One of the last big to-do items on our list for the cabin has been the loft. There was a terrible, awful, mouse-pee-filled loft that was barely accessible and shoddily built when we moved it. It so ruined the flow of the house that one of the first things we did was cut the wall open to let the light in. But, even in its gross state, it was a cool little hangout, and well-situated over the bedroom as a good potential storage space. So we’ve always figured we’d build a loft – just not sure when or how. Before photos:
Two years ago, we picked up a load of 2×6 T&G flooring at an outdoor salvage yard and have kept in stored in tents and the carport, moving it around the yard seemingly a dozen times. Next we needed to figure out how to create joists that didn’t take up much headroom and went with the character of the house. Logs, of course. At the time, there weren’t any copies of this book available, so I had to get one via interlibrary loan from the Fairbanks, AK public library – the only copy I could find in the country! We learned that even with soft cedar or spruce logs, we only needed logs that were about 4″ at midbeam for this application, which allowed us to consider using a small, simple ledger system that could fit in the header between two log courses on the back wall of the house. Now we just needed those logs!
It’s tough to find relatively small diameter, good logs – most people try to sell giant trees, or skinny fenceposts – in-between stuff is scarce. So when I saw a Craigslist ad where someone had a set of antique rafters removed (and denailed!) from an 1800s barn, located near K’s parents’ house, and for only $10 a log, I called immediately. Turns out, the logs were also flat on one face – ummm, perfect! K had to make a trip down that way anyways, and picked up 9 logs (we needed 6, but with old material, you always need extras for insurance). They are actually hemlock, gorgeous, heavy, rock-solid logs! We spent a cold afternoon giving then a quick scrub, then they looked like this:
Awesome worm trails everywhere. We ordered some rough-sawn hemlock (total cost: $12) from our local lumberyard for the ledgers. Then we got going on putting together the floor/ceiling framing. Because of the limited vertical space we had to squeeze it all in, we notched a bit of each log and the ledger. Then attached the ledgers with Timberloks and dropped the logs in the pockets. Seriously, they fit right in – we only had to re-cut one. Here’s the framing:
Finally, we planed all the floorboards – which are a mixed old un-used salvage lot including pine, fir, cedar, hemlock, and oak – to as close as we could to the same thickness. The goal was to have a rustic, attic-plank-y floor, so perfection was not needed (or happening). Of course it started snowing while we planed them, but luckily we have the carport to work in now. Yesss!
And we attached the floorboards yesterday. Now it’s all of the trim work, paint touch-up, decor, and building in some storage and we’ll have a nice little guest sleeping loft/hideaway/storage solution. We’ll wait until summer to urethane it all, when we can sleep outside and let things air out.