What to Know About Building a Cabin or Second House

Here's a guide that offers helpful information and important considerations on building your dream vacation home.

Cabin On LakeBabus Patrik / 500px via Getty Images

Do you have childhood memories of spending summers at a cabin with your family and friends? What do you recall? Sloshing around in the lake, nightly fireside sing-a-longs, the sound of mosquitoes buzzing in your ears?

At Family Handyman, we’re all about building memories. And this time, we’re going about it by constructing a place where memorable things occur. Enter our Getaway project – a “cabin” for today.

The Getaway is our experiential dream vacation home. In our 70 years of publishing, it’s our most ambitious project. We hope our work inspires you to build your own vacation getaway.

Here, we provide a guide that offers you helpful information and important considerations on starting such an exciting endeavor.


Model Cabin And Blueprints wbritten / E+ via Getty Images

Planning the build of your cabin and/or vacation home is no easy feat — especially if the location is in a remote area. First, you want to consider some basics before building your second home, such as if you can comfortably afford it, how much it’ll cost to maintain and who’ll look after it when you’re away.

You may need to obtain proper building permits and shop around for the right cabin insurance that fits your lifestyle. If you’re really going off the grid, there are a number of power and water systems as well as internet connection options you’ll want to consider while you’re out in the countryside.


Contractors, Permits and Insurance



Modern Lake House Designasbe / E+ via Getty Images

Whether you’re choosing building materials, installing a fire pit out in the back or adding a modern sectional inside your living space, the design elements of your cabin, both inside and out, will be your personal signature that’ll ideally provide both form and function.


Building Materials

Country Wooden House Under Build Construction Dovapi / iStock via Getty Images

It’s important to have your project manager, contractor and team of builders on board when it comes to the building phase of your home. There are many logistics to account for, one being if your future home is located in a remote area, which will affect how you transport your materials there.


Older Woman Making Repairs To Her Cabin JAG IMAGES / DigitalVision via Getty Images

Once you’ve built your cabin, it’s important that you maintain both the interior and exterior, so that it’s welcoming to you and your family while keeping pests away.