LEANING TOWARD ECLECTIC
Having built many cabins for customers over the years, Giles has observed a trend toward the eclectic. When he started out in the 1970s, customers valued authenticity more than anything. But today’s cabin owner isn’t afraid to take design liberties. People may want the front of the cabin to look like a traditional old log home, but the interior will often feature an open floor plan with lots of glass to maximize outdoor vistas and brighten the cabin.
Giles experimented with placing the fireplace in the middle of the room rather than on an outside wall. An exterior chimney would have allowed more living space but would also lose heat to the outdoors. He challenged himself by installing a modular fireplace. (Usually sold in kits, modular, pre-built masonry fireplaces are lighter and less costly than site-built fireplaces.) An indoor chimney served as a masonry radiator, capturing heat as the smoke wended its way out the roof.
“The technology reflected a centuries-old technique used in northern Europe and northern Asia of sending the smoke out on a circuitous route to extract heat before it left the house,” Giles explains.
Log Cabin Living Room Decor Photos
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QUALITY MATERIALS IN A SMALL CABIN
What Giles sacrificed in space, he made up for in quality. With less square footage, he could spend more on antique heart pine, used liberally throughout the cabin. The floors, stairs, cabinetry, and door were made from the reclaimed wood.
Living as a family in a compact space yielded some unexpected benefits for the Giles crew: Everyone felt less inclined to accumulate things and more motivated to keep the place tidy.
“A small house has built-in brakes on clutter,” Giles says. “Where are you going to walk if you have stuff everywhere:1”
The Giles family lived in the compact cabin for fifteen years before Giles built a larger home on the land’s premier site. (In case you’re wondering, the original cabin is very much in demand by visiting friends and family.)
Giles looks back fondly at the good times the family shared in the cabin. In fact, he and his oldest son both write songs, and many originate from memories they have of cabin life on rhe lake.
Looking back, Giles is satisfied that his exercise in living small succeeded. “The small cabin u’orked amazingly well for an amazingly long time,” he says. “A small house is more livable than you might think.’ H