The Cassel Cabin

The log cabin on top of the ICF foundation

As Tina and Denny Cassel were planning for their future, they seized upon the unique opportunity to design and build their own vacation home. They had always been drawn to the rustic style of the log cabin but knew that in order to build the home they wanted, they would need an extremely strong base. The need for strength and the desire to learn about a new construction method lead them to BuildBlock ICFs. 

The Project

  • 3,000 square foot log cabin on top of an ICF foundation
  • 1,232 square feet of ICF used
  • 5 day of ICF installation time (saving over a week on construction)
  • 96 weeks of total construction time
  • The project utilized BuildBrace, treated lumber bucking, and stone and log exterior finishes

    Large opening bucked, strapped, and braced

If you have watched any of our training videos or visited the BuildBlock Training Portal then whether you know it or not, you are familiar with the Cassel Cabin. We were onsite for the ICF portion of this build and had the unique opportunity of being able to train and record the entire process. The Cassel’s designed and built this house themselves. They had very little experience with home building and had never worked with ICFs before. This project goes a long way in proving that, with a little guidance, anyone can build with ICFs . 

This home is a traditional log cabin on top with an incredibly strong ICF basement. The materials used to build this home are very heavy and required a very strong base to support the overall weight of the structure. BuildBlock easily accomplishes this goal and creates a livable environment that is not only strong but also comfortable, efficient, and quiet. The walkout basement is used as a two car garage with additional space for storage. The ICFs keep the cars and valuables safe and protected during the harsh Michigan winters. This project is located on the shore of Intermediate Lake and there were concerns about the water table and proximity to the lake itself. While not a huge lake, the winds and winter precipitation were concerns for site placement, foundation, and construction time. ICFs offered an answer to all of these concerns without causing the owner to sacrifice on design.  

The Build

Pouring the wall

The ICF portion of the job was incredibly smooth. The walls were stacked, braced, reinforced, and poured by a crew of three in a matter of five days. Dennis Micoff, BuildBlock’s Director of Technical Development, worked with the homeowner and a contractor/friend who was interested in learning ICFs. Dennis was the only one who had worked with ICFs and he was able to train them and complete the job very effectively. ICFs greatly increased the speed of construction and created a lot of flexibility in the time frame in which they could build the house by simplifying construction and accomplishing several steps with one product.

The design of the home is quite unique and beautiful. It is a true log cabin home and includes three porches, queen trusses, and character braces. The front of the cabin is mostly made up of large windows to provide a spectacular view of the lake. All of the cabinets and doors in the home are custom made. The puddingstone fireplace is both beautiful and functional and reaches from the living room all the way to the second story ceiling. The log cabin theme is continued throughout the structure and present in the staircases, interior finishing, and a large tree in the middle of the home. 

The Finished Home

View of the back of the house from the lake

The owners are extremely pleased with the finished product. It’s currently used as a vacation home and they take every opportunity they get to visit. Eventually, it will be their full-time retirement home. As owners of an insurance agency they also wanted the first-hand experience with ICFs so they could be more informed as they write policies for their customers. Tina said “We are very satisfied with the results. If we were to do it over again we would use the ICF forms again. We recommend using BuildBlock whenever we can.”

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