Log cabin: origin, styles, architecture and inspiration.
A dwelling made from logs. That's the simplest definition of a log cabin. Although the origins of log cabin structures are uncertain, their history date back to the Bronze Age in Europe and Scandinavia, where pine and spruce trees were readily available. Medieval log cabins were considered moveable property, and buildings were disassembled, transported to a new location and reassembled. In North America, the history of log cabins dates back to 1638, where the first log cabins were built by European settlers in the Delaware River and Brandywine River valleys of New Sweden. Settlers often used log cabins as temporary houses while building permanent homes, and when they were done, used the log cabins as outbuildings, barns or chicken coops. Traditional log cabins were simple one-story structures made with round logs laid horizontally on each other, and their gaps filled with chips and mud. Their roofs were made from either a purlin or rafter roof structure depending on the material used for the roof, such as bark. Log cabins are similar to wooden houses, but then soon after the settlers built the first log cabins in America, log construction spread all over the United States. Soon thereafter, log cabin styles increased in variety and today, the construction of modern log cabins are prevalent all over America. Log cabins also gave birth to log and wooden houses, and the oldest surviving log house, the C. A. Nothnagle Log House, is situated in New Jersey.
As times changed, so did the construction of log cabins. Because of the growing number of wood styles, each log cabin is unique, and its sophistication depends on how modern or traditional you want yours to be. To achieve the log cabin style you desire, you can choose either one or a combination of log designs styles to suit your needs. Here's a list of them.
The Square or rectangular log cabin design style is when the logs used for the cabin are cut with four square corners. These logs can be uniform in width and height or rectangular.
The Round log style gives log cabins a smooth finish. Round logs are cut in circles and have no angles or corners, and often use thru-bolts for support.
The Swedish Cope log design is when logs are cut circular, with a crescent removed from the bottom of the log, so that each log can stack on one another.
The next style is the D-Log, where logs are cut with one round side and one flat side for consumers who desire one side of a log wall to have a flat surface while the other retains a rounded edge.
There's also the Handcrafted log style where the timbers are debarked by hand and each log retains its natural shape. Handcrafted log cabins are built so each log is in a precise location in the cabin, allowing for maximum stability while retaining a rustic look.
Next, we have the Interlocking Corners construction style. This is when wood is cut from the four sides of a log, recessing an area to lock into the intersecting log and hold both logs rigidly in place in all directions.
There's also the Dove Tail design, which is when a log’s end is cut to produce a fan-shaped wedge. As the logs are stacked, the ends of one wall’s logs lock into the perpendicular logs.
Next in line is the Butt & Pass log design, which is when one log stops where it meets a perpendicular log, which extends past the corner of the home.
Last but not least is the Corner Post design style, which is when a vertical post at each corner has a mortis.
Whether you're looking for a log cabin as a home, outbuilding or for leisure, knowing what styles are out there is important. That way, you get to make a more informed decision. Get the help of a professional architect who has worked on log cabins, and for thousands of images to inspire your choice, homify is what you need.
There's no denying that log cabins are charming, and whether you want to build or buy one, you need to know the pros and cons of owning one. We'll start with the positive news first.
If you're all about the looks,log cabins are as charming as they come, with different styles that will set yours apart from the rest. Wood is an insulator, which makes log cabins well insulated. Logs are less expensive than most building materials. Log cabins are simple structures, and you can buy a preformed one to assemble, making it DIY friendly. Log walls are natural sound insulators. The inside walls can be finished with wallboard to enable surfaces to be be papered or painted. Log cabins are the greener way to go when it comes to building materials.
And for the not so good news.
Termites, beetles, carpenter ants, woodpeckers, feed and make their homes in wood, which means your log cabin, depending on your location, would be prone to these.
When wood is new, it cracks and pops a lot, which could be irritating. Log cabins are also complicated to wire with electricity. Wood tends to shrink, so regular caulking is necessary. Log cabins have to be stained and sealed every 3-5 years, which is expensive.
As with every big decision, research is key, so before making a decision, do as much research as possible.