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Cabins: A Guide to Building Your Own Nature Retreat Paperback – Illustrated, March 3, 2001

4.6 out of 5 stars 201 ratings

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From the Publisher

Cabins: A Guide to Building Your Own Nature Retreat



In North American culture, the cabin holds a unique place in our collective consciousness. Enshrined in the best traditions of grass-rooted nostalgia, the cabin symbolizes those bedrock frontier virtues of self-reliance, sturdiness, simplicity, humility and — by inference — honesty. By its very lack of pretension, the cabin connotes a purity of life whose loss we yearn to recall. As a genre, it stands at the moral center of a particularly American ethos defined by a cast of characters as diverse as Abe Lincoln, Davy Crockett and Henry David Thoreau.

During the colonial era, the cabin was home on much of the frontier, and is still remembered in folklore, song and verse as a safe and cozy haven. Today, the notion of the cabin as Home Sweet Home persists in literature and film. Whether in the mountains, on the prairie or by the lake, it remains a symbol of all that we value.

Today, the cabin has become the place we get away to when the place we’re in has worn us out, a retreat from anxiety, a place dedicated to renewal. From the moment we lift the latch,

push open the door and inhale that smoky-creosote- camphor cabin scent, we are altered for the better. More than a home away from home, the cabin reminds us of how—we like to think—life used to be lived in simpler times. It provides us with an opportunity to be closer to nature, and closer still to one another. The cabin is where we go to replace the hum of technology with the buzzing of insects, where cyberspace is out of place, where a mouse still has two ears and four legs. The cabin is a simple, sacred place where food and drink always taste better, where music sounds brighter, where evenings with loved ones linger longer into pleasure, where sleep is deep and dawn is fresh with wonders we’ve elsewhere forgotten.

Cabins seeks to address not only the practical issues involved in the design and building of a cabin, but also to encourage the impulse. Life is long, but need it be so hectic?

Imagine: After a long drive into nightfall, you step out of your car onto familiar footing— not asphalt, not concrete—but the stuff of millennial forests and plains and shorelines, the earth itself. You stretch your tired body, and you know immediately that every traveled mile was worth it as long as the trip ended here. Within moments of your arrival, it seems as if a blanket of peacefulness has gently covered you. An owl calls from a distant treetop, the same hoot-hoot, hoot-hoooot you remember from the last time— welcome back. You breathe the night in deeply and look up at the stars. How could you forget they could be so dazzlingly bright? And the pines, the fragrance—the scent of sage or the salty air.

You drag your duffel bag up onto the porch and reach for the key hidden in the abandoned wren’s nest above the door. The lock has its eccentricities, but even in the dark, you know how to coax it open; after all, you installed it yourself. When the groceries have been put away and the lamps are lit low, you light a fire. And as you sit back in that comfy, old chair and look into the lazily flickering flames, you can’t begin to imagine what life would be like without the elemental pleasures of a cabin.

—Don Metz, architect

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Cabins have come a long way from the 19th-century rustic structures familiar to all school children. The Stileses, a husband-and-wife team who have collaborated on a number of woodworking titles, show how to build a cabin that reflects the builder's lifestyle; some are simple, while others contain multiple rooms and utilities. Although the authors make it look easy, the amount of work that goes into a log cabin is staggering (even small cabins require 60 or more logs that each take five to seven hours to hew by hand). Other designs include a Japanese moon-gazing cabin, a pyramid-shaped cabin, and an A-frame cabin. A section on cabin accessories (including brief construction hints for rustic wood furniture) and a list of sources (including web addresses) completes this title. It should be part of in-depth public library collections.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.


The Stiles ... show how to build a cabin that reflects the builder's lifestyle. (Library Journal 2001-09-01)

If you've ever thought of building a little retreat somewhere ... you will probably enjoy this book ... Cabins is geared to the modern homebuilder -- homes have to meet modern building codes, after all -- and examines a variety of building techniques. (New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal 2001-05-26)

You'll find not only the practical issues ... but also the inspiration to help select the cabin that is perfect. (Kandis Carper Spokane Spokesman-Review 2001-05-25)

An invaluable resource ... step-by-step instructions starting with basic planning. (Stacie Gentile Calgary Sun 2001-06-16)

The kind of book that stirs the imagination. (Lexington Herald-Leader 2001-06-03)

A primer for anyone with dreams of 'getting away from it all.' (Ted Hainworth Saskatoon Star Phoenix 2001-07-21)

Clear, practical book ... full-color photos help do-it-yourselfers realize their dreams. (Log Homes Illustrated 2001-11-01)

With this study of the what, when, where, and how of cabin building, anyone's yearning for the last great place can be satiated. (Patrick A. Smith ForeWord 2001-10-01)

[The book will] lead the clumsiest carpenter through the necessary steps to build a cozy getaway. (Annie Stoltie Adirondack Life 2002-10-15)

You can do it!... For tips read Cabins: A Guide to Building Your Own Nature Retreat. (Rebecca Sawyer-Fay Cottage Living 2005-04-01)

Product details

  • Item Weight : 1.6 pounds
  • Paperback : 256 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 9781552093733
  • ISBN-13 : 978-1552093733
  • Product Dimensions : 8.5 x 0.75 x 11 inches
  • Publisher : Firefly Books; Illustrated Edition (March 3, 2001)
  • Language: : English
  • ASIN : 1552093735
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.6 out of 5 stars 201 ratings
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