YOUR first care with the
interior is to take off the look of newness. There is a charm peculiarly
its own about the walls of a log cabin, for even now, untouched as it
is, you sense the spirit of the mountain and the lake which has been
built into it with every log rolled into place.
The floor needs toning
down with a stain (for paint is not permitted inside the cabin), and
when you have decided upon what tone you want, do not be persuaded to
buy some expensive concoction widely advertised as the best ever at
three dollars a gallon. Make it yourself for fifty cents or less and
have exactly what you want. A small quantity of oil paint thoroughly
mixed in a gallon of kerosene or turpentine will fill the bill exactly.
The intensity of the stain is governed by the amount of color used, and
the color itself is modified, if too glaring, by the addition of some
other color. Thus, raw umber will give a fine brown tone, but if it is
too red on trial, add some black or blue or green. This you will agree
gives a wide latitude, but in securing a brown or green tone for a room
it must be a "tone," and not a decided color. I mention these two colors
because of their reminiscent feeling of the woods they seem especially
appropriate. Besides, these soft tans and greens are always restful and
pleasant to live with. Remember that in a large use of a color it gains
After the floor is
stained (make your stain very thin) give it a coat of woodfiller, and
when this is dry finish either with varnish or wax.
The logs will of their
own accord gradually assume a fine gray-brown tone, so that there is
practically only the window and door trim requiring their share of the
Simple furniture to fit
the situation is desired, and chairs and tables may be readily fashioned
from the branches of trees. Care should be taken to select for this
purpose such trees as have smooth bark that will cling. A spoke sizer
will bring the ends of the sticks down to fit the holes which have been
bored to receive them. All the furniture should be put together with
glue and in addition a wire nail driven through will keep the whole
Seats and backs for the
chairs may be made of skins stretched across, or small sticks may be
nailed in place.
Window seats may be
fashioned in much the same manner, only now one may make use of these
for storage room, and the seat should be hinged on, giving access to the
An excellent bed may be
easily built, but be sure that you have taken the precaution to measure
your spring frame. Springs may be done away with by using the
old-fashioned method of "roping" the bed.
In the frame all around
the bed bore half-inch holes six inches apart. Take rope of sufficient
length and knot one end. Proceed to lace through the holes on opposite
sides of the frame, pulling as tightly as possible, then make a
temporary hitch. Go back to the first stretch of the rope and stand upon
it, now to the next one in front, etc. You will soon take up the slack
and the cords will be drawn tight. Fasten with a secure hitch. Now, from
the foot to the head, stretch another rope as before, crossing the
former work. This makes a good bed. Springs are better.
While the fit is on you
there will be found many things to be made. A clock case, woodbox, pipe
racks, gun and rod holders, clothes trees, etc., but in all these
matters let utility rule. Do not try to overdo the "rustic" appearance
of things. Keep them simple and take pride in building them of the
fewest pieces possible.
Excellent draperies may
be made of the dyed or plain burlaps and these may be made quite
handsome with a simple design stencilled upon them. The only trouble to
be met with in stenciling is in securing the design.
When this is had, secure
a piece of rather stiff heavy paper and cut out the design with a sharp
penknife. Resting the paper on a small piece of glass will give a sharp
edge to the cut. When the stencil is cut fasten it to the drapery in the
position it is to occupy. Have your oil colors ready and also a quantity
of gasoline or turpentine, for the color is put in more as a dye than as
a surface color. A little experimenting on waste pieces will give you
the proper consistency. Use a smallish brush with stiff hairs. An
artist's bristle brush about three-fourths of an inch wide is just the
For curtains and thin
stuff, as swiss, scrim, etc., use a thin mixture of Diamond Dyes.
Unbleached muslin is excellent for stenciling.
Take a small amount of
the powder on the end of a teaspoon, wet it with cold water, then add
one cup of boiling water and boil for a few minutes.
For crash, etc., use the
aniline dyes (or tapestry dyes), but as they are rather dead use some of
the Diamond Dyes in addition. Prepare them as above, adding color to get
the desired shade.
Permit me just a word
here with regard to the "pictures" for the wall. There are people who
attempt to adorn their cabin with all manner of cheap lithographs,
calendars, and other advertisements. In this day many of our finest
out-door pictures are used by various firms for the exploitation of
their wares, but in pity's name do not start a "collection" and use your
rooms for the exhibition.
There are many portfolios
of exquisite out-door pictures that may be purchased reasonably.
With but little work
frames may be made for them of pine, which may be stained to accord
perfectly with the view. A few of these may be hung, but don't overdo
the matter; treat it as if it were your city home in this regard. The
logs of the walls are too fine in themselves and hold so much of what we
seek in the open that we should try not to hide their charm. There is
absolutely no room for the miscellaneous collection of posters, pine
cones, college pennants, photographs, post cards, cotillion favors, etc.
Paddles and snowshoes
lend themselves easily to the decoration of the rooms, and the
introduction of a game head or two, or the mounted big fish that didn't
get away, together with fur rugs for the floor, give the last note of
the woodsy flavor.
Everything else must be
rigorously excluded; thus the "atmosphere" will be preserved genuinely,
and the suggestion of a museum never appear.
After the logs have had a
seasoning period (and not before) the calked spaces may be ,plastered
with white lime. If this seems too glaring when dry, it will take a
stain as readily as wood.
Not the least in
importance of all the rooms is the kitchen, and considerable time and
thought should be given it to secure the best possible results. In your
plans you have arranged large windows that will give all the light and
air possible. The problem of cleanliness is, however, somewhat difficult
of solution in the Log Cabin —there are so many cracks and crevices to
attract dust and vermin. In this room it would be best to plaster the
cracks with lime mortar, then all the woodwork except the logs,
including the shelves, should be given a good application of enameled
white paint which may be easily wiped off with a damp cloth and thus be
Have the kitchen sink
broad and of generous size, with a shelf built at one end slanting
toward the sink, so that the water 'from the dishes may drain that way.
A plain cast iron sink will do very well and may be put in place by
building a frame of the seven-eighths stuff at hand, remembering that
the outlet end should be slightly lower, to prevent the water standing
in the sink. The sink should be treated from time to time with a wash of
hot water and soda or ammonia to keep it clean from deposits of grease.