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The Brief

Step2 Design were commissioned by LifeSpace Cabins to assist with the technical detailing of a luxury two-story cabin, to help streamline the manufacturing and installation processes. From basic 2D architectural drawings, we modelled the cabin in full technical detail – enabling a comprehensive BOM and cut list to be generated alongside an 83-page drawing pack. The entire process took just under 3 months from start to finish.


Cabin Design Copyright © LifeSpace Cabinswww.lifespacecabins.co.uk

Photography © Beth Squire – www.bethsquire.com

Image Copyright © LifeSpace Cabins


The Concept

Situated in the Wilding Airfield in Northamptonshire, this luxury “tree house” style cabin was designed by Life Space Cabins to sit atop a floating wooden deck and cross-section of steel beams and columns. This elevated design detail was intended to minimise both the physical and environmental footprint impact of the cabin on local habitats and wildlife.

The cabin itself featured a fire pit and grill, an outdoor seating area and even a luxurious copper bathtub! Inside, the accommodation boasted a comfortable sleeping area on the mezzanine that is accessed by a wooden ladder and also featured an impressive, angular, dual-aspect window that simultaneously lets light into both upstairs and downstairs via a cut out in the bedroom wall. A separate bathroom and utilities cupboard were also incorporated into the design.

We were tasked by Life Space Cabins to draw up this bespoke cabin design in Solidworks to help them fully realise some of the more complicated design details, and better explain how certain construction elements interacted with one another.

Image Copyright © LifeSpace Cabins


CAD Development

We started by interpreting the architect’s 2D blueprints and started building the structure from the “ground up”. Each architectural element was modelled in Solidworks and the bounding box feature was utilised to generate accurate cut lists for all wooden beams and panels featured in the design.

Multiple different contractors, including architects, engineers, glazers, and manufacturers, were drafted in to fulfil the design brief. Step2 Design worked with correspondence and technical drawings from these contractors in order to fully realise the design.

For example, the glazers were able to supply us with accurate technical drawings of the glass window frames and we were provided with DXF profiles of all the flashings, allowing us to extrude these and incorporate them into the 3D model. The timber battens were then modelled around the finished outside dimensions of the window frames.

Image Copyright © LifeSpace Cabins


Technical Details

The requirements for this particular cabin were complex, as the “tree-house” nature of the design meant that several design elements needed to be accurately represented in 3D in order to seamlessly integrate them into the design, and to ensure that all the relevant tolerances were accurate. One of the most complicated elements of this design was the angular steel sub-structure, as it was essential for us to check that the drawings provided by the engineer aligned correctly with the floating wooden deck dimensions specified by the architect. Modelling these two elements in detail allowed the project manager to check that all fixing points would align before any construction work was undertaken.

Image Copyright © LifeSpace Cabins


Final Steps

Most of the cabin structure was pre-fabricated in the client’s factory in Devon and delivered to the site in two parts before being bolted together on top of the steel sub-structure and reinforced concrete foundations. We were asked to provide a detailed bill of materials, accurate cut lists for each sub-assembly, and a full drawing pack for the cabin. This allowed the manufacturer to pre-fabricate all the required elements and test join them in their factory before delivering them to the site. We also provided a “Lift Plan” document to help streamline the installation process. Overall this was a hugely satisfying project to work on, and we believe the photos speak for themselves!

    Trading Address

    Step2 Design Limited HERE
    470 Bath Road
    Arnos Vale
    Bristol BS4 3AP