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Folder Selecting Your Log Cabin
 
Selecting a Site and Style for Your Log Cabin
by Jack Hudson
 

Here are some tips on deciding the location as well as the side of your cottage. I wish I could tell you which cottage you should build, but you're going to have to decide that for yourself. You'll have to select a cottage to fit the piece of property you own or intend to buy. You'll also have to decide how you want to live when you're using the camp.

Several of the popular camps have core or starter units. Perhaps this is what you want--a one-room job that you can add to in other years. It's a good idea. It won't drain your pocketbook completely. But if this is what you want, it is important that you know in advance how you are going to expand the cottage. Another good thing about these core units--your plans can be flexible.

If you have a growing family, you're probably not sure how many bunk rooms you may need in the future. Or maybe you picked a remote spot and aren't sure how many of your friends will be willing to make the trek. My guess is that more people than you think will seek you out.

Other well known cottages should have the shell built at one time. You can leave the finishing for some future date. Remember that outside plumbing is still permissible in many areas and you can take your bath in the lake or in the old wash boiler.

Many websites on site selection and orientation will also help you decide whether a certain cottage is suitable to your property. Don't fail to read it. Another reminder: Any cottage can be reversed. If the sleeping area is on the right of the living area, the plan can be flipped so that it is on the left.

Each set of cottage plans has a short description at the beginning. The salient features of the camp are explained. These paragraphs will also help you to decide whether this is the cabin you want to build.

Some of you will find it difficult to locate a good spot for your camp or cabin. A possible solution may be found in our national forests. If you write to the officer in charge of a particular forest, he will give you information regarding available sites. If you don't know who your nearest forest officer is, write to the National Park Service, Department of the Interior, Washington 25, D.C.

A permit to build in one of our national forests usually stipulates that you will make improvements costing at least five hundred dollars including labor. In order to avoid the erection of unsightly shacks, it is specified that only one cabin can be constructed on a lot. Each applicant must submit his plans for approval before a permit will be issued.

Permanent construction must be completed by the second season after the permit is issued. The Forest Service requires that the construction be done in a workmanlike manner; substantial floors, roofs, doors, and windows must be installed. The buildings must be in harmony with the surrounding landscape.

In a large colony you may be required to install a chemical toilet or septic tank and have a piped water system or other improvements. Be sure to ask about these things before you go too far. If you decide to build in one of the national forests, you will find that a good deal of the site selection has been done for you by the Forest Service.

If you build on a hillside or slope and if the rainfall is heavy you may have to install a watershed. A shallow ditch or low wall is all you will need to keep the water from running into your cabin. In picking your site you will want to consider the matter of good roads. Your cottage doesn't have to be on a main highway, but you will want to be able to reach your property conveniently. You will have to get supplies--and there is always that emergency.

If you decide to build a beach house, don't build too close to the water. As you have noticed by the recent events in Florida, ocean storms often drive the water a considerable distance inland. Be sure to get expert advice regarding the safety of your location. If the coastline is rocky, it is usually a good idea to keep your cottage back from the water as far as the shrub growth. Usually this line is a safe distance from waves.

Regardless of where you decide to build your camp or cabin, there are some things you can do to improve the climate around your cottage.

1) In summer, the best orientation for the large glass areas of your camp or cabin would be about 20 degrees west of south. If your view is due west or north, the best thing you can do is to improve the surroundings so that the climate around your camp will be as comfortable as possible. This may call for building walls or screens or planting natural hedges.

2) Lakes, rivers, and ponds can have a cooling effect on your camp. Water is an evaporator cooler. Wind or air moving over its surface (during the summer) is cooled and moves out over the surface of the land. The air on land is heated and rises. The vacuum left by the air that was over the water pulls the hot air above it down onto the water. This cycle is an almost continuous operation. The cool air path that moves outward from a body of water is only about 50 to 100 feet deep. Therefore, if you have a choice, it would be wise to locate your camp not too far back from the water and not over 50 feet above the surface of the lake.

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Jack Hudson is a writer for http://www.log-cabin-plans-n-kits.com , a
home building and improvement resource that assists in the planning
and building of log cabins.

His articles have also been featured in related websites such as
http://www.best-house-n-home-plans.com/ , and
http://www.garage-plans-n-kits.com/ .
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