Design & Style
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When You Can't Get to the Cabin

Why some folks will build a getaway in their suburban home
By Gloria Gale
Published: March 1, 2007
Photo by Bill Mathews
There’s something about the lure of a log cabin – even it it’s not located in shady grove but tucked instead in the basement of your home.
“Since I am a suburban dweller, I decided that if I couldn’t get to the mountainside cabin, I would at least bring the cabin to me.”
That’s John Mark talking, an avid history buff with creativity to spare.
He found a pre-Civil War cabin 11 years ago, dismantled it and stored the oak logs – with all the patina and axe marks still visible – for his future project. He envisioned building a log room in the basement of his traditionally styled home realizing that it would be an education and an adventure.
Designating a 12 x15-foot area in the finished basement that once held a pool table, John Mark took the heavy, hand-hewn logs to a saw mill. Slicing slabs from each gave him lighter logs and doubled the quantity.
A stone fireplace was added to the center of the featured wall, then John Mark hand-cut each log slab to fit around the rough stone.
He mounted each log to the studs behind the drywall using long screws positioned into the cracks of the old wood. Chinking, consisting of regular mortar, was applied to create as close to an authentic log wall as possible.
“I was delighted with the final appearance, which blended beautifully with the mottled faux painting of the other walls and antique furnishings that fill the room.  
“And,” he says, “it’s a cozy place to read a book.”
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