Two story shack project - looking for some input

Jim Timber

5 year old buck +
I finally have the funds coming to move forward on this project, so now I need to settle on what I'm actually going to do.

The function of this building is multi-faceted: it'll be a base camp for construction of other facilities in the future, it'll also be a hang out for myself in the summer when my in-laws are occupying their cabin and bunk house for guests when we eventually have our home completed, it will also house a game preparation and dressing station (NSF counter/sink) as well as a winch for skinning critters, then finally it'll be general storage as well.

I'm thinking something along the 16x24 dimensions with a deck on the second story (possibly completed later).

I want a 9' ceiling on the main level, and at least 7' upstairs. I don't want dormers or any knee walls either - this is going to be fully functional space.

I've been planning on a wooden floor on joists with insulation for a couple reasons - the site is only accessible by ATV, and mixing concrete with hauled in water is not something I'm physically up to doing. At least with the wooden floor I can moderate my productivity based on my physical conditions.

We talked a bit about the foundation before, and I've decided on doing posts down to below the frost line. I can manage filling some sono tubes with hauled in concrete, but a whole pad isn't going to work. The tubes might punish me too, but I know they're the right way to go for this. I'll need to rent a dingo or get some help with an auger.

Being able to heat the place is important. Keeping it 70F in January isn't a big concern (now), but getting into the 60's in November is. I'll probably have a LP heater and maybe a wood stove (depends on insurance).

So if you were building such a facility: what features would you incorporate?
Do you have electricity at the site?
I've got a 6500w generator and will be using air tools off a portable compressor. I also have a full assortment of cordless tools.

My thinking is to do a small solar array on the roof (pitched south) to charge a battery bank and use 12v lights/electronics. LED's don't draw much power and need no inversion to hard wire in.
Solar sounds good. I started off with a similar size generator. My only suggestion would be to install enough windows for added lighting and ventilation. Looks like you're going to be busy this year - Best of luck!...;)
You'll have to keep us updated with photos along the way. Good luck on the construction.
I'm not sure of the vapor barrier issue with an insulated floor but if I was going to do one there are some things I'd incorporate.

I had a house with one room with an insulated floor and my place now "had" insulation. The mice literally cleaned it out before I bought the place. At my other house bumble bees loved to nest in it. If I was going to insulate I'd staple metal window screen to the floor Joyce from underneath to keep the insects and critters out. Lay the insulation from the top then put my sheathing down. Plan your plumbing first and have it in place also.
I like your measurements. You wont waste much wood with 8ft increments. You must have thought that through;)
Im gonna do somthing very similiar in size except Im doing a 2 story pole building with steep roof
I'll probably just do pink foam in the floor. I'd been thinking hardware cloth and fiberglass, but insects would still get through that.

There's no plumbing aside from the gravity fed wash basin. I'm not sure if I'll do any kind of RV water heater or not yet. The basin will dump to above ground away from the building through a screened drain. This building will be serviced by an out house for anything not let fly off the deck. :D

Pole construction would be ok if we didn't have so many mice, or bigger vermin. I'm doing fiber cement siding for durability, low maintenance, and it forces thieves to go through windows/doors which I can make sufficiently difficult via metal work.

I may go a little bigger in size once I start getting hard numbers. I can readily buy 16' lumber for the joists, so if I made it any wider I'd need specialty wood, or a support beam with uprights in the middle. For now I'm just figuring on a clear span.

I'm looking at keeping the cost under $5K.

The project will hopefully help as physical therapy for my hands. I just hope my neck and back don't whine too much (I'll be doped up anyway). 7 years ago I built my shop which is 24x35x11' ceiling. That was about 24K in hard costs with 7 of it going into the slab, and 3K in electrical and permits (I did the wiring myself - it's got outlets everywhere and no more than 3 to a circuit).
Around 2007....we got one of these 16x24' with 4 window and a door....26 ga steel panels with 1-3/4" foam insulation in the middle....just like metal entrance/exit doors. These panels are on all five sides including floor....inside flooring is plywood which we cleaned and finished with varnish.....built a small kitchen with the roof over that being a second story (call it the love nest)....built porch with tin roof too. Cost was 3 grand for building and 1 grand for other materials.

BTW....just noticed they now make deer I'll check those out!
You mentioned that you were going to use it for skinning, maybe incorporate a trap door that could be opened up so you could attach an electric winch in upstairs so you have plenty of height for skinning deer.
I've already got a winch installed in the floor joists in the plan. 9' ceiling means nearly 10' clearance to the floor above - more than enough room for stringing up bambis.
as for a footing, google yourself "screw pile" you could most likely rent a skid steer and use an auger head to screw them in with. If you do build it up off the ground, by all means build it high enough to make use of the dry storage underneath. I mean pull under while on your quad high, other wise it is wasted space that you will have to build elsewhere.
This is the first of four buildings planned for the property. I have no concern with lost space under the main floor.

Did a little prototyping today. :D








So this is a scale building as close as legos get. 1 peg = 1 foot. The balcony is 8' deep over the overhead door, and 6 over the side entrance. Those overhangs should keep snow from piling up and making entry difficult.

I'll probably ditch the second service door. That's the beauty of modeling.
Well that looks pretty good, I had no concern with lost space under the main floor when we got to building our place in NY on pilings, now it is wasted space that could have been much better utilized. Instead of under there storage, we are looking at sheds and lean to add ons on the sides of sheds to park stuff. I sure wish I had done it differently. Only other thing I'll add is using 2x6 construction, makes for a lot more insulation power, offset cost by going to truss overhead on 2 foot centers.
This isn't a house. This is the size of my living room in suburbia. It's a shed with a lounge level.

I've always planned on 2x6's or 2x8's. Depends on if I do 16 OC or 24 OC. Haven't gotten that far yet. I'm just working out how big to make it.
Pretty ambitious plan Jim. Should be quite useful tho...........I like all the colors your going to paint it! ;) Maybe a little bright for a deer stand tho. o_O
I'm not motivated enough to try to find the right colors in our big bucket of legos. :p

I'm thinking of changing the garage door to the long side too. I think having it on the end will limit what I can do with the long side wall.

I'm also thinking of moving the deck to the side with minimal windows, since having a deck will block the vertical view to the ground which is the whole point of floor to ceiling windows.

Looks like I'll need to make a bandsaw mill to get this thing done as well. There's no way I can buy the wood needed for this place how I want it.
I can't do my slant roof though. lol

We have way more legos than I ever did as a kid, so I decided to see what I could do with them. If we had more of the green bases, I would've made it even bigger, but this worked pretty good for proof of concept and to get me thinking about spacial considerations.

Next step is to figure out the exact site and how to best integrate the facility into the layout.
Don't forget about using one of my favorite toys growing up.... Linken Logs. :)

....and, you could always assemble it with a crane made from an erector set. ;)
We have some of those somewhere too. I don't have the desire to dig through the mountains of crap in the basement to find them. :eek:

The legos worked surprisingly well. More than adequate to save some frustration with my pencil sketches. I'll have to convert them to real prints to get a permit, but this will smooth that out immensely.