Guest cabin

Darren Wright

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Springfield, Missouri
Over the past year I’ve been working on taking down the the little house here on the farm. Our goal was to remodel the main house first, but after a lot of back and forth over what we can/should do while my wife’s grandfather is still here, we’ve made zero progress. Mostly we’d be sinking a bunch of money into some band aids that we’d just redo when we gut the house and update everything. We also don’t want to add additional stress to her grandpa, which will be turning 101 this year.

Ultimately we want friends and family to visit us on the farm, and we need a place to live (other than the camper) as we remodel. So we’ve been thinking about building the guest house now, where the little house used to sit.

The old foundation looks to be in good condition, but I plan to have a new slab poured over the old level things out and give us a good base to build on.
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I’ve been digging out the back wall, which we’ll put a retaining wall in to keep the hillside in place. I’ve still got a bit more dirt to remove, but getting close to starting plumbing layout. The side with the plumbing used to have a crawl space. It will get filled in with stone. I have a small section of concrete to remove for the bath plumbing.
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For the building, we’re looking at the Menards garage kit. Their design site lets you choose the options and do the layout to your needs.
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Overall the slab will be a little over 20’ x 20’ with a deck on the front and shed roof over the deck.
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Anyway, I’ve gone back and forth on using the old foundation, but in the end, it’s been here over 100 years, so I feel like it’s going to be ok.
 
so the floor plan with the furniture, I had my wife spend the time to lay it out a few different ways, which helped “us” determine window and door locations. My first few window layouts would have put me in the dog house. I may still do a 3d rendering of her layout before ordering. ;)

Another thing, given the small rooms, I went with 9’ ceilings to make it feel a little bigger.
 
Are you in an area that requires inspections of new construction? Just pouring a slab over the stone might be OK there, but you would never get away with that here. They want dug and poured footings under the walls. The stone under the floor might be acceptable though. The depth is decided by how deep the frost line is, plus how firm the soil is. Here, they want a 12" thick X 24" wide poured footing with rebar in it 2'+ below grade.

Charley
 
Your layout looks very efficient ... my friend that I used to turn with (he had to give it up due to sinus problems from the dust - even with two dust collectors) and his wife have lived in one third of their garage, one bay walled off from the shop , for the last 10+ years. They had planned to build a house, but decided to put up the garage first... the apartment was so comfy, they decided to just stay there.
 
Insulate interior walls and it won't sound like a cave or have an echo.
Yeah, the "kit" includes insulation and drywall, you choose the type and inside finish on the Menards design site. They basically do a plan drawings and materials list to buy and package it for you. I need to work with them to add a few extra materials due to the non-standard size I'm doing.


Are you in an area that requires inspections of new construction? Just pouring a slab over the stone might be OK there, but you would never get away with that here. They want dug and poured footings under the walls. The stone under the floor might be acceptable though. The depth is decided by how deep the frost line is, plus how firm the soil is. Here, they want a 12" thick X 24" wide poured footing with rebar in it 2'+ below grade.

Charley
No inspections here in the county at all. I'm well aware of the footing requirements. The current footings/walls are deep enough for our area. The soil here is a clay, sand rock mix, and well drained, so not much of anything shifts. Not one crack or shift in any of the buildings here in 100 years.

Your layout looks very efficient ... my friend that I used to turn with (he had to give it up due to sinus problems from the dust - even with two dust collectors) and his wife have lived in one third of their garage, one bay walled off from the shop , for the last 10+ years. They had planned to build a house, but decided to put up the garage first... the apartment was so comfy, they decided to just stay there.
Thanks. We want folks to be comfortable when they come, but it's not being setup for full time living intentionally. ;) We may not even do a full septic, just a holding tank to have pumped every so often. We thought about not putting a bathtub in it, just a half bath, and have folks come to the main house for baths. But since we may live in it while we remodel the main house, we're planning for it.
 
When I built my shop I dug the area deep enough to put an a layer of 3" rigid polyisocyanurate insulation. This I topped with an 8" layer of gravel. Then I compacted the gravel and covered the gravel with a heavy layer of plastic as a vapor barrier. After the forms were removed one layer of insulation was added against the concrete and then dirt was backfilled. When complete the concrete slab was more or less insulated from the cold earth. It does keep the floor warmer not that I can tell these days.
 
Well it looks like we're going with a new foundation. He thought it probably would be able to hold a slab just fine, but labor wise it was cheaper to remove and re-do, and we know it will be square/plumb.

I just need to finalize the plans and get those to the concrete guy for a final quote, but what he ball parked me was well within the budget, and around what I was expecting it to be. And since we aren't as limited by the current foot print, we may actually expand it a couple of feet in either direction to add a bit more storage or mechanical space.

Also, rather than shed lean roof over the porch, we're going to expand the trusses out over it and gable it. I need to work with Menards to get that part reflected in the design or account for the materials needed. May even screen it in for the buggy'er months.
 
They got the old foundation out, but looks like grandpa filled in much of the old crawl space with junk and trash, even an old toilet got pulled out from under the old concrete slabs. We’ll either be lowering the height of the slab overall, or paying for more rock fill.

Edit: And looks like the materials are being delivered on Friday.
 
grandpa filled in much of the old crawl space with junk and trash

When we moved here we looked at one house (which i quite liked for various reasons although the couple was going through a very contentious divorce and the fellow clearly had no intention of moving while she was very clearly done with it all.... which is largely why we passed being for sale by owner...) that had not less than 4 hot water heaters in the crawl space (at least that I could see.. hah). They'd just kept putting new ones in there... Nothing a couple afternoons with a sawzall wouldn't have fixed.. Or in this case 2hrs with a backhoe :D I suspect there were other "fun surprises" under there as well.

I might personally go more with the rock fill option since you can get good drainage and a nicely compacted base that way...
 
This is nice project Darren, one I’ll be watching with great personal interest. A similar idea has been floating around here, but more as an AirBnB project.
An outbuilding at a discrete distance from the main farmhouse can evolve in many ways over time: guest house, bunkhouse, a writer’s or artist’s studio…
You never know, Larry Merlau might want to hide away there and practice woodturning without anyone knowing😀
 
And most of it arrived, I need to go back and compare our original order with the pic sheet. Only thing I found missing was some ridge cap, which appears to have the wrong quantity on the original order. So will try to get that ordered tomorrow to be here when needed. Sounds like concrete will start next week now. I picked up some new tarps to keep things covered in the mean time.
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And most of it arrived, I need to go back and compare our original order with the pic sheet. Only thing I found missing was some ridge cap, which appears to have the wrong quantity on the original order. So will try to get that ordered tomorrow to be here when needed. Sounds like concrete will start next week now. I picked up some new tarps to keep things covered in the mean time
That’s progress.

First good view I’ve had of that old barn. It’s a beauty! Looks very square and plumb from here and the roof is saving it.
 
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