Richard Aiken is some kind of a jack of all trades, there doesn’t seem to be anything that he can’t do. He’s a father, a husband, has a degree in medicine, two Ph.D.s, sings opera, wrote “The New Ancestral Diet” and works well with his hands as you’ll find out about soon.
Richard has definitely picked up those skills through experience over the years as he’s now sixty-five-years-old. Keep reading to find out just what he did to an old shack to make it look like fancy accommodation.
Richard’s been planning on making a house in a forest for a while now. He just wants a bit of a break from the busy city life, we can’t blame him. It would be good for him to get in touch with nature for a bit.
It sounds really nice to be able to open your front for and immediately be surrounded by the smell of pine needles and sounds of nature. This means that Richard must have been considering this for a while now.
What had stopped Richard up until now was the fact that getting a second house wouldn’t be cheap in any sense. Then a man told him about a worn-out old cabin in the middle of the woods. This gave Richard new hope.
The man wanted to give Richard the cabin for free, but that wouldn’t have sat well with him, he needed to feel that it was truly his, and to do that he’d have to buy it. He gave the man $100 and went to go look at the cabin.
When he arrived at the cabin, he saw why the man wanted to give it away. He saw that his work would be cut out for him if he wanted to live in a structure that wasn’t unsafe to be in.
The cabin was a mess, the inside was full of splintered wood while the roof sat collapsed on the floor. He didn’t even feel safe in the doorway. Richard was committed now, he knew he’d have to spend most of his free time fixing the place up.
After inspecting the cabin closely, Richard could tell that most of it couldn’t be saved. He noticed that most of the wood was actually rotten. He’d knew he had just made a huge commitment.
Most of the cabin would have to be leveled and started anew if Richard wanted a safe place to live. He tried keeping any wood that could be saved. In his mind, he still wanted some of the old cabin to remain in the new one that he would have to build.
Richard lay out all of the wood on the ground and marked each so he knew where they went. He cleaned all of the rot off of the planks that could be saved and smiled, his work had just begun, but he was happy.
The cabin may have been old and derelict for a while now, but he was satisfied with just how beautiful the landscape around it looked. It was like living in a dream. Now Richard was motivated as ever.
Richard felt that he needed help, he asked his family since he thought it would be good bonding time for them. Soon his family found a natural spring close to the cabin. What wonderful news, he would incorporate that into his property.
They started digging up a lot of the spring to make the cabin a waterfront property! The view would now be perfect when Richard opened his front door in the morning. But for now, there was still a lot of work to be done. With the cabin in pieces, he could relocate it.
Richard and his family worked together by digging into the spring by hand. After they couldn’t do any more work with no equipment, they got a bulldozer to uncover the rest of the pond.
Once the majestic pond was finished, Richard even built a dock out of wood with his own tow hands. Now he had something to show for all of his hard work, even if it was the cabin itself. Richard always took his time and built something to perfection, and this cabin would be no exception.
After Richard had built the waterfront, he was certain where he wanted his new cabin to be. He wanted it to face the new pond and dock that he had built. He knew it would be perfect.
He was finally ready to start building his dream cabin. He had all the materials laid to on side and the plans he’d drawn out in front of him. Building a cabin from scratch would be a lot of hard labor and he was aware of this, he was just excited to see his cabin come together.
Richard wanted the old cabin to still have a presence in his new construction, so he tried to build it in homage to the old cabin. This proved difficult when he had to raise the foundations since there was bedrock just six feet under the soil.
It would prove to be the right decision, in the end, raising the whole cabin would only make the views from inside that much more beautiful. His family was overjoyed to see the progress that Richard was making on the house. It was almost complete.
Richard went all the way and even fill the bottom in with cement to make a basement floor. He then decided to get some materials from the wood to incorporate into his building.
He made floor joists with the wood from oak while cedar was used as shingles. The porch that Richard had created pulled the place together in just the right way. Now the cabin had elements from the forest and look right at him amongst the trees.
It was very important to Richard to include a hearth in his new wood cabin home. It just wouldn’t be a proper log cabin without one and it would add to the country living appeal he was seeking to capture.
The Aiken family purposely chose a Rumford fireplace, which was common for log cabins between 1796 and 1850. The fireplace was a choice that would eventually add to the rustic nature of the home.
Richard’s new wood cabin had an upper floor, and to get to that upper floor, they would need to build a staircase. Richard used a fallen oak tree to fashion a flight of gorgeous stairs.
Richard’s choice to use repurposed wood meant he wouldn’t have to cut down any of the beautiful trees in the area. Plus, the aged wood added a look that any carpenter would love to claim as their own.
Richard knew that the door of his cabin would have to be perfect. It would be the first feature people would see when entering the house and it needed to feature a woodsy look.
The family brought materials and designs to a carpenter who turned them into the doors and windows of the cabin. The simple design did a great job of paying homage to the log cabin that had to be dismantled and then rebuilt.
Richard constructed his cabin out of organically shaped logs, so there’s no way they could fit together perfectly on their own without destroying their natural look.
The family used chicken wire and an outdoor sealant to fill in the gaps between the logs. Sometimes a big project just takes a little bit of teamwork. The gapping in the wood mixed with the filler also helped to create a natural look.
Now that the exterior of the cabin was complete, it was time to start decorating the interior. They brought in some rustic chairs and tables and stocked the fireplace with a whole bunch of wood.
This place was really starting to feel like home. Most exciting was the family’s decision to avoid a modern look that would have taken away from their country retreat. The home might be new to them but it had an old-time feel.
The Aiken’s Amish neighbors used a fallen walnut tree and native white oak to build a harvest table.
The new harvest table designed to be light and easy to move so they could bring it closer to the fire when it was cold. This was an important feature since they wouldn’t be running heaters into the home. These people really did think of everything as they built their country retreat.
The candle chandelier in Richard’s new country home makes for a great light source when electricity isn’t available, and the peaked roof allows natural light to flow into the cabin.
Lighting is an often overlooked element of a house but it’s so important to have windows that let in enough sunlight, especially when electricity isn’t being routed into the house. Just look at the amazing window Richard installed high in the home’s ceiling.
What’s a cabin in the woods without a loft bed? You’ve got to sleep somewhere. This little loft looks cozy and makes for a perfect way to slumber the night away while enjoying some fresh country air.
It has a warm, cozy vibe for a relaxing snooze after a long day of living in the woods and it maximizes the home’s ability to house family members as they undoubtedly take advantage of the home on a regular basis.
The Aiken family is really keen on cooking, so they knew their new place would need to have a hearth. The hearth can be used to cook everything from hot drinks to entire meals.
Dual purposes for the fireplace means the family didn’t have to worry about building a full kitchen in a small face. Plus, nothing says country living like cooking over an open flame, especially when it’s right inside your home!