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Digital Subscriptions > Cottage Life > Fall 2017 > How to build a Family cabin

How to build a Family cabin

Buy a lot of hammers ‘Cause when everyone pitches in,you get more than just a cottage

The first sound I hear upon stopping the car is the satisfying whin of an electric drill

Climbing out from behind the wheel, I look first behind the main cottage at the Gunn family cabin on Canim Lake, B.C., where a man and two teenage boys are in the middle of erecting a small A-frame cabin. One of the boys is up on a ladder near the top of the structure, sinking screws into forest-green sheet metal roofing. They see me and wave. Del Gunn, the matriarch of the family, approaches from the main lodge. “Well, hello!” she says, her face a mix of pleasure and relief that I’ve made it. “Great you’re here! It’s not the easiest place to find.

She is correct. Canim Lake is not quite in the middle of nowhere, but you can see it from there. After flying to Kamloops, renting a car, and driving a couple of hours to 100 Mile House, I still had to drive another 50 km east into the B.C. Interior Plateau, along roads that steadily devolved from pavement to gravel to rock. Logging trucks regularly rumbled past. I finally found the turnoff leading down to the lakeshore, a section Del had described as “doable,” which I laughed about later; I was glad to have a rental car. But the relative remoteness and the choppiness of the roads were forgotten the moment I stepped out of the car—Canim Lake is gorgeous, natural, and peaceful, with 50 or 60 cabins on a boomerang-shaped lake that’s 37 km long and almost four at its widest. It’s the kind of place that should be hard to get to, because that’s both part of its charm and part of what keeps it pristine.

The Gunns’ extended family often visits, as Ian’s cousin has a place a few docks away (below). The sign on the Bunkhouse (p. 70) plays on the pirate theme (Jolly is Del’s maiden name), and though they don’t rent rooms or boats—or offer fishing charters—there is Happy Hour daily.

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About Cottage Life

Cottage Life’s Fall issue brings you the magic of the season. Kick your campfire up a notch with desserts that are delicious and pure fun. Get inspired by the story of a family whose three generations pitch in to add on to their retreat—gaining hands-on skills and a love of the cottage along the way. Discover the secrets to better sleep at the lake. Build a fold-up workbench, and get the lowdown on Tesla solar roof tiles, two handy jacks, and six small problem-solving gadgets for your workshop. Choose the best water-filtration system for your family (so you can stop hauling water to the cottage!). And when it’s finally time to close up for the season, we’ve got 17 smarter ways to put your boats, docks, plumbing, and more to bed—with a lot less stress. Plus, as fish numbers drop, we asked the experts what’s going on below the surface of our lakes. Chock full of advice and inspiration, this issue offers the best of fall at the cottage.