Introduction

The 57 acres that comprise Cedar Ridge Farm are located in the beautiful rolling hills of South Central Kentucky. My wife, our four children, and I are on a homesteading adventure as we work toward increased self-sufficiency. We grow much of our own food and enjoy being in touch with the agrarian roots of our lives.

One of the major projects we have undertaken is the building of our own home. The house we're building has three major distinguishing features: 1. we're building it without incurring any debt; 2. it is a timber frame structure; and 3. the exterior walls will be plastered straw bales. We live debt and mortgage free, and building our house with that approach makes perfect sense. Large timbers in a home possess a beauty and project a sense of strength, stability, and warmth that we want in our home. Straw bale walls provide insulation and make ecological sense. This blog is a record of our home-building project.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

More stairs and wall framing

On Sunday I cleaned all of the loose straw and bales of straw out of the house. There was quite a pile of loose straw in the living room. It’ll be used in the interior walls later, but for now I wanted it out of the way. I moved it onto the porch and then tossed it into my hay baler which I brought over from the barn. I figured it would be easier to move and store it if it was baled. There were about 15 bales worth of straw in the pile.

With the straw all moved to the barn, I spent Monday sweeping the floors. I started upstairs with a leaf blower. That made quite a cloud of dust! After I’d blown everything to the downstairs, I set the ladder up and opened the cupola windows. I already had several windows open on the first floor. As soon as I opened the windows in the cupola, dust began flowing upward and out.011 I was encouraged that the cupola will help with ventilation in the house. This is the first time I’ve had opportunity to test it so far.

Today, I wanted to finish the stairs. There were still three steps to build to take the staircase all of the way to the second floor. I started by putting 2x8s down for the subfloor on the stair landing after cutting rabbets along the edges. These boards will be the ceiling in the master bedroom closet also.

Cutting out the stringers for the last steps was simple enough. Once I had them cut out, I had to figure out how to attach them at the second floor level. One side only required putting a board against an already framed wall to put the stringer in the right position. I had to frame a short wall on the other side.

It was necessary to frame the third wall for the master bathroom. This wall is also one of the walls for the main bathroom. 007I left out two studs so that I will be able to put in the tub/shower unit when I’m ready for it. It won’t fit through the framed door opening. Once the tub is in place, it will be easy enough to insert the two wall studs in their proper places.

The final task for today was to frame and put into place the wall against the stairs. This wall will support an extra three feet wide section of second floor landing and serves as one of the walls for the main bathroom. It was simple to frame and fairly easy to put into place.

I swept up some dust created by todays activities and took a few photos before calling it a day. It’s still exciting to see the progress each day I work on the house.

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5 comments:

Gene said...

The stairs are looking nice -- aren't stringers fun to layout and cut?

Scott or Pam said...

Looks good!

dp said...

Thanks for the compliments on the stairs. I'm quite pleased with them. I actually found that laying out the stringers and cutting them wasn't bad at all. I spent some time before hand drawing them out and making sure I had my dimensions and everything correct. That made all the difference.

Ruth said...

Your stairs are very cool! :)

Anonymous said...

Ya'll continue to inspire. Following your process is fascinating. Stay warm and safe. Perhaps I COULD do stairs, hmmm... :-) Jennifer