Friday, August 17, 2007

Log Cabins, Gustav Stickley and the Theology of Space

"There are elements of intrinsic beauty in the simplification of a house built on the log cabin idea. First, there is the bare beauty of the logs themselves with their long lines and firm curves. Then there is the open charm felt of the structural features which are not hidden under plaster and ornament, but are clearly revealed, a charm felt in Japanese architecture....The quiet rhythmic monotone of the wall of logs fills one with the rustic peace of a secluded nook in the woods."
-- Gustav Stickley in "The Craftsman" magazine.

I am feeling a craving to build a log cabin. I did some design of one, not too long ago with the cabin fitting harmoniously into it's setting and the interior of the cabin harmonious with it's structure. I can tell you all about Scandinavian Cope style, dowel styles and Appalachian styles and have decided that, if I build, it will be Appalachian style, because it would be the "truest" cabin for my context. I really can't describe it better than that.

There is something honest about a log cabin, especially one that also incorporates some timber-framing. The structure is totally exposed. The structure is the same on the interior as it is the exterior. It lives in harmony with it's surroundings. It is cut from a pure living tree -- no artificial flavor added. The logs breathe in and out with the seasons.

Are we not called to do that as well, as one who strives to live like Christ? To have our exterior exactly reflect our interior? To live in harmony within our context? To be made of living wood? To breathe in and out the Spirit of God?

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