Skip to content

Building a dream

July 11, 2010

Take a few dedicated family members and a couple friends, most with no training in construction drop them in the woods and tell them to build a house. It makes for a good story and I thought it would be of interest to my readers to hear about how our homes came to be built, in the middle of no-where by just ordinary people. Not in-depth how to information, just observations that I made while building one of the homes. So I offer this posting that shows if you have a dream and a strong will it can get done.

Having a dream is one thing, and seeing it through to completion is a whole different world. I was fortunate enough, in the mid 90’s to meet and befriend a lady named Rose. For those of you that follow my blog you know the back story, of my meeting Rose, for everyone else…We worked together as an assistant guide (me), and full guide (Rose), for about three years, for Lost Creek Ranch outfitters here in Alaska. Rose always had a dream of having a home ‘out in the woods’. Well she is one of the few who attained there goal. She now has a nice 80 acre spread in the woods 65 miles North of Fairbanks. It did not come without many years of hard work, sweat and prayer.

After she had personally cleared a road with her dozer the first thing on her list was a nice home. Up here you start building a home in the early spring, so that the roof is on by first snow. This way you can spend the winter working on the inside and move in the following spring. After a site was chosen the dozer was again brought into use to clear and level the ‘pad’ for the house. Here we will be looking at building a three story house for her daughter. Yes I said three story’s….the idea behind this was……we were sitting and discussing her daughters bedroom. Kara wanted a bigger room and I jokingly said why not put on a third floor as her bedroom…I have to learn to keep my mouth shut. After the pad settles it is time to lay the foundation. In the photo below we have reinforced the foundation blocks on gravel pads, put on our support beams and have started to lay the floor joists.

Paul & Pete working on the joists

We finished the floor with insulation and started with the walls. This being our third major project we learned it was easier to complete wall sections while they were laying down, so we installed windows and put on the exterior wall before lifting the framed section into place. Here we are seen lifting a first floor wall, this is almost all, except for the camera person, the regular people who built the house plus one visitor.

Put your back into it.

Our photographer and construction superintendent and chief laborer taking a well deserved break, and yours truly on the second floor wondering if the battery in the saw would ever run out of juice.



The house before the roof and third floor was put on. It is surprising what a group of people can accomplish with some determination and a deadline. Yes there were days we spent ‘discussing’ how to best build a certain section, but we stayed with the project. Rose now has four full homes, 6 out buildings and a nice greenhouse that she personally doubled in size. The property looks out onto the White mountain refuge, a row of hills that weather in summer or winter look beautiful. In winter the Northern lights dance over her home and she can sit on the second floor and look out the large window and marvel at the finger of God writing in the heavens above her dream that is now a reality.

Nearly there.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. Rosalyn permalink
    July 11, 2010 2:29 pm

    You sure worded that politely. I seem to recall most everyone bellyaching about a darn know-it-all smarta**. Determination and not wanting to live all year in a tent got it done, plus not enough money to live anywhere else after buying the property. At least none of my construction methods have fell in yet, not the ones that went by my plans. By the house pictured here, I had managed to get some battery operated tools. Before that, everything was chainsaw construction, lol. I don’t recall resting up on that ladder. I was nailing in the beam. The main reason we built the walls in panels on the floor then raised them, we are all scared spitless to be up on ladders.


  2. AussieAlaskan permalink
    July 11, 2010 5:06 pm

    G’day Pete – interesting photos – how is the big house heated? The photos bring back memories – years ago my then husband and I (with family and friend’s support) built a log house out of Fairbanks – we used barrel stove heat which was super efficient, if a lot of hard work in firewood, until the electric baseboard heat was added – probably by the next spring :-) Regards, Terry


  3. kara permalink
    July 12, 2010 11:35 am

    haha this house was fun to build,,and yeah pete had a great idea i love the third floor..we heat it with wood about 10 to 12 cords a winter


  4. Rosalyn permalink
    July 12, 2010 11:40 am

    Anyway, you did a good job on this one, Pete.

    AussieAlaskan, it is heated with wood most of the time and oil backup heater. We insulated it very well and it isn’t very hard to heat.


  5. AussieAlaskan permalink
    July 13, 2010 7:16 am

    It all sounds pretty straight forward reading it like this but the planning and logistics due to distance and weather conditions is really impressive. That looks like a big house to heat with wood – I wouldn’t think that you would get an oil delivery too often :-) Well done!


  6. July 13, 2010 3:02 pm

    LOL, Pete did mention determination and that is one thing I have in abundance.


  7. xpipelyner permalink
    July 13, 2010 10:25 pm

    Yet another great story from you, Pete. Thanks for the time taken to write this. Jon


  8. Daddy permalink*
    July 19, 2010 10:41 am

    Yea I think that’s one house I didn’t spend a lot of time building. I think I was visiting with Joe and we pounded in some of the floor boards on the first floor. Not much else.

    You ought to do an article on Rosalyn’s/Vo’s house. I spent a lot more time working on that one.


  9. July 21, 2010 8:46 am

    Love it! Rose and Pete.. looks like a good job. Heck looks my the hubby’s cabin in Talkeetna.

    And we are thinking about building again. Someone needs to examine my head!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: