Hello! Since starting this blog, several people have expressed curiosity about, and interest in seeing the actual plans. Seeing as we are now starting the framing process, I suppose this would be a good time to share the plans and some thoughts behind the design and layout (see below).
Several people have also asked how we were able to obtain a building permit without plans from a licensed architect. In rural areas, regulations around these sorts of things are a little more lax, and in our town, owner designed plans are allowed for any structure under 1500 sq ft. as long as they’re up to code, of course. Our cabin comes in around 1150 sq ft, depending how you count it, so, my graph paper drawings were sufficient enough. And we have a licensed General Contractor heading up the project which made obtaining the permit much easier. In fact, the permit was approved two days after I submitted the plans and application.
If you're thinking of designing a cabin in this size range, and have questions about building code requirements (maximum floor joist spans, weight bearing loads, etc), it's actually fairly easy to research all that stuff on the internet. And, seeing as code requirements vary somewhat from region to region, you can always contact your local code inspector; ours was quite helpful with several questions I had during design.
Ultimately, though, you're going to want a builder who knows all the local code requirements so I'd recommend going with someone as local and reputable as possible. You can always ask the local code inspector to provide a list of builders in the area. Code inspectors are not allowed to "recommend" someone, and ours didn't by any means do so. He did, however, make it clear that the builder we wanted to go with was known for doing good work and that he has inspected several of his homes. I would also highly suggest that in addition to finding a qualified builder, and there are many out there, it is equally important to find someone you trust and have a good working relationship with. Actually, the easiest part is finding a "qualified" builder, meaning someone capable of building a cabin to code. But like any business relationship, you will find the whole experience less stressful if you find someone who is attentive to your questions, returns your phone calls, and is someone you generally enjoy working with. So far, we have been extremely happy with how that aspect has been going.
So, here is a scanned copy of the complete set of plans I submitted for the building permit, and to the builder, with some explanations for each image. It's a fairly simple: 26 X 26 foot print with an open living and dining area downstairs with a half bath tucked under the staircase. There are two bedrooms with a full bath upstairs.
|This is a very simple way to illustrate the interior elevations for windows, ceilings heights for the builder. The same idea exists for the second floor with different dimensions, but I think you get the general idea.|
|The East side of the cabin. The window on the left is the corner window on the front part of the dining area. The window on the right is the kitchen window.|
|This is the West side of the cabin. The window on the left is the hallway window where the stairs case begins. The window on the right is the front corner of the living area.|
Well, that's pretty much it for the plans. I really appreciate your taking the time to read this! We are heading up to the property this morning. The lumber was delivered on Friday and the framing begins today! We are terrifyingly excited!