In this cabin design, we endeavor to evoke feelings of a life lived in close association with the forest, not unlike the forest cabins of fables, home to the woodcutter, or home to the herbalist. Technically, we were driven to incorporate structural elements born from the tipi and the yurt. In this way, we would assure general stability in multiple conditions. As well, we want to honour a worldwide tradition of patterns & motifs on buildings, which you can see faintly on the door. And finally, as the building ages, we want it to age gracefully. That it's earthen plasters and grey, lichen covered shingles, keep us enchanted, until that future day when it naturally returns to the earth.
It is critical that the simple deck block foundation be given drainage, and that their gravel footings are well tamped. Also, the only area that must be level is the central floor. If the site cannot be leveled for all of the rafters, then these deck blocks can rest at multiple heights, rafters can be shortened, or even extended a bit. The entire structure can sit level on minimally undisturbed, uneven ground. This is a low impact foundation.
We feel it would be best to create the initial tipi in the spring, and allow it to settle for a few months, while other parts are being collected and built. Plastering should occur in early fall, or perhaps the following spring.
The tire collar, which accepts the tenons of the rafters, can morticed with a reciprocating saw. The rafters should be 6" at the butt, and ideally stripped of their bark. They have 3x3 inch tenons at their ends. Complete measurement details can be sent on request.
The entire space is insulated with sawdust and/or wool batting. Nova Scotia has a nascent wool insulation business near Truro. New Zealand has a mature wool insulation industry. Sawdust did a mighty job keeping ice from melting in ice houses for centuries. A layer of sawdust may be used in the floor, just below the earthen floor, to help make a thermal break from the gravel below. Yes, shoes will probably have to be worn inside, but the earthen floor will have aesthetic value and will prevent any stray ember from the stove to set fire to it.
Solar panels should be placed on their own frame, three feet off the ground, perhaps on the southern slope above the cabin. As much as panels are currently in vogue, their appearance on this roof is not suggested. On the ground they can be easily kept clear of ice and snow and serviced if needed.
We can help with renewable energy installations, and with all aspects of this building, upon request. We suggest simple woven rope cots for beds.
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- Site Plan
- Construction detail