Archive for the ‘Log Home Floor Plans & Design’ Category

Designing Your Home to a Budget

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

What is your budget for your custom home?
When you answer this question what do you include?  Each stage of your project typically has its own price tag.  Stages include: the purchase of your land, improvements to the land (i.e. septic, roads, utilities), the design process, materials, construction, finishes and landscaping. Although you can attach a price to each stage, don’t get caught without a complete understanding of your total cost and a how each piece fits into that cost.

Land Purchase and Improvements
In almost any project, the cost of your land (and any site improvements that need to be made) is separate from everything else that will go into the production of your home. Unless you are getting your land and your home from a development, your custom home builder will not factor the cost of the land into any bids they provide.  Knowing that cost is separate, many ask the question “Should I buy my land before or after I have a design?.”  There are certainly advantages to buying land ahead of time, for instance, you can pay for the land and use that equity to help finance your building project.  Also if you invest in the land a few years prior to building, you may have more money to allocate to the home itself.  There are however some issues that can arise if you purchase before you have a design ready.  If the land you are looking at is in a difficult location to reach, you may have unexpected transportation costs.  If the land is steeply sloped or odd shaped, you may have to compromise your ideal layout for one that fits better on your property.

The Design Process
The most important stage in the creation of your custom wood home is the design process. It is during the design phase where you and your architect will set the size of your home, the complexity of the design, and the type of materials that will be used.  Each of these design aspects (size, complexity and materials) will have varying affects on your home’s final cost.  As an example, let’s say that Jim and Jill start the design process looking to build a 2,500 sq.ft. log and timber hybrid with lots of roof lines and gables and unique trusses.  Their architect takes all of their desires into account along with their complete budget for the completion of their home (or turnkey budget) and goes to work.  Through the course of the design process their architect is not only working on the design but looking at the costs along the way.  He gets in contact and recommends some changes to the design.  He tells them that the turnkey cost is going to be more than their budget and provides options for their project. If they want to stay on budget they will either need to reduce the size to about 2,100 sq.ft., remove some of the complexity in the roofline, or reduce some of the timber frame materials.  Jim and Jill talk about their options and decide to get rid of some of the size, which will also reduce the roof lines enough to get within their budget.  They now have a home design they love, at a price that they can afford to build.

A common mistake buyers of timber and log homes make is to key in on the price of a materials package, instead of looking at the complete price of an actual home.  Many log producers will quote the price of their package (which could include just the wood or all the materials to create a dry-in shell).  There is nothing wrong with that, however, if the package price is the only number you have to go by, it requires more work to determine exactly how much your completed home will cost.  The log and timber materials could be from 15% to 50% of the total cost of your custom home.  This is why it is very difficult to try and allocate a specific portion of your budget to the logs out of context.  It is better to use the amount of log and timber that works best for your design and your budget as a whole.  Always think in terms of your complete house, not just a log or timber shell cost.

The delivery and stack of your logs does not end in a completed house.  Someone will need to construct the rest of your home, including the electrical, plumbing, roof, masonry etc.  If you concentrated on the cost of your log or timber shell and did not leave enough money for the actual construction, you could be in trouble.  This all goes back to making sure that your architect prepared you and your design for this stage of the project.

Finishes and Landscaping
Will you have hardwood floors or carpet in your custom home?  Do you prefer a basic electric stove or something more sophisticated?  What kind of landscaping will need to be completed once your home is done? If your architect has done their job, you will have money set aside in your budget to cover the level of finishes (both interior and exterior) that you planned for during the design process.

Just remember, if you are always looking at the entire custom home building process, you can have more confidence in your ability to meet your budget goals each step of the way as well as overall.  It is absolutely imperative that you choose an architect / company who thinks and acts this way too.

Designing Great Rooms with a View

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

One of the most important spaces in your timber or log home design will be your great room. Not only is the layout significant, but you should also understand how your great room will interact with the outdoors.  Most log homes are built in beautiful settings; some overlook lakes while others take in the surrounding forest.  Many  log home designs also include patios or decks that extend directly from the great room itself.  Therefore it is necessary to explore all aspects of your great room’s design, in order to get the most out of the total space.
Detail of Winter Park Floor Plan - PrecisionCraftA Traditional Log Home Prow

You have probably seen a number of log homes with a similar design to the Winter Park, pictured left.  The great room vaults in a triangular manner with trapezoidal windows and glass doors providing the magnificent open view.  This idea is very popular for a reason.  It provides a nice open space, which often has a loft above it, and lets everyone take in the incredible views.

Detail of the Dakota Floor Plan - PrecisionCraft

A Timber Frame Variation

This timber frame home example, the Dakota, also has a vaulted great room with a wall of windows.  In this instance, the design goes beyond the triangular forms of a traditional prow by including angles that replicate those found through the rest of the design.  The custom timber frame trusses which span from the entry through the great room, extend out to the great room patio where square timbers frame the glass windows.

Modern Glass Walls

The Shenandoah concept, below, bucks the trend in vaulted great rooms.  However, this single story plan is still able to create a unique great room space through the use of glass walls. With handcrafted character logs as corner posts, the Shenandoah’s great room has a full glass wall with two half glass walls to each side.  When relaxing in the cozy living area, the outdoors are not just viewable, they seem to be a part of the entire space.

Detail of the Shenadoah Floor Plan - PrecisionCraft

For anyone who wants to make an impression with the design of their great room, the classic glass prow, while still amazing, is not the only way to create an amazing space.  Visit our floor plan gallery for more great room design ideas.

How to Get the Design You Want

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

How do you get the design you want? There are many answers to that question, but today we are going to focus on how to modify an existing floor plan idea or concept into a plan that has a layout which works for your family, is constructed from the materials that you prefer, and fits into your budget range.

In the Beginning. . . 

If you are going to modify an existing plan.  First you have to find the plan to work from.  There are three basic elements to your timber or  log home design: layout, architectural look, and the product (log or timber) used to construct it.  Try to find a design that meets your basic needs or desires in one or more of these categories.  The best option is to find  designs that come close to your needs in all three areas, even if you have to find three different plans.  If you can show your architect the type of layout, choice of material,  and a basic style preference, the design process will progress quickly.


Blue Ridge Layout ExampleModifying the layout of a log home design depends on the quality of your architectural firm.  A custom home is not the same as a log cabin kit plan.  Let’s assume you are working with a group that is capable of making any kind of update you want.  If you have a layout that is close or contains the basic footprint of what you are looking for, modifying that plan to fit your exact needs is easy.  Below is an example of how a client of ours modified our Blue Ridge Floor Plan Concept.

Learn more about Adjusting the Layout of any Log Home Floor Plan.

Product Selection

The look of your home and the cost to build it will be greatly affected by the type of log or timber you choose as construction materials.  Do you prefer log, timber or a combination?  Do you like handcrafted or milled logs?  If you find a layout or style of home you like, that design can be redesigned using the product combination you prefer.  This is important to understand when you are searching through all of the floor plans.  For instance, don’t neglect a section of plans just because there were originally designed as timber instead of log. Here is an example of how a plan can be redesigned.  View more product options.

Blue Ridge Layout Example

Complexity of Architectural Design

Most people think about the size of a plan and many understand that handcrafted logs, for instance, look differently and cost more than milled logs.  Complexity of design, however, is a concept that the majority of custom home builders don’t think about right off.  Complexity can be seen, but not easily articulated.  Comparing a rendering which shows multiple roof lines, angled sections and lots of corners has a different look and feel than a home with four walls and a single roof line.  Learn more about complexity of timber and log home designs.

Log Home Complexity Example

Your Final Design

By better understanding what you prefer, what is possible, and how these changes affect your final home and it’s cost, you will be much more likely to get the design you really want.

What’s Your Architectural Style?

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

When you first decided that you wanted to build a log home or timber frame home, you may not have considered what style of log home you would prefer. Log homes don’t all look the same, just because they are constructed out of wood.  Here are some plans that illustrate how a log home can be designed using different architectural styles.


Wood River Craftsman Style Home

The Craftsman style sprang from the Arts and Crafts movement of the early 20th century. The emphasis was on simple forms with complex finishes.

Features generally include:

  • Low horizontal pitched roofs
  • Use of pergolas or porches
  • Exposed rafter tails
  • Timber truss work at eaves
  • Window banding

AdirondackHudson Adirondack Style Log Home
Beginning in the 1880’s New York City’s wealthiest residents began to build upscale hunting and vacation retreats within the Adirondack Range. These luxurious and imaginative homes sparked a building trend that continues today.Features of Adirondack homes include:

  • Rustic logs and siding
  • Twig or herringbone guardrails
  • Roofs with log overhangs
  • Multiple roofs and levels
  • Covered or screened porches
  • Asymmetrical, rambling design

French Country

Greenbrier French Country Design

For those who prefer a timber or log home with a sense of romantic charm, a French Country inspired design might be perfect.  Traditionally European country-side estates were built by artisans who used the local materials available. Today’s French Country designs continue the look by using mixed materials in their construction.

The elements of a French Country home may include:

  • Elliptical or arched windows
  • Use of hipped roofs and gables
  • Narrow overhangs
  • Stone accents
  • Steeper roof pitches
  • Courtyards

NorthwestPort Townsend Northwestern Style DesignAs one of the newest styles, Northwestern homes have a distinctively modern appeal.  These designs have clean,  straightforward lines and use natural materials, like log and timber, for construction. A main focus is to blend the design with the home’s natural landscape.

Architectural features include:

  • Deep overhangs and large windows
  • Extensive outdoor living areas that flow from the interior
  • High windows to let in sunlight
  • Prominent use of wood
  • Eclectic mixture of natural materials

Western Log & TimberBig Sky Western Log Home Style

Traditional ideas of log homes are generally categorized under the Western Log and Timber style.  These homes are designed to take advantage of mountain vistas and sprawling valleys.  Whether a rustic cabin or a captivating lodge, these homes helped to define the American West.

Features often included are:

  • Expansive casement windows for unobstructed views
  • Rustic, large-scale elements
  • Sprawling design that stretch across the landscape
  • Thick roof systems
  • Large, open great rooms

AppalachianBlue Ridge Appalachian Style Log HomeAppalachian style homes reflect the simplicity of life in the mid-1,600’s. These log homes are generally more casual and designed for relaxed entertaining. Often these homes have been or look like they were added on to, over multiple generations.

Other feature example are:

  • Stone chimneys
  • Rough-sawn or hand-hewn timbers
  • Functionally simplistic design
  • Use of shed dormers
  • Unobtrusive, rustic style

ChaletTorino Chalet Style DesignThe idea of log or timber cottages in the Alps bring to mind the idea of a Chalet style log home or timber home.  Originally these homes were designed to withstand snow loads, and stand out amongst the snow, and now they include specialized ski rooms and saunas.

Features include:

  •  Decorative trim and fascia
  • Cantilevered decks on upper levels
  • Shutters with decorative cut-outs
  • Double-hung windows
  • Scroll-sawn railings and eaves

Log Home Story – Adirondack Living, Georgia Style

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

Inspiration can come from anywhere.  Many people purchase their property because they were inspired by it’s views, amenities, and location.  For this Atlanta couple their property was only one of the inspirations behind the design of their custom post and beam home.  Find out what inspired them as they worked with M.T.N Design to design a home for their property on Lake Blue Ridge.  Then take a photographic tour of their custom home through an interactive floor plan.   Inspired Living – Adirondack Living, Georgia Style

Post & Beam Log Home