Archive for January, 2015


Throughout the process we referenced these Rob Roy publications:

Complete Book of Cordwood Masonry Housebuilding
The Complete Book of Underground Houses – How to Build a Low-Cost Home
Earth-Sheltered Houses
Timber Framing for the Rest of Us

Other Resources:

Cordwood & the Code: A Building Permit Guide
Alternative Housebuilding by Mike McClintock

Vendor Contacts:

Architectural Metals LLC (metal roof)
Verona, WI 53593
Phone: (608) 826-5000

American Hydrotech Inc. (living roofing materials)
303 East Ohio Street
Chicago, IL 60611-3387
(800) 877-6125

Black Bear Enterprises (log home construction, large window installation)
8467 Arbor Trace Drive
Verona, WI 53593

Creative Ironworks (Castle door decorative hinges, peep hole)
Mike Edlinger
(608) 832-0501

Dwyer’s Specialty & Lining (spray foam insulation)
Beloit, Wisconsin 53511

Gimme Shelter Construction, Inc. (masonry fireplace)
P.O. Box 176
343 County Road KK
Amherst, WI 54406
(715) 824-7200

H&H Electric, Inc. (solar panel installation)
3201 Latham Drive
Madison, WI 53713
(608) 273-4464
Fax: (608) 273-9764

Ivey Construction Inc. (gravel, concrete)
1020 Bollerud Street
Mineral Point, WI 53565
(608) 987-2967

Judd’s Woodshop (cabinets, castle door, staircase)
9572 Overland Road
Mount Horeb, WI 53572

Maple Leaf Landscaping
 2416 Spring Rose Rd, Verona, WI 53593
(608) 845-2203

Marling Lumber Company (decking, etc.)
1801 East Washington Avenue
Madison, WI 53704
(608) 244-4777

Miller Post + Beam, LLC (Glulam-tm timbers)
N7486 Meadow Ln Crivitz, WI 54114
Phone: (715) 854-7509
Fax: (715) 854-7597
Email: mpbllc@centurylink.net

Postville Blacksmith (railings, room divider)
Bob Bergman
(608) 527-2494

Stetson Building Products (concrete forms, Bituthene, NP-1 caulk, lime, much more)
4015 Terminal Drive, McFarland, WI 53558
(608) 838-5545

Sun Valley Fabrication (metalwork; shower tower, outdoor ramp)
(800) 235-4146
Hollandale, WI

True North Cedar, Inc. (white cedar)
P.O. Box 16065
Duluth, MN 55816

Vendura Solid Surface Solutions, Madison, WI
(608) 223-9555
(800) 394-4524 (Toll Free), (608) 223-9394 (Fax)


Window Design Center (windows, doors)
6524 Seybold Road
Madison, WI 53719
(608) 271-8002


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2002: Bought property, constructed and moved into transitional housing (on the property).

2003: Began professional cut flower gardening with local LLC.

2004: Site excavated.

2005: CoCoCo conference.

2006: Tracking Solar Panel installed utilizing the Focus on Energy program (H&H Electric). Hired structural engineer to assemble open floor plan calculations and drawings. Footings laid.

2007: Foundation gravel laid, concrete forms with rebar assembled, 16” walls poured (Ivey Construction; 85 yards overall) and insulated.

2008: Radiant heat (with Styrofoam underlayment), laid. Concrete pad poured. Concrete room (storm shelter/pantry) constructed.

2009: March – Glulam timbers and metal brackets delivered. Timber framing begins! June/July – framing, roofing done (10080 linear feet of decking). October – 60 face cord of white cedar cordwood delivered (Hobart Lumber, Duluth, MN – no longer in business). Property hardwoods harvested and milled for future window and door frame construction. Marvin windows ordered (Window Design Center).

2010: 16” cordwood pieces cut using homemade jig. Cordwood wall building began. Property hardwood harvested for window frames, etc. Window frames constructed (woodworking equipment in building ground floor) and installed during building process.

2011: More wall building and frame construction (West wall panels completed). Two-story masonry fireplace built (cores by Gimme Shelter, outer cement block shell by Kim), more property hardwoods harvested and milled for window and door frames, Kim retires from full-time work.

2012: More wall building/frames installed (North wall panels completed). Roof pierced for Kim to finish chimney construction and stucco finish. May – Garden roof materials delivered (American Hydrotech Inc.; 15 ton proprietary expanded clay soil mix, Root Stop, Root Stop tape, 68 sheets of Gardendrain, 3 rolls of Systemfilter – 12.5’ x 120’, 96# of sedum cuttings: Stetson Building Products rigid insulation; 88 – 2” sheets, 44 – 1” sheets: Ivey Construction; 3 cubic yards washed river rock) and installed by ourselves with a local crew. More (16 face cord) white cedar logs delivered, cut, sorted, cleaned and stacked.

2013: First floor decking partially laid, more wall building (East wall panels complete, South wall progress considerable), window frame construction and installation, decision not to lay cordwood for the third level, but finish with 2”x6” stud walls and cedar shake siding). The fireplace heat exchanger is connected to the lower level radiant heat and is operated throughout the winter.

2014: Both Kim and Roberta are retired now. South cordwood walls complete (Post Mortar Depression; 4 ½ years laying cordwood walls comes to an end). All floor decking laid (an additional small order of decking was required). Inside posts, beams and ceilings are sanded, cleaned, stained and varnished (complete except for the cathedral ceiling area – local help hired). All windows (except one) and doors installed. Black Bear Enterprises hired to install 6’x8’ window on the 3rd level of the South wall. Internal and external caulking, window trim and finishing progresses. Cedar shake trim applied to North window. Large outside scaffolding pieces disassembled. Outbuilding constructed (hired) to house woodworking equipment, equipment moved, stucco finish applied to 2nd level fireplace, 1st level fireplace stucco started, UPS (Uninterrupted Power Supply built and installed for the radiant heat system). Plan and begin construction on Master bedroom, bath and kitchen areas.

2015 (and beyond): Plans – Finish fireplace stucco. Complete master bedroom, bath and kitchen (with intent to inhabit at that time). Install indoor plumbing, additional electrical outlets and fixtures. Connect internal plumbing to septic system. Continue with finished flooring, stud out internal rooms; bedrooms, bath, mudroom/laundry, work rooms, exercise and family rooms. Experiment and apply earth plasters to some internal walls. Baseboard molding, railings, permanent staircase, install spiral staircase, paint, install storm shelter/pantry door, build permanent main door. Build 2nd floor deck (or hire), build greenhouse on southern ground level, landscape, plan for outdoor patios, etc. Continue with caulking, window trim and finishing, etc. Move in.

Summation of wall-building materials:  Mason Sand:  47.2 tons, Lime = 8.75 tons, Cedar = 6.6 tons, Total = 62.55 tons

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