The Best Nest

In part 1 of this series, I talked about getting our new cabin.  Part 2 dealt with plumbing. In this post, I’ll catch you up to date on the housing situation.

Electrical

Once we had the new cabin physically connected to the original, I had to add power.  So, I picked up an electrical subpanel, some romex, boxes, outlets, and covers and set to work.  I put several circuits in the new bedroom, even though from an electrical view I only needed two. But I like to have things like my water pump and washing machine on a separate circuit from the outlets in the bedroom and porch.

I added a circuit and some switches for lights in several areas as well.

Insulation

12369059_1021371904551273_648660400341355727_nI bought several packages of insulation to stuff into the walls.  Some of that had to be done before the bathroom was installed, but the majority waited until those walls were complete. It makes a huge difference!  Even though our walls are only 2×4 construction and limits us to R-19 batt fiberglass insulation, the change was quite noticeable. Modern insulation is not nearly as irritating to install as it was years ago. Presumably, they treat the product to help reduce that effect.  Even with that improvement, it was a sweaty, itchy, scratchy job to put in.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have much help in the job, so it was rather interesting at times getting an 8′ long batt of insulation to cooperate. I only had enough insulation to do the walls. This proved to be quite “interesting” in the winter of 2015! The bedroom was always cold since the warm air from our heater was just escaping into the attic area.

12375966_1021371997884597_2613907410478909482_n Sure, I had plastic up and that helped, but it needed insulation. I was finally able to purchase the needed insulation in 2016 to make the bedroom livable in colder weather. Unfortunately, the people who built this place have a different definition of 24″OC ceiling and wall joists. Due to the way they designed the walls and ceiling, 1/3 of the spaces were narrow, 1/3 just right and 1/3 too wide.  It’s easy to deal with spaces that are too narrow or just right.  Even the too wide ones weren’t too bad on the vertical spaces in the walls.  However, since insulation is usually friction-fit and then held in place with staples or little metal hold downs, the spaces that were too wide in the ceiling resulted in me having to get creative and put wooden slats diagonally across those spaces to keep the insulation from falling down on us in the middle of the night.  Definitely not cool.

Network Installation

Yes, I’m an IT guy to the end. Since I had the walls all apart, it made perfect sense to run network cables in the house.  Sure, wifi works, but nothing beats the speed and security of a wired network! In true IT Guy fashion, I totally overdid it.  I’ve got way too many drops in our bedroom, but I wanted to be absolutely certain that I had all the bases covered. Considering that I was employed as a cabling technician, I certainly was qualified to cable my own place.

Flooring

11949318_973169192704878_9004550578839618044_nJust like in the first cabin, we decided that linoleum was the right choice.  It is relatively inexpensive, goes down easily and is easy to clean up wet and dry messes as well as the occasional pet accident. Since the bathroom was already framed in and tiled, we had to move everything out of the new cabin and measure to cut the linoleum.  Since it was an irregular shape, I got my neighbor, Jeff to come help me since he’s much better at the measure twice, cut once philosophy.  For me, I seem to be the “measure 15 times and still screw it up” type.

The Dog Yard

With the original cabin we had enclosed a small space off the edge of our porch as a dog run. Once the new cabin went in, we expanded it considerably.  Also because we raised the original cabin and the new one, we had to put skirting along the exterior walls that made up two sides of the dog yard to prevent them from just going under the house and escaping.

Skirting

Since the new cabin sits considerably higher off the ground than the original one does, we had to add some kind of skirting. We lucked into some scrap MDF and put it around the base of the new cabin. I know that it won’t last in the weather, but it will stop the wind from howling underneath!

It’s amazing how cold the floors get when there is air flowing beneath them.  One of these days, I want to try to get under the new cabin to insulate.  Given the winds we get here, I don’t think that fiberglass is the right solution. I think the spray foam may be the way to go.  Unfortunately, spray foam insulation equipment isn’t cheap.  It costs hundreds or thousands of dollars to buy.  I may have to look into what renting it would cost.

The Scramble

In December 2015, my father decided to come visit us for a few days to see how things were going for us.  Since he lives in Los Angeles now, it was only a day’s drive for him to come see us.

12299392_1013206068701190_1700905807558793033_nWell, as you may recall from part 2 of this series, we left the walls of our bathroom uncovered with no door.  Heck, it was just my wife and me and we weren’t really entertaining guests. So we had to scramble to put some walls up and get the door installed. A run to Lowes and $100 later, we had the supplies and put a skin on the bathroom.  It still isn’t totally complete, but it does provide the needed privacy for a guest to use the bathroom.

While he was here, we rearranged some furniture in the original cabin so that we could set up an air mattress.  It actually worked out pretty well.  So, we now know that we can accommodate a single guest for a limited duration stay.  That’s good to know!

Attic Access

I never really knew what a pain it would be to go fetch the ladder every time I needed something out of one of the attics. We had always planned to add pull-down attic stairs eventually.  However, once the insulation in the bedroom was complete, it was quite the ordeal.  I had to get the ladder, remove a piece of insulation, do my business in the attic, replace the insulation and then take the ladder back out of the house.  Most annoying.  So, we picked up some attic stairs for each cabin and my neighbor, Jeff helped me install them. Now I can get up into my attics whenever the need arises!

Conclusion

Not a lot more has gone on with the cabins.  We’ve added a little more insulation in places and that job is far from done. We added a screen door with a dog flap so that we can let the dogs go in and out freely in the warmer months as well as get some cross-flow ventilation while at the same time keeping the flies (oh, the flies!) out. We’ve got another screen door to install on the back door, and I’ll probably feature that installation on one of our YouTube videos.

 

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About The Ratrace Losers

My wife and I have moved to the West Texas desert to live off-grid, to follow the Lord, and to help others by applying our skills. Check us out on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter! http:/blog.theratracelosers.com/
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