Mountain Front A-Frame Renovation, Choteau, MT

 

Version 2

 

Our friend, Keegan, transformed her 1960’s seasonal cabin into a year-round mountain home this year. For a small building, it offered large challenges: mice were the only users of the cabin in recent years; the walls and roof were uninsulated; plumbing, wiring, windows, doors, siding, roofing and flooring all needed to be replaced. It all happened.

Keegan deserves credit for doing much of the work herself and most of the content in these photos is her handiwork. Our tasks were to provide some windows and build an insulated roof system.

img_2873

Click on any of these for a close-up:

 

Work underway:

 

 

Before work:

 

Dave’s Exposed Fir Framing

Exposed framing can be a pleasure to live with. Not only is the wood’s color and texture beautiful, but there is something about seeing the structural parts of a house – the individual pieces working together to keep the weather off one’s head. Comfort, maybe, in the apparent strength of one’s shelter. Maybe it’s the depth in open framing and the shadows it creates. You decide. Here are a few photos of Dave’s fir sub-roof and knee braces:

 

IMG_1379

IMG_1377

Below there is a small piece of wood mortised under the beam to the left. It is also mortised into the post on the right and acts as a spline, or separate tenon:

IMG_1384

Dave’s mudroom addition under the roof. The pet door is dedicated to Remy, yellow lab and top bird dog.

IMG_1382

 

 

Log Home Maintenance

This summer we took on a log home exterior – a different kind of project for us but we enjoyed it and learned some important tips on log home maintenance in Montana.

Log homes have special needs because their structure is exposed to the elements – sun, wind, water, extreme temperature changes and even bugs. Ultraviolet exposure from the sun is the primary cause of log rot in places like Choteau, Montana, where it’s dry and sunny much of the time.

We found that all of these elements can be combated with the right kind of log finish. The best log finish will offer UV inhibitors, flexibility, breathability (some, but not too much), insect inhibitors and of course protection from rain and snow. We also learned that finishes with darker pigments offer better UV protection. If you own a log house, put this kind of armor on it.

We used a log and siding finish by Sikkens that we believe is outstanding. We’ll watch it perform over the next few years with great interest.

We consulted an excellent book for this project that log home owners should have in their libraries: The Log Home Maintenance Guide by Gary Schroeder.

The graying in these photos is ultraviolet damage:

IMG_0640 IMG_0644 IMG_0627

After two coats of Sikkens log finish and some trim paint:

IMG_0814 IMG_0817 IMG_0816 IMG_0815

Exterior Renovation, Choteau, MT

Here’s a project currently under way:

Part of this home’s story is told here in rich evidence of past openings, building dimensions, roof lines, available building materials, insulation attempts and workmanship. There’s Dan’s signature above the old window – not sure who Dan was. Walls like this are pure art.

IMG_1080

For a time, it looked like this:

IMG_0895

Too bad the window’s gone but it is the north side, and it’s Choteau, Montana, wind and bad winters and all…

The next chapter in it’s history is being written now. Note the layer of rigid foam insulation wrapping the house under the new siding. Owner Dave (no relation to Dan) says it’s noticeably more comfortable inside already.

IMG_1150

Wrap Around Porch, Choteau, MT

This is Sam and Noy’s new porch. It is covered by a roof on the west side and open to the skies on the south. We built this out of Douglas Fir entirely. The posts, beams, knee braces, rafters and subroofing (exposed 1×10’s) are left rough from the mill to add texture to the warm color of fir. The deck planks are conventional fir 2×8’s, smooth to walk on and stout. This porch faces the Rocky Mountain Front, and may be one of the best places in the world to sit and have a sandwich. Sam slings his hammock here.

DSCN1950 DSCN1947

We recalled our timber frame heritage to attach knee braces. Exposed joinery and curved braces go a long way to enrich the finished product:

DSCN1942