....................................Sumner's Home Page.......
.............................My Ex-Wyoming House
I build this house in Wyoming when I was very broke (still am) in two parts. The house as shown above, about 800 square feet was built for less than $4000.00 and that included the septic system. To keep the cost this low I built the entire house, elect., plumbing, septic, etc.. My only cost for outside help was $35 to have a guy dig the leach field and the hole for the septic tank. I also had a well drilled for an additional $1000. About 10 years later I added the addition shown further down the page that had native sawn lumber for the exterior walls for about $10,000. The addition almost doubled the size of the house and gave us a green house.
The front door is to the left above and the view is of the living area looking east towards the drive into the house. The couch to the left made out into a double bed and I made it while teaching school on the Cheyenne Reservation in Montana. The large cabinet to the right was made at the same time as the couch and had the same basic shape with both of the being eight feet long.
Above we are looking to the other end of the living area with the loft bed behind the stove and the kitchen hidden off to the right of the loft bed. There was a study area to the left of the loft bed and back under it. The window on the left was later made into a doorway leading into the addition shown in pictures below. I still use that stove to heat my shop in Blanding Wyoming when the solar heat falls off due to clouds.
A view looking out the front of the house with the pasture which was cut for hay on years where there was enough moisture to grow a good crop of grass. Easter the milk cow is down the hill in the picture with her calf from the year before above her and to the left and her current calf off to the right in the picture. The black calf had been bought and it was just being fattened out.
The two pictures above and the rest below show the house with the addition added to it on the south side.
The house was made of native lumber, slabs for the exterior (free) and was of pole construction with a 1 1/2 inch concrete slab floor that floated on piers above the ground. The ground was dug up loose where the floor would be and then I dug holes through the loose dirt back to the solid dirt underneath on a 30 inch grid pattern. The concrete was mixed in with pea gravel and poured. Later the loose dirt settled and the floor remained where it was on the piers (holes I dug) resulting in an air space under the floor. The floor was back about 1 1/2 inches from the perimeter walls of the house. In the middle of the floor was a lowered section for the wood/coal burning stove. Cold air would drop off the walls and return to the stove under the floor (for this reason it is called a no-draft floor). The floor was insulated somewhat from the ground with this air space and wasn't cold to your feet.
I hauled in all the sand and gravel and mixed all the concrete for the house in a 1/2 bag mixer. The house was insulated with about 5 tons ($50) of wood shavings and saw dust from a local stud mill. The walls had 10 inches of wood shavings in them and the ceiling had 16 inches. No electrical wires ran through the saw dust, but were in a base board I routed out on the back side for the wire. I heated the house with a stove I built that burnt either coal or wood for about $75 a winter and that is in Wyoming with 20 and 30 degree below days.
The original part of the house had only one square corner and all the ends here hexagonal. The addition was built into a south facing hill (all excavation was done by me and by hand with just a shovel and wheelbarrow) and featured a green house and a dark room. This provided a lot of winter heat and we had fresh salads when it was below zero outside. If I remember right I moved about 45 tons of dirt by hand. Stupid, but cheap.
All the materials for the house were hauled in with 1FATGMC. Of course it looked different then.
The house was on 20 acres about 13 miles out of Sheridan, Wyoming with a view of the Big Horn Mountains. Over the years I had pigs, chickens horses, donkeys and milked a Jersey Cow (Easter) for 8 years.