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How to build a summer house

A summer home is a relaxing place to get away from the rush of daily living. When designing a plan for a summer house, keep in mind all the conveniences you can think of. Location is the main concern of a summer home. A place in the mountains may entice one family, while a place on a lake is the dream of another. Once you have your location, building a summer home is a collection of preferences.

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  1. Look through all the magazines and home improvement sites you can find. Whenever you find something that you think you might like, tear in out or copy it, so you can keep it in a dream file.

  2. Check with your neighbourhood association and city planning codes. Building any home has to fit in with the laws of the land. Some lake property has codes to protect the lake, the view of the lake and the surrounding property values. A neighbourhood of £520,000 homes is not going to allow you to pull a trailer onto your lot.

  3. Take your ideas to an architect or building engineer that can turn them into a reality. The ideas you collect will have to be feasible for the amount of land you own, the budget you present and the safety codes of the area.

  4. Clear and level the land. Dig the footers and solid foundation. If your plan includes a heavy fireplace wall for an occasional winter visit, dig an extra six inches of foundation at that spot to allow for more cement.

  5. Consider what your heating and cooling system will be. Radiant floor heat will need to be in place before the cement foundation is poured. Depending on the location and weather around your summer home, an optional heating source may or may not be needed.

  6. Add as many conveniences as possible. When the family is on vacation at a summer home, the cook should be on vacation too. A dishwasher, small stacking washer and dryer, extra storage for towels and summer toys will be needed to make it a vacation for all.

  7. Build your wall frames with R factor insulation in mind. Summer doesn't always mean hot weather, but keeping your summer home comfortably cool will be important.

  8. At a lake home, plan to keep most of the dirt and sand outside with an outdoor shower. Connect it to an outside spigot. A kit for this can be purchased at a home improvement store. For privacy, consider building an enclosure around the shower.

  9. Pay attention to the outside of your home as well as the inside. A large porch, deck or gazebo will be useful for dinner guest overflow and starry evenings.

  10. Tip

    Add an upstairs or loft for guest bedrooms. Plan your kitchen seating and your living room with extra people in mind. Summer homes are wonderful getaways and also attract a lot of guests.

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Things You'll Need

  • Cement
  • 2x6s
  • Plywood
  • Windows
  • Doors
  • Insulation
  • Drywall
  • Electrical wiring
  • Lighting

About the Author

Mitzi Saltsman has been writing children's material for church and Sunday school lessons since before 1980. Her work writing how-to articles earned her a trip to San Francisco and a spot on a commercial. Saltsman holds a Bachelor of Religious Education from Great Lakes Christian College.

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