Ever dream about having a wooden home? A log cabin that smells of pine, with a fire crackling cozily under an elaborate mantelpiece and a lakeside view over large, top down windows? That dream can become a tangible reality, if you choose your materials and builders wisely. Bespoke or prefab cabins can be tricky, with a lot of variables to consider. Location, direction of the sun’s journey, which logs to use and how to choose building materials – all these things when building a cabin need to be taken into account.
However, it’s much less daunting of a task with a clear vision and right choices of producer. So, take a notebook, a pen and a search engine and let us go through several things to look out for when building your dream log cabin. Flesh it out before your eyes, make your vision clear. By the time you’re done reading, you’ll have your plan of action and will be one step closer to your personal paradise.
Step 1: Consider your location
Location is everything and just like with normal houses, log homes face the same issues. There are several key things to take into account when choosing a location: accessibility to utilities, the quality of the soil and the sun’s journey.
Accessibility to utilities – taking this into account will largely depend on how isolated you want your log home to be and that is another aspect you will be compelled to think of. If you’re going for full isolation, it is likely you will have to choose a more self-sufficient log cabin, with its own generator, water boiler or reservoir and firewood shed. On the other end of the spectrum, if you’re looking to build a log cabin as part of a cluster, you will likely have access to the utilities. Then you will need to think about how to integrate them.
Quality of soil – again, a point largely dependent on how isolated your log cabin will be. If you’re going for total isolation, consider how close the cabin will be to the river or other water source. At times, underground streams create unstable soil that can cause your dream cabin to sink. You should consult with local experts on the type of soil and locations of underground water. Alternatively, if you’re looking to join a community of cabin owners, soil will be less of a problem. Communities usually build on well-tested soil and can advise you on the best spot.
Sun’s journey – the way the sun travels will have a great impact on which way your log cabin will be facing. Here you will have a much greater freedom when building in isolation. You can determine the orientation of your cabin to capture the most sunlight possible and keep it light and warm. In a cluster of cabins, you will have less of a choice, as you will be building your log home according to a pre-approved plan. In this case, take the size of windows into consideration and adapt to the given situation.
Step 2: Cabin size
The choice of size for your cabin has many variables to consider. First and foremost: how will you be using your log cabin? Will you come during the weekends or couple of weeks at most during summer holiday? Then perhaps a simple, standard log cabin is for you. Or will you move to your cabin from mid-spring to late autumn? For seasonal stays, a larger, more complex log yurt might be best for you. Or perhaps you’re looking to move there permanently? Then consider large, bespoke log homes for your needs.
Step 3: Cabin design
Two previous questions will play a large part in deciding on your cabin design. If you’re looking to move into your log cabin permanently or for a long period of time, consider consulting an architect and a home designer to help you make the best choices. Remember, that log cabin design must be equal parts functional and aesthetic. Also, find images of already existing cabins and choose the features of them you like the most. Then see if you can integrate those features into your log home.
Step 4: Cabin producer
Log cabin production is a big business, growing every year. Depending on your location, you have multitude of choices for your builder, but there are several key factors to consider: cabin types available, reviews of services offered and type of wood used.
Available cabin types – now that you’ve determined your needs based on the questions prior, you can start searching for the right cabin producer. You can immediately eliminate producers that don’t have the right types of timber houses for you.
Reviews of services – consider if your producer also comes and builds your cabin or you will need to construct it yourself. In either case, the age of internet and reviews can help you determine if the producer is worth your investment. Consider Yelp or Google Reviews and feedback from other buyers before you choose your contractor.
Type of wood – consult with the producer, which type of wood they’re using. While any pine wood will be good for a cabin, your best choice is to pick a producer that uses Siberian pine exclusively. Siberian pine is by far superior, a tree that grows slowly, produces less resin and maintains light colour. You will be surprised by how many producers will drop if you consider Siberian pine as a factor.
And so, armed with information, you now know where to begin. Your first dream log cabin is one step closer if you make the right choices. Write down all the factors we discussed here and narrow down your search. Employ professionals to help you with your dream, but only AFTER you have your dream fleshed out before your eyes. Good luck!