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Old 11-20-2014, 05:34 PM   #1
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Cabin in the woods project


I recently purchased a small parcel (about an acre) of land in the Ozark Mountains, within 1/4mile to Table Rock Lake.

In time, I plan to build a 1300-1500sqft cabin, but until that time comes, I'm looking to build something a little smaller and I'm trying to get an idea of cost. Right now all I have is a small Pop-Up Camper and I'd like something a little bigger without having to buy a box camper.

I've come up with a basic set of plans after looking at pics online. This is sort of what I'm modeling after since that ground is fairly close to what I have.

I've already checked on permits and codes and I'm told all I have to do is follow a location permit. With that said, I want the structure to be safe, but it is going to be very basic. The main floor will be about 224sq ft and the loft will be between 98 & 126sqft, so total livable space will be about 350sqft.

What I'm looking for is a few guidelines for this. I do have past experience in about every aspect of building a new house, from framing/siding all the way to building cabinets and my neighbor is a brick mason, so he's taught me some of that.

So my questions so far are:
1) It looks like they used douglas fir for the interior framing. I'm curious how well that will hold up for the floor joists on the underside of this or if I do a cantilever for a small 2nd floor deck. The only part that would be exposed to the elements would be the cantilever.

For the 2nd floor joists, I'd be using it on 16" centers and it'd be spanning 14' for the interior portion. An online calculator shows it'll span 17'6". The plan is to stick the remaining 2' of a 16' 2x12 out the exterior wall to create a cantilever and thus the small deck shown in the pictures. Would the parts sticking out survive or would they need to be treated?

2) I'm also curious about the footing/foundation. For insurance reasons, I wouldn't be building this out of pillars as my current insurance won't write pillar footings, but instead am thinking of a small concrete footing and then using concrete blocks to build the foundation. On something this small how important is a traditional footing? Reason I ask, is that the municipality I currently live in says anything over 400sqft requires a footing down below the frost line, anything less can be built on slab with no footing. Obviously, I'll be way smaller than that and with the slope, about 4-5', I can't do a slab.

From a soil test I had done for the septic inspection, I'm told I have about 3' of soil to bedrock. I believe the frost line in this area is 24". If I were to dig down 24" or to bedrock, pour a 12-16" wide trench and fill with a foot or so concrete then build up with a block wall to level. Would I likely be asking for trouble? Or would that be overkill for this? It might also have to be stair stepped to allow the block to sit level. This is something I plan to throw past my neighbor as well.
Part of my thought with block wall foundation is it'd give me a bit of crawl space to store stuff as well as a way to help keep critters out from under my building. I also suppose I could just form it and do solid concrete. Not sure which is easier or better.

3) I plan to follow the actual floor plan for whatever footing/foundation wall I use and I'll cap that with a treated sill plate and build up with 2x10 lumber. What are the thoughts about using the douglas fir for the joists and instead of stopping at the foundation wall, run the same board as my floor joist for my deck joist as well. Then just blocking the lumber at the sill plate to seal everything off?

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Old 11-20-2014, 09:41 PM   #2
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Cabin in the woods project


It certainly sounds like you're on the right track with your plans. I would definitely go down to bedrock if you're going to be that close. Since you are planning on building something larger in the future I hope you are planning on integrating what you are building now into the final building. Maybe he could become the kitchen or some other single room and the loft area could become storage. I certainly would lay out what you are building now and what you plan to build in the future before building anything. Also make sure you build the septic system large enough to handle the future building.

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Old 11-21-2014, 08:52 AM   #3
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Cabin in the woods project


I was going to suggest building the thing on a trailer like many tiny houses are done. But that was before I saw the picture of what you're planning. If it was me, I'd build it on a permanent foundation with proper footings. I'd locate it where it wouldn't be in the way when you're ready to build your "real" home. Then you'd have a guest cottage, workshop, artist's studio, whatever else you might want to do with it. My wife's an artist and art teacher; her having a separate place to do her thing is a must. Some of that stuff (like pottery) can get messy. And we didn't want the kiln in the living room anyway. So we bought a 12x30 prefab Amish building and I fitted it out for her. She did agree to grant me enough space for my reloading bench and equipment LOL.
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Old 11-21-2014, 11:57 AM   #4
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Cabin in the woods project


Trying to get liability insurance on the place is my main concern. Right now as vacant ground, it carries over, but as soon as any structure is in place that goes out the door. That is why the permanent structure is important as i can then insure as a2nd home and get the liability insurance. This would be an easy and safe way to do that, but it must meet the guidelines of a house.

The footing/foundation is important and trying to find the best way to accomplish that. I'll talk with my brick mason neighbor, probably call the zoning department of the county and might even check with a foundation company for a quote. I prefer to do what i can myself, but there are some things that are obviously better left to those with experience in an area and I'm not real familiar with that area.

My thought was the guest house, etc. Could even turn it into an office for myself.

My other uncertainty is the sewer as it will likely be a ways away from the septic system location. Not sure i can get a downward slope, thinking maybe a holding tank that get pumped over. ...that's probably a question for the plumbing section.
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