Posts Tagged With: log cabin

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

the moment we’ve all been waiting for…

Day 2 & 3

After a great start on Thursday, the progress on Friday was slowed down due to the weather. ¬†As the forecast had called for rain all day, Dave and I opted not to go down, thinking we wouldn’t be missing anything. ¬†However, we were were mistaken. The crew had been able to finish the sub-flooring before the rain started so once the skies opened up, they went below and built the stairwell leading from the first floor to the basement. Fortunately, there were periodic breaks in the rain and they were then able to work up top and prep for the stacking of the logs. ¬†George Lewis returned in the morning, before the rain came, and was able to do the back fill along the foundation so the crew no longer had to use a catwalk to get to the cabin. By the time Dave arrived Saturday morning, they had already stacked three rows!


Dave arrived Saturday morning to find that they had already begun stacking the logs!

Though off to a great start, they hadn’t gotten far before discovering that some of the logs had not been notched properly. When put in place, there was a small gap between the logs that shouldn’t have been there. ¬†The only solution was to hand cut each improperly cut notch so that the logs would lay flush.¬†A little bit of a set back, but once the logs were notched properly it was smooth sailing the rest of the day.

A good friend of mine, Bernard Casey, had come down for a weekend visit so we were anxious to show him the place…by the time he and I arrived at noon along with Max, the place had really started to look like a log cabin!

By the time we left on the third day, we were absolutely amazed at the progress that had been made!

Wow, this is going to be a fabulous view!


looking out at the lake from where the wall of windows will be

Categories: Follow the adventure as we build our log cabin | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

after a rather slow couple of months, we’re ready to rock ‘n roll

The next steps:  Initial meetings to discuss excavation, foundation and electric

Drawings in hand, we drove down to the property last week to meet with the men who will be clearing our land, doing the excavation¬†and putting in the Superior Walls foundation. Knowing that this isn’t going to be a typical building site,¬†we had decided to meet with them at the same time on location¬†to see what they would say about our chosen home site, as well as to discuss where would be the best place to put in the driveway. ¬†Fortunately, they agreed that the home site we’ve chosen will work but, given that the property has quite a steep grade and is possibly resting on one giant piece of rock, there was much discussion as to how to go about the excavating and exactly how they were going to be able to bring in the proper equipment in order to get the job done right. ¬†While we were discussing possible driveway entrance positions, someone asked if we’d applied for our VDOT entrance permit. To which we replied, “Our WHAT?!” ¬†Apparently we need a permit from the Virginia Dept. of Transportation, approving our driveway entrance location before we can have a driveway put in, and we need a drive way before we proceed any further. ¬†Really? ¬†Why is it that no one had mentioned that rather important piece of information prior to that moment?!

In choosing an entrance location for the driveway, a couple of things needed to be considered. ¬†Colemans Lake Rd curves slightly to the south, several hundred feet from where our property lies, creating a blind spot where it’s difficult to see oncoming traffic, and, as¬†there has to be a certain line of site from the driveway entrance to the curve in order for VDOT to approve our location, we were warned that we may have issues getting our permit. ¬†On the other hand, placing the entrance too far in the opposite direction, we create another possible problem. Given that the dam does tend to flood, during which time water comes up over Colemans Lake Rd, as well as along ¬†the North edge of our property where it slopes down toward White Oak Creek, we want to avoid placing the entrance too far in that direction lest we end up not being able to have access to our entrance during the floods. ¬†After much discussion, we agreed upon an entrance area that seemed most likely to avoid flooding issues while still being far enough from the curve to have good visibility and, hopefully, still be approved by VDOT. ¬†Despite that little surprise and the possibility that it may slow down our progress a bit, we were still very happy with the results of our meeting and much impressed with the discussions and ideas that were put forth by all parties. ¬†We ¬†thoroughly enjoyed meeting George, Eric and Chris and look forward to working with them…once we get our entrance permit.

An hour over our expected meeting time, we left Colemans Lake and drove to our meeting at McCray Electric Co. ¬†Our experience there was just as positive as with every other encounter thus far. ¬†Everybody in the area seems to know at least one other person we’re working with or hunts/races/fishes with one of our neighbors, so is more than happy to work with us. ¬†They all seemed genuinely excited at the prospect of working on a project that is a little less run of the mill and are more than willing to make suggestions in areas we are less certain about without seeming like they are trying to over sell us on anything.

The VDOT entrance permit

After returning home I spent the rest of the afternoon trying to figure out what we needed for our entrance permit. ¬†Finding nothing on the VDOT website, I put in a call to their office in Richmond explaining what I thought we needed. ¬†Three transfers later, I reached the voicemail of Bruce Atwater¬†(Transportation Permit & Subdivision Specialist Sr.), who I was told was the man I needed to talk to.¬†Fortunately, he returned my call within minutes and was able to help me out. ¬†I was happy to find that he knew exactly where our property is and, in fact, hunts with one of our neighbors. (Surprise.) ¬†After emailing him a copy of our plat, he emailed back the necessary paperwork and told me that we should go ahead and place two 3′ stakes in the ground, marking the driveway entrance, and that someone would be down in a few days to take a look. ¬†He recommended filling out the paperwork and emailing a copy back to him and also to Tommy Richards (Consultant Inspector¬†Land Development- Southern Region) to look over before mailing them in.

We headed back down on Sunday,¬†driving the hour down just to spend twenty minutes putting in our stakes and then turned around and drove the hour back home. ¬†Once home, we filled the paperwork out, wrote out our checks for the permit and surety and popped them in the mail the following morning, wondering how long we would have to wait to hear anything. ¬†Fortunately, we received an email Tuesday from Mr. Richards saying that our entrance spot was fine and that as soon as he receives the paperwork and checks, he’ll issue the permit. ¬†Hooray! I forwarded the email to Dave, who immediately put in a call to George Lewis, to tell him the good news, and to let him know that we will want to start the clearing an excavation as soon as the permit comes in. ¬†We also went ahead and wrote out the milling check payment and sent it off to Battle Creek Log Homes so that they would start milling our logs.

Things are starting to getting exciting around here!!!

Categories: Follow the adventure as we build our log cabin | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Blog at