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Old Cabin Demo / New Home Progress Pictures


View upstream from the dock on the AuSable River Mainstream

New Office fully furnished,

Back of old cabin

Old cabin coming down. 

Old cabin with new "open view" of the river.  Picture taken from dock.

Old cabin and foundation walls cleared.

View from driveway.  River is just 15 ft the other side of the silt fence. 

Installing the Quadlock insulated concrete forms (ICF's) for the first level of the house.  We chose this system because of the high insulation value and soundproofing. The system is basically building a two part wall of foam and filling the center with concrete.  In the end you get a solid wall of concrete for thermal mass and over 6" of foam to insulate the home.  This was the first time I ever used  this system, it was fun and fast to build.  The outer wall is 4" of foam, the core is 8" of concrete and the inside wall is 2" of foam.  The walls extend well below grade.  We had to dig the footings below the old basement floor into virgin soil.  Which added to the project cost a great deal.  But now I don't have to worry about the cold creeping in through the footing to the radiant heat slab in the studio and garage.  All that foam and concrete should be more than enough to keep the bite of winter outside and the heat inside. 


Working still below grade building up the footings to grade height which is still another two feet above the course Chuck is setting now. 

Me starting a corner on the rear of the house where we didnt need to dig as deep, but are still two feet below final grade building off the rear footings.  Once you build the corner and install the spacer braces the wall goes up perfectly straight and square with each course.  The systems really is simple to work with.


Kirsten and I put up these walls in an afternoon.  Once the walls are up to final height a cement pump truck fills the cavity and it sits for three days to cure and then it can be backfilled.

Here we are framing out the garage doors.  Each door and window opening needs a wood frame called a "buck" to seal the opening during the pour and to provide a wood frame to nail into when it comes time to install doors and windows. 

Looking from the garage area into the studio facing the river.  the lower section in the front wall is the grade level of the walk out glass doors and the open span across the front is all windows with two 5x7 windows on either corner.  I want the new studio to have a wide open feel with a full view of the river.  It will be all glass across the span from 22" off the floor to ceiling with a 12' wide 4 glass door center walkout onto a path leading down to the river.  The columns in the center of the room are one 40" and two - 24" concrete columns that extend down 10 ft into the ground which the entire house above will rest on across the span of the garage and studio below.  14" Steel I beams will span the studio walls creating a deck to build the house on.  All commercial grade standards, ensuring the house will never settle over time.  The little rebar stubs you see in the picture on the left wall are pins that will lock the concrete floor into the side walls.  All the area up to that point needs to be back filled with clean sand. 

East wall of the garage and studio looking toward the river.  All the pvc pipe stubs are for air exchange and electrical and plumbing passages.  You have to plan all that stuff before the pour or drill through 8" of concrete laced with rebar later.  Not an easy task if you forget something so we gave it some long thought as to what we needed now and what we may need to pass through the wall in the future.  Even chases for Christmas light outlets in the upper corners needed to be planned for now.

Both 10x9 garage door openings framed and poured.  the header over the garage is poured in concrete and filled with 1" rebar to form a concrete I Beam stronger than a wood header.  Notice the stubs of rebar sticking out all around the inside of the shop on the wall.  That is where the grade height of the lot will be raised to.  Those stubs will tie into the floor slab pinning the walls to the floor.  So as you can see there is allot of sand on the way to fill the old basement under the studio and the inside are of the garage at least two feet.  The total area of the floor is 42' x 55'.  And whoever coined the phrase "dirt cheap" never bought dirt. 

Looking down the driveway to the house.

Front studio wall along the river.  The bottom of the center cutout will be grade height when the soil around the building is replaced.






Front studio wall footing well - 8 ft below grade.  Drain tiles and pump out lifts were installed to handle any water problems over the years from snow melt, rain and roof runoff.  The original foundation of the old cabin had settled and cracked in areas from water.  But it was just a hand dug footing over clay.  I don't expect the same result to an insulated 8" steel reinforced concrete wall on 30" steel reinforced footings.  This foundation is here to stay.





The hole in the center of the floor area is our Artesian well.  We learned that little flowing well behind the cabin that produced bone chilling water all year long was actually an 8" Artesian well reduced and restricted down to a 1 1/2" pipe sticking up behind the old cabin which fed the old cabin it's water supply and the excess flowed back to the river.  We dug around it to re-pipe it into the mechanical room to be used for the well in the new house and found the reducer and the main well casing.  After calling in a well guy to plumb it to its new location he explained it was a huge free flowing well and when it was put in they choked it down to control the flow.  I had him remove the restriction and route it into the mechanical room where it will supply all our water and then some.  He said when he drilled and tested the pressure it was over 50 psi.  So we wont need a well pump for the house without the restrictor.  And the builder is getting me info on a electrical generator that runs off 20 psi of pressure to produce some or all of the power for the house from a turbine driven generator powered off the well flow. 


Raised the grade on the drive coming in with 2 ft of crushed concrete to support the crane and big equipment coming in to raise materials for the house.  The old driveway turned into a mud slick with all the clay and loam after every rain.


The excavator cleared a slot into the back lot to park our trailer and provide additional parking.  The two manhole covers you see at the base of the raised septic field are septic tank cleanout lids which will make pump outs easy to do.  The truck can back right in up to them both.

This is the raised bed drain field.  With all the clay around the drain field location we had to have it built up above grade.  They covered it in straw and seeded grass on it.  Kirsten plans to seed it with wildflowers in the spring to blend it into the woods better.  Grass is growing good on it now..

View from side lot towards the rear of the lot.  The cutout is a great place for friends and family to park a camper now.  The old drive was so tight getting more than one or two cars in was about all it could handle.  Now we can park triple that and still have room. 


This picture shows a similar version of the bumped out upper room we designed for our house.  We are also going with log siding inside and out.  This is similar to the house we designed - ours has a screened in porch and covered side decks and will sit over the garage/shop. 


Installing the radiant heat system...this job was tough.  Kirsten and I drove up to install the hot water lines before they poured the floor.  The weather all week before we got up there was in the 60's.  The morning we got there it dropped to 30 and started off with sleet and rain all day while we cut and placed a layer of 2" Styrofoam on the ground and rolled out 4 large rolls of heavy wire to hold the lines in place.  Cutting the foam and laying the wire grid took the entire day working in poor conditions.  Then we stayed the night in town and returned the next morning to lay 3000 ft of hard plastic PEX line for the hot water that will travel through the concrete floor.  We arrived to 2" of heavy wet snow that fell through the night.  We had to clear the snow and ice from the insulation panels before we could get started then began the task of rolling out the hard plastic line and holding it in place with a nylon zip tie every foot.  It took all day working on our hands and knees in the wet snow.  Then around 4 that afternoon it warmed to around 45 and the snow turned to water puddles on the foam.  We were soaked to the bone.  We finally finished the job after dark and headed back into town to change and drive back home.  

Front studio lines.  All the lines were run in zones and spaced 12" apart for an even heat across the floor.  The openings you see in the floor are the footings over the concrete piers that will support the house.


Looking from the studio into the garage.  The garage lines were run closer together to help melt snow from the vehicles faster and keep the floor dry. 

This line in the photo is the pressure bleed off from the artesian well from the mechanical room.  Until the plumbing is in place the plumber recommended venting it to the river for the time being. 



More construction photos....


View from the rear driveway.  Garage entry and first floor of the house, rear rooms are guest bedrooms (2) and a center bathroom.

Front of studio and house.  The opening in the second floor is for the french doors that lead out onto the screened in porch over the studio (not in built at time of photo).  There are two large picture windows on either side of the porch door that are covered in Tyvek and not seen.


Front studio wall along river.  All glass across the front.  Two banks of  6 foot tall large panel casements that crank open as well as 6x6 casements on either side wall giving the studio an open air feeling with great views of the river while carving.  The left side will be set up for carving, the framed room behind the carving area will be a painting room, the right side will be Kirstens office and the center rear of the studio will be set up for video recording. 

View from the dock


View looking toward the studio from the rear garage door opening.  I am leaving the studio and garage open with a 6 ft arch joining the two rooms.  This way I can room equipment and projects back and forth.  And since the entire floor is heated with radiant heat there is no reason to separate the two rooms with a door.  The garage and studio have a 9 ft ceiling. 

Looking from the garage mechanical room into the studio area.


Mechanical room in garage.  Orange hoses are from the 3000 ft of 1/2" radiant heat lines Kirsten and I ran in the floor under the concrete.  No more cold feet working in the shop.


View from rear of the studio where I plan to set up a recording area.

12 foot opening where the quad panel glass doors open onto the firepit area and river walk. 

View from Kirstens office

Recording area

Painting room

Now were upstairs on the first floor of the house, looking from the great room towards the back of the house.  The hall in the center leads to the bathroom with guest bedrooms to the left and right of the bathroom.  The layout we designed gave us room for two large bedrooms with a great view of the rear lot.  The partial room on the left is part of the kitchen.

Looking from the stairs to the third floor toward the river.  The center opening is the double doors opening onto the screened porch with large windows on either side.  This room will be the living room with a stone fireplace that extends through the center of the house with a wrap around loft on the third floor.  You can see the edge of the loft in this picture. The upper loft will have the billiard room / bar over looking the living room.

This is the west guest bedroom. 

East guest bedroom

Walk-in closet off the east guest bedroom






View from the kitchen.  Dining room on the right, living room on the left. Porch through the door opening.


Dining room 8 ft doorwall leading out onto the east deck where we plan to put the  grill.

View from the living room through the porch doorway.  The porch floor and roof were not in yet at the time of this picture.  They are completed now.  The view off the porch is incredible.  The view of the river was great with the old cabin, but now being 12 foot off the ground and the new porch being larger than the entire old cabin was - the new view is so much more.  I think it will be a room we live in all summer long. 

View off the dining room.

Looking from the dining room into the kitchen. 


View from kitchen through dining room doorwall.

View from third floor looking to rear of the lot.  Standing on this floor looking around made all the trouble this place was to get started worth every cent.  The views of the river from the front bumped out room over the porch and the rear master bedroom are incredible. 

View from third floor pool table / bar area.  At the time of this photo the front bumped out room was not yet added over the porch.  Its there now and I will post pictures of it later next week when we get home.    I am starting to build all the kitchen and bathroom cabinets now down here in Novi and will truck them up when complete. 



Just got back from up are the latest pictures....


Pulled down the drive to a whole new look today....the roof decking is on and
most of the wall sheeting is in place.


Third floor observatory is framed in over the second floor porch. 


View from the rivers edge.  Lower level studio, second floor screened in porch
and third floor glassed in observatory.  Front porch roof wings and upper roof decking still not complete.  Seeing it evolve from paper into this is

View from inside of the studio.

Front porch.  Windows onto porch covered by Tyvek wrap.  Posts will be replaced with logs which are on order and the entire room logged and screened in.

Another front porch shot.

View of river from 2nd floor porch.

Third floor observatory over porch.  Looking from upper loft.  Room has a
cool tree house feel to it.  Great place for a over stuffed sofa and a couple of recliners to just relax and enjoy nature.

View of observatory from staircase entering third floor.

View from observatory windows.

View from living room below through temporary loft railings.  All the windows provide great natural light from above into the second floor living area.

Opposite side of the third floor looking from observatory to the rear of the house.  The right half will be the master bedroom and left half the master bath, walk in closet and laundry.  The room between the rear half of the third floor and the front observatory will be a bar and pool room over looking the living room below. 

Here is a shot of the that area, we had the ceiling height bumped up to 8 ft to open the space up so there would be plenty of room for our pool table and a bar with seating. 

Here is a shot of the massive beam that spans the ridge of the house.  Its a 24"
laminated beam.  The ceiling will be sprayed with foam insulation and covered in tongue and groove cedar boards. 

View from master bedroom of rear lot.

View from master bath.  Below this window will be 4x7 two person hot tub.

Now, back down on the second floor...looking from the living room into the kitchen / dining area.

Treetop view off the dining room door wall that leads out onto the side deck.

View from the front door, French doors will lead onto the porch (left) and the opening on the right is the dining room glass door wall.   Loft above.

Snow falling on the river today.

View from rear yard with roof on and windows installed.  Log siding arrives Friday.  Going with 8" half log siding with a hand hewn finish trimmed in full log. Garage doors are in place.

View of west side of the house from the side drive.  The lower cut out on the right where Kirsten is standing is for the 6 ft log stairway leading up to the house from the driveway to the west deck.

View walking up the west deck to the front of the house main entry.  We have a great river view from all areas of the side deck leading onto the front deck. 

Front porch / main entry.  Logs now in place and railings are on order to complete the porch and decks.

View from west deck.

View from east deck.

Front entry doorway from porch.

Studio windows and doors are in place. 

West side of studio.

East side of studio

Looking down from 3rd floor balcony.  Opening in wall is for the fireplace.  We had it mounted 28" off the floor with a wood storage slot below.  The surround will be ledgestone from floor to ceiling.  No mantel and no hearth.  The flat ledgestone  used to cover the wall will have random ones extending out from the wall 6" at random places which we will use as mini shelves for things.  We thought a better use of the fireplace would be in a position you could see the fire above furniture, centered high on the wall.  And in place of a typical stone hearth we decided on a stone lined storage cubby to hold a days supply of wood off the floor and out of the way. 


Third floor observatory with windows in place.  Upper windows still on order. 



View down the rear drive with the log siding on.  Looking better everyday!

Rear of house sided.  We added a 3 ft log overhang to the rear of the house over the garage doors.  Hope to get that and the remaining log siding completed by next week.

Front house view from the river.

West side deck.

River front

Studio front from dock

Studio feels so open with all the glass. 

East side.  The 8" log siding looks great with the hand peeled finish.  Better than we had expected.  Now we are adding a 3 ft overhang to the front studio windows and over the rear garage doors in log and doing the lower level in log now instead of stone. 

Front view of the house at night with recessed lighting in place. 


West side porch at night.  Ceiling over porch to be installed after electrical inspection next week. 








































































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