Framing begins

With the house finally buttoned in, I started on the interior. First thing I wanted to do is figure out where the wood burning stove would penetrate the roof. The wood stove is an integral part of the kitchen in our plans and at the same time, the living room. It’s sort of a dividing line between the two rooms, since there is no wall. And it literally sits on a dividing line on our plans: part of the kitchen (the dining area) will have oak floor, just like the living room. The other part of the kitchen – the “high traffic area” near the back door, and around the sink and range / oven will have tile floor. The tile ends at an imaginary line at the front of the brick base that the wood stove will sit on. One side of the stove will have tile floor; the other will be oak. It was my wife’s idea, and I think it will look awesome.

It’s not trying to be a focal point, just trying to be part of the kitchen.

Anyway, that’s what the plan we designed shows. All of that is to say: we needed a reference point (a wall) for where the cabinets and range / oven will be. Then there’s a walkway, then an island. Getting the dimensions of all of that correct means the wood stove will accent the kitchen rather than be a trip hazard.

One of the really cool things about an LHBA home is that none of the interior walls are “load bearing”. This means they don’t support the second floor (that’s the job of the girder log), and you can put walls up wherever you want. So we let our imagination run wild when laying out our plans. We thought carefully about the flow of the layout – how many steps to the bathroom? How many steps from the car with groceries to the fridge? Are the high traffic areas getting high traffic flooring (tile)? What areas should get wood floor? How wide should a hallway be? Will the dishwasher door / stove door / fridge door be in the way of a walkway? Are the most used kitchen tools within easy reach? Do we store appliances like mixers and blenders when not in use? Can you see into the bedrooms from the living area? Will the lights from one bedroom shine into your eyes from another location in the house? How will the sunlight from windows affect the house in the winter / summer? And on, and on, and on….

Kitchen Wall

This was the first wall and it goes along the girder log. There will be upper kitchen cabinets attached to it, so I built it to ensure the wall is flush with the front of the girder log. I had to get creative to attach studs to a round log, but it wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be.

Water Wall

I meant to just put up the kitchen wall and then start measuring for the wood stove, but the building inspector hadn’t called me back, so I moved on to framing the water wall. I made our water wall out of 2×6’s. This wider framing allows plumbing to be run through it. In our case, two bathrooms and the laundry room will be fed from this wall. The kitchen plumbing can be run underneath the house. The water wall will also support the breaker box for the house. Most of the 1st floor electrical will be run under the house, but some will go through the walls where it makes sense to do so.

California Corners

There are a few options when framing in corners – some make it easier to run cable. One example is the “California corner”. If you double or triple your studs in the corners without using the California corner, then when you go to install electrical, you have a hard time drilling two holes from opposite corners and having the holes meet up. This California corner arrangement allows a nailing surface for hanging drywall and also makes it so you just drill one hole for the electrical.

Hallway / Bedrooms

Girder log wall.

Putting a wall up along the girder log was tricky – and I had to pick one:

  1. Make the wall follow the girder log
  2. Keep the wall in parallel with the future flooring.

The girder log is a bit crooked and curves to the back of the house on the far end. If I made the wall straight, then it would like like the girder log was cockeyed. If I follow the girder log, then the floor would look cockeyed. My wife came out to look and give her expert opinion – we decided the wall should follow the girder log, because your eye will be drawn to it. The floor will mostly be covered by the piano, stairs, and bookshelf.

Next steps

I’ll eventually finish the framing, lol. I need to get going on the stove pipe roof penetration before it gets really cold – it’ll be no fun working on the cabin if I go out there and just freeze the whole time I’m working. The inspector swung by the other day – I explained my plans for the chimney pipe (after spending weeks researching fire code online) and he basically said, do whatever you’re going to do – you obviously know more about fire code than I do.

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