Building a Cabin the Whole Family Can Enjoy

by Beau Peters

Are you thinking about jumping on the tiny house movement? Do you want to get away from the business of a city or town? Interested in a vacation spot for your family? There are plenty of excellent reasons to consider building a cabin. The best part? With a little bit of time, effort, and experience, you can do it yourself.

If building a cabin seems overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be. Thanks to the sustainable housing trend, DIY cabins and other homes are becoming easier to put together than ever before. Whether you want to jump on board with that trend or focus on a more traditional size, there are a few key elements to DIYing a cabin.

First, it’s important to have a design in mind. You can find plenty of blueprints online if you have experience with building. If you really want to go for a rustic look, you can choose to use logs instead of pre-formed wood. All you have to understand when using logs is which notches you’re going to use. You can even focus on simpler designs, like an A-frame cabin, to help your home come together faster.

Whatever design you choose, consider the following before your home starts to take shape so it can be a place your family loves.

Knowing Where to Build

Location, location, location. It’s not just a term realtors use to sell homes. It’s something you should really think about when you’re considering building a cabin. If you’re building in the woods, consider the seasons. A cozy cabin in autumn can be a beautiful getaway, but you have to be prepared for inclement weather and make sure your cabin can withstand colder temperatures. Consider things like:

  • Insulating windows
  • Adding blown-in insulation for a tighter seal
  • Properly sealing doors, windows, and cracks in the home
  • Building the home in an area that doesn’t get a lot of direct sunlight

Additionally, you’ll want to build where your home won’t become flooded by groundwater. If you’re worried about wastewater, you may need to call a treatment system operator to measure the flow of sewage.

Finally, it’s important to build on a firm foundation. Many wooded areas have streams or rivers running through them. While those areas can be peaceful and tranquil, they can also cause the land to shift and erode. You don’t want your home in danger of eroding away with the dirt.

Focus on putting together a solid structure by choosing the right land to build upon. When you do, no matter what materials you use, you can be more confident in the security of your home.

Understanding the Cost

One reason people stray away from building their own home is that they’re worried about the cost. But, that’s actually the great thing about a DIY cabin. You’re in control of how much you spend based on the materials you use. If you’re interested in a tiny home, you can get away with spending just a few thousand dollars.

If you’re going to build a more traditional cabin, it’s important to consider every piece of material you’ll use and every process you’ll go through when breaking down your budget. That includes:

  • Site preparation
  • Utilities and services
  • Timber
  • Roof
  • Insulation
  • Interior
  • Tools and equipment

The last thing anyone wants is for their home build to cost more than they originally anticipated. Creating a budget ahead of time can help to prevent that kind of ‘shock,’ and will allow you to comfortably create the cabin of your dreams without worrying about your wallet.

Bringing Your Cabin to Life

Once the basic structure of your cabin is built, you can start to focus on how to design it to fit your family’s needs.

Many people are opting for a minimalist lifestyle, which can make living in a cabin even more relaxing. Minimalism focuses more on utilizing the space you have without over-cluttering it with unnecessary things. Whatever design approach you take, though, it needs to be practical when you’re living in a more secluded area.

For example, installing a freestanding stove is a great way to ensure your entire home will be heated through in the cold fall and winter months. They’re also back in style nowadays thanks to the rustic/farmhouse movement. It’s a great way to combine functionality with style.

If you’re building your cabin for your family, it’s also important to make sure everyone is happy with the new living situation. It can be hard to move somewhere new with kids, but building gives you the unique opportunity to customize your kids’ and teenagers’ rooms, from the decor to the bedding, so they can help to pick out the things they like based on their own sense of style.

Keep in mind the flooring you install as well. You can never go wrong with a classic hardwood or reclaimed barn wood floor. However, if you have young children in your family that are still learning to walk, having carpet or large area rugs will help soften any falls while still adding to the overall aesthetic of your cabin. Stone and concrete — heated or non-heated — are other options to consider to give your home a unique look. If you want to mix and match, knowing the square footage of your rooms will definitely help in determining what’s feasible financially.

Don’t forget to focus on the functionality of the kitchen, too. In almost any home, it’s the central location where people will congregate. If your cabin is on the smaller side, utilize the space in your kitchen so you still have room to move around. One solution is to use your wall space. Install magnetic strips to hang knives, or put racks in your cupboards for pots and pans to give you more storage room.

 

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