03 November 2013
If you follow my facebook, you may have noticed that I put up a post about the Compact Cabins* book mentioned in the title.
Purely, by chance, I happened to see it while I was walking thru Lowes and was fairly impressed by it. However, I had no idea how cool it really was, until my loving in-laws gave it to me as a gift. So, lets go over the book a bit.
Honestly, the first thing that drew my attention to the book was a combination of factors. These where, that the cover illustration was a tonal architectural rendering of a cabin, and the second was... that the book is about cabins. While we all know that there are many books on architecture and so on, Cabin building is one of the most iconicly Mid-Century genres of architecture there is. (This is a topic for another time.)
So, not expecting much... I figured the photo on the cover was to pull you in, and then the rest would be glossy photos of contemporary cabins that no one could afford. I picked up the book (in the store before owning it), and looked briefly over the contents. To my surprise I found a really solid retro inspired looking cabin book. While I can't count it as completely Mid-Century Modern in design, I can guarantee that the author of this book was keeping in mind the original mid-century cabin books.
What I found inside is a really interesting and well balanced book. It takes on some of the more traditional styled cabin looks and simplifies the completion and construction of them with more current innovations.
One way that the book brings in current innovations into these retro styled cabins is by taking into consideration prefab and ready made units in the construction process. Some of these concepts are: using travel trailer and camper shower/bathroom units, using shipping containers, and using pre-made kitchen units to facilitate construction of the compact interiors while cutting your cost and time for design and install way down.
While some concepts may be a bit to contemporary for those of you who are reading this post, do not fear. This book has those contemporary concepts separated from the more traditional designs. However, it is good to remember that one of the big motivations in the MCM world was pushing design to incorporate new engineering concepts.
Compact Cabins* also gives very solid advice on modular units, and how they can be designed to construct the perfect cabin for your needs. Included in the book are 62 cabin plans, a number of tips on how to source materials (in todays world), how to find out about the building codes that exist, and a number of space saving concepts.
I do think it is very important for anyone reading this to understand that the maximum size of the cabins covered in this book is 1000 sf. Therefore, if you are looking for a book that covers larger cabins, this is not the book for you. Still, this book is incredibly practical, and will make you rethink the building of a larger more expensive cabin for the practicality of one of the ones shown in this book.
In conclusion, I would say that the content of this book is more than just interesting. I would say that is super practical and very inspiring. Being that I'm somewhat of a Mid-Century book snob (not just any old book gets in my collection), any book that I suggest must fit a few important criteria.
First- Any book to be displayed must fit in with my other mid-century books.
Second- It must be practical and lend toward Mid-Century styled living.
Third- It needs to be an easily understood book that is useful to anyone who may pick it up.
Compact Cabins* is all of the above without a doubt. While it isn't suitable for Mid-Century Purist, it will be a great and wonderful addition to the average Mid-Century enthusiast. In fact, just looking at this book has inspired me to reconsider the possibility of building a cabin. Who knows, it could happen...