Inspiration for Building a Dream Cabin

Our editors showcase some of their favorite cabins and discuss what makes their design so special.

editor's choice: Build a Dream Cabin
Our editors showcase some of their favorite cabins and discuss what makes their design so special.
"Animal Kingdom" Size: 760 square feet Location: Bigfork, Montana Builder: Randy Baker Log producer: Logcrafters Log & Timber Homes Animal Kingdom - September 2006 InteriorShot September '06
Why it wooed us: This jewel nestled into the woods may not be king-sized, but upon closer examination you’ll see that it’s fit for royalty. Modeled after the Tennessee log homes the owner recollects from his childhood, this home boasts superior craftsmanship.From the hand-hewn square logs—crafted from standing dead western pine—to the stylish, compound dovetailed edges, the quality of this cabin is rivaled only by its location. The acreage that holds this cabin shares space with three robust gardens with 1,600 feet of walking trails, a replica “covered” wagon and a view of the nearby cherry orchard and Flathead Lake. The artistic centerpiece of the cabin is a stone hearth that a retired German artisan meticulously crafted by hand, and it’s adorned with a juniper log mantel. The owners opted for a mix of simplicity and authenticity inside, with a claw foot tub, salvaged wood floor panels (from Charles Lindbergh’s farm) and the custom-panel-covered fridge and dishwasher—all contribute to the cabin’s classic mystique. Featured in the September 2006 issue of Log Home Living
  "Living in Beauty"Size: 624 square feet Location: Northeastern Georgia Log dealer: Apple Orchard Log Homes Log producer: Honest Abe Log homes  Exterior Shot - August '04 Interior Shot - August '04
Why it wooed us: Tucked away in an old apple orchard, this rustic cabin provides tranquility from the hustle and bustle of everyday living. The hand-hewn, square cut, eastern white pine logs with dovetail corners capture the timeless spirit we love. The hazelnut stained pine beams are separated by wide bands of chinking (done by the owners themselves) to create a back-in-the-woods style cabin with a “been-there-for-a-hundred-years” feeling. A front porch serves up views of North Carolina’s Lake Chatuge and Tusquittee Mountains. The cabin’s interior is rugged but cozy. The hand-hewn overhead beams complement the lighter, pine tongue-and-groove ceilings, and the fireplace—built with local fieldstone—is garnished with a hand-hewn mantel top, adding log home allure. And even the modern kitchen is flanked with custom pine fronts to maintain the integrity of the cabin’s appeal. Featured in the August 2004 issue of Log Home Living.
  "On Top of the World - I"Size: 1,783 square feet (exl. basement) Location: Upper Peninsula, Michigan Log producer and architect: Hiawatha Log HomesExterior Shot - May '05  
 Why it wooed us: Peeking out of a wooded area in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, this storybook-like home is a testament to the marriage of craftsmanship and sophistication. With an exposed king-post truss, hand-hewn columns and a gorgeous setting, the house is a winner. The handmade front door opens to an entryway graced by impressive granite flooring and a gorgeous northern red pine stairway. Wide plank hardwood floors line a dining area accented by handsome décor, including leather-upholstered chairs. The dark green Ubatuba kitchen countertop is the biggest exclamation point of elegance in this home—the hand-made canopy bed crafted from white cedar is its rustic, but equally striking counterpart. This small house in the woods stretches the limits of what a log home can be, combining the woodsy styles of the West with the polished grandeur of a city brownstone. <Featured in the May 2005 issue of Log Home Living
  "On Top of the World - II" Size: 800 square feet Location: Sheep Mountain, Montana Contractor: DW Customer BuildersInterior - Sep. '06 (on top of the world)   Exterior Shot - Sept. '06 (on top of the world)
Why it wooed us: Truly perched in the sky—on a 6,000-foot peak, to be exact— this lodgepole pine cabin boasts both an aesthetic allure and a majestic vantage point (the Montana’s Beartooth-Absaroka Wilderness area) that doesn’t come around often. The cabin is pieced together like a puzzle using large character logs—many with large burls—and the corners are fitted nicely with hand-hewn butt-and-pass logs. The living space of the cabin is expanded into the great outdoors with three redwood decks, which provide seating to enjoy mountain views and the thousands of wildflowers lining ranch. Staying true to the rustic character conveyed by its exterior, the cabin’s interior is reminiscent of the Old Faithful Lodge, writ small. The vintage look begins with character logs of various widths, as well as beaver-hide pillows, a swinging hook in the firebox to hold stew, and a ledge stone fireplace. Hidden among rustic decorations such as deerskin curtains, brindle cowhide seats and cane-backed chairs are modern amenities. Wooden dowels hide electrical outlets nestled in the kitchen beside barn-wood cabinets, a working hand pump and a porcelain farm sink. Featured in the September 2006 issue of Log Home Living
  "Past Perfect" Size: 600 square feet Location: Centennial Ranch, Colorado Designer and builder: Ted MoewsInt. Shot Feb. '05 Ext. Shot - Feb. '05 Past Perfect
Why it wooed us: A functional relic of history, this line cabin pays homage to its frontier roots. With skip-peeled logs (only loose bark is scraped in this method, mimicking early homesteaders who wouldn’t have had time to scrape every ounce of bark from the felled trees which became their log homes) and hand-wrought ironware , every square inch of this place is a statement about the lost art of craftsmanship. The only modern concession in this replica of a trapper’s shack is synthetic chinking. All else in the cabin is legit, including an outdoor hand-pump for water and a galvanized-steel outdoor tub for a truly invigorating bathing experience. And no, you won’t find indoor plumbing here. In a “bigger is better” world, this cabin reminds us of our heritage and epitomizes exactly what a “log cabin” is supposed to be: A simple, hand-made sanctuary. Featured in the February 2005 issue of Log Home Living
  "Small Wonder"Size: 1,142 square feet Location: Red Lodge, Montana General contractor: Haskins Construction Inc. Log producer: Neville Log Homes Ext. Shot Dec. '06 Small Wonder Door Shot - Dec. '06
Why it wooed us: The phrase “great things come in small packages” has never been truer than it is with this cabin on a heavily wooded 3-acre lot near Custer National Forest in Montana. The carving on the front door is a tribute to the neighbor seen most often: a wandering moose. Nestled in the great wilderness (but only 2 miles from the nearest town), this cabin is a tribute to wide open spaces. With a 14-foot cathedral ceiling and floor-to-ceiling windows, the home’s interior merges seamlessly with the outdoors. We also love the ridge beam in the great room, sandstone floors, mammoth stone fireplace and Adirondack-style twig railings on the back porch.   Featured in the December 2006 issue of Log Home Living
  "Discovery Lake" Size: 1,344 square feet Location: Roxboro, North Carolina Log dealer: Stalnaker Log Homes Log producer: Country Log Homes Ext. shot Aug. '05     Interior shot Aug. '05 Discovery Lake  
Why it wooed us: Most of us only dream of living in our own version of paradise. But the owners of this log home decided to build theirs. Not only did they erect a cabin masterpiece, but they also created a quaint community where they share a stretch of road populated with the homes of close friends, along with bald eagles and osprey. Standing on the shores of Mayo Lake is this beautiful hand-peeled, Norway red pine cabin, with a wraparound porch topped by a standing-seam metal roof . Tennessee fieldstone covers the foundation, pillars and exterior patio. The home’s décor is more traditional than rustic, especially the modern kitchen with stone-tile flooring. Berber carpeting lines the majority of the remaining floors, and drywall even graces the inside of the home, lending to a more contemporary feel.   Featured in the August 2005 issue of Log Home Living  
  "Montana Spirit" Size: 1,876 square feet Location: Whitefish, Montana General contractor: Arne Taylor Log provider: Legacy Log Homes of Montana Inc. Int. shot Oct. '06 LHL "Montana Spirit" Ext. shot Oct. '06 LHL "Montana Spirit"
Why it wooed us: This supernova of style shatters the notion of what a log home has to be. First evidence of this is arrives in the form of a stone tower next to the leaded crystal front-door panel displaying symbols of spirituality. Iconography, spiritual symbols, and J. Nelson paintings dot the walls of the brightly hued interior, paying homage to Lakota Indian culture. Old World styling, like the vessel basin sinks and fireplace made of locally mined stones, give this cabin an unmatched look. Speaking of craftsmanship, all of the logs were hand-peeled, and there isn’t an identical pair among them. Burn marks from fire and lightning give character to each piece of wood used by the builder, who claims that his airtight craftsmanship wouldn’t even allow a business card to stick between any two logs. As if there is any room for business—this cabin is a pleasure to look at, and we imagine, a delight to own. Featured in October 2006 issue of Log Home Living
Log Home Living exclusive web feature: July 2007
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