From April 2015 through February 2016 I designed and built a cabin on my family farm about an hour outside of Cincinnati. I was working at an ecommerce company during the week, and would spend evenings after work planning the weekend tasks. On Friday I’d head to the hardware store or lumber yard and buy the materials on my way out to the farm, and then spend a few days building with whichever family and friends I could convince to come volunteer free manual labor in the humid Ohio summer. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to my dad for being there almost every weekend.

From the outset there was no master plan for the cabin. Each week I would read articles and watch videos of whatever skill would be required for the upcoming weekend: framing walls, roofing, tiling, pulling wire, etc. Then I’d make a concrete plan for the weekend based on what I had learned and somehow it all came together in the end. The photos below document the overall build from digging to a completed cabin.

00 Digging holes on a hillside with my brother-in-law, Tyler

01 Called in some reinforcements after realizing how difficult it is to use the post-hole digger

02 Filled to the brim with concrete forms

03 It was cheaper to buy 20’ rebar than 10’ pieces, so my uncle insisted that we bring an angle grinder along and cut the pieces down in the parking lot

04 5600 pounds of concrete being delivered

05 Holes finally complete, with rebar and gravel in place

06 Mixed all of the concrete and poured it in a day, mixing one 80-pound bag at a time in the small cement mixer

07 This is what remained at the end of the day

08 Used 6”x6” posts to hold up the 4”x12” beams and then placed floor joists on 16” centers

09 Was ready to tilt up walls by the 4th of July - tried to put one up aleady sheeted but it weighed way too much so we didn’t repeat that experiment

10 Starting to look a bit like a real structure now…

11 Ben came down and helped me sheet the walls and build the floors of the lofts

12 Sheeting completed and roof built

13 Starting to put down the tar paper and build the porches

14 A nice fall day for learning how to tile a floor

15 The only thing I outsourced was putting on the metal roof, mostly due to a fear of heights

16 Starting to prepare for the wood stove and putting up the poplar siding

17 Not looking great with just the boards

18 Ahh that’s better - window trim and added the battens

19 Progress picture by late fall

20 Stove pipe installed

21 Bought this wood stove from a nice man on Craigslist who needed a bigger one for his cabin - it was perfect for my project

22 A shot of the cabin on the first snow of the year

23 Wood stove installed just in time for winter

24 Wire pulled + insulation installed

25 The downstairs area really coming along

26 Picked up some 1”x6” knotty pine boards from the lumber yard and spent an afternoon chamfering the edges of every board

27 Started to tack up the pine boards

28 More progress on the boards

29 Still needs some window trim…

30 Read about an alternating step ladder online and decided to try one out

31 The downstairs, completed

32 One of the upstairs lofts

33 The kitchen area

34 Spring-time shot of the completed cabin