20X30 1&1/2 story cabin in No. Ca. coastal mt. range

Started by handyman, March 13, 2009, 10:06:34 PM

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My dream has always been to have a cabin in coastal mt. range of no. ca. I found an auction of old LP timber land with sealed bid and no realtor fees. After several unsuccessful bids, I finally bought 160 acre parcel surrounded by National Forest just after 9/11. Mine was the only bid and it was accepted for $42K. The property was logged in 2000 using silver culture method where only the largest trees were removed. There was a lot of slash but county road access,  good roads, a locked pipe gate and a great spring.

In 2003 I purchased the 20x8 ships cargo container and had it delivered to the site. I then put an old 20ft travel trailer and put them close together and put a tin roof with steel posts and the cargo container to hold it up. In 2004 I started to develop the spring but it is still not drinkable water because the bears keep using it as their swimming pool in the summer.

In 2007 I bought the 1 x1/2 story 20X30 plans and have started excavation for the footings. We towed a bobcat up the mountain and a friend dug the trenches for the foundation. After some hand digging and steel placement, we ordered 7 yards of concrete delivered. The driver said it was the most remote delivery she had ever made!!! MY son and his college roommate and I laid cinder blocks to 4 feet above grade on the downhill side of the foundation and about 18" on the top end. Last summer we filled the blocks with grout and bagged cement with an old Sears cement mixer and water from the spring. We used lots of steel (vertical and horizontal) because I don't want to build a monument to under engineering.

Once the snow melts in May, I can haul the lumber on my pickup to frame the floor, walls and roof. The plan is to have a weatherproof shell this summer. Double hung windows have been purchased off Craig's list and I am storing them in the cargo container.

I have been reading the builders forum for the past 4 years and have gotten lots of enjoyment and ideas from other peoples projects. I will be posting more photos as I progress on this adventure.

I will be adding photos in the next few posts...once I figure it out!!!


 w*  Sounds like a great place!

There is a photobucket tutorial under the Forum News section; near the top in the sticky section
Just because something has been done and has not failed, doesn't mean it is good design.


photos we hope

You had the wrong links chosen and pasted in.  Select and copy the bottom link for the photos; IMG . If you reopen this post with the "modify" link in the upper right of the message window you can see what it looks like when pasted in here.


Nice trees and foundation.  :)

Lots os slash to get rid of, eh?
Just because something has been done and has not failed, doesn't mean it is good design.

glenn kangiser

"Always work from the general to the specific." J. Raabe

Glenn's Underground Cabin  http://countryplans.com/smf/index.php?topic=151.0

Please put your area in your sig line so we can assist with location specific answers.


160 acres for 42k?  sweet deal!  Are you in the trinity alps then?  any towns nearby?  my in-laws have a cabin in Horse Creek, near Yreka.
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!



Born Free - Taxed To Death


     The closest towns are Willows Ca. and Willits Ca.  My place is about half way between them in the Mendocino National Forrest.


Willows?  My mom lives on a ranch up in Orland.  Small world, innit!
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!



     Here are some pictures of my foundation construction over the last two years.  The concrete foundation might make the building more fire proof, and if it burns down I will have a good place to start over.  The costs were as follows:

     Bobcat rental                 550.00
     Rebar                            120.00
     7.5 yds concrete delivered  1200.00
     +/_ 400 blocks, mortar    1120.00
+|_ 3.5 yds bagged concrete  600.00

      Grand total                   $3590.00

   plus time  and fuel

     Last Saturday we got into the building site, but it is very wet.     Soon it will be time for nails and boards.  For sure it will be 20 by 30 with  ten foot walls, but the roof pitch might be less than 12 in 12.  I get scared on steep roofs, and might be all alone where  the cell phone does not work.
     There will be a door centered in the south wall with a porch for shade.  Maybe no interior walls for a while, and evenly spaced windows.

     I always enjoy other posts, and look forward to better weather.



We have made some progress...next is the roof...I went with 8 ft. studs instead of 10 ft. because it is easier.

I spent 2 days framing walls. Luckily it was cool weather and had friends that helped...

We used 2X8's and  a great electric nail gun which made the job go fairly fast...it took 2 of us, 2 days.


handyman when you say you used 2X8 I take it you were referring to the studs.  Will that cause you any problems with windows and doors or had you planned on extending the jambs anyway.



     the floor joists are 2 x 8s because of the center beam down the middle of the foundation.  With 5/8 plywood subfloor it is a little springy.  The studs are 2 x 6 x 92 1/4.
     Next I want to put 2 x 12 x 20 on top of the walls at 20'' on center with a box plate just like building a floor.   On top of that I will put 3/4'' attic floor, then roof rafters.  I guess it will be more like the 20 x 30 single story with an attic.



Bryce I wouldn't had thought you would have used 2X8 but you were talking about studs and framing the walls.  Yeah maybe if you had used 3/4" ply or OSB it might feel a little more solid.  Still good progress for 2 days.

John Raabe

If you put down a real wood finish floor that will solidify that 5/8" subfloor. If you do a non-wood finish floor you will probably want underlayment to stiffen the span between the joists.
None of us are as smart as all of us.

Homesick Gypsy

Any progress lately?   Pictures!!!  Pictures!!!


Quote from: Jens on March 14, 2009, 11:36:30 AM

160 acres for 42k?  sweet deal!  Are you in the trinity alps then?  any towns nearby?  my in-laws have a cabin in Horse Creek, near Yreka.

Jens...Horse Creek?  No kidding!  We worked as caretakers for a few years for about 68 remote acres in the Siskiyous.  Nearest town was called, alas, Happy Camp.  That's practically next-door neighbors out there.

Handyman, that was SOME deal all the way down there near Mendocino.  We used to say we were six hours north of "Northern California"...you're at least two, right?  Beautiful land.  Glad this thread got bumped up; I missed it the first time around.  More pictures, please!
The Chronicle of Upper Tupper
This place was made by doing impractical things we could not afford at the wrong time of year.   -Henry Mitchell


    Thankyou for the interest in my project.  I just got home from putting up the rafters and am tired.

      The weather was cool, thunder storms already, and no one fell.

     I will post pictures soon



     I have been making some progress on the cabin. The rafters are up and it is time for roof sheathing. 

     The sun twisted my rafters a little, but I think they will work.



The weather is hot in California, and I might get a roof on before it rains.  Here are some pictures.


   With the help of Dennis, a professional carpenter, the roof sheathing and fascia boards and barge boards are on.  The use of 2 by 4 chicken boards made it possible to work on the 10 in 12 roof.  As fast as I could get the plywood up it was nailed down, then more chicken boards, and on up. 
   My steel roofing is on order, it will be here in 2 weeks.



     Some of the windows are now in,and the walls are wrapped with  tyvek.  My wife helped me do this last weekend.
The exposed beams are propped up so they will not sag while using them for scaffolding.



     There will be a 8 x 20 loft over the bedroom and bathroom.  Access to the loft will be a ladder.


    We are almost closed in to the weather

    This roof is called Metal Sales brand.  It is a job to install but should last.

    On Sunday we took a day off to go hunting.  It had just rained 3 inches a few days before.

    The metal roof panels are all on, but we still need to finish the ridge and rake pieces.  We were two weekends with 3 or 4 guys  except the hunting  day.  

ED: image links needed fixing - MD


Everything's looking really good so far, you're almost there.  Once you've got it in the dry, you can sort of relax and focus on the interior.  Your roof looks good,  if I'm not mistaken, those are called "raised ridge" because they attach from beneath the sheet metal and no screwing through the metal is needed.  Cost a little more, but in my opinion, is well worth it.

Thanks for sharing with pictures and keep us informed on your progress. [cool]
Rule #1: "Don't sweat the small stuff"
Rule #2: "It's all small stuff"