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Two: The Plan

Spider Lake Crash Pad Series 1

The List

In order to get what you want, one of the most important things you can do is sit down and think about what exactly it is you want, why you want it, and a vision for what it will be when you get it.  In our case, this was physically writing up The List.

A good list will give you focus on your project, and ultimately drive the design direction.  The List set our foundation, drove decision making, and kept the focus on what can be at times an overwhelming reality of building a property.

We put our list down on paper in September of 2021, after years of thinking and talking about it, coming home from a trip to The Gunflint in Northern Minnesota.  We knew it was time to get serious, but little did we know once we made that decision, how quickly it would get serious.  The List was crucially important.

Number One on our list:

  1. On gravel roads (ideally near National Forest)

Some of the things on our list likely won’t happen, but we added them anyhow.

  1. Ability for Larger Garden

  2. Small Fruit Tree Orchard

This was Kurt talking; I don’t even remember this being on our list as I type this.

  1. Minimum of 10 acres (flexible)


Maybe someday/sort of incorporated into final design:

  1. Ability to have 1 or 2 cabins for rentals

  2. House & Barn

    1. Windows with property views

    2. Workout Room:  Biking, Yoga, Core/Strength

    3. Bike out the door & bike storage

    4. Vehicle Parking

    5. Studio/Work space

    6. Camper Storage

    7. Sauna

  1. 30 Minutes from medical care (no more than one hour)

  2. 30 Minutes from grocery store

  3. No more than 3 hours from a larger metropolitan area


This list further evolved and eventually forms of it made their way into our Design Specifications document we shared with our architect.

Design Specs

One of the most crucial documents in our planning stage was the Design Specifications document I put together in Google Slides.  The List gave us the framework for this document, from which we got more specific on our direction.  

At this point, we had purchased the land and knew we wanted to move quickly.  At the time we did not have a full concept of how long it would take to build a cabin, but we knew we wanted to be aggressive in moving the project forward.  Creating our Design Specs was definitely an important step in both giving the architect we worked with our full vision, and creating a cabin that matched our vision.  

We don’t have a cabin standing today out of pure luck (okay maybe a bit of that too), but one of the main reasons we have a cabin standing today is because we had a vision we were able to clearly communicate.  A few days after our first meet and greet with the architect (November 18, 2021), we provided him our Design Specs.  In the overall timeline, this was created 6 days after we purchased the property (November 12, 2021) and 4 days after I reached out to our architect (November 14, 2021),

What we know is that all the ideas we were able to communicate clearly and concisely in this document factored into our final design.  We went from a rugged sketch we made together at the dining table to breaking ground in 10 months.  That SEEMS like a long time, but trust us it is not.

Through my blog and complimentary videos, I plan to share with you both feelings (the ups, the downs, and all the in-betweens) of building something out of nothing, as well as the facts (what it is like to work with an architect, how a SIP Panel building is planned and built, what it is like to be your own GC).  All through our lens.  This isn’t about being a how-to, or getting thousands of subscribers because we want to be ‘influencers’, what this is about is sharing our experience to inspire, motivate, educate, and entertain.  This is my creative project, I hope you enjoy it!

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Cabin Stories
These are our stories about building our cabin in Northern Wisconsin.