Saturday, March 9, 2019

Jim and Barb Build a House!

Boy, what a difference a week can make! It was less than a week ago we were in Texas walking the trails of Palo Duro Canyon. Two days and 700 miles later we found ourselves in the frigid snow country of South Dakota.

I thought this blog post was aptly named since our last one was titled Jim and Barb Go on a Hike. But before I get into the house building I want to take you back a couple years, 5+ years actually when Barb and I were both working and living in western Wisconsin. We long had a dream of moving out to the Black Hills of South Dakota. We also had a good friend Kevin who had the same dream so two years ago we both started looking for property out here.

The Black Hills area, containing Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse Monument, Wind Cave National Park, Jewel Cave, Custer State Park and Devil Tower, are actually a lot bigger than most people think. Stretching over 100 miles north to south from Spearfish to Hot Springs and east to west almost 80 miles from Rapid City to near Sundance Wyoming.  So what were the odds that we would find property near each other? Pretty good actually since being within ½ hour of Kevin was part of our search criteria. In the end we ended up within 15 minutes of each other when Kevin found 22 acres just east of Pringle and we found 45 acres just south of Pringle.

We both decided to build what some call a Shouse (Shed/House) and others call a Barndominium defined as a type of house that includes living space attached to either a workshop or a large garage. Some are constructed with large poles like pole buildings and others are stick-built like conventional houses. We both decided on the stick-built option.  So maybe I should have titled this post Jim and Barb Build a Barndominium. 

But since Kevin builds houses for a living perhaps it should be titled Kevin Builds another House. But I think a more appropriate title is Kevin Builds a House while Jim and Barb do What Kevin Tells Them to do. Kevin’s wife, Cheryl will of course be part of the crew as well but could not make it out this trip. Whatever you call it, the four of us (and anyone who makes the mistake of stopping by) will be building two houses this spring and summer.

Day one included clearing the snow off the concrete foundation we poured last fall. Then it was on to snapping lines to square and layout the building. After two days several of the outside walls were up. Progress appears to go fast when constructing walls as it goes from nothing to a partial building.

A good start but a long way to go!

View out the kitchen window
There are challenges to building in the winter that one does not really think about. A lot of the boards have ice or snow on them and need to be dried off before adhering them to the concrete.
We used a propane torch to dry off the boards
Barb attaching sill seal to the bottom plate
Then there is the snow, when we pulled in thanks to our neighbor, our place looked like this....
Two days later after getting 5 "s of snow it looked like this.....

But the work must continue. The three of us spend 2 hours shoveling his foundation after this storm so we could continue. Kevin is here for 3 weeks so we need to get as much done as possible. We are working from about 10am to 6pm each day. Most of the days the temps have been in the 20's, one day it only it 17 and one day it actually hit the mid 30's!

Bathroom wall going up
Bathroom all done!
The building itself has an 18' center living area with outside sidewalls at 9'. The "shed" part of the building is actually 1/2 horse stalls and 1/2 garage with the same heights as the house.
18' gable end going up
Standing up in place
Then it was onto the mudroom and kitchen walls....
Mudroom closet
We cannot complete all the outside walls yet as we need the skid loader to lift the upstairs walls and a few beams in place. For the smaller posts and beams we are hand carrying these 200# beasts up scaffolding and ladders. 
Setting the first post in place
The first 8x8 beam 
The 2nd 8x8 beam
First set of beams in place!
Barb and I are learning a lot. Kevin will layout a wall, I will build it, he will inspect it and we put it up. I am learning a lot about building headers, wall partitions and corners. All of this will definitely come in handy in a few weeks when we start our place!

It is hard to visualize from these pictures but in the coming weeks I will continue to post pictures of our progress and it will all make sense.

Speaking of our place, Barb picked up the building permit yesterday. A whole $350, a fraction of the price we would have paid in Wisconsin. Plus the clerk helped her fill out the paperwork and handed her the permit right over the counter. Gotta love small towns with no red tape!

38 comments:

  1. Wow...you don’t mess around! Winter definitely adds a layer of difficulty to the project, that’s for sure. Whatever you do, make sure you get plenty of sleep, stay hydrated and don’t overdo it. Don’t want a cold impeding progress!

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    1. Good advice! We were talking today that we would rather put up with snow for right now rather than the mud we know is coming....

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  2. I am busy for the next foreseeable year, maybe two. But keep up the good work.

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  3. There is nothing more exciting that seeing your vision come to fruition and your dreams come true. I can't wait to see your progress and see how it all comes together. That view out the kitchen window is awesome!

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    1. Bet you are going to miss your property while you are gone. But that is something to look forward to when you get back!

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  4. Wow! It would be several THOUSANDS in CA for those permits! We still hope to be up there in May. Would be happy to help you out in any way!

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  5. Wow, I understand why you are doing it, but that looks like tough work. We always wanted a barndominium, but that will wait a few more years.

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    1. It should be an interesting few months. We hope to get it weather tight before winter so we can work on the inside while it is cold.

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  6. Helping an experienced Builder is a great way to learn the proper ways of building a Home.
    Be Safe and Enjoy the coming Spring!

    It's about time.

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    1. Spring could come at any time, it is usually 40+ here but this year it has been 20 degrees below normal.

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  7. Looking good, can't wait to see your new place this summer! How many different colors of mud do you store in that mud closet?

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  8. That will be an exciting time for you to build that Barndominium. There is so much planning involved including getting the right windows to what kind of roof and all in-between. I'm sure it will be a beautiful dwelling and look forward to the progress pics.

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    1. It is nice helping Kevin with his as we can still make some changes on our based on what we are seeing. We have changed our windows quite a few times but need to order them soon!

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  9. Great job in less than perfect conditions. Looks great!

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    1. 40's forecasted for much of next week so hopefully this cold weather will be a thing of the past!

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  10. Moving right along and learning in the process, you have a great project ahead of you.

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    1. This part seems to go fast, I am sure it will slow down once we get to working on the inside.

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  11. What an exciting time! I'm looking forward to seeing both of the finished projects. Always nice to learn from an expert!! Stay safe, warm and healthy!

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    1. I think it will be a year or two before we are finished, we are just hoping to get it weather tight before next winter.

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  12. So amazing...almost makes us want to get another Harley and come up to ride and visit! It was great to visit

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  13. Looks like a blast Jim and having a pro there to keep things right is fantastic. Oddly I am a little jealous ?? Except that we are in Bakersfield Ca. and in a tee shirt and jeans lol. Will be so good to know every inch of your build when it's done. Good work! All of you and wear knee pads on that cold cement. Cheers.

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    1. I thought about the knee pads more than once but I think Kevin would start calling me names. Instead I have fleece lined jeans but don't tell him!

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  14. Look forward to seeing you progress of your build. How exciting. Very glad we are done though.

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    1. At this point I don't think we will ever get to the point where you guys are at!

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  15. That is amazing and even more impressive you are doing it in the cold weather. Good for you guys. Can’t wait to see what happens next!

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    1. Actually the cold is not bothering us at all. This morning Barb asked what the temp was going to be today when I replied 28, she said "Oh good, it is going to be warm!"

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  16. How impressive and hard core all of you are! Steve would love to help you but it so darn cold out there!

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  17. Impressive job!!! On the job learning, good for you guys. Hope it warms up to something reasonable soon.

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    1. I see 40's and even a 50 degree in our 10 day forecast!

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