Surveying the Area and Positioning the Cabin
Log Home Diary Entry # 5
At Justice Plantation, there were only two decisions to make in determining where to place the 1808 log cabin. The area where the cabin would be placed on the plantation was a given, but positioning the cabin properly might take a little planning. Not only did I have to contend with the basic elements of siting the cabin, I also had to factor in the other structures that will eventually become part of my vision for Justice Plantation as an event destination for weddings, reunions and the like.
The cabin needed to be in line with the existing Justice House Inn and the site for the future Magnolia Lodge for everything to flow naturally. T.O. Justice laid it all out in 1908; I just had to follow his alignment of his house with the direct sight of the North Star, and this cabin would have it all: south-west exposure, sunrise to the east and tranquil sunset to the west.
I thought I had the perfect angle set to build the cabin until the crew with Pittsboro, North Carolina-based Van R. Finch Land Surveyors arrived and actually staked off the cabin under my direction. After the wooden stakes were in and bright red survey tape outlined the perimeter of the cabin, it was clear that I, too, was going to re-position this cabin.
Nothing looked like it did on paper. We moved the cabin a total of four times to find exactly what I wanted. The Garden Terrace between the 1808 log cabin and the Justice House Inn would be excellent for any occasion, the existing 1850s log cabin onsite had good exposure and views of the pond, the Magnolia Lodge was in perfect line sight from the cabin’s dining room, and the fireside patio faced the meadows as if it all been planned perfectly from the start. Thankfully, the survey crew had patience. I certainly appreciated their help; this is why I have professionals survey and lay out all my cabins. You have to start out right—if you survey the site, dig footers, place nail points in the concrete to start the foundation, build the subfloor and visit the site during the building process, you should finish right, too.
The key is build the cabin you like and build it where you want, but take the time to site your cabin where it gives you the most of what Mother Nature has already provided. So many times we rush to get through the building process. Stop and enjoy it. Look at all you can create, whether it be an overlook of a field or meadow, a view of the forest or a stream rippling over the rocks, or an observation area for sunsets or sunrises over the purple haze of the mountains. Visit your land, and see it at all hours of the day and night. Study the surroundings, and your decision will come to you. We are only tenants of the land, and I feel we should be good stewards—to the land and our neighbors.
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