I was talking the other day with a good friend, about cabins, and the cabin we’ll be designing for her, about the multitude of small details that will define it as hers and elevate it to its greatest purpose, to be a personal sanctuary to go to for times of quiet solitude.

It’s those finer details that transform even the simplest buildings into unique expressions of the owner’s personality, making a place that’s special and deeply satisfying, and perfectly unique. If you’re creating your cabin from scratch, or having one built for you, you will have many opportunities to add your own custom touches throughout the process, details which will, when all combined, create a place that’s absolutely, uniquely, yours. Remember, you’re the cabin’s alpha user, and it should reflect your needs and wants, your character, personality, history and tastes. When it does all that, your cabin will be unlike any other and give to you in ways you cannot begin to predict.

Today I’m thinking about some of the larger, fundamental details you can tinker with to personalize your place, like window and door sizing and placement, skylight placement, and even the location of the roof dormer.

Let’s start with windows. I love (love!) lots of natural light, and use windows copiously in my designs to define how things look and feel and relate to the surrounding landscape and light.

I’ve designed the Raven family of cabins to allow easy resizing or alternate placement of any of the windows, without the usual requirement to redesign structural elements: want a bigger window here, or a smaller window there? Go for it. (Within limits, of course. For the RavenMini, it’s important to have a total of four feet of uninterrupted wall on each of the four wall faces, so, you may have up to a five foot wide window or door on the short sides, and up to an eight foot wide opening on the long sides).

Another aspect that you’re free to alter is the location of the roof dormer. The plans have it on the right-hand slope of the roof, but it can  easily be on the left side, as I’ve chosen. I opted for it to be on the left side based on the orientation of the cabin relative to the arc of the sun through the day, combined with the available view from its window.

Another window change I made was driven by some glass that I already owned that fit perfectly into a grid in the front gable wall. It’s a bit of an experiment, not at all what I’d planned, and I’m really excited to see how it looks once it’s all finished. The appearance of the cabin will be strongly influenced by these windows  and the view and morning sunlight and shadows coming into the loft through that array of glass will be pretty cool.

You get the idea. The point is to remain open to possibilities and explore all the ways that you can make your cabin uniquely yours. Some things you build into your cabin, some things can be chosen and added in layers afterwards, over time

Ultimately it’s about you.