Progress at the Cabin

Working on our off-grid cabin in the Big Bend Valley section of Terlingua Ranch has kept me on my toes. Because I don’t have the discretionary cash to sub out the work, I have had to call into play every DIY skill I have developed over the years — and then some. And I have had to make every trip to the cabin count.

Fortunately for me, I have lots of really kind friends who have helped along the way. Without their help I would be woefully behind on the work. There are just too many things that require more than one set of hands. YouTube DIY videos have also been helpful in guiding me through various phases of the work.

We have made lots of progress over the past month. A few weeks ago several of the guys in my Band of Fathers core group set aside a day from our adventuring agenda to help me insulate the ceiling, install the ceiling tin, and finish the trim work on all of the interior windows. Insulating the ceiling has made a huge difference in keeping the cabin cozy, especially on those occasions when the north wind blows all night long.

Adding the baseboard and window trim immediately made the interior look more finished. I especially like the Texas star medallions that we chose for the doors and windows. They add a cool look and made it much easier to install the trim — eliminating the need for 45-degree miter cuts.

Installing the beadboard also changed the look of the interior. We decided to do a beadboard wainscoting measuring three-feet up from the floor — up to the height of the doorknobs. Once we installed the baseboards and beadboard we caulked all of the seams in preparation for paint.

This past week Cheryl and I returned to the cabin to paint all of the trim and the wainscoting. We chose a flat paint for the walls, a semi-gloss for the trim, and a satin finish for the wainscoting. We also added trim where the walls meet the ceiling tin. We painted the trim before installing it and then filled in the nail holes with wood filler before finishing this phase of the work with touch-up paint.

We had just enough time to complete the ceiling in the bathroom. We opted for a shiplap look with long 1 x 4 x 8 lumber. This was very easy to install and to tack in place with my finish nailer. We ripped some lumber on the table saw to add trim to the perimeter of the ceiling. We completed this step with wood filler, caulk, and touch-up paint.

Next steps include painting the doors and adding new LED light fixtures. We have also decided on vinyl laminate flooring for easy maintenance. Hopefully we can finish these steps sometime after the first of the year.

One of the things I noticed was how this interior work has enhanced our view of Nine Point Mesa and Black Hill to the east. Our east-facing windows have become an even more beautiful frame for the magnificent view of these iconic Big Bend landmarks.

We remain excited about every small step that gets us closer to moving furniture to the cabin. We know the day is coming when all of the interior work will be completed and we can turn our attention to some of the outside projects we want to do — including working to restore some native grasses.

This Thanksgiving Cheryl and I are thankful for all of the friends who have helped get us to where we are — from fencing the property to working on the interior of the cabin. We can see the signature of their kindness every time we visit Dos Arbolitos, our little slice of heaven in the Big Bend of Texas.

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