Cabin Diaries: The Design Process

Friends would look at me a little askance when I mentioned we were flying in an architect/designer to help us layout the cabin. I don't blame them. Given the thousands of log home design plans already available on the market, flying someone in does seem a bit excessive and out of the Harris price range. And frankly, I was worried and wondering if bringing this designer in would be worth the money.

Now that she has been here for several days and laid out an initial design for us I can say this - she is SO WORTH IT.

We are in love with what she's presented us with. And it's fascinating--as she's talked us through the process of what we want, what we value, and how we'll use the cabin--how the "final" design is almost nothing at all like what we thought we'd end up with.

For one thing, we thought we'd select round golden, honey-toned hued logs. Nuh-uh. Now we're gung-ho for flat, gray, weathered logs. In fact, the idea behind the design is to create a cabin authentic to the area that looks like it's been here for a hundred years.  We're even doing an "add-on" area where it looks like the "original" log cabin had a porch enclosed with batten board at some point.

Where we thought the front entrance would be is now the back of the house.  And we followed the advice of Bernie in the last post and nixed the wrap-around porch. Now we have a 12 x 12 screened-in porch area that faces east off the kitchen, a west facing covered front porch with views of the mountains, and a north-west ground-level terrace, open for full sun.

We went up with a second story instead of down with a walkout basement. There are plans for beautiful archways and architectural windows that add a bit of "funk" to the house. There is also the coolest little office niche hidden behind the stairwell in the loft.

Nothing is set in stone (or log, as the case may be).  The designer has to go back and plot out ridge lines and weight bearing and joists and all that technical stuff.  But it's a relief to feel confidence in the direction of her and now our vision for the cabin.  She never pushed or really even offered opinions on what we should do. Instead, she asked questions and we came to realize the answers for ourselves. We want simple, authentic, and natural--with a bit of fun.

The process is just beginning. I'm sure there will be headaches and hard choices up the road. But for today, life in a log home looks lovely.