Cedar run

Welcome to cedar run

In 2004 Karen and I embarked on a quest to build a home away from the hustle and bustle of city lights, noise, and clutter. We searched for almost a year for the right spot. Finally we found a spot with acres of forest and littered with running cedar--a plant known to augur a healthy environment. From there we began clearing, picked a builder, and moved in during the summer of 2006. Herein we chronicle our journey and our ongoing projects.

From weeds to a yard

WeedsIn the summer of 2004, after about a year-long search, we finally found some land in Johnston County, NC just east of Raleigh. After seeing dozens of sites, this one attracted both of us because of the beautiful forested areas and the abundance of a primitive plant that grows primarily in this area known as Running Cedar--hence the name of our homestead. When we first saw the property, the “cleared” areas were heavily overgrown with weeds. This shot is actually where the house now sits.

Truck and Weeds


As our property had no driveway at that time, we had to park on the edge of what was to become our front yard.


First Clearing Our very first purchase was a tractor, which we affectionately call Bessie. Then we proceeded to clear the property and decide where to build. By the way, you’re looking right at where the house sits--at the rear nestled in the woods.


gaining access

Driveway Trees


Due to some legal issues, the next part of our adventure was to take down twenty some trees and have a driveway put in.



Driveway By the time the trees were down and many truckloads of dirt brought from the back of the property to the front, we had a driveway. The fill dirt turned a good sized hill into a significant crater.


Breaking Ground

Breaking GroundSuddenly, the whole thing started to become real. Up to this point we had spent countless weekends clearing, moving wood, cleaning up years of trash and generally raising the price of our stock in Motrin™. Somehow, the onslaught of heavy equipment changes things very dramatically. Then in the summer of 2005, after talking to several builders and designers-- and seriously questioning our sanity--we settled on a builder and got started. After the first of many delays, we finally broke ground in August.


Foundation Dig


Soon we had a major hole in the earth with the preparations set up for a cellar in the middle third of the house and crawlspaces on either side.




Then the foundation was created as a monolithic pour. The builder and building inspector claim this is 17 times stronger than a cinder block foundation. It is also built with drains around the basement. In three years we have not had a drop of water in the foundation.


A house begins to grow


Floor System

The next major part of the house was the flooring system. This was installed in just a couple of days.



Framing Start


From there, the framing went up. We were warned that framing would go very quickly and then things would appear to slow down. How very true.




Before long it actually looked like a house. The dumpster and (not shown) port-a-potty became seemingly permanent fixtures. Our friends wondered if we were going to have indoor plumbing.


Digging Well

While the house was going up, it was time to put in a well. Although we have wonderful clear water, you never would have known it by the mess involved in putting in a well.


House Back


Fortunately the roof was put on very quickly so we had very little water end up on the subfloor.


Inside Framing


At the same time, the interior was being roughed in for electrical and plumbing.



Sheet Rock

One of the most shocking experiences was the day we saw sheet rock up. We had looked at framing for weeks visualizing the flow of thehouse but still walking through walls the only way a muggle can. In a single day the house was transformed.



Water Heater

We have attempted to make the house as “green” a dwelling as possible. We have 2x6 exterior walls, low-e coated windows, extra insulation, bamboo floors and other features that seem to be very uncommon in North Carolina. One appliance we really enjoy is our tankless water heater. It is far more efficient than any tank model and you cannot run out of water.


North East CornerWe also have a four foot overhang all around the house to block the summer sun and let us listen to the rain as well as a concrete walkway to keep the bugs away from the house and minimize dirt tracked in.


House Front


So, here is the finished product, as it was when we moved in on June 8th, 2006.



Back yard

Even before we did any serious landscaping the back yard was a sanctuary. There are few things more peaceful than looking out into the woods.


House Front


Here is an arial view of our little village.