Cabin restoration project – The final episode!

I thought I’d begin this post with a brief explanation as to my lack of posts here this summer. Besides keeping my nose to the grindstone at work, I have been working hard on the cabin and old homestead. Truth be told, it hasn’t been all work and no play, as the Woodsboy and I were privileged to enjoy a month-long visit to Finland by my parents in July. Before I get any deeper into this blog post, I would like to extend heartfelt thanks to my parents for the many hours of hard work they put in at the cabin while they were here. If not for their multiple weekends of laboring in clouds of mosquitoes and horseflies, this post would not have been possible, because I would have been much further behind in my work there. I promise I’ll go easy on you the next time you visit, guys! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Now to the business at hand! I entitled this blog post “The final episode!” not because it’s the last time you’ll see the cabin (far from it), but rather because it has reached a stage of completion where the remaining work is minor interior work, such as figuring out the final layout of the kitchen, decorating, hanging curtains etc. Before I show you the completed cabin, I thought I’d share a little of the history of the building. Based on an inscription in pencil which I found on one interior wall, the original structure (a storage building) was built from aspen logs by Herman Krรถger in 1918. Herman and his brother Ville first established the farm at that location in 1880, when the old farmhouse was built. Several roof replacements over the years fortunately kept the logs in good condition, which made it possible for me to have the building disassembled, reassembled and finished by a builder almost a century after its original construction.

Without further ado, may I present to you a few pictures showing the progression of the building from a dilapidated storage outbuilding on its last legs in the summer of 2014 to a 22.3 m2/240 sqft (or 33.5 m2/360 sqft if you include the loft) 4-season cabin in the summer of 2015…

The middle and right-hand parts of this building would become the cabin, whereas the left-hand section was discarded because it was in in bad condition.

The final appearance may not be what some of you expected, as it looks less like a backwoods cabin and more like a traditional Finnish farm cottage, but to be honest, that’s exactly what it is. I plan to build a rustic cabin in the woods myself someday, but until then, this place will have to do. ๐Ÿ˜‰ You may have noticed that the sauna building behind the cabin hasn’t changed since last summer. Rest assured it will get new front steps and a fresh coat of paint before the winter.

“And what about the inside of the cabin?” you ask? Well, I have not managed to do too much work on the interior because of the sheer amount of work still drawing my attention outside. Every time I go out to the cabin, I scramble to get done as much as possible, because once the snow falls, a lot of outside jobs will be nearly impossible to do. When the winter comes, I’ll focus more on finishing the kitchen, decorating etc. Since I have made some small additions since my last post, though, I’ll include a few pictures of the interior. You’ll notice in the first few pictures that the woodstove is near the loft stairs. This was only temporary, as it had not yet been installed when I took the pictures. It has since been installed on the opposite wall and used both for heating and cooking.

Living room area with mostly vintage furniture.

Kitchen area also has older furnishings, including the vintage propane stove.

Besides working on the cabin itself, a few other projects have been in the works at the old homestead site. Since there will be nowhere near enough time to clean up the wood pile where the storage building and wood shed once stood, I covered it over with a huge green tarp to make it a little more pleasing to the eye.

I also had a backhoe operator demolish an old sauna building which was literally falling off its foundation and could not be salvaged. The demolition debris is under the green tarp in the second picture and will be disposed of this fall. The building used to stand directly to the right of where the tarp is now.

The old sauna is the little red building on the left.

Finally, I got rid of the biggest eyesore at the old homestead: a huge pile of garbage that accumulated over a period of two years as I cleaned out the old house and storage building, demolished the old outhouse, cleaned up garbage I found in the woods etc.

As I mentioned above, my parents were instrumental in helping to get the cabin to where it is today. Besides doing a lot of grunt work clearing piles of heavy branches and garbage and also handling many other odd jobs, they helped tremendously in painting the exterior of the cabin. This blog post just would not be complete if I didn’t show them in action!

So what’s next for the new-old homestead? I’m hoping to get an electrical hook-up and indoor plumbing before winter so I can do my day job from there, but these things might have to wait until the spring. I will build a few structures to house firewood, continue repairing the facade of the old farm house and do some autumn landscaping as well before the winter hits. I’ll work on the cabin interior and clean up inside the old house during the winter and then work on a greenhouse and garden in the spring. Now that the cabin work is winding down, I will be able to spend some more time on my outdoor pursuits as well. ๐Ÿ™‚

Thanks for reading!

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24 comments on “Cabin restoration project – The final episode!

  1. Rocky says:

    Simply marvelous job you have done and KUDOS to your parents for being there to help. Thanks for sharing your project.
    Rocky in SW Montana

  2. Wade says:

    All I can say is awesome and thanks for bringing us along.

  3. Wow… I can’t get over the transformation!

  4. Wow….don’t think it could’ve turned out better :). I like the red and white painting on the outside of the cabin, very homely look. It reminds me of the rustic 18th-19th century farm buildings here :).

  5. Carol says:

    Hi WW…your cabin looks terrific!! You are lucky you have such wonderful parents to help you along this journey!! You all are doing a great job!! I bet you can’t wait until it is completely finished so you can just sit back and enjoy it!

    • Thanks for the nice comments, Carol! I certainly am lucky to have the parents I do. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Somehow, I don’t think the cabin will ever be “completely finished,” so I’ll probably just have to start sitting back and enjoying it already. ๐Ÿ˜‰ It will always be a work in progress, but I am very happy with what has been done so far!

  6. Amazing! You’ve done a great job converting it into a tiny house to be proud of, and it’s been enjoyable to follow along with the progress.

  7. Well, well… starting to look like something ‘ey…. But why falurรถd/Swedish red???
    I see plenty of firewood lying around.
    I also noticed a gas furnace. Is there a (operational) reason for that one?

    • Thanks for the comments, Ron. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Why “punamultamaali” red? Well, these types of buildings are traditionally red in Finland, plus I do like the red and white color combination. I went back and forth in my mind between red and some shade of brown for a long time, but ultimately decided to just go with red and white. Sometimes I think it might be a bit too red, but I can always change it down the line if I want. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Yes, there is definitely a lot of firewood around. I will not have to harvest firewood from the forest for quite a while. Just need to get that new chainsaw out of the box and fire it up to cut up some of the wood from that wood pile, hehehe.

      Gas furnace? No gas furnace here, just a wood-burning stove. The only thing that runs on gas is the propane stove in the kitchen.

      • With gas I meant propane. Propane = gas in Dutch and I am blending 4 languages these days. Brain can’t compute the difference between them anymore.
        How did you insulate the chimney’s exit through the wall, btw? I am possibly facing a similar build.

        • Oh, OK. So you did mean the propane stove. I should have guessed that, since the Finns also call it gas (“kaasu”). I found that stove in the old farm house, cleaned it up and started using it because I didn’t have a way to cook before the wood-burning stove was installed (the wood stove was only installed a few weeks ago). Now that the wood stove is in, I plan to use it for more of the cooking.

          The guy who made the chimney and installed the stove filled the space between the chimney and the log wall with some kind of heat-resistant insulation. It resembles a very dense rock wool or something like that. There’s also some perforated metal sheeting around the chimney. It’s hard to see exactly what is there because the heat-shield panel is very close to the wall. Sorry I can’t be more specific! Are you planning on installing a wood stove in a building?

  8. PH says:

    Looks very good WW! And what a transformation from a just-about-to-collapse looking building to a cabin! You can’t really see those out of the wall chimneys in Finland, so you brought in something new too ๐Ÿ˜‰

  9. OutdoorEnvy says:

    Wow! Great job! That turned out fantastic! I like the color too.

  10. BlueTrain says:

    Where I’m from, if it has a floor, it’s a house, not a cabin.

    Curiously, though, a nearby log house (near Dulles Airport outside Washington, DC) was rebuilt into a take-out pizza place, incredibly enough. I believe all the original logs remain but the place is almost unrecognizable as a log structure, although it is the same size.

    Going west from here, one can see numerous log houses, if you look for them. They all have virtually the same structural characteristics. Squared logs, corners trimmed flush and with the logs fairly widely spaced (fewer logs needed) and, I think, identical corner details. Practically all have additions, usually of brick. I suspect they were built within about a 40-year time span. None seem to have ever been painted but additional siding is not uncommon, which does get painted. Some but not all still have stone or brick chimneys.

    I also lived in a log house in West Virginia built probably in the 1840s. It was long ago covered in siding but is still being lived in. The logs, however, are upwards of twelve inches wide, but about half that in thickness. I have no idea what the corner joints look like. No chimney remains. And like your unrestored cabin, it has a metal roof.

    • That’s interesting! I’ve never heard of differentiating a cabin from a house based on whether it had a floor or not. Most of the info I’ve seen (or learned) was that it had to do with the size and material, with cabins generally being small one- or two-room buildings made of logs (or other wood) and houses generally being larger and made of other materials, in addition to wood. Thanks for sharing the way people do it in your area. ๐Ÿ™‚

      No kidding about the pizza place? I think it would have been cooler if the place were restored as an old-timey cabin, but what are you gonna do. At least it’s still in use.

      Yes, there are lots of different ways to build log buildings. Here in the Nordic countries, logs are not in short supply, so they are used for the entire structure (instead of leaving spaces between them, which have to be filled with chinking, which in turn has to be replaced every so often). Of course, it takes more time and effort to shape the entire length of each log to fit the one beneath it, but it looks nice and works well.

      I thought about siding my cabin with shingles the way the old house had been, but shingles just aren’t used here anymore, and I couldn’t find any.

      Thanks for the comments!

      • BlueTrain says:

        All I know is that no one ever refers to a log house as a cabin just because it’s made of logs. A cabin nowadays usually just means a small vacation house. All the log cabins with dirt floors disappears ages ago. But log houses are still fairly popular but most of them in the lower 48 are manufactured, rather than constructed from logs cut on the property. I understand that manufactured log houses are available in Northern Europe.

        The comment about the pizza shop was serious. I noted the other day when passing by (I wouldn’t otherwise give it a second glance) that the front is uncovered so that the squared logs are still visible. It is an unusual use for an old log structure to be sure and it’s really quite small, too. While log houses are really not that unusual east of the Mississippi river, the idea of a log house still has a certain historical appeal in our culture, I think.

        • I’m originally from the US (east coast), not all that far from where you are. I wouldn’t call a log house a cabin just because it’s made of logs, either. To me, if a modern-sized house is made of logs, I would call it a log house. If it’s only one or two rooms and made of logs or other wood, I would call it a cabin. Of course, a few centuries ago, what I am describing as a “cabin” would have been considered a house.

          Yep, here in northern Europe you can get manufactured log houses and cabins (milled round or square) or have the logs cut, peeled and shaped on site like in the old days. Depends on how much time you have or cashola you want to drop. ๐Ÿ˜‰

          Thanks for your comments, BT. ๐Ÿ™‚

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