We are attached to every single one of the cabins we build given the hours of craftsmanship and love that go into each one. But every so often a project comes along that is genuinely unique and challenges us in ways we haven’t been before. Whether this is a particular design brief, a special location or a backstory behind the build, some projects make a real impression on us. This is the first of a series of articles where we will feature some of those such projects, so keep an eye out for more to come.
Swinney Wood Log Cabins, Derbyshire
The brief here was for four log cabins to be used as high-end holiday lets. However, they were to be set in woodland and our client had submitted a planning proposal that would see the cabins raised above the forest floor on chassis, each anchored using twelve screw piles that would minimise disruption to tree roots and undergrowth. The site is also sloping, overlooking the spectacular Derbyshire countryside, so the approach of using these piles would also enable us to level the cabins perfectly. But building cabins to sit on steel chassis rather than full foundations was a new challenge for us.
The careful & diligent preparation that had gone into this application meant that despite being in an UNESCO area of international importance, our client was granted permission to build in this special setting albeit after three long years of planning & negotiation.
Built over the winter of 2017, the cabins were handcrafted in our yard in Welshpool, using the Scandinavian saddle notch construction method. Access was a challenge as the logs were manoeuvred into position using a roto-telehandler, but the first two cabins were delivered in early spring 2018 and having been pre-built in the yard, took only four days to erect. The second two arrived a short time later and were built using exactly the same approach.
The cabins have now been in situ for over three years and look fantastic in all four seasons. They are often fully booked many months in advance. We truly loved the innovative approach of the owners to the sensitivity of this site, the low impact build, beautiful woodland setting and the fact that these cabins are enjoyed by scores of people every year.
You can stay in these cabins by booking directly through the Swinney Woods website, here: https://swinneywoodlogcabins.co.uk
We have built a number of cabins in Scotland, but unlike Swinney Wood this was a private build for some clients who bought a beautiful area of forest in the highlands with the long-held dream of building a log cabin family home. The brief was for a three bedroom single-storey cabin with large open-plan living area and floor-to-ceiling glazing to maximise the breathtaking scenery.
We built the cabin in Wales in early 2021 and delivered it a few months later, having visited the site throughout the snowy winter months as the foundation slab was poured. Delivering and re-assembling the log home in the summer was an absolute pleasure even if, perhaps predictably, the Scottish weather did throw almost everything it had at us! The icing on the cake with this build was the sedum green roof that makes the property disappear into its spectacular surroundings. Once the gardens are landscaped and planted back this will be a truly incredible place to live and we know the clients are going to love living here.
Olicana Park, Yorkshire
Sitting on the banks of the River Wharfe on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, Olicana Park occupies an enviable location. The site incorporates some existing rental cottages and had a number of mobile homes on it. The owners however approached us with the idea of building a collection of log cabins to give them a USP in the area and drive up both occupancy and yields - something we see with our log cabin holiday lets up and down the country. On top of that they tasked us with building an on-site cafe as well.
We began building the first two cabins - one of post and beam construction, the other a full scribe saddle notch. The post and beam cabin was built with two horizontal, full scribe logs at the base with the post and beam structure on top. This gives a striking combination and can be seen on their website as The Farmhouse, with its waney edge cladding. Both cabins were built of beautiful Douglas Fir.
The 137m2 cafe was built in similar construction with two horizontal scribed logs on the base and post and beam structure on top giving the cafe the spacious, open-plan interior needed.
Since the original three structures, we have built another three cabins for Olicana Park and a look at their availability calendars suggests these continue to be very popular. You can see all the cabins we have built for these clients here.
High Lodge, Shropshire
Our clients here owned a beautiful piece of land, with wonderful views across the Shropshire countryside. The only problem being that the site hosts a steep slope onto which the cabin was to be built, partly to make the most of those incredible views.
The solution here was very similar to that at Swinney Woods - to use a raised chassis onto which the cabin would be constructed. This one however was significantly higher with the front standing over two metres clear of the ground below it.
After discussing several options with the clients, we set about constructing a Western Red Cedar post and beam cabin combined with a handcrafted dovetail log base. The two bedrooms and open plan living area are complemented with a large decked area at the rear and balcony with bifold doors out to the landscape to the front. We also built a wooden staircase up to the front door which looks particularly characterful when lit up at night, as well as bespoke four poster bed in the master bedroom.
The combination of the dovetail base, post and beam main structure, waney edge cladding and expansive glazing make this a very handsome cabin and one that sits elegantly in the countryside around it. The property is now bookable on airbnb and is sure to make for a cosy, welcoming stay not a million miles from where the cabin was built in Welshpool.
Planning permission had been granted to replace some existing agricultural grain stores and an older residential building, with a three bedroom, two storey log cabin and we were more than happy to step in and help! The site is picturesque farmland with the plot itself surrounded by wheat fields and, being Norfolk, is almost entirely flat giving expansive views and big skies.
The cabin is of handcrafted full scribe saddle notch construction, using beautiful Douglas Fir timber topped with a striking natural slate roof. Inside, the cabin has full log rafters that are visible internally giving a cosy, rustic feel to the interior. At the request of the client, we also built and fitted a bespoke staircase to lend even more character to the cabin, which we think is a fantastic final touch.
We loved this project for the scale of the cabin as it sits proudly in its rural location but also because the build took us through several seasons in a short period of time. With most cabins we build we only get to see them in the season we erect them, so seeing this cabin in both the snow and then surrounded by the wheat a few weeks later was a real treat for the team. There are lots of bespoke touches to this cabin that we know make this a fantastic family home.
We love all the cabins we build and have more to share with you in future articles. We also have more beautiful cabins in the pipeline so will have even more to showcase. For more photos and inspiration, please see the Gallery page on our website.