Our Cabin in the Woods from the Beginning!         

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First came the land purchase, then a road was put in, then the Outhouse/Utility Building was built, and now the construction of our Cabin on the Echo Trail! 

We contemplated quite a bit about doing the foundation ourselves with the help of a friend.  It turned out that this project was one of those that is best left for the professionals to do.  So we hired out Mike Braun a local contractor to take on this job.  There are 15 columns total.  First, Mike had to drill into the ledge rock and put rebar and a kind of grid made out of wire inside what is called a sono tube (a cardboard round tube) and then pour tinted cement into the sono tubes to make the columns to support the cabin.

Before the sono tube foundations were put in place, Pat had to clear off the entire top of the ledge rock of all dirt, moss and plant matter.  This was quite a job and took a couple of weeks to finish.  Here is Pat after the sono tubes were poured with the outhouse/utility building the the background.

After a few days, here are the finished columns!  Pat took off the cardboard forms to reveal  perfectly matched columns with the ledge rock below.  It was his idea to tint the cement a color to match the ledge rock.

Now the construction of the cabin begins with Pat & our friend Jimmy.  Here you will see the sill plates, which are the green treated 2X8's on the base of the columns and the gusset boards, which will hold the insulation in place for the floor of the cabin.

Here is Pat & Jimmy taking a break in the shade of the outhouse/utility building.

WOMEN POWER!  Myself, Ruth, Barbara & Mary Pat were picking blueberries and stopped by with shakes for the guys from the resort up the road and the guys asked us to help them stand up the first wall!

Soon there was 4 walls getting framed out.

Headers & footers are put in place which is where doors & windows will go.

Next comes the Sheathing.  Here is Jim, our friend Roger & Pat working together.  We had the benefit of using our neighbor's honda portable generator.

The bottom sheathing needs to be green treated lumber to allow for many feet of snow!

Our first camp out with 4 walls intact.

Vegetarian chili is cooking on the one burner propane Stove!  MMmmmm!

As the evening comes around, a thought of a glass roof comes to mind.  Wouldn't that be neat to have 4 walls and a glass roof to look at the stars!

The sun sets above the new 4 walls with no roof yet.

Soon the new roof is being built by Jim's son, Shane who works for a construction company consisting of 3 young "monkeys"!  Pat & Jim enjoyed watching the young guys on the roof and were thankful that was not them!

The roof is coming along great.  The vertical boards on the ends are for extra overhang.

How pretty to see the clouds and blue sky right thru the roof rafters!

Now it's time for the sheathing and ice dam on the new roof.

A view from the inside.  The triangle area at the top is called gables and they still need to be finished with windows.

Pat & Jim discussing the next steps to be taken.

The roof is covered with ice dam all the way up and waiting for the metal roof to come back in stock.  Up to this point, we were ordering all the supplies and lumber a day ahead of time.  Now there is a two week wait as the metal roofing is on back order!

What a pretty new roof!  The silver smoke stack is for a wood burning stove which we have not purchased yet.  We chose to use "Rain Drop" green guard to wrap the cabin instead of tyvek as it is a better products and will keep the elements out.

This is the upstairs loft.  The black paper is the outside of the insulation, no one knows why it seems to be painted black?  The long wide beam is an LVL beam which is prefabricated to be very strong, therefore supporting the 2nd floor loft.

Here is Debbie, the eskimo girl trying to stay warm in February.  The only heat in the cabin at this time is the propane cylinder with a sunflower heating element on the top.  The temperature is still in the 10's.

Here is Pat, the indian warrior!  He's trying to stay warm too after a nice picnic lunch in the middle of February at the cabin shell.

A look outside in the winter wonderland showing the outhouse/utility building.

Spring has come two months early this year!  So the next step is to move the 8"X8", by 17 feet long beams on top of the LVL beam for the second floor loft floor.

One by one, 5 strong men and 1 strong woman hoist the very heavy beams on top of the LVL beam.  The next step was a little of a balancing act....2 men on top of the LVL beam pushing the beams down, while 2 men and that strong woman (Debbie) hoist the back end of the beams onto the headers on the wall.  Then they got on a ladder and hoisted the beams up all the way onto the support beam that is secured to the wall.

A great job done by those strong men!  Left to right, Tom the baker, Mark the sawmill guy, Pat the general contractor, and Will  the brewer of the best Beer!  Before this project began, the guys gathered an assortment of winches, pullies and rope only to realize that MAN POWER was the best way to tackle this job!

The beams are in place and the second floor takes shape from down below.

Pat is working upstairs at putting the floor in.

Debbie sweeps off some floor boards getting them prepared to be installed.

A trip to visit family in the big city brings us to Menards to buy two new doors.  These doors have horizontal blinds inside the glass, so you will never need to clean them!

Does this look like a boat to you??  We traded our boat, trailer and motor to Mark the sawmill guy in exchange for this tongue & groove wood for the inside of the walls and all the outside siding for the cabin.

Here is the other new door, again there is a horizontal blind inside the glass of the door.

The tongue & groove paneling is installed on the ceiling of the cabin little by little.

Here you can see the new floor in the upstairs loft.  There are two windows that open up for air.  Opposite from the loft it is open to below and there are 3 windows that do not open and let in the morning light.

The upstairs loft is finished off with tongue & groove paneling on the walls and ceiling.

We hired the construction crew that did such a great job on the roof to build us a beautiful 12 foot deck as long as the cabin, 24 feet.  Our urban plastic furniture may look out of place, but it works well on the new cedar tone deck.

The trim is beginning to take shape.

It's still a green cabin, but you will see big changes soon.

Here is Geary the carpenter & Pat finishing off the trim outside the big windows that are open to below.  The tongue & grove is finished on the whole upper part of the cabin.

Does this look like a boat?  No, it's the outside siding that we traded for our boat!'

The siding is slowing going up on two sides of the cabin.

The new siding looks great and not at all like a boat!

Rita, Debs mom is checking out the upstairs loft.

Pat waves to Carla (Debs sister) below who is too scared to go upstairs on a ladder.

Two ceiling fans are installed at the top of the cabin.  The one in the loft has a light and the other in the open to below area is just a fan.

Pat & Geary reconstruct some old steps to be used temporarily until a 4 season porch is constructed on this part of the cabin.

What a beautiful view from the deck of the sky and trees reflecting off the 3 windows.

The trim is done and it looks great!

Those 4 strong men and 1 strong woman were put to work again carrying in this 400 pound Vermont Castings propane stove.  It has the fake logs that you can see with a flame thru the glass and is bright red.

A new screen door is installed on the deck side of the cabin.

The tongue and groove make great coverings for the walls.

At the other side of the cabin, the tongue and groove only goes up to eye level.  There will be sheet rock above that point.

The stairs are installed by wood artisans, Bill & Barb Godlin.  We provided the wood that we purchased from Mark the sawmill guy.  Bill & Barb constructed the steps in their workshop over the winter and then put them together at the cabin.

Geary & Pat take a break after some sheet rock work.

We purchased a cedar log futon with matching coffee table and end tables at Mora Unclaimed Freight.  The futon mattress is very comfortable and even has springs inside the mattress.  The upholstery has bears, moose, deer and geese on it!

Another looong winter.  But this time it's different....we have heat and a futon bed to sleep on!  It takes about 4-5 hours to heat up the cabin, so we take a snowshoe trail for an hour or so until it gets about 30 degrees.  Then we bundle up and drink hot cocoa until it's warm enough for dinner.  Once it's warm, it stays warm thru the night.

Pat keeps the deck swept and clear of snow & ice.

Spring is here again, so Pat & Geary build cabinets, finish off the closet and a pantry to the left has deer horn handles.

We have a borrowed propane stove that we cook our meals on and an old cupboard from our house before we renovated it.

A new screen door is installed where there will someday be a 4 season porch.

Great strides are made with the sheet rock painted and a new red oak floor installed!

Bill & Barb Godlin came back this spring to install the railings that are very unique.  The top railing that you see here can be removed so that you can watch the big screen TV from the upstairs without obstruction.

Geary is a varnishing fool....everything needs to be varnished at least 3 times!

The pretty red stove looks great with finished walls and a beautiful floor under it!

The kitchen cupboards get their deer horn handles too.

The Green Colors for the walls really pull everything together!

We are totally Off the Grid, which means there is no electrical company to provide electricity.  There is an electrical box, just like a real house which houses the wiring and we have some lights that are hooked up to a 12 Volt Marine Battery.  So you don't always have to start the Generator to get lights. 

Little by little we put some furniture in the downstairs.

These comfy lawn chairs make great temporary furniture for the cabin.

Spring brings these wonderful white flowers!

And here is our MN State Flower, the Lady Slipper!

This glider rocking chair was given to us by my Favorite Aunt Kathleen.  It is a great place to sit and watch the sun come up!

We are still looking for another glider rocking chair for this side of the loft.

There was one stair tread left over from the steps project.  So Pat & Geary made a wonderful shelf out of it.  They say it is strong enough for me to stand up there and wash windows....maybe not strong enough for a man to wash windows, of course?!

The open staircase gives the cabin a very open and airy feel.

A look at the "new" kitchen table given to us by out good friend Larry from above. 

The new floor is so beautiful and shinny!

We could not have picked out a better kitchen table!  Our friend, Larry was moving to FL and was going to leave the table and chairs with the house for sale.  He asked Pat if he wanted it and of course Pat said Yes!  It is a perfect match.

The picnic table has still not made it back outside.  We like having two tables and it is such a nice table made by our friend Mark from the local hardware store.


In the next few pictures, you will see some pretty new rugs we purchased at our local Pamida store.  They are not expensive rugs, but they match the decor perfectly.

We purchased a granite look-a-like formica counter top in Virginia, MN.  And now you can see our new Propane Stove & Fridge!

Here is the design on the countertop.  The design only duplicates every 5 feet, so it is very hard to tell that it is not Real Granite.

A close up of the Propane Stove & Fridge.  The fridge is so efficient that it is really hard to open.  They are both full sized appliances.

The kitchen table is set for dinner with some Lilly's of the Valley flowers as a centerpiece.

Lilly's of the Valley smell great mixed in with some pink and yellow "Butcher's Britches" wild flowers.

We brought up some pictures to hang and the only one that made it on the wall is a beautiful original painting by a local artist in Ely.

This picture was given to us by our good friend Dan, who passed away on July 13th from Cancer :(   Dan was a painter and did the staining on the outside of the cabin.   Unfortunately, I did not get a picture of him while he was working.  Dan will be missed by many of us here in Ely, MN!

Many hours were spent by Pat & Geary varnishing the railings that were designed by Bill & Barb Godlin with Pat's help.  They do wonderful unique wood work and can be contacted at 365-3512. 

There is always some optical illusion going on upstairs when the sun shines off the trees and leaves a green light on the tongue and groove wood.

Pat takes a break listening to his hand crank and/or battery operated weather radio.

We spot a bunny sneaking around the outside of our big west windows.  One of his ears is clipped and soon we see another bunny which must be his mate bouncing around the area.

Pat & Geary work on getting the lower cupboards under the new "Granite" countertop.

The lower cupboards will have 3 drawers on the left and an inside pull out on the right.

We ordered a couple of comfy recliner, swivel, rockers from Mora Unclaimed freight.  The upholstery design will match the upstairs futon if we ever decide to move the futon downstairs. 

The chairs have a beautiful scene of deer and a leather look.  They are very comfortable and you can turn in any direction with the swivels.  Along with the chairs we purchased two more cedar end tables.

Even though the downstairs is getting filled up with furniture, it is still very roomy and the air flows thru the cabin very nicely.

You may see a new addition to the livingroom....a wood stove!

Our friend Jimmy called one day to say he heard about a "new" wood stove that was for sale.  We went to "look" at it and ended up buying it!  It is a Morso brand stove made in Denmark.  The people who were selling it have never used it.  When they decided to hook it up, they found out that they did not have the clearance to operate it safely.  We have plenty of clearance because it stands in the middle of the room. 

There is that picnic table again!  It's nice to have two tables.  One for eating and one for company to gather at.

Pat and Geary finish the kitchen cupboards, Hurray!  They were having problems with fitting all the deer horns on as handles and were faced with using regular wood knobs from the hardware store.  Boring!  The deer horns finally cooperated and now everything matches quite nicely.  I'm going to hate putting a big hole in that beautiful long countertop for a sink?!  Until then, I will enjoy is as running water is still a few years away.

There is Rita, my mom working hard at sewing some curtains for the cabin.  Rita worked most of this day making a "sample" curtain with Pat who designed the curtains.  Then she worked the next day up to 10:30 p.m. sewing the next 8 curtains paying close attention to all the details that make them look really great!  Thanks MOM!

The curtains are hung with birch poles showing in front of the curtains for a woodsy look.  This was all Pat's idea and it finishes off the cabin very nicely.

With alot of hard work and effort, things are coming along and looking very cool.

The curtains have black bears on them and a birch bark design as well.

The Deer Chairs are very comfortable and are a great place to relax!

My Mom, Rita used her talent once again to make curtains for our closet using the Winter Camo Print Material.  She matched up the prints to make two curtains look like one.

This is a Cast Iron Fox Humidifier that you fill with water and it puts humidity in the air during the heating months. 

That's all for now.....Thanks for checking out our wonderful cabin that we are building in the north woods of Ely, MN.  Please check back later as I will update this site with new pictures soon.

Wildlife Treasures Deer Hunting Shirts


 Our Wildlife Treasures clothing are very unique since they have a small logo print on the front of the shirt and a large detailed print on the back of the shirt.  We hire an artist to draw pictures of Deer, Bear, Moose, Wolves, etc.  He does his drawings in pen and ink!
We screen print our clothing here in Ely, MN and print on the best quality T-shirts, Sweatshirts and Hooded Sweatshirts.

There are many Wildlife Prints to choose from:

Deer Shirts     Bird Shirts
Animal Shirts    Fishing Shirts


Handmade Furry Animal Figurines


Soft Stuffed Plush Animals!


Click here to see more Plush Dog Toys!

Snapshots Page



Pat & Deb Kowal
PO Box 634
Ely, MN 55731