Skip to main content

Fairbanks man “for sure” going to finish putting up house siding this summer


When Kevin Currier moved up to Fairbanks in 1992, he didn’t wait long to buy his own slice of paradise. The 1.5 acre plot of land, located just off Farmers Loop Road, had everything he wanted. A gravel pad was already installed and it lay just outside the permafrost zone, not too far from the golf course. 

Currier built a one bedroom dry cabin on the property with the help of two friends his first summer, but he was enrolled at the university and just barely managed to get the plywood and insulation up before the weather turned. He spent his first three winters in the unfinished house, as first one thing, then another, kept him from finishing the construction of his home. 

“You know how it is here in Alaska,” said Currier. “It’s really the land of opportunity. Trails to ride, mountains to climb, late night calls from the troopers to go field dress another roadkill moose... Unfortunately, that’s always made it hard to find those extra couple days to finish up my house.”

In 1998, Currier found a great deal on laminate siding at an auction in Palmer, and enlisted a friend to drive the materials up on a flatbed. He managed to get both Tyvek and most of the siding up before hunting season pulled him away from the work. And there was another problem: the siding he’d purchased only covered a quarter of the house’s surface area.

“It wasn’t too bad, only a couple of the plywood pieces rotted out over the next year or so. It was good to get that Tyvek up though,” Currier recalls. “The best part is, the rougher it looks on the outside, the lower the property tax.”

It would be a couple more years before Currier found time to return to the siding, but in 2001, after nine years of dry cabin living, a different home improvement arrived - he finally installed water to the home. A 1000 gallon underground tank provided water for showers, dishes, and gardening.

“It was a real pain in the ass, getting plumbing,” said Currier. He had already mostly finished the interior of the house, so putting in water lines meant pulling off the unfinished drywall inside and replacing it. But he felt there was incentive, because the following summer Kevin Currier was to become a married man. According to Kevin’s own account, his wife Aurora Shawnee refused to marry without first being promised a shower. 

“It was OK getting plumbing,” said Currier. “I mean, I miss the dry cabin life, but my wife, you know, she had other ideas. At least it’s pretty cool driving around town with a huge water tank in my pickup. Makes me really feel like I’m part of the community.”

In the decade that followed, Currier added an Arctic entry and several old cars to the driveway. He found some loglap siding at the transfer station once, but never managed to put up more than a couple pieces. 

When Currier became a parent of a baby girl in 2006 and a boy in 2009, he knew it was time to really get to work on the house. By then though, the house he’d built as a young college student had grown small. It was time for an addition. 

“I had this buddy out in Goldstream who was building some cabins to make money off the hippy kids out there, and he hooked me up with some materials. Basically, I just built another dry cabin a few feet away and then stuck a big ass plywood wall between the two. Then I cut a hallway out with a Sawzall, and called it good. My kids loved it. Cold though. They had to use sleeping bags for a couple years until I got around to finishing up insulation.”

As the kids grew older, Currier found it harder and harder to find the time to finish up the house. A windstorm blew away the Tyvek on the west side in 2011. To keep the moisture out, he tacked up a blue tarp. Another blue tarp covered the roof joint where he’d installed the addition. 

In the following years, Kevin and Aurora experienced marriage troubles. Their housing situation was a major point of contention, so in an effort to repair his relationship Currier did something he never thought he’d do. 

“One day, I just gave in. I remember driving the five miles down to Home Depot, sitting in the parking lot and bursting into tears. I never imagined my Alaskan dream home would have some imported crap holding it together. That’s just not how you live off the land. But my wife, you know, my wife - she just wouldn’t live in the house the way it was. It was for her that I went and bought all that plastic.”

Currier found enough vinyl siding in the discount bin at the back of the store to cover another one quarter of his home’s exterior. Spirits revived with successful thrifting, he returned home with a truck bed full of materials ready to install.

Unfortunately the siding remained in the truck bed for another year, and over thousands of miles of bumpy roads began to degrade and fall out piece by piece. Kevin and Aurora split up in 2014, a separation he attributes to his wife’s “ridiculous standards.”   

His ex-wife Aurora tells a different story. 

“I grew up in a dry cabin off the Koyukuk River, on the edge of the Brooks Range. My parents built a homestead cabin in just a year, sod roof and all. We lived in that until I went to middle school, and those were the best years of my life. I don’t mind rustic living. My problem is that Kevin is a degenerate who spends most of his time at the ‘Big I’ chasing army wives instead of raising his family.”

Though Currier hasn’t done much work on the house in recent years--Aurora moved to Juneau with their kids in 2016--he sees a lot of hope coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic, and this year, he says, he plans to use the combination of federal stimulus checks and the state Permanent Fund Dividend check to finally buy the last of the vinyl siding for the house. 

“I could really use a new chainsaw,” said Currier. “But the last year really has me shifting my priorities. I’m going to do it. You’ll see. I’ve lived here long enough now that I don’t think Tyvek is a status symbol anymore. Come July, maybe August or early September if my buddy doesn’t fix his boat to go moose hunting, you’re going to see a brand new look on my little chunk of heaven. It’ll feel really good.”


Popular posts from this blog

White House tells Alaskans they're no longer allowed to say "The Lower 48"

  Read the full executive order here . Map prints available from Williwaw Publishing . A new executive order from the White House aims to curtail use of the term “Lower 48,” and Alaskans who continue to use the term that the White House calls “insulting,” are threatened with confiscation of personal firearms among other punishments. According to the executive order, Alaskans will now be required to refer to the contiguous forty-eight states as “The Glorious Continuity.” “While Hawaii has graciously adopted the term “mainland”, reads the executive order, “citizens of its sibling to the North use the pejorative ‘lower 48.’  Today I make clear that we the contiguous people will no longer live under such abuses .” Alaskans of varied backgrounds condemned the mandate. Jeff Bowen, strategist for the Alaska Democratic Party, expressed his frustration. “I support the president’s efforts to slow offshore drilling, and implement a fair tax structure. But taking away my right to verbally degra

The Spruce Tip Buys Rival Alaska News Publication in $1.8 Billion Merger Deal

    On Friday, The Spruce Tip Investment Group received shareholder approval to acquire the satirical news publication The Goldstream Courant in a cash-and-stock deal worth roughly $1.8 billion. The move will create an Alaskan news empire with assets of roughly two websites, one and a half social media accounts, and three broken 1986 Ski-Doo Tundra snowmachines.   While the Courant is based near Fairbanks and focuses primarily on local issues, The Spruce Tip is omnipresent, omnipotent, and focuses on Alaskan statewide issues. Courant editor-in-chief Kevin Brietenbach resigned to the merger, which seemed to have caught him by surprise. “We’re looking forward to being part of The Spruce Tip family of publications,” he said in an interview while swigging a Yoo-Hoo from a refrigerator at the back of the Goldstream General Store after a five hundred mile fat bike race. “We’ve worked hard to create a voice of our own, but in the end we just couldn’t compete with The Spruce Tip’s white-hot

Massive crypotocurrency mine proposed in headwaters of major salmon river in Southwest Alaska

  The decades-long battle over proposed large mines in Southwest Alaska may be catching up to modern times, with a newly-discovered deposit of cryptocurrency worth billions of dollars.  Proponents are calling the newly discovered “Rubble” cryptocurrency prospect, located near the site of the proposed Pebble mine, the region’s next great hope for economic development, jobs, and “HODLing .”    The Vancouver, Canada based junior exploration company Northern Dynasty announced their recent findings regarding Rubble on Monday, and unveiled plans to extract the highly variable digital currency using “really super efficient and safe methods that won’t disturb anything.” “This is big,” said new Northern Dynasty CEO Brogan Putnam.  “This is like kinda Scrooge McDuck doing the backstroke in a swimming pool of gold coins type big, picture it - but like, with crypto, so yeah maybe like that but with virtual reality goggles instead of the actual pool of gold coins, so yeah… and, there