Building a summer house can be a therapeutic distraction from the hectic "real world". The goal, of course, is to eventually be able to enjoy your retreat but in the meantime, the building process can have its own rewards.
From planning the summer home to deciding what will go where, the building project should have its fun aspects. It can be lots of work if you are doing it yourself but when you walk through the front door of your completed summer house, you will forget how much work it took to get there!
People build a summer house for a variety of reasons. Some do so strictly for selfish reasons -- to have a retreat in which to relax and enjoy themselves. Some want a fishing or hunting cabin in order to pursue their hobby. Or a wooded site to hike, mountain climb, or even to photograph nature. Others may want to build a structure that will strengthen family ties or a one that can be enjoyed and passed down through generations as a legacy. Once a family has started enjoying the warm weather together in their summer home, it is easy to establish that as an annual ritual. Summer resort areas like Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard and Myrtle Beach are known for their summer houses in which thousands of families emerge on each year as the season warms up.
Building a summer house can mean different things to different people. To build a summer house can entail simply working with a contractor and giving him or her feedback on features such as the size and shape as well as placement of windows and doors and watching the progress. Or building your structure could encompass you being the general contractor and going through everything from getting the building permits, pouring a concrete foundation and/or basement, putting up the walls and roof, and then running the electrical and plumbing throughout. Of course there are degrees in between doing everything yourself as opposed to having a contractor bring in a work crew to do everything with you as overseer.
Some owners prefer to have the contractor come in and "weather-tight" the structure before turning it over to the owner for completion. Weathertighting a summer house is typically defined where the contractor does all the work including pouring the foundation, putting up walls, putting on the roof, and installing the exterior doors and windows. At that time the house is weathertight so the contractor is done and paid. Then it is up to the owner to run the plumbing and electrical, install any needed heating and cooling, and build the inside walls and stairs. It can be a rewarding compromise that instead of doing everything, the owner has the responsibility to do all the finish work while making sure the structure is done by an outsider.
Summer houses come in many shapes and sizes. Some are simple gazebo type structures built in the backyard to provide a place of solace and relaxation from a hectic world. Others can be a log home built on a lake or in the woods. Or a quaint cottage built on the beach or in a rustic town with summer concerts and other activities. Or a summer home can be an elaborate and eloquent abode like summer houses in "House Beautiful".
To build a summer house can be a fun and rewarding project. It generally takes longer and costs more than expected. Try to remain flexible in both planning and development and realize that it will come together eventually. Get some help when needed and throughout the construction remind yourself of the reason you took the project on in the first place... to enjoy a summer house!