I love the variety of cabins I’m asked to design, from the Tiny Escape for two, to the extended family lodge for grandma and grandpa, their four married children, and eleven grandchildren. Our recent design for the Ox Lake Club in central Minnesota was closer to the latter where a gregarious family might expect extended relatives, a party of fisherman, or the whole Boy Scout troop. One of the design challenges of larger cabins is to retain the cozy qualities and the intimacy of the smaller cabins in our memories.
The site we were working with had just enough room below a hill and before a lakeside setback, to contain a cabin, detached garage and driveway turnaround. We could then develop both sleeping and social spaces in two structures, a primary cabin and bunkhouse above the garage. Our client notes, “I really like the way the two buildings come together at the base of the hill to create our own little protected hollow”.
The owners asked us to design the primary cabin around the focal element of a Tulikivi wood stove. Not only would it be the central hearth of the living room, but it would also be a baking center for pizza, bread and pies. So proximity to kitchen and dining were imperative. The Tulikivi is wrapped in soap stone, which stores heat gradually radiating it out to kitchen, living and dining spaces.
Expanding out from those core social spaces are other gathering places, such as a screen porch, terrace and the dock. For more discretion, groups can find small scale gathering in the away room, second level rumpus room, or in the bunkhouse.
A variety of sleeping spaces were also employed in the design with a collective mattress count of seventeen. Two bedrooms have attached sleeping lofts and the rumpus room a window seat of mattress proportion. The bunkhouse above the garage can sleep eight. As the client notes, “When you add in the away room, screen porch, rumpus room and garbin, we have had twenty five people here without feeling crowded.”
To enhance cabin charm a variety of materials were utilized inside and out. The exterior has bark siding, dark stained horizontal siding, blonde vertical cedar, metal and asphalt roofs, and Chinese red windows. Inside are oak and poplar trees removed from the site that have been blended with glue lamb beans, fir cabinets, slate floor, a taconite sheathed fireplace and a soap stone wood stove. Additional character is added with swing seats, and room signage from their previous cabin.