Building a Modern Day Craftsman

Web Log of the construction of the Cullman Cottage



Theweb log of the construction of a modern day Craftsman Home

The Cullman Cottage


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he Web Logs
Days 1 through 68 * Days 69 through 162 * Days 170 through 280
Days 283 through Day 307 * Days 319 through 350 * Days 351 through 403
Day 346 * Days 420 through Day 448 * Days 546 though Day 662
* Days 663 though Present


House PLANS* Email me†† *†† NEW! Photo Page Index


1/16/04††††††††††††† Day 91  A lot has happened since I my last update. FINALLY the house is in the dry! We have a roof on the house (no shingles yet). The windows are in place and most of the doors. Some are not here yet but should be next week! So, no more water inside. Well maybe just a bit if the rain blows just right.

Today they put in my garage door in the basement. I will install the side door tomorrow and my basement will be secure. I can set up some tools in there now.

I picked up the front doors and they have them installed. They look great! I took some photos but it was almost dark and they donít look good. I will take some more tomorrow and post them this weekend. 


1/20/04††††††††††††† Day 95   As the commercial says ďIím loving it!Ē  Maybe that should be ďWeíre loving it?Ē

The house is really starting to come together on the outside. Keith finished the first eve vent and it looks just like it is supposed too. Probably not a surprise to Keith but itís so neat to see my drawings come to life (so to speak). 

The front doors are installed. The carpenters have been busy installing the tongue and grove pine in the eaves.  The siding was delivered.  The exterior is really starting to shape up.  Now if I could just get some time to work inside on the wiring!

My plan is get some temporary electric in the basement and start to set up my work shop this week. I have two or three projects I need to be started on already.  I have to build some garage doors and I need to make some trim pieced for the gable vents so they can finish those up..

The third time was a charm for photos. The last two attempts the photos were terrible. So I went down first thing this morning and took them again. Divided them into two pages for the folks on dial-up access.

Photos 1

Photos 2


1/22/†††††††††††††††††† Day 97   I worked hard at the house yesterday. Today I pay for it.  Had an appointment cancel so I spent the day painting the exposed rafter tails. I wanted this done before the siding and shingles go on. Made it simpler and much faster not having to worry about overspray. Painting.(actually I am using stain because is doesnít peel) rafters tails is a job!! Working overhead from a ladder you can paint about 32Ē in 30 seconds. Then you have to move the ladder. You spend more time moving the ladder than spraying!

I bought a commercial sprayer to paint with. I have rented one in the past but we would need one so much that the rent would buy one, plus I canít work whenever I get a chance. When I finish the house I will probably sell it for half price and I will still be way ahead of what a painter would have charged me. And some painter will be getting a great deal too.

The carpenters were installing the siding on the house yesterday. We chose the cement board siding. Hardi Plank is the brand name. I am seeing it used more and more on houses. Itís durable and is supposed to hold paint extremely well.

I worked to hard to get any photos yesterday. But will try to get some of the siding tonight.


1/24/04††††††††††††† Day 99   I have just about finished painting the eves. The siding is going up very fast and they have started putting on the shingles in the eves.  I spent the day working on the wiring in the basement. I have about decided to finish up the work that I have and turn down anything else so I take a few days to wire on the house.

I drew the plans myself and so far I am well pleased in how few problems we have had. There are always things you canít anticipate but they have been few and we had had no serious problems.

One thing I learned is that despite the fact that I detailed out everything that no one pays much attention of the drawing. I have been asked many times: ĒHow do you want to do _______?Ē  To which I have answered an equal number of times ďJust like I show on the plans.Ē  This really bugged me till I finally realized why.

Most people buy stock plans from a catalog and then change just about everything on them. They donít actually build the house to the plans. I asked one of my buddies at the building supply about this since he does a lot of the material take-offs for the builders and he said I was very rare to have a house actually built to the plans without substantial changes.

Today we made what the second big deviation from the plans. I had shown a concrete floor on the front porch.  The plans also showed the porch floor to be about 1Ē lower than the floor in the house. For some reason the way the foundation was done it was going to be 12Ē below the floor and I did not like that at all!.  After a discussion about how to fix I decided to deviate from the plans and go with wood floor on the porch. We decided to use tongue and groove pine flooring and paint it. I have a mental image of this and It reminds me of the porch on my Grandparents home.

Here are some new photos

Photos 1

†††††††††††††††††††††††††† Photos 2


2/1/04††††††††††††††† Day 106  I have not been able to update the page because of my work load. But thatís good when youíre self employed. Lets see, what all has happened this past week?

Plumbers have been in and out and have a good bit of the rough work done. I have done a little bit of wiring. The carpenters have been busy with the siding. They are just about done with that. They expect to finish up all their work this week. Once siding is done there are just a few odd jobs here and there to do.  A couple of the carpenters wanted to do the roofing so they worked on it yesterday.  I am guessing they got almost half of it roofed.

My brother-in-law loaned me a bucket truck and I used it to gain access to the eves on the back of the house. Itís going to be really nice when I paint the house! Of course I spent at least two hours trying to get the stupid thing to crank but thatís another story. And you never look a gift horse in the mouth either!!

Photos 1


2/20/††††††††††††††††† DAY 126   Just made myself find time to update this. Carpenters are gone for now. Outside is done except for the fireplace and the front porch. Both of those are waiting for a mason to show up. Should have had one out here weeks ago in my mind butÖ.. Today I found a few small things they forgot. Will get them done later.

I am working at the house wiring finally. I was taking this week off and I worked till late Wednesday. Just couldnít get caught up. I have all the recessed light cans installed and 95% of the outlets and switches. I want to finish installing ceiling boxes today and start pulling wire. Plumbers are back and forth on the job. I think he is spread pretty thin too. Once he is done and I finish wiring we will be ready for sheet rock!

Time for lunch and back to work. Will try to remember to take the camera with me and get some exterior photos.


3/4/04†††††††††††††† DAY 139   If you have not guessed I have been really busy. I am wiring the house now. I have all the recessed light cans installed and 98% of the outlet and switch boxes. There are a few I had either forgotten or needed a dimension to know where to install. As of today I have all but the Master Bath and Bedroom lights wired.

I havenít wired closet lights because I caught a mistake in the framing. Two of the closets ended up a foot smaller than they were supposed to. I was standing inside one looking and realized something was not right. It seemed very small. After taking a few measurements I realized they had made it a foot to small.

I have racked my brain on how to install floodlights on this house. With the exposed rafters I could not find a good way. Either the rafters block the lights or else itís going to be UGLY!  Troy, a friend from the building supply was by this weekend and we were tossing around ideas and finally hit on a good one. I am going to cut a hole in the wall and mount an electrical box in the wall. The floodlights will be mounted a few inches below the rafters flush against the wall. No ugly exposed boxes and conduit. And the rafters wonít block the lights. A simple solution but it took a lot of thinking to come up with it.

I also have the door hardware in and it looks GREAT! I found a company on the Web, Emtek.  The have a line of very nice door hardware at reasonable prices. It looks much more expensive than it actually is. And they have wonderful line of Arts and Crafts hardware. Check out the photos of what I chose (and yes, I actually chose these, not my wife)

House photos

Door hardware


3/18/04†††††††††††† DAY 153†† SHAFTED??  It appears we have been shafted. My builder refuses to return my calls. No apparent reason either. We have not had any disagreements or any problems. I have been calling for days now trying to get in touch with him. I wanted them to come back and move the closet walls and finish up a couple of things on the framing.  This is a fellow with an excellent reputation too. Thatís why I hired him to supervise the construction.

The pest called work has slowed wiring up. J  I have had to stop and make some money. Depending on how work goes I think I can finish installing the wiring next week. Yesterday I tried to tie up a few loose ends. Checking wiring to make sure we did it right.

Today I start installing conduit to run the networking, telephone and TV lines.


3/27/04†††††††††††† Day 162   My contractor sent a carpenter to the house unannounced. He did finish the things that needed to be done at least.  At this point we have decided that we can just contract the rest of the house ourselves. Not that we have much choice anyway.

Last week I said one more week on the wiring. I am still saying one more week. I should finish the 120/220-volt wiring today. I have a couple of outside outlets to install.  As far as I know that is it. I want to go over everything really close and I am sure I will find a couple of overlooked items. Next week, once everything else is finished I will start installing the alarm system.

I also have been installing networking cables all through the house along with phone and video.  Itís a very time consuming project. I was surprised to find at the end of the day I had only pulled wire to 6 outlets. But that included a network cable, a phone line, a spare line and 2 video coax to each one. I donít remember exactly how many outlets there are in the house but I wanted phone and networking outlets everywhere. It was very tempting to do away with some of them! Of course I would regret that for years down the road.