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Update from Otter's Run, VT

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#1 GordonMcAlister


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Posted 17 January 2016 - 07:18 PM

Happy New Year to all on LHotI, I hope all of you are doing well. I recently, and reluctantly, joined Facebook, as my family and friends had been telling me I was always out of touch with them for some time now. Many had been asking for updates on the Vermont Log home we've been building since 2002. Since I've spent most of my spare time these many years working on the house, (usually by myself, as all of my helpers and construction crew have disappeared for one reason or another. My oldest Daughter and Son-in-law became busy raising our 3 grandkids, with Grammy's help back in NJ, my youngest son Joined the Marines and is now back home finishing college, and my middle son just joined our local NJ Police force), that I've neglected updating our home's Web site. So in order to bring everyone up to date, this past November, we made an 11 minute photo/video tour of the Log Home as it is today and posted it in our cloud (some of you might remember the video tour we have on the Ottersrun.com web site showing the pre-finish/dry-in state of our home. The old video link is on the Interior page's "Finish Work" section). So I thought I'd share the new video tour of our progress to date, with our friends at LHotI. We're still under construction, but we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel (I'm just hoping it's not a MAC truck heading our way in the wrong lane). We still have to install the Austrian Cypress flooring on the main floor, and then install the basement ceiling (the main floor has to go in first before we close up the basement ceiling in case we pierce the radiant floor tubing under the sub floor). Then we'll start on finishing the Master Bed room and Bath room suite, and will finish up sanding some Log walls and ceilings, before installing the final remaining trim moldings around the house. Finally we'll finish off the Garage and Utility room. Right now my current project is designing and building the English Country, Custom Radiata Pine, Raised Panel Kitchen Cabinets for the 1st floor main Kitchen (have router will travel). I have about 2/3rds of the cabinets done (5 new cabinets made since this video tour, and 5 more to go) and part of the tile counter top installed on the peninsula (someday we'll upgrade the counter tops to Granite, but that will have to wait until the next big Powerball drawing...LOL). Anyway, here's the link to the video tour in the Cloud (I hope it works from here, it did on Facebook). Once again, my many thanks to everyone on LHotI for all your help and advice over the years, as always,

Best Regards to everyone.

Papa G




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The path I tread is narrow, and the drop is sheer and very high.
The Ravens all are closing in, under covers here I hide.
Please wake me! (PF)



#2 Jim Morvay

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Posted 19 January 2016 - 12:11 PM

Very nice.  I don't necessarily agree with the sequence of the work, but each to his own.  I'd have completed the owner's amenities first.

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#3 GordonMcAlister


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Posted 19 January 2016 - 07:46 PM

Hi Jim, Thanks for the kind words. As far as order of finishing the house, there really was a method to our madness. We acted as the General Contractor up to the dry-in stage, and we are now finishing off the home completely out of pocket (no loans, no mortgages) and with 100% sweat equity, doing all the work (electric, home automation, A/V/data/ telcom networks, HVAC, plumbing, woodwork, stone work, tiling, landscaping, etc, everything soup to nuts) in our spare time. As such, the main reasons we didn't finish off the master suite 1st was mainly due to the amount of dust created sanding the interior Log walls, T&G Ceiling, Railings, Paneled walls, (we took them all down from 60 grit to 220 grit before staining the wood work with Sansin clear coat and had mountains of dust), and cutting up the Floating plywood sub floor & Australian Cypress Flooring for the loft and all the trim wood (the stone work and cement boards for the Fireplace also created tons of dust). We also needed a large area for a work shop later on in the project. Right after the house was dried-in we set up a 10' x 10' nylon camping tent in the Master Bed room with an Aero bed. That way we could zipper shut the windows and doors on the tent when sanding and cutting wood, to keep the sanding and saw dust from contaminating the bed clothes. Even before we had heat and running water in the house. We had an portable outdoor camping propane shower tent & camping toilet as a bathroom on the deck, and a BBQ grill for cooking. Believe you me, it was pretty brutal washing up outside in those 14 degree winter days up on that mountain, when we 1st started finishing off the house. Roughing it, was an understatement. We finished off the basement level (home theater, 3/4 bath and kitchenette) 1st so we had a clean place to relax at night, wash up, cook and eat. We next started in the upper Loft/Guest Bath & Bed Rooms and worked our way down to the main floor. Once that was done we took down the tent, and moved upstairs to a Guest Bed room. We are now using the Master Bed room as our work shop (and have lined all the walls with plastic sheeting to create a "Clean Room" or perhaps I should call it a "Dust Room") to cut tiles, woodwork, and build all the cabinetry for the home (I'm currently building custom kitchen cabinets from scratch). The Master Bed room is 20' x 17' and even at that size it is sometimes too small to cut long lengths of paneling and trim work, but is somewhat manageable to cut up 4' x 8' plywood panels for the cabinets with the 12" Compound Miter saw, 10" Table saw, and Router Table all set up to work with efficiently. The Log house is located in VT and our main home and business is in NJ, so for much of the past 14 plus years I was a lonesome weekend warrior, traveling (the 4 hours each way) back and forth every weekend and on holidays to do all the work by myself (while staying in the house during construction to save money). Once gas prices skyrocketed, I rescheduled my time to work one or two weeks a month in VT to work on the house and network to my business over the internet. Now that I have 3 grown kids and 3 grandkids, holidays have become non-working days, as they all want to come up to the house to vacation and ski. As such, there was a need to get the "guest" facilities done sooner then our Master suite. Madness perhaps, but as Spock once said; "Sometimes the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one". LOL

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The path I tread is narrow, and the drop is sheer and very high.
The Ravens all are closing in, under covers here I hide.
Please wake me! (PF)



#4 Susan


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Posted 26 January 2016 - 02:29 PM

It looks wonderful! Thank you for sharing :)


#5 Alan DuBoff

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Posted 27 January 2016 - 06:53 AM

Great job Gordon.


I probably wouldn't have done it in the same sequence as you, as I would have done the master bedroom first, and plan to do that with mine if I *EVER* get there. My master bedroom is on the main floor though and I will use the basement as the shop...


So, my hat is off to you for getting to where you're at.


Looks like a great place! I'm jealous!!!!

#6 adze


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Posted 31 January 2016 - 12:54 PM

Very nice job Gordon.

Building a home is a full time job (I know).  

My wife actually prefers tile counters (they are back in again).  Thats all we ever had.  In the new kitchen I am building now (in the barn addition), she picked out larger slab tiles from a company from Spain (ordered it from Homedepot).  She really likes to be able to put whatever she wants on the counter, without staining by accident or heat etc..  Funny thing about tile is that unless you want that hand made tile, sometimes the most inexpensive stuff looks the nicest (depending).

Blessings to you.


This is the tile she wanted, it almost has a antiqued metal look.  I have not decided whether I will hammer out metal trim and antique pewter, of brush nickle it, or if I will go with wood, painted the same color as the cabs;



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