This summer we kicked off the construction of my family’s log cabin vacation home in New Hampshire. We could not be more excited to see the project take shape and look forward to its completion. The past 12 months have been spent clearing the land to prepare for construction as well as a new 1000 ft. driveway that will lead up to the cabin. Concrete piers were poured in late June and construction materials arrived at the site the beginning of July.
Working with your family can be an interesting challenge. Since this will be a shared vacation home, everyone has a vision of what they want it to look like. Blending those visions together into a cohesive design can seem impossible, but communication is the key. Many evenings were spent over dinner and drinks discussing the design and creating iterations of sketches. Planning sessions where everyone can communicate their opinions and expectations are essential to an effective design process.
Building a log cabin requires an extensively thorough design as the margin of error is basically nonexistent. The logs are stacked row by row with electric services cored through the logs down to the floor. The solid nature of the logs once stacked and secured leaves little opportunity to move or add new outlets and switches. Appliances, cabinetry, heating/cooling, electrical and plumbing all need to be carefully planned out before construction begins. Window and door locations and sizes need to be planned for and agreed on by the whole family as well. Enlarging a window or door opening after the logs are stacked becomes extremely difficult. Likewise, if any of the openings are too large, they cannot be made smaller without rebuilding the wall or looking out of character.
This project is an excellent example of our studio’s view on the importance of the design process as a tool for communication and project planning before construction ever begins. Spending months on design can be tedious but in the end, the time and money saved by avoiding problems mid-build is worth it!