The Pioneer Prefab Cabin Kit

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Henry David Thoreau had Walden Pond, Tom Thompson had the lakes, rocks and trees of the Canadian Shield and Form & Forest has five acres of pristine riverside Rocky Mountain wilderness. Five acres of wilderness embraced on three sides by a glacial river surrounded by the soaring peaks of the Canadian Rockies.  Not only are these five acres the perfect setting for a modern cabin they also act as the perfect muse for Form & Forest.  Inspiring the nature of the company and the design of the cabins themselves.

With an old log cabin as a base and the burbling of the river as soundtrack we began the dialogue of what a cabin could be and how it should be built and delivered.  This dialogue was carried out looking to the future of a wilderness getaway, not to the cozy cabin confines of the past.  A future of cabin living that embraced the exterior landscape and invited it right inside rather that barricading it off behind log walls , unnecessary spaces and small windows..

We knew that proof of concept would be critical to our company and what better way to prove the concept than to build the perfect manifestation of modern cabin living that Form & Forest is all about.  The result is the Pioneer cabin.  A two bedroom cabin complete with soaring living room ceiling and 360 degrees of glass in addition to two sleeping lofts. The process of building the cabin was not unlike pioneering in many ways from clearing the heavy vegetation, digging for water, establishing the footings and assembling the prefab components for this fine escape.  Here is some of that process.

Preparing the Site

Determining the perfect place and position for the Cabin.


The footings for the Pioneer

The Form & Forest ideal is to deliver modern prefab cabin kits with the simple purpose of streamlining the cabin building process.  One area that does not lend itself so succinctly to the prefab process is the foundation.  The simplest solution we found in the case of building the Pioneer cabin was to use insulated concrete forms (ICF)  for forming the foundation.  ICF blocks go together quickly much like lego and can be quickly placed by two people.

The ICF forms in place ready for concrete

Assembling the Prefab Cabin Kit

With the foundation in place  we began to stand the prefab wall panels.  A process that goes quickly and starts to give an immediate sense of space and livability.


A load of panels ready for placement


The form of the cabin takes shape

The Finishing Details

The beauty of a Form & Forest cabin lies not only in the graceful forms of the cabins but also in the architectural level of detail in the exterior finishes.  Working with D’Arcy Jones, a designer noted for his attention to detail, was integral to delivering a unified collection of cabins that stands apart from standard cabin kits.  This attention to detail becomes especially apparent at the siding phase as the graceful lines of the wrap around soffits and vertical channel siding are installed.  The result of these details is well proportioned form and color that frame and balance the volumes of the cabins perfectly.

It is at this stage that the effect of the large floor to ceiling windows comes into play. Whether looking out on a snow covered landscape or a summer storm blowing in, the sense of being in an interior environment surrounded by raw nature may just bring on a Henry David Thoreau moment.  A moment described in his own words when he remarked :  I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.

The Finished Pioneer Cabin

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