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Design Dilemma
Design Dilemma

We need ideas for the exterior of this humble cabin.

janicejohnsDecember 16, 2012
We bought this 1200 sq ft rustic cabin in Island Park, Idaho late last summer. It is basic and humble, but sits just up a path from some of the best fly fishing in the country. We've started the inside remodel, but we'd like some ideas on the exterior.
The pictures show the front door- the old porch was removed and we need to replace it. It really needs some sort of of protection for the door, from the weather.
It sits on raised pillars, so we need to do something around the base to conceal the pillars.
We also love to have large group get-togethers and would like to expand the living area to the outside.
We hope to really attack the exterior this Spring and any ideas would be so appreciated.
Thanks in advance!
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STONE! Use stone around bottom of house and as patio base. Add LOW stone wall (irregular, undulating shape) to enclose outdoor living area; leave a couple of areas open in the wall to enter and exit. A couple of "columns" just a bit taller than the wall would add interest. Top them off w/ solid rock slabs which could be used for pots of large plants. Upkeep would be minimal--better than adding a lot of plantings which require care.
1 Like    Bookmark   December 16, 2012 at 8:17AM
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Love your cabin! There really isn't much I would do to the exterior except to add a porch. Add a roof just above the logs to cover the porch area and run it the length of the front. Such a perfect getaway cabin.
Talking Rock Log Cabin · More Info
3 Likes    Bookmark   December 16, 2012 at 8:33AM
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Great Divide Builders
Stacked stone around the lower perimeter of the house and a sizable deck with log railings would look great. I would see if it's possible to lighten the board and batten on the front exterior to give the house depth and really make the logs stand out, and then paint the trim a deep forest green.
1 Like    Bookmark   December 16, 2012 at 8:44AM
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Would do a porch with one end screened in. Use the blue-green from the trim on the ceiling of the porch. That's the color old timers used to keep wasps and hornets from building under the eaves.
Exterior at Dusk · More Info

Michelle Fries · More Info

Lake House · More Info
1 Like    Bookmark   December 16, 2012 at 8:51AM
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creeser has a great photo ideal for your situation.
1 Like    Bookmark   December 16, 2012 at 8:56AM
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First off, I know the area you live in! My husband and I have camped and fished the Henry's Fork. One of the best spots in the world for dry fly fishing (and I did catch a nice one!).

Also remember when we were camping there were lots of biting insects! I think a screened in porch would add greatly to outside enjoyment. Look into Trek Decking: a wood plastic composite that looks good and is maintenance free.
1 Like    Bookmark   December 16, 2012 at 9:40AM
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The answer depends on individual taste, how much you are willing to spend, and what additional functionality you need.

We have a small lakeside cabin in Montana, and are building a guest cabin with logs now.

I have looked over thousands of cabins and have ended up with choosing the following:

Increasing the depth and masses by extending the roof overhang by at least 5 feet.
Tripling and overlapping the facia board.
Adding corbels as support. Could be log.
Increasing the depth of the trim around windows and doors after updating the windows with at least peripheral muntins. The upper story windows may need new shapes. Your choice.
Adding shed dormers bilaterally but adding thick, possibly half log trim, facia as above, unique windows.
The rock ideas by others are great, using true stone veneers for much of the work. Try to get stone pillar work flanking tightly against the front corners of the house. These could be associated with a turned log railing and more pillars.
Consider a front entry rooflet with several exposed trusses to add depth, and facia as above.
Window flower boxes might be nice.
If you really want pop, design a new front door (call Jeff at Swan River Door in Bigfork, Montana, who can give you ideas, or create the door and ship it. Young guy with fabulous taste and talent, really affable and creative. He made our home front door replacement and it is incredibly beautiful.
Finally, find some lights that, alone, will make a beautiful statement. Old California Lighting has amazing designs for a good price, and they are shipped perfectly. However, we have also found some great exterior lighting at Lowe's, with layers of worked metal and semi-opaque glasswork.
Having said all this, a cabin is an escape, a palpable relief from the world. So your best investment may well be just a covered deck with the most comfortable kick-back seating you can find. That was our first renovation and we found a beautiful privacy screen/wall design for two of the walls.

Good luck and take your time, and be sure that your significNt other is in complete agreement.

Bet regards
1 Like    Bookmark   December 16, 2012 at 2:42PM
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Thank you for all of the great ideas and photo references. I'm a very visual person, so the pictures were a great help. We are really thinking about that screened porched idea, off the back. Lots of mosquitos in Island Park!
    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 8:49AM
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If you ever want to consider renting your cabin as a vacation property when you can't be there, I have been managing www.cavecreekcabin.com and other properties for the past twelve years. Would be happy to work with you.
    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 8:53AM
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