Thursday, January 31, 2013

I have been posting in a new gallery on my facebook page of this little renovation project.
It was a little bunkhouse/sauna building by the lake that was still in good enough shape to fix up and make into something.  The roof had a little damage where a mischievous beaver had dropped a large Aspen on it, but otherwise, the structural framing was sound.

The only thing that was a little worrisome was the footings, or the nonexistence of footings holding the whole thing up. Several of the footings were just jacks that appeared to be ready to fall over: any case, the floor was certainly not level and the first thing we needed to do was get some decent footings under this thing and level it off.

We started this in the fall of 2009...
We began by digging out underneath and getting some solid footings that went down below frost level so they would not move around anymore. Most of this work was done for me by J.J Day and his crew, All Day Landscapes...

Once that was done and some rotten sills repaired we ready to set the building back down and continue.

Here now we have the windows installed...

 ....and ready for siding:
 The first row of cedar siding. We are going with mitered corners here instead of a corner trim. We have pre-stained the siding on both sides.

Some finished window trim and paneling. All the Doug Fir paneling and trim in this project is clear vertical grain. A very clean look:

More shots of the finished project can be seen here at the gallery on my website.

...or on my facebook gallery here.


Sunday, January 20, 2013

The square foot cost struggle

An interesting article on a subject we struggle with constantly:

Friday, January 18, 2013

A deck with a view

We have been framing a deck overlooking the lake on this recently completed house.

treated lumber deck framing
 We were able to get the footings done before it got too cold...
2x12 framing for outside deck,

There hasn't been a lot of snow yet this year so the outside work hasn't been to difficult.

deck framing, treated 2x12,
 These last two photos were taken with my phone so they are not the greatest quality, still you can get a feel for the view from the deck high on this bluff overlooking the lake.
deck framing ready for decking,
I think we will wait for some warmer weather for the decking. We are going to use Ipe decking and, with the hidden fastener system, it is recommended that it be glued down, and that would not make to much sense to do in the cold weather.

In one of my trips to the cities lately, it occurred to me, (again), how little there is in the way of radio stations south of Hinkley or so. As you get closer to the larger metro areas, you expect to have more access to the arts and music, and, in general, you do, but when it comes to radio stations, for the last 30 years I have been coming and going to and from Northern Minnesota, and I have found the best radio to be not where you would expect it.

I think the last real good radio station in Minneapolis died out when I was about 15. They are still there, of course, KQRS, but it is not the same. I think they are "classic rock" now, whatever that means these days. I remember when I was a kid, they were what they called back then, an "album station", meaning they played other songs on the albums instead of the one single that was made to be played on the pop stations, the 3.5 minute version.

I know radio is practically a thing of the past now days but I am one who still doesn't have XM radio in the car and so I rely on my CDs and catching a wave when it is in range. as you take off from Ely, you are on the fringe of what has long been, in my opinion, the best radio station in the world, KUMD out of Duluth. By the time I get to Babbitt, I can get this pretty clearly and it takes me all the way to about Hinkley. Now, it's not always the music I want to hear all the time, there is a great variety, but for the most part there is a pretty good chance that I will be able to listen to something good, or at least interesting. Many times I am driving early in the morning and they have show after show of Undercurrents, which is just amazing.

Occasionally, as an alternative, between Duluth and Virginia, you have always been able to pick up KAXE out of Grand Rapids, MN. This is a station I grew to enjoy about 25 or 30 years ago, especially one summer I worked over in Effie and lived in a small one room log cabin in the woods. I wasn't alone there, of course, there were lots of mice, but also this great radio station. 

I lived near Ely for a time before that, in a small one room log cabin down by Johnson Lake. I had no electricity or running water there either, but I had a good car stereo and an extra battery that I would run it off of. I would switch the battery with the one in my truck every couple days so they would always be charged. I ran an antenna wire up high in the ceiling and was able to clearly pick up KAXE that way. On long winter evenings by the wood-stove with kerosene lamps, they kept me sane. Relatively.

Recently I was made aware that KAXE now has a translator in Ely at 103.9. It is nice to have them back in my life. ...again, not always exactly what you want to hear, but at least there is a pretty good chance you will hear something interesting. And no commercials. And there is nothing like these small community radio stations to give you a sense of home. It's like radio the way it was meant to be.

There is a good article here on radios and fringe listening... how to get by without the internet, as we all still need to do from time to time:

Anyway, my occasional drives to the cities got me to thinking about radio...

Lantern and a letter to write,


Friday, January 11, 2013

Marble Island top...

We finally put the finishing touches on these cabinets...
Just before the Holidays, the remaining counter top was put on the island.

The wall cabinet counter-tops we built ourselves, (actually that means Scott did it), but on the island, the homeowner wanted something different, so we had been waiting for that last element.

It is made Montclair Darby honed marble, fabricated and installed by Laurentian Monument and Granite in Virginia.

Actually there are still some finishing touches yet. We are waiting for the panels for the refrigerator and dishwasher. We decided to wait till we actually had the appliances in had so we could measure accurately for the panels.

The cabinets were supplied by our local Lumber Yard, Voyageur Lumber, in Ely.

They are made of distressed knotty Alder with a autumn/black glaze finish.

Here are a some pictures:
alder cabinets with honed marble top,

Knotty alder cabinets, honed marble top,

Knotty alder kitchen island, honed marble top,

I can also be followed on pinterest: