Off grid cabin/retreat

Discussion in 'Back to Basics' started by TnAndy, May 5, 2010.


  1. TnAndy

    TnAndy Senior Member Founding Member

    Buddy of mine has owned 7ac piece right at the top of a ridge just out of town for about 30 years....he bought it dirt cheap when he got transfered here in the late 70's ( from a local guy that worked for him at the same company ), and he held on to it when he transferred back to PA to finish out his career. When he retired, he came back here and bought a condo, and used the "hill" as his playground......gardening, built a small shack, shed...etc...he has been saying for years "Well, if the SHTF, I can always go live on the hill"....and I've been telling him...."yeah....until you run out of beanie-weenies and bottled water.....then you're in the same boat as the rest of townfolk"....

    SO, after years of goading him, he finally got serious about building something he COULD actually live in for quite a while. He got started last fall when a neighbor of mine in the excavating business went up and carved off the side of his ridge a bit, enough to get a flat spot for a 24x24 building. I drew him up a set of plans, and he got a mason crew up there ( and concrete trucks somehow.....the road is a modified goat path....I call it the mile long "stealth" driveway....no WAY would anyone ever believe what is up there looking at what comes off the paved road below ), poured footers, they laid block up 15' for the "basement", then another 9' for the 1st floor ( all filled with concrete and 3/4" rebar ). The first pic I have is from late last fall ( was fogged in that day ) of the masons finishing up the central chimney....there will be a wood stove on the main floor and the upper level, plus small propane heater for backup. The chimney is 32" square, brick/block, with a 6" schedule 40 pipe for flue liner.

    [​IMG]

    In the basement section, he had the masons build him a root cellar section up against the bank side. Also has a 2500 gallon plastic in the basement that will collect roof water for his water supply ( he has been doing this for couple years with smaller tanks off the shack he built, and has a pretty good idea about the amount of annual rain ), as drilling a well up there is pretty much out. Only way into the basement section is a roll up garage door ( commercial, metal type ) and that will also have a set of steel "ghetto gates" on the outside of it that have to be unlocked and swung open before you can access the roll up door )...no stair from above due to the height of the basement.

    First floor will have only one access point from ground level...the main door, and it will be a steel reinforced commercial deal......the windows are positioned toward the back, that is high off the ground, and the ground slopes about 45 degrees, so even ladder access would be hard. There is a small deck on the rear side, with cantilevered joists...no posts to the ground.

    The top floor, we hung steel I beams from the chimney out to the four corners, plus 4 to each center wall point....these hang over enough to allow for 4' metal grate that forms a walkway completely around that level. ( That is what is causing the weird shadow pattern on the wall )

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Man...you talk about a VIEW.....

    [​IMG]

    Rail will be metal posts welded to the I beams, and wood rails/pickets to finish it off.

    We'll be putting the roof on next week....it will be a hip style.

    Power will be a combo of solar/wind....nothing connected to grid at all.


    I told him he could paint the bottom blocks to look like logs and call it a "Melbo Cabin"..... :D
     
    hank2222 likes this.
  2. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    In the words of Peter Griffin: "That is freakin' sweet!"
     
  3. TnAndy

    TnAndy Senior Member Founding Member

    Yeah....as I tell him " I love it when somebody has a checkbook deep enough to make my visions come true".......and he turns a little greener.....ahahahahaaa
     
  4. cracker1868

    cracker1868 Monkey+

    Great job and an inspiration to all!
     
  5. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    Reminds me of a typical East TN jobsite for cabin builds. I know a guy that can 'log stucco' that block.... so real the woodpeckers will break their beaks on it.

    Also, that is not YOUR vision... (2x4 walls)
     
  6. kckndrgn

    kckndrgn Moderator Moderator Founding Member

    Very NICE!!

    Thanks for posting
     
  7. fortunateson

    fortunateson I hate Illinois Nazis!

    Slightly more than just a "cabin"!!

    I like the vantage point!
     
  8. TnAndy

    TnAndy Senior Member Founding Member

    Started his roof Monday....got most of the rafters up, then started sheathing it Tuesday and finished it today.


    My buddy is the guy in white shirt looking this way.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Roof is now ready for metal roofing guys to come do their thing. We selected a 9/12 roof slope to be close to latitude here for the solar panels, which will mount on the roof face around to the left ( south face ). We used ice/water shield for the entire roof....it has to stay on until late June before the metal roofer can get there.

    You can also see the start of the rail.....metal posts with a pc of 2" angle welded all around. It gets a wood railing later that covers the angle, and closes it in a bit better.....this was just to get something up so we could work without backing off the deck area.
     
  9. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    You growing your beard to be a Mall Santa this Christmas?
    Seems longer than I remember...
     
  10. TnAndy

    TnAndy Senior Member Founding Member

    Fellow has to get work where he can....ahahahaaa....

    Nah.....that's a neighbor....I'm behind the camera for the protection of the lens.
     
  11. ronin58

    ronin58 Monkey+

    Thanks for posting, very interesting, I LIKE IT!
     
  12. DP509

    DP509 Monkey++

    This is interesting. Please post more pictures.

    Thanks
     
  13. -06

    -06 Monkey+++

    Looks might fine Andy. Will have to come take a look if I ever find time. Want to run some ideas by you anyway. You will have to come visit the farm this summer. Having a wee get together over the 4th if interested. Might even get to fish a bit. PM with your info-lost everything in the great commode drop of '09--LOL.
     
  14. TnAndy

    TnAndy Senior Member Founding Member

    Been a while since I updated this thread. Buddy has finished quite a bit more of his cabin, and today, we installed his solar panels. Six 245w Solarworld panels, will have a 3500w Outback inverter and battery bank connected tomorrow when I get back up there to hook it up.
    DSC01194.JPG DSC01197.JPG
     
    BAT1, Kingfish and hank2222 like this.
  15. Dubs Chops

    Dubs Chops Monkey+

    Man that is nice. I can't see the first pictures though????
     
  16. TnAndy

    TnAndy Senior Member Founding Member

    Yeah....the website where I had them went away. Here's some of the earlier shots from last summer when we were framing it.
    php4SGnpdPM. phpdgxRgVPM. phpegLtu7PM. phpI22WCDPM. phpQCywsEPM. phpSX3h21PM. phptpu629PM. phpvpxR5DPM.
     
  17. Yoldering

    Yoldering Monkey+

    WOW!!! That is beautiful!!!
     
  18. Dubs Chops

    Dubs Chops Monkey+

    Man that view is ridiculous
     
  19. ranchgirl

    ranchgirl Monkey+

    Awesome!
     
  20. Tikka

    Tikka Monkey+++

    The beauty of Eastern Tn and western NC have another face.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 2, 2014
    STANGF150 and hank2222 like this.
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