Daalder Leisure Cabins: The Best Kind of Cabin Fever

Cottage life could be called a Canadian institution. Summers spent in a cozy cabin with friends and family making memories to last a lifetime are practically a national pastime. But what if you could bring that kind of outdoor entertainment to your very own home?

Arie Daalder, founder and owner of Daalder Leisure Cabins, has always sort of liked working with lumber. After creating various little projects over the years and having built his own house despite having no formal training in woodworking or carpentry, he developed a passion for the field. In the two decades since, he has an unmatched expertise gained through first hand experience.

The idea for constructing cabins came from his relatives overseas. A traditional European design, his family members saw the concept at a trade show and decided to try their own hand at it. They’ve now been building the log structures for about 35 years.

When they pitched him on the idea, the business seemed like a great match for Canada’s cottage country and Daalder's love for woodworking. “At the time there was no such thing around here,” says Daalder. He then started researching, planning and sourcing and the company began to take shape. “It started with a lot of ambition and common sense…Then one day everything fell into place and we were off to the races.”

He has now been in business for about 10 years, creating mini cabins for everything from overflow to cottage property to backyard entertainment hubs.

There are three specific styles of cabins that Daalder offers – the Erie, the Michigan and the Ontario – which serve as a base line from which the customer can add on or personalize the structure. The starting plans are mostly based on budget; by keeping the designs basic and simple, Daalder is able to keep the basic costs down making the price more feasible and accessible to many. “Most people prefer keeping things simple,” he says. “That way it’s cost effective and if you want to add-on, we can always do that even later on.”

The process starts with sitting down with the customer and talking about what they would like or what they don’t want. “We try and mix and match within the budget,” says Daalder. “I call it brainstorming with the customer.” After figuring out how they can make their needs and desired luxuries work within their budget and spatial limits, he then looks at the property to plan accordingly for the elements desired, such as a bigger porch or maximizing the view. Next, he considers how to keep within building planning restrictions. He then puts a package together that outlines the best possible structure adjusted for the needs of each customer, based on a learned knowledge of what will work best that has come through years of experience and seeing what options are available.

When it comes to building the cabins, 95% of the creation is usually done in Daalder’s shop. This prefab takes an average of about 3-5 days depending on size, followed by another 2.5-3 days on the job site. “I just want the customer in their cottage as fast as possible.”

Daalder’s cabins are made from either Spruce or Pine, all Kiln Dried and checked for defects. The sturdy and reliable woods are Canadian sourced, as are all of the materials his company uses, since he knows from personal experience that they are better quality. “I prefer quality over quantity, even if I have to take the difference in price,” he says. “Quality always comes through for you in a positive way down the road.”

Daalder always strives to keep the customer in mind when building a cabin, catering to their specific needs and wants in every possible way. In fact, one of the things that makes Daalder Leisure Cabins different is how customizable the structures are. Starting with the basic concepts on the website, the design of the cabin is completely based on the desires of the customer.

“I knew the stuff was available in Lithuania and Estonia, but everything is very limited in how you want stuff done and I just wanted to branch out a bit more in custom elements and custom sizes, like where you want your windows or doors,” he says. “I just wanted to step out of that box and provide more options, customizing it to what the customer wants instead of just what we offer.”

Whether you want to add a loft or full second floor, extra windows or doors, an overhang or even add on to an existing cottage, Daalder Leisure Cabins will make it happen. They can even create custom vinyl windows, A lot of people invest a lot of money in cottage or vacation property and I want to help make their dreams become a realty, or make it as close to their dream as possible. can make it a family project

Daalder is passionate about his business and especially being self employed, something he’s always enjoyed. Not only does his job give him the opportunity to meet great people, but also to work in a variety of beautiful areas, often including waterfront properties. “One week, my office view could be the big Rideau Lake and then next week, it could be Charleston Lake on an island,” he says. “The days are long and you have to put up with the weather, but it doesn’t matter to me anymore because I love what I do.”

For Daalder, the most rewarding part about running his company is satisfying a customer, seeing “the happiness in their eyes and the smile on their face” when they walk in or are given the keys. He hopes that his cabins give people lifelong memories. “I hope the little kids grow up with the cottage and they talk about all of the memories and experiences that they had there, the traditions they put in place for the families.”

Daalder mini log cabins can be ordered online at leisurecabins.com or by phone at 613-930-1963