From Dean Dowd on January 28, 2009 in General Remodel
While some homeowners want to get away from winter, others like to get away to winter. These snow-loving enthusiasts are the logical owners of ski cabins; oases of solitude, silence, and all sorts of snowy activities. In fact, there’s a good chance that many of you reading this now are soon planning a trip to your respective ski cabins and mulling over some ideas for summer upgrades.
Well look no further. In the interest of satisfying your snowy salivations, here are some ideas for ski cabin remodeling that could make your soft-packed home away from home a little more homey.
It’s cold up there on the mountainside, and while a full day of skiing, snowshoeing, or snowboarding may leave you feeling excited and exercised, the warmth and comfort of that ski cabin is reason numero uno that it exists in the first place. If you’re tired of the limited heating capability and high energy costs of space heaters or ancient furnaces, check out some of these possibilities:
- Radiant floor heating is an efficient and effective option. Let warm air naturally rise to subtly and evenly heat the entire cabin.
- Geothermal heat pumps utilize that earth that exists, even though it really doesn’t seem like it, well underneath all that snow that’s climbing up the front steps. Geothermal heat pumps (which can also help cool the cabin in summer) use as much as 30% less energy than traditional heaters.
- Update the fireplace with a clean chimney or with a new or clean firebox or insert and consider giving it a real once-over with new tile or stone surround. Or get even more rustic with a new wood or pellet stove.
For the Sun, Moon, and Stars
The conventional concept of a ski cabin is one of logs, lamps, and few windows, a logical choice in the era of terribly inefficient windows, doors, and heating systems. But times and technologies have changed. Now you can stay warm and enjoy the view with…
- Large south-facing windows that can provide (depending on how tucked away your cabin is) a singular view for sunny days and starry nights. They’ll also help heat the cabin when receiving direct sunlight. Skylights are yet another avenue for natural lighting and luxurious views.
- Solar panels are an excellent remodeling choice for ski cabins, especially if you are using a generator to provide electricity. Wouldn’t it be nice to know that the sun and your ski cabin are actually working for you while you’re out on the slope?
Old vs. New
Enough with all these practical notions, what about the aesthetics of ski cabin design? As I alluded to before, rustic has long ruled the day, but the creativity in contemporary design may be turning that tide. It all depends on what you are looking for in a ski cabin. Do you want the feel of an old log cabin or ski lodge, with shake shingles or log siding? Or do you want the geometric simplicity and crisp coolness of contemporary design?
If there is one reason why rustic maintains a slight edge in my mind, it is the simple fact that ski cabins are intended as getaways, and not simply for skiing. They are also getaways from contemporary, urban society—from the honk-honk-brake-brake-go-go life of love, labor, and even luxury that tends to bear down on our everyday existence.
What better escape than a day of skiing, followed by a relaxing night by the fire in a little wooden hideaway?
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Photo Credits: iwona_kellie,