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3 Tips for Anyone Building Their Own Cabin

Construction at The Trail House is well underway! For those of you who haven’t been following this project, The Trail House is the dream cabin the owner of Union Wood Co, Craig Pearce, his wife Kendra, and their family are building on Bowen Island, BC. The basic structure of the cabin is built and starting to resemble a little piece of Bowen heaven! The construction team is now starting to rough-in mechanical wiring, plumbing, and the HVAC system. At this point, everyone is getting very excited to see the cabin take shape! The project has been fortunate enough to not have any major hiccups (knock on wood!), but that is no coincidence. Before breaking ground on the project in July 2017, the couple spent nearly two years preparing for The Trail House.


the trail house - exterior elevations

bowen iland cabins

Before any construction drawings were done for the house, the couple took the time to get to know their plot of land. They wanted to find out everything the property had to offer. While they spent their free time camping on the site in a temporary structure (destined to become the guest cabin), they took note of the natural surrounding. Their time there allowed them to focus on where the natural light came through the trees, where the best vantage point was to take in their Howe Sound view, and where the surrounding forest hugged the property the thickest. They even had their architect, Peter Atkinson from Human Studio, and his family camp on the site with them so everyone involved in the project had a relationship with the land. When it came time to pick the location of The Trail House on the property, they knew exactly where they wanted it situated to maximize the natural light that would be coming into their home and the views they wanted to enjoy from their windows. Not everyone who is building their cabin can take the time to do this but just taking an hour to explore the site of your future property will help give you a better understanding of how you want to live there.

the trail house - bowen island
the trail house - bowen island

It takes many hands to get a project off the ground. Making sure you have the right people to do the work will make all the difference in the long run. It might be tempting to go with the lowest quote you get but you’ll likely end up getting what you paid for, or worse, end up paying extra later to fix the shortcuts! The pair's advice to anyone building a property is to be realistic with the budget you have. Hiring the best people you can will get you the best end results. Savings can be found later when you're selecting finishes or when deciding on construction details. Kennedy Construction was hired to manage the project and the family could not be happier with their work. It was also important for them to hire as many local trades as possible to help get an introduction to the community and for future support. That way, if something were to happen at the cabin in the future (like a plumbing leak), they already had a contact and connection with a professional close by who could help them out.

building on bowen island

Logistics has been the biggest challenge for The Trail House. It did not get its name because it has a nice paved road leading up to it! The property's semi-remote terrain is what was appealing about the location to the couple however they knew that access was going to be an obstacle for getting building materials and tradespeople up the steep slope. Through the process, they managed to be creative with deliveries and humble with expectations. The best strategy for going into a project is planning what you can but then having patience when the unexpected occurs. Being realistic with timelines and your budget will help soothe future headaches.

the trail house - cabin elevations
craig pearce - union wood company

For anyone who is building in a remote location (or anywhere for that matter!) feel free to email with questions. He’d be happy to share his experience and help you along with yours!

Keep following the Union Wood Co blog to see what happens next at The Trail House. And if you haven’t already, read our last post about the project Welcome to The Trail House - The Dream Cabin We're Making a Reality!

WRITTEN BY: Todd Mitchell

Use coupon code WELCOME10 for 10% off your first order.


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