The Mansion of Sheds

I blame my father. He said he wanted to build a "storage shed" for my brother-in-law, as a Christmas present, and asked me if I wanted to help build it. "Sounds like a fun project, count me in," says I. Famous last words...

Dad sketched a few different possibilities for the shed and Kim and Gary settled on one they liked. Then my dad drew up the building plans and materials list and proceeded to get a building permit. A building permit? What kind of shed are we talking here? Well, it turns out we're talking about a two room shed, with an attic roughly 300 sq. feet in size. It turns out that perhaps "shed" wasn't the best description. "Small house" is more like it. Has he ever built anything like this? No. Have I? Heck no. This should be a learning experience!

And it was too! Every day we demonstrated the concept of a "learning curve". Nearly everything we tried was something we were doing for the first time, and we were awful at it. But we got better and better the more of it we did.

Beginning to begin Before we could begin building the new building, we had to disassemble and remove an old metal shed that was being replaced. In this picture, we've got the old building removed, and are trying to lay out strings showing exactly where the foundation needs to go. Getting it all square and level took considerably more effort than we expected.
Then the real work began. Digging the trenches all around the edges of the foundation. The building code required the trenches at least a foot deep and a foot wide. It didn't require that our soil be full of large rocks, but it was anyway. After the digging was complete, we built the forms for the concrete. Again, getting them all square was no joy. Forms done, ready for concrete
Dump truck with LOTS of sand Holy Smackers! Are you sure we're gonna need ALL this aggregate? It turns out, we did. Every bit of it got shoveled into our little mixer and turned into cement.
Yours truly, hauling one of what seemed like millions of wheelbarrow loads of cement up to the foundation and pouring it in. I couldn't bear to count how many loads it was, but I later estimated the weight of the cement to be over 20,000 lbs.

This retired life is way too much work.

Yet another load of concrete
The walls start to go up The foundation is done and we're starting to put up the framing. Why do we have a panel already installed in the corner? Well, it helped keep the whole thing square. Do professional carpenters build this way? No, but no one would ever confuse us with professional carpenters.
Yippee! The walls are all framed and we can begin putting on the siding panels. Wait, before we install the siding, shouldn't we frame up the roof? No, silly, that's how professionals do it. Putting up siding
Fiddling on the roof Progress! The roof is nearly done and Sandra foolishly volunteered to put the shingles on it. However, she cleverly did not volunteer to lug the heavy packages of shingles up the ladder and onto the roof.
After adding trim boards, paint, a cupola, and a bunch of shelves inside, we called it done! It took us 26 working days to build it, and we were all glad to see it finished. But it came out looking pretty good (well, at least in our not so humble opinions) and we learned a lot. And you know what? Despite the hard work, it turned out to be kinda fun after all.
All done: front/side view Front/Side view All done: rear view Rear view

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