Monthly Archives: January 2014

winter hits Colemans Lake…what a perfect time to test out the fireplace!

This week’s snow east coast snow storm and frigid temperatures did not leave Colemans Lake untouched. When we arrived Sunday morning, we found snow still covering much of the ground and the lake and dam area filled with a lovely array of ice sculptures.

We spent the morning finishing the inside of the fireplace and were finally able to test it out. We couldn’t have picked a more perfect day for our first fire!

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in which we finally build front porch stairs…no more entering by ladder, yea!

Until this past weekend, in order to enter the cabin through the front door, we’ve had to use a ladder to climb up onto the front porch. Not a big deal but a bit tiresome when you’re carrying tools and various supplies in and out of the place. Finally, after three months of doing just that, we took on the task of building front porch stairs.

Once again, when we arrived at the lake, the temperature was below freezing and the ground was covered in inch and a half ice crystals that seem to grow upwards out of the ground every night.  Much fun to step on as they create a very satisfying crunch as you walk…not so much fun once the sun melts them as the melted ice turns the entire work site into a giant pit of mud.  Dave hates mud.  It makes him grumpy. Especially when his tools fall into it.

Dave wasted no time in setting up his work station and getting to the task at hand. After digging two holes and placing cement blocks in each to support the stairs, using heavy timber and careful to stay out of the mud, he whipped us out a set of stairs.

With only a short period of daylight left, we decided to wait and finish the hand rails next week and to move on to finishing the trim around the doors in the back. While working on the trim around the master bedroom door, I looked up to discover a visitor checking out our bedroom…stairs up less than a day and we already had a guest come to check them out! It was an adorable little black and brown beagle mix, who, although very curious, was unfortunately way too skittish to let me come near it.  Note to self, bring dog treats next weekend.  🙂

And last on the list of tasks for the day, was to find a log the right size to use for making supports for the fire place mantel.


Dave uses the chainsaw to cut two piece of log to make supports for the fireplace mantel

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framing up the fireplace wall and hearth

Another crazy weekend, weather wise.  Saturday started with heavy fog that was just beginning to lift as we got to the lake.  It was already warm and humid out when we arrived and supposed to get up into the 70s, but not so inside the cabin.  As soon as we opened the front door, we were hit by an icy draft as the cold air from inside the cabin rushed out.

Undeterred from the icy inside temps, Dave started up the generator, turned on the heater, and went to town building the fireplace wall.

And, incase you were wondering what our place looks like from above, Todd Hawkes just sent us this photo… Thanks Todd!!!


The Coleman Cabin and Colemans Lake as seen from above

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finishing the dormers, closing in the chimney, putting in the basement windows and starting the roof

Okay, so I got a little behind with my bloggin’ over the holidays…bear with me, a lot has been happening so this is going to be a long one!

When the JM Logcraftsman crew left on Thanksgiving Day, there were still a few things left unfinished.  They had run out of log siding for the second time so were unable to finish one of the dormers and, therefore, unable to stain them as well. In addition, the original basement windows that had been delivered with the rest of the kit ended up being the wrong size so new windows had to be ordered but had not yet arrived before the crew left. The wiring on the second floor was also incomplete and that which had been done was done incorrectly as, once Andy left, it had been left to be completed by one of the crew members who was unfamiliar with wiring. The original plan was for Mr. Lipham, Andy and one other crew member to return the first week in December to finish these three things, as well as to finish staining the outside of the cabin. The first week turned into the second week, which then turned into no communication from anyone as to when they might be back.

Granted, this was all during the holiday season and Mr. Lipham had also taken on building another cabin in Arkansas so I have no doubt that he and Andy both were being pulled in all different directions.  Having said that, regardless of what is happening on their end, the fact of the matter is that our place is still unfinished and we need to move forward.  Our local contractor, Todd Hawkes, had lined up people to start the plumbing, the HVAC and the roof and they were all ready to get started. Unfortunately, the dormers in particular had to be completed before the roof could be put on so, still hearing no date for Mr. Lipham to return, Dave arranged with Battle Creek to have the log siding and basement windows to be delivered directly to us so we could move forward.

Finishing the dormers

Although the log siding had yet to arrive, we went down the weekend before Christmas to start staining the dormers in the front so that the roofers could at least start on that side.  Dave also wanted to change out the trim on the arched window over the entrance as, on closer inspection, we realized it was less than spectacular to say the least.  By the time we finished the front dormers and had stained what we could in the back, the siding arrived so the following weekend we were able to get that up and finish staining the last dormer so the roofers could begin.

Putting in the basement windows

Meanwhile, the new basement windows had also arrived.  Thankfully, they proved to be relatively simple to put in and made a huge difference in the amount of light in the basement once they were in.

Putting in the fireplace/chimney insert

One of our next goals is to get the fireplace in working order so we can warm up the inside of the cabin to make working on the inside a little more pleasant during these coming winter months. Over the past few weekends we’ve been making progress and were finally successful this past weekend in getting the last of the chimney inserts in place and closing up the chimney.

HVAC & Plumbing & roof

While we’ve been busy with our projects on the weekends, there has been much going on during the week as well.

putting in the knee walls

Initially, we wanted to keep the tongue and groove of the roof exposed on the front side of the upstairs bedrooms and build knee walls on the back for storage. However, once the air vents and pipes were placed, we had to rethink which walls we were going to keep exposed on the second floor.

A visit from Dave’s folks

Although Dave’s parents have been avid blog followers, they haven’t had a chance to get down here to check the place out since construction began.  Fortunately, they were able to come down and spend Christmas with us and we brought them down on Boxing day to take a look around.

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