Susan enjoys travel, art, writing, and natural products. She lives in Kent, just outside of London.
A Way to Add More Space to Your Home
We needed a bit more space in our home, as do many families, and looked around for an inexpensive and speedy solution. We saw Lillevilla cabins and thought they looked like the perfect answer.
These log cabins are manufactured in Finland. The wood is 100% renewable. They are built using 45mm thick wooden walls, and they have double-glazed windows and locks on the doors so were a lot more substantial than I expected. There was a number of sizes and shapes to choose from too. We were sold pretty quickly on the idea after being shown photos of families using them as home offices, gyms, cinema rooms, playrooms, hobby rooms and dens. Exactly what we needed to give us an extra room.
Constructing the Cabin
We ordered the Lillevilla 124, which measures 3m by 4.2m, and left a deposit to hold it. The delivery time was about 6 weeks which wasn't too bad. We also paid for the cabin to be constructed by the supplier's team, as it comes in a lot of individual logs or planks which are slotted together and we weren't confident we'd get it done to a good standard . The cabins are offered as DIY construction if you are good at that sort of thing and want to save some cash, and all the fixtures needed are included with the packs.
The concrete slab had to be laid and completely dried before the cabin could be built. This foundation is a very important part of the building so it needs to be done well, so leaving enough time to get this 100% correct is a must. We decided to do this part ourselves and it took a whole day from start to finish, with ready-mix cement delivered by truck from a local company.
The slab needs to be at least 10cm thick and measure a bit wider and a bit longer than the finished cabin. Our garden has a slight slope to it, so we had to make sure it was level on all planes, and this took a bit of time to get right.
How we made our concrete slab: To begin with, we measured out the area and marked it with wooden stakes and string. To make the surface level we dug down deeper at one end and made sure the bottom was even by using a spirit level and checking it over and over again. Then a wooden frame was built all around the edge using rough-sawn planks for the sides and these were held securely in place with stakes. When the concrete is poured in, it can dislodge and bend the planks, so staking them in several places along each plank is essential to create an accurate shape. We checked multiple times that the finished frame was both level and the correct measurements. If the slab is not level, the finished cabin will twist or lean as the years pass and the wooden structure settles.
We laid rubble at the bottom of the hole, as seen in the photos, but this isn't necessary. We did this as a way to dispose of the old patio so the hole originally started a bit deeper than 10cm. The concrete layer must be 10 cms thick on top of the rubble if you do the same. A damp-proof sheet of plastic, bought from a DIY store, was laid at the bottom which stops moisture getting into the foundations, this was something recommended by Lillevilla.
We ordered ready-mixed concrete from a local company. When the truck arrived we needed to barrow the concrete up the driveway and into the frame. This needs to be done really quickly so we had two wheelbarrows and three people doing this, one person was in the frame spreading the concrete as the other two dumped it in. Once the frame was full, we used a wide plank of wood and dragged it along the top to make the surface of the concrete smooth and even. We left it to dry for 72 hours before the cabin was delivered.
In the UK you don't currently need planning permission for these buildings if they are under 2.5 metres tall at the highest point of the roof.
The cabin arrived exactly as planned which was wonderfully efficient, and was removed from the back of the truck by winch. It stayed on our drive until early the next morning when the team arrived to erect it. By 2pm it was up.
We decided to paint our cabin with Cuprinol in a sea-green-blue colour. It took two of the largest tins with a bit left over. We then trimmed the windows and doors in a cream colour. We used the same cream on the inside walls too, although you don't have to treat the interior if you don't want to. We then put two coats of Sandolin clear varnish on the floor to protect it and make it easy to clean.
We had electric sockets put in by an electrician so we could have lights and a heater in there. We bought an oil-filled plug-in radiator that has a timer on is so we can have a bit of heat on all winter to stop it getting too cold and a bit damp.
The Wi-Fi signal from our house just about reaches out there so we can use our laptops etc. If your cabin is at the bottom of a long garden you might need to think about how you will get a signal down there.
I Would Recommend a Lillevilla Cabin
In the summer we really enjoy sitting out there with the double doors wide open. It's quiet and a perfect place to read and get away from the rest of the family, without actually going very far at all. We have shelves and cupboards for storage too. I could see it being a really good home office space with plenty of natural light, or an equally good hobby room. I know plenty of people who install a TV, gaming equipment and a few bean bags for a teenage hang-out space, or a pool table and a darts board for a man’s den. If you filled it up with an exercise bike, yoga mat and a few light weights then you've got yourself a nice little gym.
We are really happy with our Lillevilla Log Cabin, which can be ordered from www.lillevilla.co.uk We paid around £4000 to get it, paint it and furnish it. It's warm, bright and cosy and we have used it more than we thought. In fact, we joke about adding a second one to the back garden - but it might look a bit odd as we don't have a huge piece of land.
We have now had the Lillevilla summerhouse for a little more than a year and it looks exactly the same inside and out. Nothing got damp in the winter at all but we did have an oil-filled radiator on a timer the whole time. This did raise our electric bill - by about £20 a month. We have also added some stepping stones across the grass because it got a bit muddy. We still really love our little retreat in the garden!
As we have been so pleased with our Lillevilla cabin, my brother-in-law had one put in his garden for his teenage children. Even though it is nearly two years since we bought ours, everything was more or less the same. He is very happy with his purchases, which he had fitted with a pool table, bean bags and a music system. His children go down the other end of the garden with their friends and hang out there. Perfect!
It is more than three years now and we are still very happy with it. The door handle needed to be replaced, and it needs a new coat of stain before the winter comes. We still use it a lot.
After four years, and one refresher coat of stain, the cabin is still in excellent condition and still used regularly.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Questions & Answers
Question: What kind of lights did you install on the inside of your cabin? We just had ours installed, but are a bit perplexed about the type of lights to get?
Answer: We just have double electric sockets on each wall, and we have two-floor lamps plugged into them. One is near the door to click on in the dark, but we also have one of those security movement lights on the outside to light up the way to the door in the dark. We didn't want to put something on the ceiling of the cabin as you'd be able to see the cables, and also to keep the costs down.
© 2014 Susan Hambidge
Susan Hambidge (author) from Kent, England on May 22, 2016:
Thank you RTalloni - it is a really handy space and the wood is still like new inside. The outside has weathered well and I think will need a fresh coat of stain next summer, so that'll be 4 years.
RTalloni on May 21, 2016:
Finland had a great idea! :) Enjoyed seeing this summer house and learning about the process of putting your Lillevilla together. It turned out really cute–so glad it weathered the seasons well. That much extra space is so useful.
Susan Hambidge (author) from Kent, England on March 09, 2015:
Thanks for popping by Ben. Added in the last paragraph. ;)
Lillevilla Ben on March 09, 2015:
Hello there, we are very pleased that you like the Log Cabin and thank you for linking this on our Official blog. if you wouldn't mind putting a link to our website somewhere in your blog that would be most appreciated.
FlourishAnyway from USA on August 25, 2014:
I've never seen anything quite like this, and I like that you added electric outlets. Very snazzy!