After some frustrating delays, the construction of our lodge is continuing at a decent clip. We’re finally allowing ourselves to get excited about it.
The first delay happened when the concrete contractor we had used to build the root cellar simply disappeared. We’ve since learned that this is not unusual for concrete contractors. We talked to two others who were courteous, responsive, and communicative. The problem was that the prices they quoted us for the big slab we needed (about 108 feet long and 50 feet wide) were way outside what we knew to be reasonable.
Thank goodness for Milt Thomas. Our framer Scott Ruppert hadn’t worked with him, but he had heard good things about him from one of his friends, so we gave him a shot. He responded quickly and quoted us a price we thought reasonable, so we hired him. We’ve gotten nothing but compliments on Milt’s work. The pad is smooth and blemish-free. The concrete cracks we knew would form have confined themselves neatly to their intended paths along the keyways.
Milt’s team also extended the walkway from the root cellar to minimize erosion, and it looks great. Now for the first time, it’s pleasant to approach the root cellar. We still have a little dirt washing in about midway along the pathway, so Milt will soon build up a little ridge at that point to divert the wash away.
So, on to the pleasant topic of the spaces that comprise the lodge. The root cellar and storm shelter is 12 x 16, for an area of 192 sq ft. Scott has framed up all the rooms, so we’re able to walk throughout the structure and actually experience walking through a doorway instead of just visualizing it the way we had to do before. Moving from east to west, the lodge starts with an open air pavilion occupying three bays – about 36 ft x 50 ft, or 1800 square feet.
Next comes the screen porch. The gross area of the screen porch is two bays or 24 ft x 50 ft, but we stole space from the porch for two outdoor closets, one for off-season clothing and a larger one for the storage of tables and chairs for entertaining, so the total net area of the screen porch is 1056 sq ft. We don’t expect ever to use them, but just in case, we have included connections on the screen porch for a washer and dryer. We thought about covering the faucets up with some kind of panel to camouflage them, but when we thought about how handy it might be to have hot running water available to clean up a sticky mess, we opted to leave them easily accessible. It’s here on the screen porch where we hope and expect to do most of our entertaining, so we have included on it a countertop and rinse sink with a pass-through window convenient to the indoor kitchen.
When you pass from the screen porch into the conditioned space of the lodge, you enter the large (36 ft x 25 ft) family room, where you will see a kitchen on your left. The kitchen will be full service – including a range that we lack down the hill in the barn – but unremarkable by modern suburban standards. We have included an oversized island (4 feet wide by 9 feet long) to make it easy to serve food to a large group. The family room will have a wood stove in the corner opposite the kitchen, along with a flat-screen TV and sound system. There will be plentiful bookcases, because we anticipate a day in the not-too-distant future when plain old books – yeah, they of the black ink on white paper variety – will become prominent once again.
To the north of the family room, that is on your right as you enter the conditioned space, are three modest bedrooms, each similar but slightly different because of the configuration of the closets and the bathrooms. At the suggestion of our friend Jonathon Meeks, we have made one bedroom and one bathroom handicapped accessible, with 36″ wide doors. It was also Jonathon’s excellent suggestion that we install an electrical outlet behind every door (an area that’s unlikely to be blocked by furniture). After talking with my brother Tom, we added even more outlets. I have no way of confirming this, but the completed lodge may be the most outlet-rich space in Elmore County.
Bedrooms 1 and 3 have one closet each, and bedroom 2 has two. One of those closets will be of the normal variety for hanging up clothing, and the other will be for audio-visual equipment and for sheets, blankets, and pillows. In the northwest corner of the conditioned space is a 12 x 25 ft studio or playroom, a space designed as a hideout for Grandmere to hang out with her grandchildren. In the southwest corner is another screen porch with a nice view of and easy access to the outside fire pit.
Up next: there’s still some wiring to do for the audio-visual equipment, and we have a couple of punch list items for the electricians. After that’s finished, we’ll be ready to blow in insulation in the walls. By the time that’s finished, we hope our new windows will have arrived and be ready to install. Then we will be ready to hang metal, then sheetrock. There will be much to do after the sheetrock is installed, but that’s enough for this installment.
The video is long (a little more than 13 minutes), because most of it is one long loop of Amanda taking us on a tour of the lodge.