Fun times at Colemans Lake

it’s official….we’re bonifide!

After making the few alterations that the building inspector had recommended, Dave met with him for a second time this past Wednesday morning.

He also put a coat of polyurethane on the fireplace mantel which did a fantastic job of bringing out the grain in the wood and gives it more of an aged look as well!

Two years to the day from when our logs where delivered, the building inspector signed off on the final inspection and we received our Certificate of Occupancy! Hooray!!!! (He also was so impressed with the place after his first visit that he brought another of his colleagues along to look at the place!)

Cert. of Occupancy

And for your viewing pleasure, here is a time lapse video of the entire building process using mostly photos from the game camera we had installed after the building crew arrived.

Categories: Fun times at Colemans Lake | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

two years, and A LOT of hard work later, the time has come for our final inspection!

For those of you who have been with us from the beginning, perhaps you will recall that it was the first week in September of 2013 when George Lewis rolled in with his giant Tonka toys and single-handedly cleared our lot, helped us decide how to position our cabin with the best possible view of the lake, and then prepared the site for our lovely home to be built. By mid September, Superior Walls had come in and within hours, we had our foundation in place and were ready to have the logs delivered. On Halloween day, Kenneth Lipham and his amazing team of log home builders From Battle Creek Log Homes arrived and proceeded to work seven days a week, sun up to sun down, to build our “little” fishing cabin. Working in the rain after dark on the final day, using the light from their iPhones, the team finally finished their end of the job and had our cabin dried in. They pulled out on Thanksgiving day. Those were exciting times and Dave and I were lucky enough to be down there almost every day to watch the progress! If you missed It then, feel free to scroll back through our blog archives and check out the process!

Since my last blog entry, way back in February, all of our energy has been put into pulling the place together to make it a livable home. This is an ongoing process but one we very much look forward to!

We had been enjoying our fireplace since we’d built our first fire over a year ago, but one thing that had been missing was a mantle. We had chosen a log from one of the hardwood trees that George had left when he cleared the lot, to use for our mantle once we were ready. When we were finally ready to tackle that project, Dave started by sawing the log in half lengthwise, stripped it of it’s bark, and, after several attempts to carve out two arches that would rest perfectly on the two protruding logs he had attached when the fireplace was built, he was finally successful and our new mantel was ready to put into place!

With the fireplace done at last, we moved on to finishing the breakfast bar. We had gone back and forth about how to finish off the side facing the dining area and in the end decided to use some of the left over stone from the fireplace. Three tractor-seat stools we found at Sams Club (of all places) turned out to be the perfect accessories to complete the kitchen/dining area!

Another item that we spent much time deciding over, was what to do about window treatments for the wall of windows over looking the lake. We discovered early on that the sun beats in through the windows by early afternoon and creates quite the heat box in the living room. We needed to figure out something that would protect the interior from sun damage and to keep the place a little cooler, without destroying our beautiful view of the lake or the cozy cabin feeling of the great-room. We perused many a log home magazine looking for ideas, but finding nothing we liked there, we settled upon custom made plantation shutters, crafted by a company called Shenandoah Shutters out of Richmond, Va. This was NOT a cheap option so we were extremely nervous about how the end product was going to look. Thankfully, we were thrilled with the end results once they were installed!

With all of the main projects completed, aside from installing bathroom vanities that we’d been waiting for since January, our time was spent tackling odds and ends that still needed to be taken care of.

Still patiently waiting for our bathroom vanities to arrive, we didn’t let that stop us from having friends and family down to enjoy the place. After all, we did have two working sinks and both showers and toilets in working order as well, so when 4th of July rolled around, we decided it was high time to host our first neighborhood party, complete with real fireworks shipped up from South Carolina! It was a huge success and probably the most action Colemans Lake had seen it years!

When August rolled around, we had one last summer get together with the family before the kids head off to school…

And finally, nine months after our initial order was placed, our bathroom vanities arrive!!!

And so, with the vanities finally in place, two years after construction began, we were ready to have the county inspector out for our final inspection. We passed the erosion and sediment control inspection with flying colors but, although over all the inspector loved what we’ve done with the entire cabin, we had one minor, teensy-weensy detail that prevented him from giving us his seal of approval…the wooden handrails! Apparently, handrails need to be narrow enough for a person to grip with their entire hand. The 4″ x 4″ beams we used on the front steps as well as the 2″ x 4″ on the basement steps, don’t fit the bill. Details. We’ll add a metal pipe handrail, like the one used going up to the second floor, along one side of the front porch rail and also replace the basement hand rail with the same. Easy peasy!

So we’re still not done, but soon, very soon…we will meet again, Mr Inspector….IMG_3836

Categories: Fun times at Colemans Lake | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

and finally, we can spend the night…

Here we are in the middle of February and I haven’t posted an update since Thanksgiving?¬† What?!!¬† It’s not that we haven’t been working at the cabin every weekend,¬† it just seems that the holidays, and life in general, sort of got in the way of¬† my blogging! In an effort to catch you up on what’s been happening, I’ll try to be brief and post mostly pictures.

The doors-

Over a year ago, before construction had even begun, we had taken a trip up to Chantilly, VA where we met Don Jensen of Doors by Don, at the Log and Home show. Having seen his advertisements in several Log Home magazines, we’d already decided that we would most likely order our doors from him, so were very happy to find that he had a booth at the L & H show.¬† He with him samples of¬† the different door styles so we were able to check them out first hand and pick out which ones we would use once the cabin was built. By the time we were ready to buy them, however, he had sold the company to Xterior Plus, with the intention of retiring. Lucky for us though, he found retirement a little dull and was back helping out the new owners when Dave made the call to order our doors. Don happily drove the four hours from Wytheville, VA to deliver our doors himself, just as he had promised when we spoke with him way back when in Chantilly.

Next on the to do list, the upstairs shower. I do have to say that I love Dave’s idea to run a band of river stone half way up the wall and inside the soap shelf!

After looking at different hardware options, we decided to go with simple wrought iron handles for the kitchen cabinets. Dave and Max also replaced the door knobs on the pantry with handles to match the rest of the kitchen cabinets… definitely looks better!

With the doors all hung, Dave and Max work on framing the doorways.

With most of the lights already up, Dave and Max work on lighting the stairwell.¬† Dave found a cute little deer antler light to use at the base of the stairwell and finally, I have somewhere to hang the Kudu horn light I’ve been holding onto for years!


We had been dying to spend our first night at the cabin and finally, by New Year’s eve, the place was far enough along that we could comfortably do so. Megan, Jason, and the boys, had planned to come down to ring in the New Year with us, so we were psyched to have them along as our first overnight guests. We were also joined by Max’s girlfriend, who’s parents were kind enough to allow her to join us!

With most of the finish work done, Dave puts his energy into building a tv stand and a farm table for the dining area. Our new beds had finally arrived as well so we were all set to spend another night to test them out.

It was another few weeks before we were able to get down for¬† another sleep over…this time, we were joined by cousin Emily.¬† Erin was unable to make it to spend the night, but she and my sister, Julie, joined us the following day. We lucked out with spring like temperatures for the weekend so were able do a cook out and also go for a little walk around the property, which was especially nice as it was Julie’s first time visiting!

And last but not least, we drove down this past weekend and delivered our living room couches. The place is really starting to feel like home!

Categories: Follow the adventure as we build our log cabin, Fun times at Colemans Lake | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

walls, walls and more walls….and a little fun with the fam as well!

Having finished the main walls downstairs, we moved onto the upstairs walls this past week. We¬†now have the tongue and groove up on at least one side of each of the rooms¬†so can now get a much better¬†idea¬†of what the finished cabin will feel like…and yes, we are loving it!

Feeling very pleased with our progress thus far, we took a break from building over the weekend to relax and have a little fun while¬†my brother and his family were visiting. ¬†They hadn’t seen the place since last Thanksgiving so we were anxious to show them how much we’d accomplished since their last visit.

After checking out the inside of the cabin, we headed¬†outside to take advantage of the beautiful day. ¬†Burgers, hobo pies, ATVs and a little swim in the lake…I do believe a good time was had by all.

Categories: Follow the adventure as we build our log cabin, Fun times at Colemans Lake | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

easter at the cabin….

After such crazy weather this spring, we were thrilled to have sunshine and 70 degree temps for Easter Sunday, which, of course, is perfect weather for hanging out at Colemans Lake with the fam! My eldest sister’s two kids, Maharlika and Zarek, as well as my¬†middle sis’s twin girls, Emily and Erin, had all spent Saturday night with us.¬†¬†Easter morning¬†the¬†kids¬†all piled into Maharlika’s¬†car, while Dave, Mom, the three pups and I, all loaded into the van and headed down to the cabin for a full day of fun.

We started the day with an Easter egg hunt, because, even though the “kids” range from age 13 to 20, you’re never too old for that, right? I had stuffed 92 plastic eggs with candy the night before, and,¬†once we arrived at the cabin, ¬†hid them randomly around the outside. (We forgot to recount the eggs once the kids were done to see if they’d found them all…. yep, still finding eggs there every time we’ve been down this week.)

Next on the agenda- we head over to the picnic area on Waffles Ridge for a cookout.

After lunch, it’s time for our annual deviled egg eating contest…

As Zarek struggles to keep down his thirteenth deviled eggs, we here a splash, followed by much giggling from the girls down¬†on the dock. Uh oh. Surely someone’s phone didn’t just go in the lake?!

After the kids hung out on the dock for awhile, and Zarek’s wave of nausea passed, we pulled out the¬†toys….

After a full day of fun we pack up and head for home. As we drive off, I think about the summer ahead and look forward to¬†spending lazy days watching the kids hang out together, bonfires at night, waking up in the mornings and looking out at the lake¬†….

Categories: Fun times at Colemans Lake | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

after months of all work, we finally get in a little play time as well!

Although we did spend the first part of the day Sunday working, we decided to break early to get in some ATV action, and then ended the beautiful spring day with a little fishing as well.

First on the day’s agenda was to put up scaffolding on the back deck. We have discovered that the log siding on either side of the great room windows does not match up and that the builders have put in a 1-2 inch strip between two of the siding pieces on the left in order to make up the difference. In order to make it look right, we’re now going to have to strip off the log siding on that¬†side and replace it before we finish staining the outside. Our intent was to go ahead and tackle that project but after getting the scaffolding up, decided to put it off for another day and work on a few simpler projects instead.

Our dumpster was removed last week but we still have a ton of scrap wood to get rid of so decided to go ahead and build a fire in order to burn some of it. Max and I were put in charge of cutting down wood pallets and tending to the bonfire.

After starting the fire, Dave went to work drilling into the basement wall, under the front deck and through to the inside, in order to make openings for the bathroom vents.

Bathroom vents taken care of, Dave moves inside to do some framing in the laundry room.

These two tasks crossed off the list, it’s now time for our first trail ride of the year!

About an hour of sunlight left, we decide to get in a bit of fishing before packing up.

After a full day, we packed up and headed for home…

Categories: Follow the adventure as we build our log cabin, Fun times at Colemans Lake | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

christening the cabin…

27 years ago, while living in Zimbabwe, my dad took the old French tradition of Sabrage and altered it by using a large Ethiopian Danakil knife to open a bottle of champagne, rather than a saber. ¬†It has become a family tradition ever since, although, since we don’t all own Danakil knives, we have found that a machete works just as well! ¬†We never miss an opportunity to carry on the tradition, so in true form, we all drove down to the cabin the day after Thanksgiving to give our new place a true Richardson style christening!¬†My brother Jason generally gets the honor of opening the bottle when we’re all together, mostly because he’s had the most practice. ūüėČ

“There are many stories about this tradition. One of the more spirited tales is that of Madame Cliquot, who had inherited her husband’s small Champagne house at the age of 27. She used to entertain Napoleon’s officers in her vineyard, and as they rode off in the early morning with their complimentary bottle of Champagne, they would open it with their sabre to impress the rich young widow.” (

Categories: Fun times at Colemans Lake | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

potato canons, hobo pies and pumpkins

A few years back, when we were up visiting my brother and his family, Dave and Jason decided they needed to build a couple of potato canons. ¬†They spent the morning viewing how-to videos, as well as examples of various different potato canon models, on YouTube then headed over to Home Depot to buy their supplies. ¬†By late afternoon each family had their own potato canon and we all went out onto their back deck to test them out. None of us had anticipated just how loud or how far they would shoot! Fortunately, we didn’t take out any windows on the other side of the neighborhood. ¬†As far as we know.

We were hooked from that point on and the firing-of-the-potato-canon has become a tradition at all important family events forever after. ¬†Somehow however, we’ve continuously forgotten to bring it with us every time we’ve gone down to the lake… until this past weekend that is.

Somehow it doesn’t sound nearly as loud when you shoot it in a wide open space as when we have shot it at home!

Photos from Oct 20, 2013

Our fun was cut short when one of the neighbors came out to go fishing. No worries though, we had all had a few chances to see how far across the lake we could shoot, so we packed up the potato canon and ammo and headed up to Waffles Ridge to make Hobo Pies.

Having sufficiently stuffed ourselves, it was time for a little target practice…

After everyone had had their fill of shooting targets, we went back over to the lake for bit.

Having had several hours of fun, it was now time to pack up and head out.  Although we had to say goodbye to the Clarke family, Laura and Jared decided to join us for a late lunch on our way out at our favorite Mexican restaurant, El Caporal.


I handed the camera over to Max to take a quick photo of Jared, Laura, Dave and I as we share a toast

One more stop before heading home. We had yet to buy our fall pumpkins and the farmers market just happened to be right next to El Caporal….


After finding three practically perfect pumpkins, we headed back home, having had another fun-filled day and created many more lasting memories of perfect days spent at the coleman cabin. ¬†Okay, so technically we don’t actually¬†have the completed cabin yet, but still….

Categories: Fun times at Colemans Lake | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

foundation approved, time for the slab prep

Thanks to a fantastic job by Eric Riley and his crew from Superior Walls, as well as a termite treatment by Brown Exterminating Company, and of course, George Lewis of C & L Excavation, our new foundation has passed inspection!


Dinwiddie County gives their stamp of approval. Hooray!

Next step, the slab prep…

Categories: Fun times at Colemans Lake | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

go, George, go!

Sept 16

George wasted no time and by Monday evening had finished clearing the site and begun the foundation dig.

Here’s a little video of George in action digging out the basement and prepping the site for the foundation…

The excavator is resting on the old road with the lake to the right and cabin site to the left. ¬†Notice that the shelf that was along the road to the left is now gone. ¬†Fortunately George didn’t encounter a huge slab of rock, as we had feared, given that the giant rock bluff that we call Waffles Ridge is just to the left of the cabin site!

Categories: Fun times at Colemans Lake | Leave a comment

Create a free website or blog at