Tag Archives: elevator

Full Size Elevator for Judy

Raising Judy

Disclaimer: This article has nothing to do with Coen Brothers’ 1987 film Raising Arizona (starring my lovely bride’s favorite Nicolas Cage and Holly Hunter).

Yesterday’s story left Judy crammed into a pneumatic elevator tube on an airplane transfer chair. It wasn’t long before we had to arrive at a better (and safer) solution.

Our better solution was a full sized elevator. A “real” elevator which would allow Judy to drive her power chair into the elevator, turn completely around and drive out on the other floor. There is a weight capacity of over 1000 pounds which allows another adult (or two grandchildren) to ride with her. This entailed having to erect an elevator shaft along with an accompanying mechanical room. We also ended up gaining a storage room (on level two) and a walk in pantry on level three.

Here are photos from August 2016 detailing our exterior build.

Our excavation had to be five feet deep in order to have an adequate pit for the elevator and to get to the frost line. 12 inch ICFs were used for our foundation.


11 ply 2×6 glulam columns from Gruenwald Engineered Laminates in Tea, South Dakota were placed for elevator to run up and down along.


Exterior walls were two sets of 2×6 stud walls. We built them on the West side of the house and then lifted them into place, as there was not room enough to frame them on each floor.

I got to utilize some of my truss building skills.


Stay tuned for a later article, where I will give my literal two cents worth on how to finish an elevator floor!

How Much is the White Gambrel Barn?

How Much is the White Gambrel Barn?

Reader ALLISON in SALIDA writes:

“I’m wondering what it would cost to build the large white gambrel style barn that’s on your website.  Thanks!”

This building has been featured in places like covers of NFBA’s post frame building design manual and Rural Builder magazine. It is truly a monument to what fully engineered post frame buildings can do.

My lovely bride Judy and I happen to live in this building. We put it up 15 years ago for just under $400,000 (turnkey) and have since added features such as a full sized elevator, custom cabinets, granite countertops, hardwood flooring and tile. We recently had it reassessed for insurance and it came back with a replacement cost right at a million dollars for roughly 8000 finished square feet.

Now not every barndominium has all of our home’s features. All windows are triple-pane low-E gas filled. Primary heat is geothermal radiant in-floor. CHI overhead doors are highest R value available, with openers. Lower level begins with a 48′ x 60′ half court for basketball, with 16′ ceilings. It is clearspanned with floor trusses (yes, 48′) so there are no interior columns. On one side are two 18′ x 24′ offices with built in oak desks, drawers, cabinets. Front office has a vaulted ceiling (slopes from 17 to 11 feet). Opposite side has garage space for my 1950 Chevy pickup and motorcycle, a sauna, bathroom, kitchenette and utility room for hot water heater and water conditioner. There is a finished storage area above this of nearly 500 square feet. Besides our full sized elevator, opposite it is a tube elevator. Also on this level is a mechanical room for a big elevator and directly above it a huge storage closet.

Upstairs we have a 40′ x 60′ living area with my ideal dream kitchen (roughly 20′ x 25′) open to our great room. (Read more about this kitchen here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2020/05/not-your-average-kitchen-in-a-barndominium/) Master suite is in one corner 20′ x 32′ including an ADA bathroom, laundry and a roll in closet. Above is my wife’s sewing loft. (photos of loft in this article: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2020/03/a-mezzanine-for-your-barndominium/)  All of this level also has 16 foot ceilings. Besides elevators, there is a four foot width oak stairs to access this level from below. We also have a pantry on this floor, large enough for a refrigerator and an upright freezer, plus two foot deep shelves on two walls. There are gas fireplaces in both master suite and the great room.

This is what one does with a 16 foot tall great room wall:

If you ever get to Northeast South Dakota, drop us a note and we will give you a tour.