Thursday, December 18, 2008

Building the Log Cabin Room

I've mentioned the log room or cabin room many times on my blog, and have shown it in a few photos. I found some of the photos I took of the process we went through to tear down, move, and rebuild with the logs and thought some people might be interested in seeing them.

This cabin was located on Spruce Run in western Jackson County, WV. It was located on land that was previously a 1000-acre farm and there were 10 cabins plus at least one log barn and a much larger frame house at one time on the property. The family that had owned the land were named Livingston, and a descendant sold the cabin to us for $500. A lot of people thought we got ripped off. It was full of trash and we had to wear a respirator and gloves when working on it at first because chickens had been kept in it and there was dust and manure everywhere, even on top of the boxes of stuff stored in there.

Unfortunately the owner came in and threw much of the contents outside and burned them. A real pity because there were many blue canning jars, old books, letters, etc in the cabin before he "cleaned" it. We told him not to worry about the rest, we'd do it. So we were able to salvage about 30 blue jars, several other types, a few old letters, cards, etc. I will post photos of some of the items we saved in a future blog.

December 26, 2002: Here is the way the cabin looked when we bought it. Some of my sons would not even get out of the car to look at it when we first purchased it--the ground around it was poorly drained because someone had added a pond nearby and had not down the grading properly, so the ground was muddy, something smelled rank and trash was strewn everywhere.

As you can see, the foundation stones were giving way and the roof was nearly gone so the cabin would not have stood much longer.

Tommy and Jared stand beside a pile of trash on day one.

January 5th, 2003: I didn't get pictures of removing the roof as I wasn't there on that day. Here you can see how the logs were lowered. We tied ropes to the ends and on the other side of the wall are two people desperately clinging to the ropes as they gently lower the log down the ladder. Primitive, but it worked. The logs are mostly oak, with some chestnut, poplar and a few pine. They are 8" thick, and the ones on this side of the cabin were 19 feet long.

January 12th: Russell Bergdorf, Tommy, Zack Kessell and Larry consider their next move. Look at the beautiful fit of the dovetailed logs.

Jared standing in what's left of the doorway.

January 13th: Zack and Jared sit on the wall and survey the floor--which turned out to be tongue and groove random-width planks in surprisingly good condition.

January 13th: Zack and Larry celebrate--we were done with the disassembling part!

January 20th: The next workday, the cherrypicker truck arrived and hauled the logs to our place. We had to hand carry the logs up a slight hill to the road at the old location because it was too slick for the truck to get to them. How did we manage to move 600-lb logs? With steel fenceposts slid under them and carried like a coffin with all-bearers on either side. It took 6 men to move some of the logs, but we got it down in cold January weather.

January 20th: a few of the work crew that helped carry the logs and get them moved: from left, me, Steve Baldwin, Tommy, Timmy Crook, and Derek ,along with our beloved old dog Pup.

July 2003: I don't have too many photos of the rebuilding process because Larry and Tommy worked on it during the day while I was at work, and I just didn't think to take photos. Larry laid the block foundation in May, then we saved money until July for the floor joists and sub floor. We used 2x12 joists spaced 12" apart to make the floor extra strong for the slate we planned to use on it. Larry used a block-and-tackle pulley rig that looked for all the world like a gallows to lift the logs into place. He did many of them alone or with Tommy's help.

Larry's often-disappearing cousin Mike resurfaced just in time to help put the roof on.

Our son Aaron helped with this part too. Actually, all our sons helped at some stage of the building process--a real family affair in the end.

The exterior of the finished room in 2005. To say we love this room is an understatement!

Cost: the total, including the fireplace, foundation (it's about 8 feet high in front, I think, so it took a lot of block and mortar), framing, insulation for the floor and roof, and inside finishing : $5000. We also had to build a new deck, and it's a lot bigger than the old deck. So that was an additional $1500.


Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness, Jared was so little! It is a wonderful room inside, cozy, homey all the things a room should be! When we talk on the phone and you say you are in there I can picture you perfectly - a beautiful setting for a beautiful sister!

Granny Sue said...

Thank you, Theresa. I dreamed of building a room like this for so long, but never expected it would really happen. so every time I'm in there, I am still amazed that we actually did it.

And I love it best when I get to share it with my sisters.

(Jared has certainly grown fast in the last 6 years, hasn't he? He's over 6' now.)

Matthew Burns said...

For all of those who have never had the privilege to see this room in person, is just amamzing. It is the perfect room, of course, I think Granny's whole house is just perfect.

I found it quite disconcerting when we visted there, because all of my life I had pictured a dream home in my mind, and I added things to it over the years...and that day when we went to visit Granny & Larry, I realized that they lived in my dreamhome!!It was almost exact to the way I had pictured mine, although Granny's kitchen was even better than what I had envisioned. Their homestead is raw perfection there for all the world to see. I'm not just saying that either. I think I must live there in an alternate universe!

It is just so relaxing there, and Granny & Larry are the perfect hosts. They are living the dream.

Granny Sue said...

Matthew, you can come visit and pretend you live there any time! The door is always open as you know. I hope we'll see you over the holidays.

City Mouse said...

This is just amazing! Amazing! I knew about the log room, but I didn't know you built it from a salvaged cabin. That's awesome! In photos, it looks like it is just the warmest, sweetest room ever. Thanks for the pics - it was really neat to see the process.

earth heart said...

How awesome!

D said...

Beautiful, just beautiful.
You should be so proud.

Granny Sue said...

What I am happiest about is knowing that the cabin did not get left to the weather to ruin. While we didn't put it back to original, we were able to keep the character of the cabin--and finding a few old letters and other things helped us feel connected to those who lived there previously.

We have wondered, since the land was in the same family for so long and it was 1000 acres, if perhaps the 10 log cabins were slave cabins. There were some slaves in the county, and the size of the cabin--14x19 with a sleeping loft, might have been more likely to be slave quarters than anything else. We'd have to do some research to find out, but the idea is intriguing.

Anonymous said...

I love the red door! You could say this is the house that love built. Great post!


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