Preserving Childhood Memories
The property on which this log cabin is situated was purchased in 1950’s, when it was a working apple orchard. When the land passed into the grandchildren’s hands, they also inherited the old log cabin that had served as a family vacation spot for all those years. Although simple and rustic (the cabin did not even have electricity or running water), time spent on that hillside was a significant fixture in their childhood memories. Opting to preserve those reminiscences, it was decided to restore and update the structure.
For over 100 years, the log cabin was nestled down in a hollow, near a stream; which provided essential water access. However, the low-lying location was hot, humid, and buggy in the summer months. It was decided to dismantle and move the cabin 1500’ up the mountainside, to take advantage of cooling breezes and better views.
The Log Cabin Restoration Project
Original log cabins, by nature, are diminutive; comprising only 1 to 3 rooms. For this to be a family getaway, more space was needed. A second original log cabin was purchased and moved to the same site, and both were re-assembled.
The architect’s vision for this log cabin restoration project was to utilize the time-tested vernacular configuration known as a “dog trot”. Original settlers would first build a one or two-room log structure, which would suffice for the first few years. As more space was needed, a second cabin would be built, set apart from the original house. The intervening space would be covered by a roof extension, joining the two structures. The resulting outdoor space would be used daily for chores such as cooking, canning, and soap-making. Livestock might be penned there during inclement weather, or the space might be used for outdoor living in milder weather. The space took maximum advantage of cooling breezes, and was, in essence, a passive ventilation strategy before such a term was coined.
To adapt this vernacular “dog trot,” for modern sensibilities, both cabins were joined by a central great-room, the walls of which are comprised of folding glass panels. When fully open, the space functions as a well-appointed dog-trot, and when fully closed, the space is as comfortable as a traditional family room.
The resulting 2,600 square foot structure contains a large kitchen, great room, dining area, four bedrooms, a loft, four bathrooms, a porch, and two sets of stairs. To stay as true as possible to the original construction, all logs and even existing windows were preserved and re-used.