Archive for the ‘Focus on Design’ Category

Fireplaces – Where and Why

Thursday, January 17th, 2013

It is that time of year when the steady decrease in temperatures outside, only increases our urge to grab a cup of hot tea and get the fire blazing inside. But where do you envision yourself enjoying this crackling fire? In the past, the placement of a fireplace might have only made sense in a central living space, but today you can find fireplaces throughout the home. Here we offer a few fireplace arrangement ideas to help you stoke the fires of creativity.

Great Room Fireplace

Where Can You Put a Fireplace?

For centuries, fireplaces have played an important role in providing that warm ambiance that is so characteristic in wood homes. While the placement of fireplaces was once fairly limited to a communal area, now it is possible to place them wherever it makes sense for your lifestyle. Including fireplaces in spaces like bedrooms, studies, and lofts add a sense of comfort and warmth. Many European countries will also add hearth space to their kitchen; you might consider this as an option for your home as well.

Two-sided hearth

Taking Advantage of Chimney Placement

The logistics of your home’s overall design can also impact how and where you choose to put a fireplace. Many log or timber homes today include multiple fireplace designs that utilize the same chimney’s masonry system. When you work with your designer, see if there are areas of your floor plan where it would make sense to do this. Maybe you decide to have your great room fireplace connect to the same chimney system as the adjacent dining room or kitchen fireplace. Or if you have a loft space directly above the great room consider including a fireplace here.

Creating Outdoor Fireplaces

Patio Fireplace

The warm glow of a fire doesn’t have to be restricted to an indoor hearth or outdoor fire pit, including a fireplace in your outdoor living spaces is another option. Perhaps you have a gorgeous gazebo located on your property for outdoor cooking and dining, consider including a fireplace for those crisp fall nights. If you have a great patio setup just outside of your great room, you could also connect an outdoor fireplace to your great room’s chimney system. Speak with your designer to find out if these might be options for your project.


For more ideas for your fireplace design, check out PrecisionCraft’s Photo Gallery.

Including that Unique Element

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

When in the midst of the design process, people don’t usually think about all of the exciting elements that can be added beyond their home’s structure. From the trusses within the home, to the character posts adorning an entryway, there are several structural and non-structural accents to think about when you are looking for that extra something in your design.

Truss Work truss work

For many log and timber frame homes, it is not uncommon to see trusses in the interior living spaces. While these trusses are sometimes meant to bare weight and add to the structural integrity of the home, there is also the choice of adding decorative truss work to your design. Whether this is seen in a single log truss framed in the eaves of your entryway, or in a lighter design not meant to hold weight, there are plenty of options for adding unique flair to your home with custom log and timber trusses.

Character Posts

Cedar Posts

At PrecisionCraft we offer the choice of incorporating flared cedar character posts into your design. These posts provide a distinctive look that contrasts traditional Douglas fir logs. Whether they are used as a structural component of your home’s entrance, or they act as a bold, decorative statement for your view-facing porch, character posts showcase the raw and unique beauty of the wood that makes up your home. For those looking for a more rustic, mountain style for their design, character posts are a great addition for both structural and non-structural purposes.



Skirl Siding


Much like how a fresh coat of paint can change the appearance of a room, including wood siding on your home can also change the appearance of the exterior and give it a unique look. With a variety of different sidings available, this material offers unique ways to get that extra character in your design. For instance, the use of skirl siding is a popular choice for many home owners as it has a rough, raw appeal that looks hand-cut. Another likable choice is vertical board-and-batten siding.


Outdoor Fireplace

A feature seen in many log and timber homes, fireplaces and their design are another great opportunity for adding a one-of-a-kind accent to a project. Whether your fireplace is comprised of stone and reaches floor-to-ceiling, it is a dual-sided structure that connects your master bedroom to the great room, or it is placed outdoors for the comfortable enjoyment of all four seasons, fireplaces are a good thing to consider when looking to add uniqueness to your home’s design.


Window Wall

Windows don’t have to be a function-only square in the side of your home; they can become a great accent or focal point in any space. For some people, they choose to use windows to encase their sun room, while others frame their breathtaking great room views in magnificent window walls. By working with your designer, you can discover ways to include windows of different shapes, sizes, and designs so that they are functional and add to the architectural distinctiveness.


For more examples of structural and non-structural accents you can include in your home’s design, take a look at our Flickr gallery. 

Focus On: Natural Lighting

Thursday, September 13th, 2012

Thoughts of log homes have not always been associated with bright and open spaces, but now, with the right design, this atmosphere is easy to attain in your dream log or timber home. To achieve this look and feel, the inclusion of natural light is important to consider when you begin your project. By talking with your designer, you can add elements to your home design that will bathe the interior in natural light all year round.

Glass Prows and Window Walls 

These window configurations are often seen in the great room of the home and other view corridors. Depending on your personal design requirements, there are several ways these window walls can be comprised. You might prefer the aesthetic look of smaller windows put together to complete the wall, or perhaps your goal is to have completely uninterrupted views through fewer, larger windows. While these features do create great windows for spectacular vistas, they are also important for letting natural light in.

Clerestory Windows and Dormers

Clerestory windows and dormers offer similar lighting benefits while each having their own architectural features. Clerestory windows are located above the eye level in your home to allow light from the early morning as well as dusk to filter in without sacrificing privacy. Dormers also allow elevated, natural light into the home by protruding from roof lines along the exterior. Dormers can also be shaped in different varieties including eyebrow, shed, and gable to fit with your overall architectural style.

Sun Rooms

In areas with more temperate climates, a sun room offers enclosed spaces where natural light can filter in from all angles. These rooms are aptly names as they are bathed in sun, allowing a bright and open space to enjoy the beauty of nature from the comforts of your home.

Unconventional Solutions 

With the evolution of technology have come some exciting solutions for filtering light into the home. For example, Nana walls® are wall systems comprised of glass that fold completely out of line of sight to create an open passage between your interior and exterior. The use of Velux® windows are another brand solution that place windows in the slope of your roof to create a dramatic lighting effects. Additional options would include tinted windows to control the level of light intake and remote control shades. These architectural features are just a few more great ways for natural light to filter into the home when and how you want it while also allowing fresh air and uninterrupted vistas to be appreciated as well.

Focus On: Vaulted Spaces

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

When you envision a log or timber frame home great room, what comes to mind? Chances are the space you have pictured has a vaulted ceiling. Vaulted areas, especially in the great room, are common in log and timber homes because of the way in which they are built, the necessity of extra light, and as a way to capture views. However, the configuration of vaulted spaces within your log home is dependent on your own needs and style. Great Room Window

The Structure

With the ability to have taller walls comes vaulted ceilings that are perfect for picture window prows and can make a smaller great room appear larger and more spacious. Truss systems are exposed along the length of ceiling spaces—showcasing the beauty and craftsmanship of each wood connection. While sitting in the great room, you can simply look up and see the beauty in a timber truss and the robust power of a log connection. Vaulted spaces are also common within the master suite, making the room feel more open and luxurious. Some plans even have tall enough ceiling spaces in the master to include a loft.

Light and Views Great Room View

Vaulted spaces can have a great impact on your ability to light your log or timber home. Windows can be placed high on the walls of a great room to let in more light. Windows not only let natural light stream in throughout the day, but they also enhance your wood home’s connection to its surrounding landscapes. Vaulted rooms tend to have a prow with windows that extend from the floor to the ceiling, allowing nature and beautiful views in.

Heating and Cooling

With the expanse of a vaulted space comes a common concern of how to effectively heat and cool it. Many families incorporate radiant heating into the floors; while others include ceiling fans as ways to help maintain the temperature in their home’s expansive communal area without excess expenditures.


Talk to your architectural design team to learn more about vaulted spaces and how to efficiently incorporate them into your floor plan.

Focus on Fireplace Design

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

Transcending cultural traditions and architectural styles, the hearth of the home is a design feature that has played a fundamental role for families in the past and is now more of a stylistic addition for modern day homes. Whether you include a fireplace in your home’s design for traditional purposes or as an aesthetic feature, a fireplace’s function and style should not be overlooked during the design process.


The purpose of a fireplace is something that varies from family to family. The fireplace in your home could be used to warm a room or living space, to add that special ambiance, or both. With the large, open layouts typical of log homes, fireplaces can become a grand focal point, reaching from floor to vaulted ceiling. Perhaps when you envision your fireplace you visualize your friends and family gathering around it as you hang your stockings during the holiday season.

Locations Fireplace

What is a log home without a fireplace really?  As a common design feature in wood homes, a fireplace is usually located in a place you spend most of your time, like the great room. In addition to the main living spaces, bedrooms and studies can also have their own fireplace, keeping the room comfortable while providing a relaxing ambiance. Even in the kitchen, fireplaces can serve a specific function. Some European cultures include a fireplace in the kitchen out of tradition. If your property includes a pavilion or patio, including some kind of fireplace for crisp nights or for roasting marshmallows with the kids is also a great addition.

Wood Versus Gas

Something else to consider is the type of fireplace you include in your home. Both gas and wood burning fireplaces emit enough heat to warm a living space, so how do you decide whether you want one, the other, or both? If available in your area, gas fireplaces are easier to maintain because they do not require a supply of wood, they don’t smoke or require clean. However, many prefer the authentic look, feel and smell of a wood burning fireplace—the sound of real wood crackling as you sit by the glow of the flames. But who says you can’t have both? Perhaps you want a hassle-free gas fireplace in your bedroom while remaining authentic in the great room.

What does it Look Like? Kitchen Fireplace

Fireplaces can come in many styles and designs. It could a small insert or as grand as a floor-to-ceiling fireplace. What do you want your fireplace to look like, do you envision stone or stucco or another material? Would you prefer a large mantel, a small mantel? Perhaps you want it to be more interactive by including shelving or seating? How about double-sided fireplaces in your home to utilize one system for two adjacent rooms or from indoor to outdoor? And don’t forget the many options for outdoor fireplaces, like chimenias or fire pits.


For more concepts that include the many styles and functions of a home fireplace, visit PrecisionCraft’s Design Gallery.