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Cabin Kitchens & Baths    by Franklin Schmidt & Esther Schmidt order for
Cabin Kitchens & Baths
by Franklin Schmidt
Order:  USA  Can
Gibbs Smith, 2004 (2004)
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

In their introduction, the authors tell us that today's cabin décor reflects an informal lifestyle, with a preference for natural materials, and that interiors tend to be open. Cabin Kitchens & Baths explores different possibilities for design of these rooms, accompanied by large color photos from a variety of small and large cabins. A section on 'Hiring Professionals' provides useful tips on a 'bid package', questions to ask, credentials to check, and the contract.

My immediate impression was that the amount of wood inherent in a log cabin's walls, ceilings and floors can make the entire effect too woodsy - at times like the inside of a sauna. As a result, I looked hard through the book for ways to lighten that perspective. I found many good ideas, and especially liked the use of stainless steel appliances and glass cabinet doors in kitchens, and glass block space dividers in bathrooms, as well as large windows that let in the outdoors.

The authors provide insets of specialized advice (on choices, trade-offs, questions to ask etc.) from a variety of experts on topics that include window selection, flooring and ceiling alternatives, how to plan for adequate lighting, installation of fireplaces or woodstoves, cabinetry, hinges and pulls, countertops, islands and appliances (including retro-style). Fabric for curtains and furniture are covered, along with general use of color and texture, 'design themes', and display of collectibles.

We are shown different ways to distinguish the kitchen area in an open concept plan. I like the notion of hanging pot racks from ceiling beams, and am a big fan of ceiling fans (recommended for cathedral ceilings). Countertop alternatives have mushroomed since I last looked - concrete appeals and I'm curious about paper-based countertops! And I agree with the suggestion to avoid both woodsy and old-timey overkill in cabin decoration.

What are the issues with cabin bathrooms? Plan for the view (ideally beside tub or jacuzzi). I love the use of a ladder for hanging towels. And the idea of laundry facilities in (or close to) the bathroom intrigues me. I find the value of books like these lies as much in showing me what I don't like as in providing inspiration for the end result. If you are planning a cabin, or renovating one, I recommend Cabin Kitchens & Baths to you as a very useful source of ideas, expertise and resources.

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