Books : reviews

Linda Arms White.
Log Spirit.
Gibbs-Smith. 2000

rating : 4 : passes the time
review : 18 September 2010

This describes how to get a "log cabin" feel into your architecture. Well, "cabin" may be a bit of an understatement: some of the examples here are positively palatial in scale, and most would require several acres of land for them to nestle in.

I love most of the examples here, because I prefer buildings made of natural materials like wood and stone to the antiseptic steel and glass boxes that seem to be the rage amongst the self build crew. [rough-sawn timber concrete formwork, from] I don't believe it's simply the "naturalness", however: I prefer concrete formwork made from rough-sawn timber, to smooth featureless kinds of wood, for example. (When we bought our oak dining room floor, we discovered that planks that were knot-free cost more. But why would anyone want a featureless oak floor? Similarly, we had to specifically request that our stone fireplace was made from stone with lots of grain, not all smooth and looking reconstituted, that apparently most prefer.) [twisty railed staircase] So it's probably the "roughness" and complexity of the grains, textures and shapes, rather than the naturalness as such, that I like. It's just that these properties occur more frequently in natural materials.

Here, I frankly skimmed the text, and concentrated on the luscious pictures. What's not to adore about a staircase with railing made out of twisty logs? Although some of the designs do look a bit like dust traps. But then, if you can afford to build in this style, on this scale, you can probably afford someone to dust and polish, too.