Cabin Construction Ideas


Over the next ten years, Mike and Dana met with several builders. Each suggested bulldozing the place and starting from scratch. ‘I he problem was, building regulations required new construction to be set back seventy-five feet from the water.

In one of the bathrooms, a family sewing table serves as a washstand. The mirror was fashioned from an old window. ISO CABIN LIVING

The built-in beds in the hallways were designed for guest use but are also quiet nooks for reading.

The Jacobs wan red to stay put. Besides, rhey’d grown fond of their eclectic quarters. Then the couple met with brothers Jeff and Matt Balmer, owners of Lands End Development in Crosslake, Minnesota. Mike and Dana explained that they wanted to keep the “bare walls look*’ and also do something with the old windows. Most importantly, the)7 wanted the new place to still feel old.

Immediately, these fourth-generation builders got it. “All the other builders wanted us to get on board with their thinking,” says Dana. “Bur Matt and Jeff listened to what we wanted and then came up with ways to make our dream a reality.”


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The Balmer building team knows how easy it is for cabin owners to get so carried away with the excitement of new construction rhat the}’ lose sight of their original vision. “When you don’t have limitations, you’re tempted to keep adding space, says Jeff.

“I’ve heard customers say, ‘Oh, I’d love a couple more feet in the bedroom, or ‘Gee, honey, if were going ro rerire up here, maybe we should do rhar attached garage.’ Its a slippery slope,’’ he warns.

In this case, zoning restrictions tar the lake property prevented the addition of anything that didn’t align with the initial goal. “[Working with the same footprint,] we were forced into that cozier feel, explains Jeff. “The small size and limitations is what created such a cool spot.”


From an architectural standpoint, deliberate choices were made to attain an aged flavor, starting with preserving the original fiill-masonry fireplace. In addition, Jeff suggested rough-sawn beams and lower wall heights (seven and a half feet vs. nine).

He also recommended simple roof lines and smaller, mullioned windows, along with a limited use of drywall. Exposed rafter tails at the overhangs and varied (as opposed to matching) header heights enhance the old-fashioned appearance. Stone veneer covering the concrete block simulates an old stone foundation.

The Jacobs chose vintage charm over extra square footage for their lakeside cabin. Many owners do the same.

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