Started by highlandva, July 05, 2013, 11:03:51 AM

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OK, here we go [cool]  My wife and I purchased 67 acres in Highland County (western VA) in May of 2011 and have been enjoying it ever since.  After finding this wonderful site, we fell in love with the Victoria Cottage and I purchased the plans and have been studying ever since.  Our goal is to do as much work on our own that we can and involved in the other work that will be done too.  With the help of this site and reading other threads it sure is inspiring and we hope to come close to some of the projects we have seen.  Here are some pictures of the property:

We learned very quickly that we are blessed with numerous springs, one that already feeds a small little pond that one day will be expanded to become a family fishing hole:

In May 2012 we decided it was time to pick the home site and start on getting a road pushed in and septic installed.  Here we are digging and trying to find a good perk site for the septic drain field that the inspector was happy with:

After he approved the site, we went ahead with installing the septic tank, drain field, getting a road pushed in to the site and the initial building pad leveled.

The pad and road are finished:

Our new view and camping spot for the build ;D


Great looking piece of land.  I recently drove through that area,  beautiful country.   [cool]

Never seen a septic tank that looked like that.

Looking forward to watching your build.  Good luck
Give me a place to stand and a lever long enough,  and I will move the world.


@archimedes, thank you.  The septic drain field was done using a product call Infiltrator leaching chambers, a much better concept than the traditional stone and pipe with drilled holes.  Here is more information if interested:


I'll agree with Archimedes. I've driven through your area several times and love it. Can't wait to see what your build progresses into!


Nice view!Looks like a good place to build!


Thanks Patrick, gods country it is! 


That's a very beautiful home site! Are you planning to live there or will it just be a vacation cabin? We have family up in Craig county and it's one of our favorite places to visit.


Thanks mwhutch, this will be a second home/cabin that we will frequent often, it is only 1 1/2 hours from our home. 


As I stated earlier in my build, we are fortunate to have a few springs on our property.  In May of 2012, we dug up one that we located and have monitored it over the past year to see how the flow would fluctuate.  It did decrease some in the mid summer heat, but certainly plenty of water for out needs.  I am working on developing this spring and building a collection system.  Here it is before I get everything put in and covered. 

I can't gravity feed it all the way to my house  :( so I will need to put in a holding tank.  While we had equipment in we dug and set a 450 gallon tank that will sit about 200 feet from the house and we will pump from there (fairly flat from there).  Here is a picture of the new service road we cut looking down the gravity fed part to the holding tank:

Here it is after we installed it:

Looking from the tank to the house pad:

I should hopefully finish up the spring in the next week so we can get water flowing through the reservoir.  Once I see water comming out of the overflow I will be happy!  Laying out and pouring the footers next.  We are going to be using a block foundation on our Cottage and putting in a roughly 12X16 basement/mechanical room that sits directly under the living room.  With our pad and sloping property, it will make a nice place to have a walkout access for our electric, water heater, pressure tank, washter/dryer, and who knows what else.


Rain, rain, rain, are you ever going away ???  It has really been a wet summer so far in this part of the country, and it sure slows things down.  We did manage to layout the foundation and dig the footers.  I am changing the Bedroom addition dimensions and making it 12X16 instead of 12X14.  NavyDave had done this so he could extend his bathroom, which I think was a great idea, so I will take the same approach. 

Here is the basement portion of the house that will have a 8' ceiling in it. 

We passed our first inspection for the footer holes [cool]  The footers are going to be poured tomorrow and then the block will follow.  We hope to have sill plates on by the end of the week.  I also plan to get the spring completed and grass seed sewn above the house for errosion control.  Any thoughts here as to pre-treating around the foundation for termites, and other bugs?  Some one else told me that they paid to have a pest control company come out at this stage, is this something I need to do and can I use something I can buy local? 


This has got to be one of the wetest summers on record :-\  We did get our footers poured and passed inspection, here is what we did:
Looking from the master bedroom side of the house:

Looking here at the basement/mechanical room under the living room:

Starting to put drain tile around the footers:

The heavy machinery was moved off site after the footers were dug, and the dozer was used to pull in  both the cement truck and truck with the spring reservoir.  We need to get the block truck in and are giving it some time to hopefully dry out a little, this has certainly put me behind 3 weeks or so.  A load of gravel was put down before the gate entrance to give some traction when they need to stop, did help some. 

I will eventually get the driveway gravled, but that will take some additional funds that we will need to put off for now.  I did however learn that when I do get loads of gravle to ask the driver to give me a "block" load, literally a block put into the tailgate that will only put gravel down in the tire tracks of the road, letting the gravel go much further.  We really hope now to have block in and finished in the next week, wait, I think I have said this before :)  I am also close in getting the dam completed for my spring so I can get that reservior filled up and water flowing.  I am using a heavy plastic 1/4" marine plastic with 1" PVC for the collection system.  Once I get it perfect, it will then be filled with gravel, a few layers of heavy black plastic, rocks and dirt so you will not see it.  I will then barb wire about a 30 yard radius to keep wildlife from contaminating it. 


OK, after 6 weeks of delay from our wet summer, we finally were able to get in and get the block foundation laid.  I extended the master bedroom from a 12X14 to a 12X16.  With our site slope, I have also put in a basement/mechanical room under the living room of the house. 

And electric service has finally been ran to the site, 11 poles later :)


This summer has put everyone outside behind. There had been a log home package at the local building supply all summer because they couldn't get in to do the foundation. I rode out with one of the loads last week and as we started down towards the riverside site the driver said "this isn't going to be pretty" as we mired in. Happily the contractor had a Lull and tracked cat there, unloaded us and shoved us back up the hill. Beautiful site, it looks like you have a good start and are "out of the mud", a big step forward  :)


Nice place you have there. The view is great. Yep its wet this year in VA. raining now as I type this. Best of luck thanks for sharing.

A hard life only makes you stronger.



Great looking foundation and what a view!!

Are you going to have a color display when leaves turn or is that hillside conifers?
Karen & I were in VA and WV last year this week.

I've heard about the wet summer via Don_P.  Good to be able to stay dry and get some work done.
Just because something has been done and has not failed, doesn't mean it is good design.


Oh the rain, something you really don't take into consideration when planning a build (when your day job is not a contractor).  With no heavy equipment to get trucks in and out in rural/remote locations it can really delay a project.  Don, we are seeing color now as you will see in some of my pics to come. 


Day 1 work after the foundation has been completed.  Sill plate anchored, floor joists, band board and subfloor completed [cool] 

We we so busy working from sunlight to sundown that I forgot to get myself "dancing on the deck", but at least it is done :)

I am very fortunate to have some help during this phase of the project, so it does seem to come together quickly.  Day 2 of the project we were able to start going vertical.  I am building using 2X6 walls and platform construction in the main house. 

Yeah, a room almost complete:

Day 2 was completed with the main 16'X28' section completed.  As we put the walls up, we put the OSB and house wrap on before we raised the walls.  To this point we do not have any lifts or equipment to get us up in the air, so this seemed to be a better choice.

Here is the Kitchen beam, I have decided to go with a 6"X12" LVL that will be sufficient enough to carry the load from above and eliminate the posts in the kitchen.  I had the building supply engineer and my contractor friend calculate the loads and it was decided that this beast would do the trick.  Glad we had a few of us to lift this in place 8)  I have seen many of you figure out how to lift beams yourself and I applaud you for this.

Day 3 we began to frame the master bedroom 10' walls and finish the floor joists and subfloor on the second floor.

Master bedroom walls now complete:

The inside looking from the bathroom in the corner looking out to the living room:

In the living room looking back to the kitchen:

Here is a funny note;  as we were working on completing the second floor joists and subfloor we realized we forgot to frame in the stairs ???  I have a nice second floor with no access :D  We left this project to day 4.  Day 4 began with framing out the stairs, finishing the second floor subfloor and builidng the knee walls.  I decided to go with a 5' knee wall to give more headroom in the bedrooms. 

Days 4 and 5 requied a lot of lifitng to the second floor so I found myself not taking too many pictures.  We left day 4 with knee walls completed and ready for rafters.  Day 5 we began on the master bedroom section using a ridge board and setting the rafters.  A collar tie is in the top 2/3 of the rafters, butting up agaist the ridge board and rafter ties at the bird nose to the top plates.  As I said, there were no pictures taken during the process as we needed all of our hands:

Now we are looking like a house  [cool]

Day 5 ended with all rafters in place, framing in of 1 of the 3 skylights and both the mudroom (entrance) and kitchen bumpout walls framed.  After looking at the kitchen bumpout framing with 10' walls I have realized that the 12/12 roof pitch will not be correct down to this wall.  It is because we platformed framed and used a 5' knee wall that this happened.  This is an easy fix, I will calculate how tall the wall will need to be (around 9') and then rafter the kitchen.  I will be going back for a few more days to get windows, doors and roof completed so we are in the dry. 


Good progress!
Just to be sure, I think you are confusing a hurricane tie with a rafter tie. The rafter tie is like another collar tie, running across the building connecting the opposing rafter pairs together in the lower third of the rafter height... forming a rigid triangle to prevent the roof from spreading in wind or snow. You should be able to raise these up to about 8' off the second floor deck and form a level ceiling  above the headroom, the skylights can be tunnelled through that area.
One framing detail for others, the code for the plumb cut at the peak of the rafters calls for the rafter to bear against a ridgeboard that is the entire height of the rafters' plumb cut height. For a 2x12 rafter at a 12/12 pitch that is almost a 16" deep ridgeboard. A 2x12 ridge with a 2x6 ripped to 4-5/8" and stacked on top will normally do the trick. With well nailed collar ties directly up under the ridgeboard as you've done I've had an inspector pass me with the comment I just made above. The goal is to not have an unsupported rafter bottom edge that could begin to split.
I did a sticky post with some pics here;

The stone trial look good in your sill shot  [cool].


Thanks for the reply, I actually was thinking hurricane ties and rafter ties.  Your explanation is great, thank you.  I will be putting hurricane ties on every rafter and rafter ties on every rafter in the mid to lower portion to make that nice stable triangle.  I was on site today finishing up some loose ends like wall sheathing, house wrap, gable end lookouts and stairs, pictures to come.  Don, I will tell you that over 5 days since we installed the rafters, the knee wall opposite of the bedroom wing pushed out an inch.  We are going to put big ratchets on it in the morning and get the rafter ties installed .


Wow, that didn't take long to happen!

If you are placing the rafter ties someplace in the lower third of the rafter triangle, did you apply the correction as noted in the footnotes for TABLE R802.5.1(1) ?
Just because something has been done and has not failed, doesn't mean it is good design.


Happily it's a steep pitch, the thrust forces are lower than a shallow pitch. Do get a ratchet binder in the middle before you start and leave it there while you work. I usually frame a roof with the ridge in what I call "yokes", a series of posts under the ridge to the floor made of 3-2x4's, the ridge sits on the center one and the side 2x's ran alongside the ridge. These keep it from dropping, if it cannot drop there is no spreading action. Then I remove them when I'm all buttoned up. If you have any trouble with the ratchet approach try putting a heavy 2x flat on the floor under the ridge and driving a yoke into place while ratcheting, kind of a lift and pull approach. A stringline along the top plate should let you know when you're there with each set. Another table to check is the last one in Mt Don's reference (R802.5.1(9)) for the nailing of the rafter tie, there is also a correction in that table calling for more nails as the tie rises, If you're shooting pull the trigger half again more than they say since the diameter is smaller, shoot 3 times every time they call for 2... Actually here's VA's codebook, we're still on the '09 version;
(the ICC just put the '15 to bed  ::), hopefully I'll be totally retired by the time that gets implemented here)

John Raabe

Just a note to make clear that the Victoria Cottage plans are designed with structural ridge beams (glulams) to handle the outward thrust and allow for full cathedral ceilings. This option can probably work too.  Our CP Dons have good information on this type of rafter framing and how to tie it properly.
None of us are as smart as all of us.


Our morning began with nailing 3 2x6x12 foot together and using a car jack in he middle of the ridge board to jack it up to plum the wall.  Once we got it plum, we ratcheted a big strap in the center of each knee wall to hold it together.  We then went to work nailing in rafter ties on all the rafters.  I think this did the trick [cool]. We also did this In the master bedroom ceiling so we could also put rafter ties in there.  I feel much better now that we got it figured out and glad it was found before moving forward.  Got it in the dry today and will put windows and doors in tomorrow, pictures to come.


I'm glad you checked in and it went well. There is no immediate rush but at your leisure make sure the high collar ties are tight to the rafters and it wouldn't hurt to put some new nails in them. I imagine they stretched their holes a bit.


Don, great recommendation and that makes a lot of sense.  I will put a few more in each one.  This forum has been such a wealth of knowledge as I have been reading/studying many of the projects on here.  Now that I have my own it sure is more intense and helpful when people comment.  Thanks all!