Chalet Luxury Everywhere: A Guide to Luxury Vacation

luxury mountain photo

Photo by escapio

Love your TruLog home, but looking for a little inspiration to crank up the luxury? Then take a look at the Chalet Zermatt Peak!

The chalet, situated above the village of Zermatt in Switzerland, is the ideal picture of a mountain getaway. The Chalet Zermatt Peak was designed by internationally-renowned designer Paul Bowyer, and rated at a ritzy five-stars from the Swiss Hotel Association, it stands as one of the top destinations for mountain getaways in all of the Swiss Alps!

Of course, that’s if you can foot the minimum bill of 70,000 dollars for a week’s stay. If not, don’t worry! There are plenty of other places right in our backyard that can give you the luxury feel of a mountain getaway without the international travel and the astronomical bill.

Rocky Mountains, Colorado

While they’re not the Swiss Alps, Colorado’s Rocky Mountains feature some of the most breathtaking views in the Lower 48. From high-end luxury destinations like Aspen to out-of-the-way retreats like Telluride, Steamboat Springs, or Gunnison, there are countless places to visit that’ll make you feel like royalty. Just take a look at these luxury vacation rentals, and tell us you wouldn’t mind spending some time there!

Still want to travel outside the US? Then check out…

Whistler BC, Canadian Rockies

Boasting some of the wildest mountains and best skiing on the North American continent, Whistler stands as a destination that can’t be beat. If you don’t believe us, check out some of the vacation rentals available! And it’s not just Whistler that makes the Canadian Rockies special– take a look at Banff, Alberta. With views like that, who needs the Alps?

Or how about other, lesser-known destinations? If you’re looking for a lesser-travelled mountain getaway, there are a whole bunch of areas that boast wild, luxury mountain retreats. For something more off the beaten path, why not look at some “glamping?” Glacier Under Canvas, located in Glacier National Park in Montana, is a unique, one-of-a-kind take on luxury that lets you experience the mountains as they should be– just roll out of bed and into the wilderness!

Of course, if you’d rather have access to that kind of luxury year-round, you could always take a few design tips from the Chalet Zermatt Peak! Your log cabin should be a reflection of the life you’ve always wanted. Make sure it’s built out the way you deserve! Contact TruLog today, and we’ll help you build the luxury cabin of your dreams.

Now You’re Cooking Without Gas: Campfire Cooking Basics

campfire photo

By now, you’re thinking to yourself that your log-cabin game is pretty strong. That as may be, we here at TruLog have another question for you: What do you really know about camp fires?

Specifically, camp fire cooking! We’re all about the outdoor-life here at TruLog, and nothing says outdoor living quite like a meal cooked over an open fire. Whether you have a fire-pit, a grill, or just a reservation at the local camp-ground, you should know the basics of camp fire cooking!

What do you really know about building a fire?

You may have lit a couple of fires in your time, but what do you really know about building a campfire? In this day and age–and especially considering you may just be doing it on your own property–making a fire safely and correctly can save you a whole bundle of trouble down the line.

First, make sure the area you’re using is clear of flammable debris and plant life. That means eight solid linear feet between you and the nearest burnable thing! This guideline extends vertically, too– not only should you double-check that there aren’t any over-hanging boughs above your campfire, but you should double-check that the surface you’re building the fire on is inorganic and inert. That means you should make a fire on either a rock, a pre-made fire pit, or at the very least on mineral-based dirt!

There’s a trick to campfire cooking!

The trick with campfire cooking, is that the fire should be made a little different than your average Boy Scout fire. You’re not looking for flames, you’re looking for coals. More than that, you’re looking for a wide bed of coals that burns for a good long while, and gives off an even amount of heat. Called ‘grading’ the coals, the goal is to burn kindling and small bits of wood into a nice bed. Choose small, dry, seasoned pieces of wood, all roughly the same size. Once they’re burnt down, break them apart into a nice, even bed to make sure everything gets cooked at the same rate.

If you’ve built your fire right, cooking food over a campfire is easy. Make sure to lay a grate across the rocks of your campfire– you can bring one, or make one out of green (that is, freshly cut and still living) branches. Just lay the food you brought across the top, making sure to check it often. If bits end up falling off and catching fire, use a spray-bottle to put out the flames (careful with this one, though– if it’s grease, you might just fan the flames!)

Make sure the coals are dead out

Once you’re done with cooking, that bed of coals is primed for a fresh batch of wood and a great campfire. Remember to use dry, seasoned wood (hardwood, for preference) in order to keep smoke and sparks to a minimum. And, as always, make sure to douse your fire completely once you’re ready for bed! As Smokey the Bear says, “Drown it, Stir it, Feel it” to make sure it’s completely out.

And just like that, you’re cooking with coals! Get ready for a whole bunch of delicious food– there’s no taste quite like food cooked over a campfire. If you’re stuck for ideas on what to cook, then keep an eye on the TruLog Blog for our upcoming series on outdoor cooking! We’re cooking up some great things (pun intended) so stay tuned!

Texas Cabin Living: Hill Country

texas hill country photo

Photo by austinevan

We hear from our Texas affiliates that the summer is just about to kick into high gear– and nothing says Summer in the Texas Hill Country quite like floating down a cool, spring-fed river! Seeing as the forecast is currently calling for climbing temperatures, we feel it’d be a missed opportunity to let you go without spreading the word.

Nothing says “relaxation” like drifting down a nice cool river with an ice-cold beverage

Part of the cabin lifestyle, no matter where your cabin happens to be, is learning how to spend your time at your home-away-from-home. In and around Austin, Texas, a big part of that time is spent in relaxation! That’s why we recommend taking the opportunity to check out a couple of these wonderful activities.

Nothing says “relaxation” like drifting down a nice cool river with an ice-cold beverage. With that in mind, did you know that Texas Hill Country boasts some of the best river-floats in the country? With rivers featuring scenic limestone cliffs and ample opportunity to kick back and relax, we’re sure you’ll find something to suit your tastes. Whether it’s floating through downtown San Marcos with your kids, or taking in the sights on the wilder Guadalupe River, Texas Hill Country has plenty to offer in the way of quality time on the river.

Of course, like any other outdoor activity, make sure to check restrictions and requirements: many parks and rivers in Texas forbid disposable containers under five ounces, and like anywhere else in the country, public consumption of alcohol is frowned upon. Safety and comfort are also key– remember to bring sunblock!

If relaxing time on the river isn’t your cup of tea, don’t worry! There are plenty of other opportunities for entertainment in Texas Hill Country. Though we know you went down there to get away from it all (after all, you’re looking at a blog dedicated to cabins) you may want to think about taking some time to enjoy Texas Wine Country. The hot weather of Hill Country, combined with those spring-fed rivers and ample sunshine makes for one of the most vibrant and remarkable winery circuits in the country!

Of course, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the fact that Texas Hill Country features some of the most gorgeous wilderness in America.

In fact, wildlife watching (did you know there are over 30 species of migratory bats that pass through Hill Country?) and day-hiking in the many natural preservation areas is a great way to really get to know Hill Country. If you’re looking for the cabin lifestyle, we can’t recommend it enough!

No matter where your cabin happens to be, we hope you take the time to learn about all of the great things that wilderness living can offer. Make sure to do some research, and take some time to really stretch your legs and enjoy cabin living at its best!

The Exterior is Covered With Faux Log Siding: Now Take Care of The Basement

Once the outside of your cabin is covered in faux log siding from TruLog, many people want to continue the themes associated with a log cabin and decorate the inside of it accordingly. In previous blogs we’ve talked about the most common ways that people decorate their great room. Just last month we talked all about how people can make their bathrooms look even more like those that you’ll find in a log cabin.

Well, this seems like as good a time as any to get around to the subject of what to do with your basement to make it look more like one you might find in a log cabin. Not like the original log cabins, of course, because basements simply weren’t a thing back then. But read on to find some more ideas for getting your basement in better shape after putting on TruLogs steel log siding.

Get Some Light In There

Many log cabins are built on hillsides, meaning that they have walk-in basements; they’re going to get a lot of light down there. If digging away half a hillside isn’t an option for you (as it isn’t for most most of us), you have to get creative. If your basement has window, you can retrofit them and make them bigger. If your basement currently has light wells, find a more reflective material than the dull steel they usually have that will reflect more light into the basement. And be meticulous about which light bulbs you use, because daylight bulbs can make a space feel much more comfortable than fluorescent.

Change The Window Coverings

It might sound strange to advise you to get more light in your basement only to cover it up with window coverings, but let us explain. First of all, we’re talking about the quality of light you get down there, not just the amount. So letting natural light diffuse will still feel better than a lot of artificial light.

Second of all, window dressings are just one more type of decoration that you’ll find throughout the house. Do you want bears on your drapes, or elk? Moose, or ducks? It’s just one more way to sell the idea of a log cabin.

Expand the Lighting

While you’ll almost certainly have some sort of recessed can lighting with flood bulbs, there are other types of lighting that can make your downstairs feel more comfortable. Find some metal sconces to put on the walls that have that rustic look that so many log cabins are going for.

Also, find that perfect light for right over the pool table to make your playing more fun. Oh, we forgot to mention that you should…

Find the Right Pool Table

We’re not sure what pool has to do with log cabins, but for centuries the home pool table has been viewed as a luxury. Of course, you want to make it look like it fits in a log cabin. Whoa, look at this one! Or this one! No doubt, these log pool tables are absolutely amazing!

Cover the Supports

One of the most iconic parts of a log home are the real-wood supports, usually whole logs that are actual structural supports or split logs that are hugging steel supports. While the former might not be practical, why not hollow out a log and cover one of the existing load-bearing supports in your basement? It will look better than one covered in regular old wood or drywall, and it will certainly beat a metal one! Click here to see how one of these supports might look in your basement.

Railings Can Really Sell It

When people think about log cabins, the first thing they’ll think about is the exposed wood on the inside. The second thing they might think of are the staircase and railing. Since we’re talking about basements, we’re betting there’s a staircase involved somewhere! Depending on the layout of your home, you might not be able to do anything with the stairs themselves, but we’ll bet you can incorporate some rough wood into a railing and make your home look even more like the outside covered in log cabin siding.

Wet Bar

Okay, we admit that this isn’t necessarily a “log cabin” thing, but it’s definitely a luxury item that more and more people are incorporating as they refurnish their basements. So if that’s you plan, go ahead and make it as log cabin-y as possible so that it matches the faux log siding outside. Not bad…not bad at all

Put The TV Down There

We just went to Google images and typed in “Log Cabin Great Room.” Here are the results. When you take a look at those images, it’s important to notes what’s not in many of them…a television. Sure there are some televisions in a couple images, but they’re rare. Why? Because televisions are so modern that they take away from the rustic look that people want when they’re in a log cabin. People imagine themselves reading a book in front of the fire, not staring at a television nailed into the stone fireplace.

Why not vanquish the television to the basement instead? You’ve already got the pool table and wet bar down there, so make the basement the entertainment level of your home. In fact, go ahead and build a home theater room.

If you’re accustomed to having a TV in the living room, this change might take some time to get used to. But trust us, it’s will improve family life on the main floor. And if you absolutely must have a television on the main floor because you like the constant input, get a small one for the kitchen.

Make It Comfortable

In our article about log cabin great rooms, we mentioned how often people have leather sofas. It just seems to go with the feel of a log cabin, especially if you’re using any other animal products such as antlers or bear skin rugs.

While leather works perfectly well in log cabin basement, decorating down there doesn’t necessarily have to be that fancy. Still, a lime green couch probably won’t be fitting in with all of the other cool log cabin stuff that we’ve been suggesting in this blog, so make sure that the couch is at least some shade of brown!

If you’ve already decided to go with faux log siding instead of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on a new log cabin, you’ll save so much that we bet you can incorporate at least a few of these elements into our home to make it feel more like a traditional log home. Learn more about TruLog steel log siding today!

 

Log Cabin Cooking: Using a Cast Iron Skillet

cast iron skillet photo

Photo by naotakem

What’s a log cabin without a classic cast-iron dinner?

Cooking with cast iron may be one of the most delicious dying arts. There’s nothing quite like the taste of bacon fried in a properly-seasoned cast iron pan, and nothing makes a cabin smell better in the morning like a well-cooked cast-iron breakfast.

It can be hard to properly cultivate and maintain a well-seasoned cast iron skillet

One of the biggest barriers between you and a well-cooked cast iron meal, though, is the know-how you need in order to properly use and care for your cast iron cookware. Cooking with a cast iron skillet right off of the shelf just doesn’t work as well as a well-seasoned one, which is why the team here at TruLog has put together this handy guide to looking after your very own cast iron cookware.

First off, we’ve got to define terms: what does “seasoning” even mean?

A seasoned pan, in this case, means that the cast iron of the cookware has absorbed the fats and oils of the meals you’ve cooked, and turned it into a well-worn and versatile non-stick coating. That’s all! At its heart, it’s not too complicated– all you’re looking for is the conditioning that gives your cookware that tasty and useful edge.

In this world of detergents and disinfectants, however, it can be hard to properly cultivate and maintain a well-seasoned cast iron skillet. That’s why it’s important to treat your skillet properly from the outset: make sure you wash your cast iron skillet with soap only once, once you bring it home from the store. Even then, make sure you use gentle soap, to prevent damage to the iron itself.

From there, you can artificially season your skillet by heating it at 300 degrees in the oven, then rubbing it with a tablespoon of lard or bacon grease. This will help your skillet start building up the proper seasoning without the hassle of cooking in an unseasoned pan (which can be difficult!)

After you season your skillet, knowing how to properly clean it is essential.

Never use soap, and never let it soak– iron will rust, and soap will cut through the grease that you’re trying to keep. Instead, you can use a sponge or brush (not a metal one) to get the bits off. If that doesn’t work, use a cup of salt to soak up the excess grease, and to act as an abrasive. Most importantly, no matter how you clean your cast iron cookware, always dry it completely! Cast iron is more sensitive than stainless steel, and will quickly break down and rust if left damp.

If you’d like more information about cooking with a cast-iron skillet, take a look at this website. There are a lot of resources out there to help keep your cabin cooking tasting great!

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