Arctic Adventures: Volume 17—Cabin Improvement Projects

Arctic Adventures: Volume 17—Cabin Improvement Projects

As we mentioned, the previous owners left us a perfectly functional cabin, but as with anything, you tend to want to make it your own.

It’s also worth noting, we forgot what it’s like to own property again. We figured purchasing a cabin without running water would simplify the to do list, especially compared with the money pit of a home we owned in Virginia from 2005-2015!

All this to say, we’ve been busy little bees when it comes to our lil home! I mentioned in a previous post that we stained our deck, cut back trees for fire prevention and put up gutters (plus flashing–the key to our gutters’ success). The other big projects we had on our radar were re-graveling (is that a word?) our driveway and building a shed/well house. Happy to say, there’s been great progress on both.

The first thing was to re-gravel our driveway. Once spring in Alaska melts all the snow and brings all the rain, you quickly learn if your driveway is messy. Ours was pretty good, but if Justin is a perfectionist about anything, it would be his driveway. Not only did he want to level out the driveway and fill in pot holes, but we both wanted to extend the driveway that branches off to the side, in anticipation for eventually having a spot ready for our camper van.

Before – May
Before – May
Side Driveway Before – May

We are now 2 dump truck loads of gravel in (actually, it’s called pit run), and the driveway has undergone a huge transformation, in my opinion. Moving gravel sucks, you guys. We have moved gravel for 3 different properties we’ve managed, and it is never enjoyable. It has taken us this entire month, and we still need another half load to finish out the offshoot. Our neighbor who helped us get the pit run in the first place felt really bad for us one day when he saw us moving it wheelbarrow by wheelbarrow, and helped spread it a little bit with his tractor. But it still sucks. We also borrowed a fun machine from him called a compactor. Its vibrations push the gravel down into the ground so it almost creates a paved or cement-like look/feel. Anyway, I’ve never taken more pictures of rocks and dirt, so if you’re interested, I’ve got plenty!

Mostly just looks like mud piles until you start spreading and compacting.
In progress …
Side driveway in progress
This thing is a beast! It’s a cross between a jack hammer & lawn mower … on steroids. It can only be used when the pit run is dry & I can’t manage it, only Justin.
The driveway will probably never look this good. Hoping to complete side driveway before the fall.

The next home improvement project was building a well house/shed. We solicited hired professional help for this one, and are thoroughly pleased thus far (Biva is awesome if anyone in Healy has a project!). We mainly wanted an insulated well house in order to get water in the winter, but mentioned we also wanted a shed. So our guy said, why not both??? Which is how we ended up with a 10×12 structure that will serve mostly as the shed, but also as the well house.

Home of our future shed
Home of our future shed cleared and ready to go!
Had we tried to do this ourselves, we would have NEVER known what to order …
Well pump getting insulated!
It looks nearly as big as our cabin!
From the backside
We wanted clear roofing for the shed part, to let in more light. But the well portion will be fully insulated, it just has metal roofing.
Our measly contribution included clearing the spot and painting the floor.

We are not at all done yet. Biva still needs to wall off and insulate the well house portion, put the doors and steps on and probably other things I don’t even know. Justin and I will have to decide if we are painting the structure or putting up siding (these will be our tasks).

Then there’s the whole question–are we connecting water from the well house to the cabin??? Maybe. That’s still to be determined, or better yet, our budget will determine that.

4 responses to “Arctic Adventures: Volume 17—Cabin Improvement Projects”

  1. Rachel says:

    If you build it (running water), they will come (house guests from Colorado)!

  2. Jamie says:

    Rachel and I can sleep in the well pump room. See you soon!

  3. Misti says:

    LOL I like Rachel and Jamie’s thought process…haha!

    Having moved my share of garden dirt and mulch (the last one twice a year!), I feel your pain on the gravel. I can’t imagine using that pounding machine, though! What a change it makes the place look, though! and the shed is awesome! Chris built our well house this spring after watching ton of YouTube and I’m pretty sure a bunch of forums. I want him to built an actual shed next!

  4. Mom/MIL says:

    OMG! Awesome improvements! You need that house to house all your AK finds!

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