the left of your shed?
Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world. But, the Marines don't have that problem.
Ronald Reagan, President of the United States; 1985