Beyond the Rustic: Modernizing a Log Cabin In the 21st Century

Beyond the Rustic: Modernizing a Log Cabin In the 21st Century

When an average person hears the words “log cabin,” adjectives such as backwoods, outdoorsy, or rustic might come to mind. Log homes aren’t solely for wilderness fanatics, but also for modern folks with a desire to own a beautiful home inside and out. Despite their primitive wooden structure, when combined with contemporary interior design they become perfect for technology lovers and nature fans alike.

Bob Kinney, Co-Founder of Town & Country Cedar homes and Town & Country Cedar Products, said there is no typical log cabin homeowner. From a deer hunter to Bill Gates, who built a log pool house, log home owners enjoy the luxurious yet comfortable lifestyle the homes provide.

Designer, contractor, and craftsman Daniel Grady Faires said there is an inherent warmth and character to wood that modern construction products such as steel and glass don’t convey. Log homes are appreciated in part because they are timeless and invoke thoughts of ancestry.

Faires said today people experiment with incorporating a variety of styles into a space instead of focusing on maintaining one specific style. In the case of log homes, the foundation provides the aesthetic, leaving room for modernization within its walls.

“Concrete floors or countertops, large glass windows and doors, stainless steel appliances, and iron elements inside of a log home help modernize the space while striking a perfect balance to the warmer wood features throughout the rest of the home,” he said.

For those on a budget or those who enjoy DIY projects and saving money, Faires recommends visiting yard sales, flea markets, and other “junk shops” to find pieces to repurpose and upcycle. Sofas, tables, and dressers can be painted, reupholstered, or slip-covered. An old medicine cabinet can become a mirrored side table. Ultimately, it’s all about creativity.

Ms. “Sam” Jernigan, Interior Designer, IFDA at Renaissance Design Consultations, said texture and color that pops against the warm hues of wood are essential to log home décor. Upholstery, artwork, pillows, and other household accessories can be chosen based on color schemes to nicely accent the structure of the home.

Jernigan said one strong color or a 2-color story of saturated tones can make log homes look the most contemporary. She suggests using colors such as vibrant persimmon orange, or, for a cooler feel, acid green.

In addition, Jernigan said wool, silk, and leather fabric pillows or upholstery as well as wool rugs are great if homeowners want to maintain an “eco” theme.

 “Any single bright hue amidst a sea of these natural textures (wood, wool, leather, etc.) along with stainless steel and possibly glass elements would all harmonize well toward accomplishing this particular modern take on an American classic,” she said.

As a final note, Faires said people don’t have to live in a log cabin to appreciate rustic style.

“Each and every space has room for a beautiful piece of rustic furniture,” he said. “The warmth and appreciation for solid wood is timeless.”


About the Author: Alyssa Zandi is an undergraduate psychology student, avid crafter, lifetime dog lover, and contributing blogger for Michigan Cedar Products, a producer of cedar log siding.
Twitter: @alyssazandi

Image Credit: Michigan Cedar Products


  1. one
    Comment by Maggie @ Sunsquare: May 7, 2012 at 8:31 AM

    The best design of a cabin I’ve seen so far. No wonder Faires went from rugs to riches because of his ingenious masterpieces!

  2. two
    Comment by Hannah@Docklands: May 11, 2012 at 10:19 AM

    Wow thats some real space. I love the layout

  3. three
    Comment by Esmael @ Flooring Supplies: May 12, 2012 at 1:26 AM

    I love rustic home style but Faires designs are way above my expectations. If this is how my home looks I don’t think I could settle anywhere else.

  4. four
    Comment by Home Builders Missouri: Jun 6, 2012 at 11:08 PM

    Log cabins are perhaps not the best choices for people because of the conceived rustic idea attached to the concept. However, your blog plus your pictures made us think that log cabins can be as elegant and beautiful as those modern types. Thank you for sharing these ideas!

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