Dec 11

Creating The Guest House (part II)

This little extension was originally a storage building that was dragged here about ten years ago from another location on the property, (where the garage is now). It is a prime spot on the property and needs to utilized.

new renovation

The old storage building and now guest bedroom.


Storage building transformation.

The first thing I had to do was sort through 15 years of dust covered stuff and get rid of the crap. This photo was actually taken after the sort. Then I had to put in a ceiling which required installing 2×6″  joist, attic vent holes, running electric for lights, two layers of insulation, (totaling R5o), a vapor barrier of 6mil plastic,  and hanging 5/8, fire code sheet rock.

installing anderson windows

Window layout and installation of Anderson windows.

After getting the ceiling in I had to determine the widow size that would best suit the room. Like I said before this is a beautiful spot on the property and I wanted the windows as big as possible but not overwhelming inside or out. Using cardboard cut-outs is a great way to do this for existing construction. I wanted awning windows, (windows that crank out from the bottom to open), so I could leave them open in  the rain. When a summer thunderstorm quickly rolls in,  running to close all the widows is a big pain in the butt. It is also nice to go away and leave your windows open a crack to allow ventilation and not worry about rain or break-ins.  With awning windows you have size/shape limitations. I was able to come up with a combination the worked for me and had them mulled together at the factory. The window on the right is 4’x6′ and I actually put it in alone. I don’t recommend that.

electric cable damged by mice

Electric cable gnawed at by mice.


When putting in the new ceiling I found this damaged electric cable eaten by mice. This is a good reason to chalk all your electric run wire holes with fireproof chalk. I believe if the mouse couldn’t sense air penetration through that hole they never would of tried to eat through it. They eat holes to create pathways to get somewhere. Notice they ate the neutral and not the hot wire.

Dec 11

The Wood Furnace House

Garage Deck and Wood Furnace House

This is the back of the garage. The garage is decent size, 20′ x 30′ but not big enough for a wood furnace, my plow truck and work shop area. I also wanted a outside southern sun exposed area to sand, cut wood and make dust without messing up the garage. The deck will have a corrugated clear plexiglass roof eventually. This is a beautiful spot to work from with the large maple tree, forest and fern covered leach field not visible where I am standing for the photo. I wanted to try and save the large maple tree so I cantilevered out the deck.  The southern exposure will allow me to work on the deck in cold weather.

Wood furnace room add on.

Stone foundation and support system.

The back edge of the garage is about 8′ above ground level on the left corner. When I built the foundation for the garage I was concerned about the rock wall shifting because of it’s height- so I added a second tier projecting about 4 feet out from the base  for support as shone here. When I needed to add on the deck I just fortified this projection and added the cement piers.  In addition I  wanted to give the wood furnace room more support so I built up that part of the foundation to garage grade with a rock wall and gravel as shown.



Selkirk Metalbestos Chimny with Hot Boot.

Selkirk Metalbestos Chimny with Hot Boot.

For my other 2 buildings on the property I have cement block chimney’s with clay flue tiles. They are very labor intensive to build and require a good foundation. These stainless steel chimneys have been around for some time. They are relatively light, have a stainless steel inner liner sandwiched with one inch of insulation and a stainless steel outer shell. The stainless steel is to protect the steel from the very corrosive effects of fuel gasses. In fact most chimney’s now day’s are built with this pipe and then a box is built around them to look like a traditional chimney.  The metalbestos pipe is not cheap. This package costs around $600 for 12′ including pipe, roof support package, braces and round top.

A couple of things I learned about installing these things. The roof support package is designed to attache to the top of your roof rafters and is adjustable to different pitched roofs. My metal roof was already completed and I just thought I would cut a hole and put this thing through it. There was no way I was going to cut a big hole and attach the brackets to the top of the rafters. I lucked out because of the 2×4″ furring strips I had on top of the rafters for attaching the metal roofing. You can see in the photo what I did. I couldn’t screw the supports brackets in but they weren’t going anywhere because of their location against the furring strips.

The red thing flashing the pipe is called a hot boot and the silver metal strip around the outside is very flexible to allow bending around the roof ribs. It worked like a charm even in cold weather. Not very good looking- I was told that is so the inspector can tell it is a hot boot.

I was surprised how hot the pipe actually gets. When the fire is jumping you can not leave your hand on the pipe. It doesn’t flash burn your hand like a naked black stove pipe but it would in short time. So follow the manufacturers warning and keep everything at least 2 inches away. This whole job took about 4 hours working alone.

Dec 11

Kitchen Installation

off the shelf kitchen cabinets

New guest house kitchen.

Off the shelf kitchen cabinets were bought from Home Depot and rebuilt to make them stronger and longer lasting. 3/4 plywood was given a cherry stain and multiple coats of varnish to be used as a counter top. The counter top was supposed to be only temporary but it has gotten good reviews from guests so I decided to go with it. In 2012 I plan on adding v-groove 3/4 inch cherry around the counter base and cherry for the kick-plate.  I am thinking of using stamped tin or something simple for the backsplash. There is a longer description of how the cabinets were rebuilt under another category in this blog.