Richard Aiken is a jack of all trades. The 65-year-old has two Ph.D.s and a medical degree. He is also an opera singer, the author of The New Ancestral Diet, and a very fantastic builder. With just $100, this versatile old man turned an old wooden shack into something amazing.
Richard had long been interested in buying a home in the woods. After all, who doesn't want to go Walden, waking up in the middle of nowhere surrounded by trees every day? That's a beautiful dream for almost everyone, but few realized it. This old man did, at a low cost of just $100.
Richard originally considered buying a second house, but when a Missouri man introduced him to an old, run-down cabin, Richard knew that it's a chance to live his long-dreamed lifestyle. The man offered the decrepit wood cabin to him for free, but Richard insisted on paying him $100.
Obviously, the cabin was in such a bad shape that Richard had plenty of work to do before he could live in his future home. This unsafe structure was full of debris, and the roof had collapsed completely. Even so, Richard decided to spend his spare time fixing up the old shack.
Richard first inspected the structure to see what parts of the shack could be saved, but he only found that most of the cabin's wood was badly rotten. He had to tear the shack down and rebuild it from the ground. Still, this dedicated man tried to recapture any wood he could to remain some of the old house.
Richard marked all of the wooden boards on the outside of the shack, so he would know exactly how to arrange them after cleaning up the rot. After the original cabin was run down, we saw this beautiful scenery. Who wouldn't like to live in this oasis? That was a large motivating factor and Richard really made the right choice.
Richard enlisted his family to help him with this massive rebuilding, and they soon discovered a natural spring nearby. With this, the family could create their own waterfront property, but they would have to spend much time unearthing the spring. Now that the cabin was dismantled, Richard could relocate it anywhere he wanted.
The family dug into the spring by hand until they reached the bedrock. Then they used bulldozers to expand the spring and made a pond. The dock on the pond is a nice touch and shows Richard's brilliant craftsmanship. No tiny details were spared by this master builder, although it didn't seem like much of a project after he laid the first logs.
After creating a natural springs waterfront area, Richard knew surely where he wanted to build his new cabin - right by the pond. Then he was ready to start reconstruction. He had all of his plans ready, and he knew clearly what to do. The start of the project would lead Richard to painstakingly construct his new home from the ground up.
Richard would like to "remain true to the spirit of the original construction," but that turned out to be pretty arduous. The family reached bedrock at about 6 feet below the ground, so they needed to build the cabin a few feet above the ground. That would only add to the views the family enjoyed when the project was eventually finished.
They poured concrete to make the basement floor, and Richard picked up some materials from the trees around his property. They used white oak to create new floor joists, and split cedar shakes as shingles. A rustic front porch really brought the whole view together. Using wood from the area allowed Richard to blend his home with its beautiful surrounding and make the project something special.
For Richard, it's very important to include a hearth in his new home, because without one, the structure just wouldn't be a proper log cabin. Besides, a hearth would add to the country living appeal Richard was seeking to capture.
Richard's new cabin had an upper floor. To reach that upper floor, they would need to make a staircase. Richard fashioned a flight of gorgeous stairs with a fallen oak tree. He reused the fallen wood because he wouldn't want to cut down any of the beautiful trees in the area. Plus, the aged wood added a look that any carpenter loved.
Richard wanted the door of his cabin to be perfect. It would be the first feature people would see when getting into the house and it needed to feature a woodsy look. The family sent materials and designs to a carpenter who transformed them into the doors and windows of the cabin. The simple design did a great job of paying homage to the dismantled log cabin.
Richard built his cabin out of organically shaped logs, so it's impossible that they could fit together perfectly without damaging their natural look. The Aikens used chicken wire and an outdoor sealant to fill in the gaps between the logs. Sometimes a big project just takes a bit of teamwork. The gapping in the wood combined with the filler also helped present a natural look.
Now that the exterior of the cabin was finished, it was time to decorate the interior. They brought in several rustic chairs and tables and stocked the fireplace with a bunch of wood. This place really started to feel like home. The family avoided a modern look, which they thought would be taken away from their country retreat. The home might be new but it had an old-time feel.
The family's Amish neighbors used a fallen walnut tree and native white oak to build a harvest table. It was designed to be light, so they could move it closer to the fire when it was cold. This was a vital feature since they wouldn't be running heaters into the home. The family did think of everything as they built their country retreat.
The candle chandelier in Richard's new country home makes for a great light source when electricity isn't available, and the peaked roof allows natural light to flow into the cabin.
Lighting is an often overlooked element of a house but it's so important to have windows that let in enough sunlight, especially when electricity isn't being routed into the house. Just look at the amazing window Richard installed high in the home's ceiling.
What's a wood cabin without a loft bed? You've got to sleep somewhere. This small loft makes for a perfect spot to slumber the night away while enjoying fresh country air. It has a warm, cozy vibe for a relaxing snooze after a long day in the woods. It also maximizes the home's capacity to house family members as they cleverly take advantage of the home on a regular basis.
The Aikens are really keen on cooking, so they knew their new home would need a hearth, which could be used to cook everything from hot drinks to entire meals. Thanks to the dual uses of the fireplace, the family didn't have to worry about building a full kitchen in a small facet.
When the holidays came, this was the perfect setting for the Aiken family. Here's the family enjoying their first vegan Thanksgiving in the newly restored cabin. Now that everything is up, they can start having larger family gatherings. Who wouldn't want to hang out in such an awesome cabin?
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