Inhabitable log cabins are mostly associated with the idea of a rustic décor which is by itself seen as contradictory to contemporary designs with much of glass, concrete, metal and black and white minimalist design. One of the newest trends in interior design, however, features the idea that a rustic design can also be modern.
It seems that it is not about one or the other but rather about combining different elements to achieve a comfortable and functional mix, and how this can be done in a log cabin, is where Feng Shui comes in. The ancient art aims at the creation of a harmonious and supportive environment balancing materials and colours to support each other and to make positive design decisions aiming at furthering certain areas associated with wealth, health, family, social contacts, help, work and so on.
The literal translation of Feng Shui would be “wind water”. Like the wind, the “Chi” energy has to be guided wisely through the house. It’s a real science and masters of the art are employed and highly paid not only at new building projects in Shanghai and Singapore but also in London and New York.
As a matter of fact, log cabins are designed in contemporary ways to satisfy the needs of many customers for modern designs. However, how modern the design may be: A log cabin will be made from timber, and we surely can try to put this dominant material a little back into place using advice from the Feng Shui guidebook.
Feng Shui will always try to balance the five elements: wood, water, metal, earth and fire. These elements support each other and destroy each other following certain rules. So, for example, if you want to support the wood element, you would put a little water, like an aquarium or just something blue there. Water helps wood to grow. To destroy or weaken it, you would place something fiery there, like a candle, an oven or just something red. While fire would weaken wood, it would help earth. It would burn the earth into something solid to build a home from.
If you want to achieve a balance and supportive living atmosphere in your log cabin, you might dive a bit deeper into these principles. If nothing real, it will at least make you more conscious about what you want your log cabin home to be for you and bring some additional meaning to your design decisions. Here we will just pick some easy tricks out of the vast field of possible applications.
A kitchen is in the log cabin often also the place to be, the place to eat, the place to meet. In more confined spaces, there will usually be no impressive open floor plans with patios and dining areas and if so, these log cabins are probably designed individually and not bought out of a catalogue for easy self-assembly. Let´s talk about these log cabins with living spaces of between 30 to 100m2.
According to Feng Shui, this place should represent home, that is the earth element in the centre. At the same time a kitchen can be the perfect example of how to successfully combine rustic elements with modern contemporary design, and we will be able to see why this works so well.
Natural elements, like natural stone, marble, wood and water are well-known in contemporary design and with a backdrop of timber – the main building material of the log cabin – we would just have to add some other elements to get the healthy and comfortable mix that we aim at.
Granite counter-tops, a marble floor, tiles at the sink, terracotta as cladding of the central working and eating work-top-element are just some ideas of incorporating stone. A blue fridge next to the sink could represent the water element as well as black appliances, with aluminium or steel frames, representing the metal element. Metal holds and supports water so this is also a good material for the sink, if you want to strengthen the water element in that area. The stove and oven will, of course represent fire and should not be place directly next to the water elements. Metal fruit or vegetable baskets can be nice in your kitchen as well as in any other room where you would want some counterbalance to the domineering timber of your log home.
By working your way to a Feng Shui kitchen, trying to balance the elements, you will also discover that you will be able to successfully combine modern elements with the rustic feel of a log cabin. Exposed ceiling beams and modern stainless steel appliances, slate flooring, elements of natural stone or terracotta, glass shelving and modern style cabinets combine very well and make the kitchen a lively room, where everybody can stay upbeat and awake.
You can take some advice from the Feng Shui master as early as when you look out for the right lot for your inhabitable log cabin. Lots should not have sharp angles. The rounder, the better. A regular shape like a rectangle would be fine. If you can afford a water view, that would be great, too, and if your lot is inclined or on a slope, place your log cabin about two-thirds to three-quarters up the hill so that it will be protected by the hill behind it. Walking out downhill will make everything easier and so the main entrance should be at the side of the valley, maybe as a walkout basement.
Ideally you would have the entrance facing to the south and you would also only have one main entrance to the house.
Don’t let the driveway point straight at the house because this strong energy could be destructive. Rather, make it slightly curved.
A tidy front area and inside also make a good flow of energy.
While we have mentioned some ways to incorporate stone into the design of the kitchen, the same will be possible in other rooms as well. Metal can be represented not only by objects from metal but also by colours like silver and white.
Decorative items like wind chimes, metal frames for pictures, vases, chandeliers, sculptures and white objects can be used to strengthen metal areas or to enhance water areas.
The predominant element in a log cabin will always be wood, which is a warm, cosy element that invites a comfortable living atmosphere and furthers wealth and family life. Try to combine this element with other elements in your log cabin to find a more balanced mix and a good-looking interior design with rustic and modern elements.