There is something magical about building. You engage all the wonderful facets of life – your imagination, your physical ability, problem solving skills, spatial relation skills and so much more. When I was a kid there was nothing quite as fun as building a fort, whether of pillows or sticks and logs. When it was done, you could sit back and marvel at what you had accomplished. And in that moment of retrospection you were even more sure that nothing was impossible.
Throughout history many great thinkers built there own homes, cabins, and even forts. One great cabin that was self built was by Thoreau. His Walden Pond cabin not only served as the inspiration for his treaty on getting back to simplicity, Walden. But it also served as a fort that protected him from the common interruptions and distractions of life.
Whatever your reason, whether fun, purpose, or challenge – there is nothing like building a Fort. In this post I will detail some information that I have been compiling on a fort that I would like to build – a lodge.
This is obviously a huge undertaking of resources. Currently, the only resource that I can afford to spend is the time to research, and that I will gladly share with all of you.
The number one rule of real estate is location. The same is true of building a great fort…ur, I mean lodge. You will need to find a location that fits your list of needs. My list looks something like this:
- Far from the city, but close enough to byways to get there in less than 30 minutes.
- Land that will support self-sustenance. This means that the land will allow for geothermal, solar, or wind power and access to some good well water.
- Land that will accomodate a garden and some horses.
- Access to some good views and vivid starry nights.
You will want to sit down and think about your perfect location. The exercise of writing down your wants is actually a huge step in knowing what your next step will be…floorplans.
There are literally millions of floorplans that you can go with, and before you start building you will want to make sure that you are fully in love with your plan – because there is no turning back in the middle of the build without a lot of cost (time and other resources).
My plan is very simple. I started by asking around withe some home builders about the cheapest way to build a house. I wanted to know these parameters as a way to set some guidelines to my plans to prevent extreme costs. The consensus from home builders was that the cheapest way to build a home was to build a pole barn, and then complete the internal structure – so that was perfect since a lodge is nothing more than a glorified pole barn!
With that in mind, the first order of business is to know what all you want in your fort…I mean lodge, and then size your initial build accordingly.
In my case, I’m not looking for anything big. I would like a large gathering area that is a great room, about 2 private rooms that could be bedrooms, a sun room area, a kitchen, about 1.5 baths, and possibly an open loft. There also needs to be a fireplace (stone of course) and I would like it to be open to the great room and sunroom. The plan is pretty simple, and will definitely have a front and back porch!
As you are building, you will want to build your structure and then add your floor later. Then you can add plumbing and any conduit you can think of for electric, or possibly even radiant floor heating infrastructure that is tied to your fireplace and a simple pump.
While building out the sides you will want to think about windows, sun light, privacy, doors, and ventilation. Also, it is wise to think about engineering your roof. In my instance, I would like an open loft. But instead of this loft being supported on the floor and wall, I would prefer it to be suspended from the trusses. This is obviously an improvement that can be added after the framing is done – it must be considered and engineered before anything is started.
Your floor plan is your Mona Lisa, so grab some paper, take all you’ve learned and imagined and start your masterpiece.
Infrastructure and Final Thoughts
There are some things that you will want to think about when placing your lodge. Here are a few?
- Where is the best place for your well?
- Where is the best place for your Septic?
- Are you going to use Solar or Wind to provide energy, if so what is the best placement?
- Are there natural features that you want to enjoy? Do they align properly in relation to the sun’s travel in relation your lodge?
- Is there a natural path for a driveway?
- Do you need to plant trees for firewood, or is there some present that you want to keep in tact?
Obviously there is much more to think about, but this is to just getting you thinking. After some more investment of various resources you will have your lodge, or in my case a fort for me and my family to occasionally escape from the distractions so prevalent in life!