Designing a log cabin means connecting the squares
Appalachian log cabins built in the mid-1700s were simple, boxy and down to earth. Our goal was to capture this look with our cabin while creating a comfortable, energy-efficient interior. Sunlight, views and unrestricted airflow were among our design considerations (see the Floor plan for our final design).
Traditional log cabins, however, are limiting to a designer because of their rectilinear nature. The interior and exterior walls are all part of the same log construction, and rooms must be square or rectangular, and enclosed during construction. Doors and windows are cut out later. These squares and rectangles are called pens, and the trick is to connect them in the most suitable fashion.
We began with two equal-size, independent pens. Each would have two floors for a total of four rooms: a living room and three bedrooms. To save space in the rooms, we put the stairwell in an area called a dogtrot that connects the pens. Unlike a pen, a dogtrot cannot be built independently but is a space created by connecting pens.
Two necessary spaces, a kitchen and bathroom, now needed to be added to our design. For the kitchen, we attached a single-story pen to the rear of the cabin. The kitchen was designed to be the main gathering place with a cathedral ceiling, bathroom and substantial pantry. For extra storage and a second-story bathroom, we added a small pen to the back of the second floor.