Log cabins offer a modern, spacious, and stylish alternative to traditional garden sheds. They originated from the charming folk homes of the U.S. Midwest. And today, these rustic retreats have gained popularity globally, particularly in the UK.
Nothing quite connects you with nature like a stay in a log cabin. This is true whether you seek a brief respite in your backyard or a getaway in the middle of the countryside. But can one truly make a permanent home in a log cabin?
What may have initially been a fleeting idea now beckons as a compelling plan. After all, who could resist the allure of leaving behind the trappings of modern life for a world brimming with natural beauty and adventure?
Read on as we embark on a journey to put this notion to the ultimate test. Let’s discover if this idyllic dream can become a fulfilling reality, shall we?
Can I Live in a Log Cabin Permanently?
There are actually two questions to answer here – can you physically live in a log cabin permanently? And can you according to law?
Let’s deal with the legal side first, which all comes down to planning permission. If you want to put up a log cabin in your garden, getting planning permission is easier. As long as the building does not take up more than 50% of the exterior space of your garden, and does not exceed certain height and roof limits, then you won’t need planning permission.
Things are different if you want to build your log cabin elsewhere. You will need to own the piece of land that it will be built or placed upon. Consider where this plot of land is, and how susceptible it is to flooding and how close it might be to noise pollution.
You’ll then need to apply for planning permission to build your log cabin building. Since you’re building a permanent structure on your own piece of land, you’ll need to submit plans to your local planning office, subscribe to their building regulations, and do a detailed survey of the area.
There is a lot to do to set up your cabin. But, if you get permission, then there’ll be nothing stopping you from moving straight into your new log cabin house.
Finding The Right Cabin For You
It’s time to move on to the wood cabin itself – and finding out whether or not you can live in it!
We sell an array of outdoor buildings at affordable prices, from sheds to summerhouses, but our range of timber cabins are specially designed for enduring long stints of usage. Their thick walls provide an inbuilt level of insulation and help keep the rain and cold out. They also come with the option of double-glazing (i.e. for more warmth) and lockable doors.
Our permanent log cabins come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, but perhaps one of the best options for a live-in cabin is the BillyOh Cove. With a roomy 19.25m² of indoor floor space, the Cove is one of our bigger cabins and would be ideal for living in.
It’s split into two rooms, which makes it feel like an actual house – or a small flat at least. This means you can separate your sleeping and living areas, freeing you from feeling confined to using one space for everything.
The Cove also comes with an integrated canopy – a great spot for some al fresco dining when the sun’s out – and windows across the front and sides of the building. And unlike some cheaper buildings, it’s adaptable to the seasons.
So, we know that there’s the space to live in one, provided you get the right model. But having the right log cabin design is just the beginning to starting a life in one.
Health and Safety Considerations
When living permanently in a log cabin, health and safety are of utmost importance. One key aspect to focus on is the addition of a well-designed ventilation system. Proper ventilation prevents the buildup of mould and moisture. If such issues are overlooked, they can have effects on the structure and the health of its occupants. Ensuring fresh air can circulate within helps maintain a clean and healthy environment.
Regular upkeep of the cabin’s foundation, roof, and exterior is also essential. This routine helps prevent rot, which can compromise the cabin’s stability over time. By inspecting and addressing any damage or wear, you can mitigate potential risks. Most importantly, ensure the long-term durability of your log cabin.
Another vital consideration is the availability of a reliable heating system. Living in a log cabin means being exposed to the elements. This is particularly the case during colder months. Having an efficient and dependable heating system in place can make a difference. For one, it helps maintain a comfortable and warm environment inside the cabin. This enables you to enjoy year-round comfort and protect against the chill of winter.
Financial considerations play a vital role when contemplating permanent residence in a garden log cabin. Take into account the economic aspects associated with this lifestyle choice.
Start by exploring the initial expenses of acquiring or constructing a log cabin. This includes materials, labour, and any necessary permits. Additionally, delve into ongoing costs such as property taxes, insurance, and regular maintenance. The latter steps ensure the cabin remains in optimal condition.
As for budgeting, create a detailed budget that outlines your income and expenses. This includes mortgage or rent payments, utilities, insurance and maintenance costs. Sort your expenses to identify areas where you can cut costs or make adjustments.
Top tips: Explore DIY options for cabin maintenance and improvements to save money. Engage in regular preventive maintenance to avoid expensive repairs in the future. Opt for LED lighting and invest in energy-efficient appliances to reduce utility bills.
Community and Social Aspects
Living in a log cabin doesn’t have to entail complete isolation. There are numerous opportunities to foster a sense of community. Plus, to connect with neighbours who may also reside in log cabins nearby.
Residents have the opportunity to connect with those who share a love for rustic living. Local events and gatherings also strengthen the bonds within the cabin community. For instance, community picnics, barbecues, and nature-oriented activities.
Moreover, communal gardens, walking trails, or recreational areas become meeting points. Residents can engage in spontaneous conversations or participate in outdoor activities like gardening. These spaces facilitate interaction and foster a sense of unity among cabin dwellers.
The sense of camaraderie from these social connections adds immeasurable value to the log cabin lifestyle.
What You’d Need to Live in a Cabin Permanently
If we strip human life down to the core basics, we don’t actually need that much. It just depends on how animalistic you’re planning to get! In this situation we’re going to assume you’d at least want:
You’d think that electricity would be the most difficult asset to add to your log cabin home. As a matter of fact, there’s a relatively large selection of options when it comes to sourcing electricity, making it a lot easier than you’d think. So if you need light to work by, or for use as a workshop, keep reading.
For example, solar panels can be placed on the top of a log cabin to convert energy from the sun into energy for your home. The amount of energy they generate might not be enough to power a home for a family – but if you’re just using it to power a laptop and a light switch for a few hours a day, you should be good.
Either way, if you want electricity in your cabin house, you’ll need to get plug sockets installed. This isn’t a job for someone who isn’t clued up on electrics – so it’s best to get a professional to do it for you.
For heating, you could consider investing in an electric fireplace or heater for a low-cost alternative during colder times. Not only will it help you and your family keep warm – especially during winter – but it can also act as a stylish and fashionable centrepiece for your cabin.
Top tip: When installing electricity, it’s recommended to ask for a professional electrician’s help to carry out any electrical work for you. This is especially important if you have no experience.
Let them know how many sockets and light switches you need and all the equipment you’ll be running off the electricity. They’ll set it up, and you’ll be good to go.
It’s 2021, so we’re going to assume you’ll want a reliable WiFi connection in your house. If your residential log cabin is located in your back garden, the strength of the WiFi signal from your original house might be enough.
The most cost-effective way of accessing the internet would be to jump on the WiFi connection from your home’s signal. But, depending on the distance your cabin is from the main router, there’s a chance this will only provide a very weak signal – or none at all!
If you’re planning to locate your garden cabin far away from home, then getting an internet connection might seem like an impossible task. But there are more solutions than you think!
You can get a provider and router that uses the reception your phone uses for the internet (4G). These routers can provide a fast and reliable signal from most places in the UK. If you want to live so remotely that you won’t get a phone signal, then the best option would be a satellite router – that’s right, a router that connects directly to satellites.
Whether you’re down the end of your garden, or out in the middle of the country, there’s an internet option to suit your needs.
Hot water is imperative if you want to keep clean during your time in your log cabin. This won’t pose as much of a problem if you have a main home to return to, though.
Getting any water to your cabin will require pipes being placed underground – which means digging. A plumber should be able to install the pipes and get them connected to the boiler, which will provide warm water for things like showers and dishwashing. But, again, it’s not something you’d do on your own – unless you’re qualified.
Getting cold water is much a simpler job, and you can always boil it with electricity access if you have a kettle or a hob (or even a portable stove if you want to keep it as primitive as possible!). But if you’re planning to live there for a long time, your best bet is a reliable source of clean water as well as a boiler.
There are a variety of lighting options to choose from when it comes to your cabin. Which is best for you depends on how much light you need, how much you want to spend, and what you want your cabin to look like.
Halogen lights are good for providing overhead light. They can also be used for adjustable spotlights or track lighting. Desk and floor lamps are a cheap lighting option, and if you’re working from home they can be a great investment.
LED lighting, on the other hand, is versatile and cheap to run. LED can be used as spotlights if, in certain areas of your home, you want it to be extra bright.
Candles and lanterns can also add a romantic atmosphere to the cabin. They make fantastic focal points and can blend well with any decor style without using electricity. Candles are an ultra-cheap alternative that can add style and provide light without skyrocketing your electricity bill.
By now, we’ve probably calculated that living in a log cabin permanently is possible. But during winter, especially in the U.K, the freezing cold temperatures can cause a real problem. By insulating your cabin walls and roof you can make sure that it’s warm and cosy during these winter months.
Although wood itself is a good insulator, insulating your log cabin properly can make sure you trap heat from the inside when the external temperature starts to dip. Plus, an insulated log cabin will mean you require less heating equipment (e.g. heaters). That way, energy consumption is reduced, and you won’t be forking out extra on your electricity bill.
To insulate your cabin use fibreglass wool and/or thermal insulation foil. We’ve written an in-depth article about how to install insulation in a shed (or a timber cabin) which you can find here.
Insulating also means that the impact on the environment is much lower. It’ll result in a lower volume of pollutants being emitted into the air, a reduced carbon footprint, and make the cabin more energy efficient.
You’d be surprised how much food you can actually keep without the need for a fridge or a freezer. Over the years, humankind has developed a plethora of methods for preserving food, many of which are now employed by supermarkets to keep our food fresh.
Again, if you have a plug socket installed, getting a fridge into your cabin should be no biggie. And plugging in a microwave, or having an oven installed, is totally possible too.
However, if you’re looking to live rustic, dry goods such as rice, pasta, beans, and oats can be the foundation of your stockpile. Canned goods and stews that contain liquid like tomatoes, beans, and tuna are also recommended.
But comfort food and items to snack on, such as chocolate and coffee, shouldn’t be neglected due to their positive effect on mood and mental health!
Here’s a list of cabin staples that you can add to your basket on your next trip to the shops. None of this stuff needs to be frozen or refrigerated, most of it lasts for ages.
- Tomato sauce and tomato paste
- Canned vegetables
- Canned meats, e.g. tuna
- Dried herbs and spices
- Peanut butter, almond butter, tahini
- Olive oil
- Shelf-stable milk alternatives, e.g. almond milk, coconut milk, etc.
Top tip: If you live in an area with limited access to a water supply, you may also consider stocking up on bottled water.
You’ll also want to make sure you have enough personal and household hygienic products, such as shampoo, conditioners, soap, hand sanitiser, toilet paper, tissues, sanitary products, etc. Stocking up and getting prepared is all part of log cabin living.
Ready to embrace the nomadic lifestyle? We’re here to tell you that it’s absolutely achievable to live in a log cabin permanently. However, it’s essential to consider certain factors.
Remember to weigh the pros and cons. Make informed decisions to create a comfortable cabin home. With careful planning, you can embrace the beauty and serenity of log cabin living.