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Our Log Home

We moved from Houston, TX to Home Valley, WA on April 22, 2005 and will be building our own log home on 4 acres overlooking the Columbia Gorge.  The first photo is just to give you a idea of how beautiful this area of Washington really is.  The rest of the photos show our progress toward our dream home.  Double-click on thumbnail to view larger picture.  Site last updated Dec 10, 2014.


View of the Gorge from Hwy 14

Dining area in the 14' slide out of our travel trailer

Kitchen area

Woody cutting some of the MANY blackberry bushes

Water resistant finish has been applied

The cleared area was once solid blackberry bushes

This will be the driveway to the front of the house

The graveled road to the left will be the driveway to the garage

Our first load of logs being delivered

27 of the 170 logs needed for the home

July 25, 2005 was an eventful day. Our first ground breaking AND we received another load of logs (1 more to go)!

After 7 feet of earth was dug out and spread on the old driveway. This raised the driveway by about 6 feet.

Finished garage excavation

Started laying out the footing forms.

Getting close to finishing the forms for the ground level footings.

Forms are complete and rebar in place.

Ready for my first inspection by the County.

Starting the footing pour. That guy in the blue shirt sure is working hard!

Garage footings now poured

Forms have been removed

Another view. Just to the left of the pickup you will see a 6 ft stack of 3/4 inch plywood that will be used for the stem wall and garage forms.

Stem wall forms complete. Will start the 10 foot garage walls next. AARG!

Forms complete and ready to pour the concrete - 34 yards of concrete in walls. 24 yards were used in the footings

All concrete has now been poured into the forms

Forms have all been removed. Sure is nice to see all that grey. A foundation at last!

Basic footprint of the house

1/24th scale model of log home - Front view

1/24th scale model of log home - Rear view

1/24th scale model - Overhead view - master bedroom & bath on left, great room in center, kitchen and dining on right. 2 BRs, bath, and loft upstairs

1st lifting log in position to be raised using A-frame and winch

8 of the 12 lifting poles are up

Number 9 on the way up. This log is 40 feet long (all but one other are 30 ft). Extra 10 ft. is because of the walk-out garage.

Only 1 more to go.

Wind Mountain (our homesite is on this mountain) got its first snow on November 28th

Removing the last bit of bark from one of the logs

Drilling holes for foundation anchor bolts

Finally started placing the first log of the house

First log done!

Moving one of the 40 foot logs from the stack. This is our biggest log except for the ridge pole. This log is 16" at the butt and 12" at the tip.

Dragging log into position

More positioning

Still more. This is the slowest part of the procedure of placing a log on the wall. The lifting is the easy part!

Log #2 in place

Log #3 going into place

Log #3 done

I'm cutting out a notch for the 5th log to go into place

The 2nd of our 40 footers. These are big, heavy logs.

Log #7 in place. 7 logs in 7 days... not bad for a couple of beginners. Hope to stack 10 logs (1 course) per week after we learn a few short-cuts.

1st course completed. Each course consists of 10 logs.

Robbi is helping get one of the 40 ft logs into position

Drilling pilot hole for rebar spike that goes thru each log and half way into the log beneath. Spaced 2 ft. apart the entire length of log.

Pounding the last few inches of rebar into log. Each spike is about 24" long. Hard work!

This log broke free from the tractor and rolled about 20 ft. down the hill until stopped by some trees. We were able to drag him out though!

Almost finished with the 2nd course of logs. 17 logs done so far - only 143 to go! (It sounds better if we say we are over 10% done.)

Finished 3rd course of logs (30 logs) - May 17, 2006

Center room (great room) will be mostly windows. Next full log in this section will be at course 9 and 10 (see model)

Finished 4th course on May 30th

4th course view from rear of house

My least favorite task - driving rebar spike in log above garage. This is where safety harness is reassuring.

Using a peavey to move a log into position.

5th course of logs completed on June 6, 2006.

View from front of the house

Same view with Woody in picture for some perspective on the size

Rebar cutter in action. The contraption on my back is my safety harness.

6th course completed June 13, 2006. Log walls are now 7 feet high.

View from rear of house. You can see where all the windows will be in the living room. That is the direction of our view of the Columbia River & Gorge

7th course completed June 21, 2006

Wall above the garage. This will be the dining room and kitchen area.

Rear view of house after 7th course was completed.

The walls are over 8 feet tall now.

8th course completed June 30,2006. The 2 logs layed out (foreground) are the 40 footers that will start the 9th course.

Rear view of completed 8 course

9th course completed July 7, 2006. Robbi is standing in front of the master bedroom. The log walls for this wing are now finished.

Rear view of completed 9th course. Main windows are now becoming more apparent.

10th course completed July 15, 2006

Robbi is standing where the front door to the house will be located.

Lower set of windows are now framed with logs. An identical set will be above these.

Woody climbing the wall using the overdangles. You might notice the girder in this shot. The second floor bedroom wall goes above this girder.

One of the two girders that will support the loft

2nd girder going into place. This is the first 48 foot log we are putting into the house and it will span the great room, kitchen, and dining room.

Girder is now ready to be maneuvered into position.

One of the steps to move the girder into its final position parallel the the shorter girder already in place.

2nd girder is now in place and another log is being moved into position on the wall.

This is the only notched wall log in the house. It is also our first short log for the upstairs bedrooms.

11th course completed July 28th. (That's me up there raising one of the chains for a future lift.

The other side of the house after 11th course completed. There are actually 2 logs already up for the 12th course.

This picture shows the process of raising a log. Robbi pulls the chain hoist on one end and I pull the chain hoist on the other.

13th course completed August 11th. The front door and one of the rear doors have now been cut out.

Rear of house showing the 6 ft door opening cut in the master bedroom

Trimming some of the overdangles

14th course completed August 18th. We will need to add 3 or 4 courses to get the upstairs walls to 8 ft.

Peeling one of the logs using a draw knife. All other logs were peeled using a bark spud. This one was stubborn.

15th course completed August 25th.

Other side of house.

16th course completed August 29th

Other side of house

Anchoring down a log on the 17th level. This picture is to give some perspective on the height at this point

Last wall log being moved into place. This is the log we have been looking forward to for the last 4 months

Last log almost in place!

We're done with the walls!!!!! September 5

Front of house with 8 foot overhang for porch

Walls are complete. Start raising the ridge poles on 9/11/06

An aerial view of the house and building site

Closer view. If you look closely, you can see me on the ladder at the lower right corner of the house.

Pressure washing the main ridge pole. This log is 18" in diameter and 49 feet long. There are two other ridge poles that are a little smaller.

This is one of the smaller ridge poles installed over the master bedroom portion of the house

We had to remove the 13 vertical poles that were used to raise all the wall logs. (Glad to be through with those!)

Here we are placing one of the three ridge pole support logs for the main ridge pole

All three of the support logs are now in place and ready to accept the ridge pole

Ridge pole in place

Hard to tell with the shadows, but there are 4 more vertical support logs for the loft girders. Just one more small ridge pole over the upstairs BRs!

Adding 4X10 rafters over the master bedroom

Anchoring down the main ridge pole

Rafters lined up and ready for 2X6 tongue and groove decking. This tongue and groove will be the exposed ceiling and will be used throughout the house

Bird-blocking between rafters

2X6 tongue & groove ceiling boards installed in the master bedroom wing

Ceiling in master bedroom

More tongue & groove installed

Woody trimming the rafters on top of ridge pole.

North side of house

Other half of great room now covered. The rains have started. 20 inches so far in November.

First snowfall of the season came 2 days after Thanksgiving

Finally started back to work on the house (late April). These windows will go in the master bedroom gable.

Added the temporary floor and began closing the gable

Gable framing

Installing the windows

Outside of bedroom gable complete.

Our friend Dan is trimming window openings to size (he has a big powerful chainsaw compared to mine)

Openings for the 4 gable windows on south wall

French door installed in master bedroom

Framing up the windows of the north gable

Finishing up the gable on the east wall

Lifting rafters for last bit of roof over the dining room

Installing tongue and groove decking

Decking is on and gable framed out

I am installing the 4X12 timbers that make up the windows frames

All the window frames are in except for the upper picture windows in the great room. We will have our windows installed in about 2 weeks

Septic system is going in

1500 gallan and 1000 gallon tanks in the ground

Our windows have finally arrived!

Windows going into place

Front windows installed - no trim yet

South windows installed - no trim yet

The roof is being prepared for insulation and decking

Preparing roof for R30 insulation

Bedroom wing with insulation, sheathing, and felt installed

Insulation being installed on east side

Finishing up the east half of the roof

Shingles are being loaded onto roof

Shingles were installed (40 squares) in 2 days

The stove will need wood. I should have enough extra logs and pieces to keep me in firewood for long time

Chimney for wood stove has been installed

Chinking has been added and logs will be cleaned prior to applying sealant

Stove has been installed and is heating up the bedroom wing quite nicely

More chinking to the inside. Notice, chinking goes on better if you hold your tongue just right.

First snow of 2008

Received 4 inches of snow Jan 8, 2008

Oregon mountains in backgroud

Master bedroom

Master bathroom

Preparing the support for the wood-burning stove and hearthpad. The stove is cast iron and soapstone and weighs 550 lbs.

This woodstove will be our main source of heat. Woodstoves in the great room, bedroom, and cast iron gas log stove in dining room should keep us warm.

Robbi is putting in more nails prior to my chinking the great room

Chinking details showing insulation, nails, and wire - then mortar added

Installing the flooring in the great room and kitchen

I am cutting out the opening for our 8' tall front door.

Front door is installed but not stained yet.

1/2 bath and coat closet near front door area

Utility room and part of the water system. Each faucet can be controlled from this Manabloc manifold.

Manabloc system

Upstairs bathroom framed out, plumbing, and wired

Flooring for the loft

Catwalk from stairway (not built yet) to the loft and upstairs bedrooms

I built this beehive so we can start keeping bees next year

Dining room floor has been installed

Great room floor has been installed

Stairs to loft, upstairs bath, and bedrooms. Partial view of 17' ocean kayak I built while we still lived in Houston

Stairs with temporary treads of plywood. They will be replaced with knotty alder or some other hardwood.

Preparing loft floor for finish

Moved our computer desk to the loft. Still need to add railing

Great room viewed from front door area

Robbi and I at our front door

Christmas snowfall. We have had an unusual 3 feet of snow this winter.

View out our bedroom french doors

View out our dining room patio door

Record amounts of snowfall in this region

Getting bathroom floor ready for sanding

Master bedroom floor complete. All floors done!

Hanging our IKEA kitchen cabinets. Spacers were needed to make them hang properly on log walls

Wall cabinets above range almost hung

This wall done

More wall cabinets will go here


Base cabinets installed

All cabinets now installed. Still have to install the countertops. They will be wood butcherblock to match our island.


More countertop

Backsplashes will be next

Great room from loft

Great room

Part of loft

Dining room


Spiral stairs from garage to dining room area will go in this small room

Spiral stairs going together

Preparing for landing and handrail

Laminated handrail is in the glue-up jig

Visitors at our bedroom door

Woody the beekeeper

Preparing the landing for the stairs

Landing installed

Replacing the temporary treads with the new treads and risers

Beginning of installation of handrails and guardrails

Loft guardrail

Loft railing at the staircase

Spiral stairs into the garage. Laminated handrail is about ready for installation

We now have 3 chickens living in their "chicken condo" as Robbi calls it.

Chicken coop with chicken and pheasant pens

Deck at master bedroom

Stairs to rear deck

Retaining wall at garage

Friedrich heat pump indoor unit

House with deck