Log Homes & Kitchen Design

December 10th, 2008

Many considerations go into the design of the perfect log home kitchen. Below are a few things to consider in your one-on-one meeting with your M.T.N Design designer.

Architectural Style & Lifestyle
There is no one style of log homes these days.  Buyers are more sophisticated in their choices, beyond the typical Western log home style exterior.  They may choose to live in a French Country, Appalachian or Craftsman style log or timber frame home.  As with the exterior look and feel, architectural style also comes to life inside the home; notably in the layout and design of the kitchen.  A French Country kitchen may, for example, incorporate more refined materials and cabinetry while a Craftsman style kitchen may utilize extensive beam-work.

Along with the architectural style, lifestyle has its role in the layout of the kitchen.  Log homes are traditionally more open and casual in layout; a trait generally reflective of those who enjoy entertaining family and friends.  If entertaining is a top priority, the kitchen will act as more than a place to prepare food. Its layout, style, and accents become a focus of the home itself.  A large island strategically placed, for example, will encourage guests to mingle and share their stories.  In addition, an open layout can create a seamless flow from the kitchen area to the great room; a great way to make all guests feel valued and included.

The art of entertaining will also affect the number and choices of appliances.  A summer barbeque is more easily accomplished if access to the deck or patio from the kitchen is simple.  Or, open the entire kitchen up to an outdoor kitchen / barbeque area with a Nana Wall system. Guests are sure to love the uninterrupted flow to the outside.

The View
Many decide to build their dream log home only after finding a lot with the perfect view.  The kitchen and great room often share the best view by incorporating a good amount of glass in the design. One note to consider, however, is the effect on the layout of the kitchen…a lot of windows can take away from the amount of upper cabinets available which in turn may necessitate a separate pantry for storage.

Orientation to Adjoining Spaces
As stated above, today’s log homes are more casual in nature.  The formal relationship between the living, dining and kitchen has been replaced by an open floor plan that brings the kitchen into the main living experience of the home.  Instead of the kitchen being blocked off from the rest of the living area by walls, the only thing separating it from the living room may be a kitchen island. Therefore, the choice of materials in the kitchen becomes even more important in the overall ambiance of the home.

Layout of Kitchen & Appliances
The more casual outdoor lifestyle that is inherent in log homes distinguishes the design of the kitchen from that in other types of homes.  In addition to the usual work zones for preparation, cooking and clean-up, additional storage or indoor grilling may also be necessary.  Several under-counter refrigerator doors and other specialty appliances may also be added in various locations in the kitchen for the active, casual lifestyle.  It is not unusual for a log home to be in a remote location which may require the addition of a large pantry in the kitchen.  Items such as a wine cooler, indoor grill or freezer may also be added.

Use of Logs or Timbers in the Kitchen
The use of a log beam, timber ceiling, or vertical log or timber posts in the kitchen adds interest to the design.  Vaulted ceilings utilizing log or timber trusses greatly increase the drama of the space.  For added architectural appeal, vertical logs are often incorporated at the under-counter face of the kitchen island.

Tip: Frequently, clients ask how wall cabinets are installed on a round log wall.  Cabinets are typically hung by way of furring on the face of the log wall which provides a plumb surface for the cabinets to hang from.

Top 10 Favorite Floor Plans

November 13th, 2008
Throughout the years PrecisionCraft and its design team, M.T.N Design, has set itself apart from the industry with truly inspirational log home and timber home designs. Take a look at some of our customers’ Top 10 favorites and see which ones ignite a spark within you. And, remember that these “Top 10” designs are merely starting points for many. Working with M.T.N Design these designs have been enhanced to reflect each person’s own personal preference in architectural style, layout, size and product!

Taking Log Cabins to Extraordinary

October 30th, 2008

Telluride Log Cabin Plan: Rustic Luxury Log Cabins & Plans

M.T.N Design stays at the forefront of the industry with a new design each month. This time, the team introduces their new series, Rustic Luxury Log Cabin Homes & Plans, an exclusive collection featuring attractive, unique designs and luxurious finishes. Designed for discriminating homeowners who are seeking the best in mountain style living, but in a smaller, more intimate home, Rustic Luxury Log Cabins offer the perfect blend of warmth, attractive natural materials and high-end finishes.

In addition to creating a sense of warmth, Rustic Luxury Log Cabin Homes & Plans provide the perfect design solution for smaller build sites – great design without compromising architectural style and detail. And, if you are looking to build a LEED certified log cabin home, smaller is better! Mountain Architects works with clients to ensure their log cabin homes meet their green building goals. Discover more green home design tips.

With this announcement comes the release of M.T.N Design’s first design in the new cabin series, the Telluride. This luxury, single level log cabin home features a unique combination of stone, bark siding, beautifully crafted character logs, glass and milled log walls.

With 1,560 square feet of livable space, the Telluride creates a sense of warmth and coziness – truly a cabin in the woods.  Its floor plan features a simple layout with vaulted ceilings, dual master suites, and of course, a great room with a view window.  View the Telluride Log Cabin Plan.


Stay tuned for more Rustic Luxury Log Cabin designs. A new cabin design will be introduced each month, through January 2009.  Sign up at their web site to receive the Design of the Month.

Top 10 List: Designing Green Log Homes

October 15th, 2008

M.T.N Design, PrecisionCraft’s design firm, consults with clients helping them meet their green building goals. Check out what they say are 10 important items to consider in designing green log homes!

  1. Consider the Log Home Carbon Footprint using a higher proportion of log or timber in construction.  ECCM (Edinburgh Center for Carbon Management) estimated there could be up to an 88% reduction of greenhouse gases by using log or timber structural elements wherever possible rather than other conventional building materials.  (see the “Log Home Advisor”).
  2. Reduce the use of chemically processed materials in your home by using more logs and/or timbers.  Logs and Timbers are 100% natural.  As a building material they do not emit Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) or other pollutants into outdoor or indoor spaces.  Ecologically and environmentally, solid wood is the only building product that is renewable, biodegradable, recyclable, energy efficient, and extremely beautiful.
  3. Consider good basic design decisions:
    1. Orientation of the house to elements and the site.
    2. Avoid afternoon sun and dark roofs in warmer climates.
    3. Use “Sun Angle Calculator” to get the ideal overhang.
    4. Use a radiant barrier on the underside of roofs.
    5. Use a vapor barrier on warm or humid side of walls.
    6. Reduce the number of can lights in roofs and switch boxes in exterior walls.
    7. Placement, type, and size of windows and doors.   Use clerestory windows for lighting and ventilation to cool the house.
    8. Build air tight.
    9. Limit vaulted ceilings.
    10. Use eaves, porches, and awnings to reduce the amount of summer sunlight entering your windows.
  4. Use energy efficient products such as:
    1. SIP’s (structural insulated panels)
    2. ICF’s (insulated concrete forms)
    3. Low E / high performance windows and glazing
    4. Install Energy Star appliances such as dishwashers, washing machines, refrigerators and freezers.
    5. Use Radiant Heat.
    6. Use a Programable Thermostat.
    7. Select the proper Water Heater for your home – Conventional storage (size is important), instantaneous, heat pump, solar or tankless coil / indirect water heaters.
    8. Use locally sourced products when possible to reduce carbon emissions  reduces the amount of fossil fuels required for the transportation of  products from other parts of the country or the world.  It also reduces the  amount of plastic and paper products consumed in the packaging of such  far-traveling products.  Buying local reduces consumption of valuable  natural resources.
  5. Use low-VOC products such as indoor paint to improve indoor air quality.  Health experts are becoming increasingly aware and alarmed that man-made chemicals are showing up in our blood and lungs.  Logs are 100% natural and don’t emit VOC’s or other pollutants.  Soil, water and air combine with the energy from the sun in a miraculous process of photosynthesis to produce wood.   Also use eco-friendly stains and sealants on the exterior.  The exposure to toxic chemicals in our every day lives is resulting in significant increases in asthma and respiratory illnesses, skin problems, migraine headaches and any number of health related problems.
  6. Use wood Alternatives or FSC-certified wood products.   Consider using environmentally preferable and rapidly renewable products such as linoleum, bamboo, recycled-content tile or non-VOC carpet.  Choose wood products from sustainable managed forests, such as those certified by the forest Stewardship Council (FSC).
  7. Use rapidly-renewable materials.  Examples include linoleum, form-release agents made from plant oils, natural paints, geotextile fabrics from coir and jute, cork, and such textiles as organic cotton, wool and sisal.  These materials are biodegradable, often (but not always) low in VOC emissions, and generally produced from agricultural crops.  You might also consider recycled interior finishes such as carpet with recycled fibers and countertops made of recycled paper.
  8. Plant Green.  Plant trees to shade the house and for wind protection.  Use native plants in your landscape plan and eco-smart landscaping techniques.  Consider catching rain water from roofs to water some of your vegetation and use stormwater management to control run-off.  Reduce site disturbance.
  9. Use Green Power.  Green Power is an optional utility service for customers who want to help expand the production and distribution of renewable energy technologies.  With green power you do not have to change your electricity provider.  Instead, customers choose to pay a premium on their electricity bill to cover the extra cost of purchasing clean, sustainable energy.  More info on green power can be found at:  http://www.eere.energy.gov/greenposer/markets/index.shtml.  Additionally, there are several renewable energy technologies commercially available for electricity production.  They include:
    1. Biopower
    2. Concentrating solar power
    3. Geothermal electricity production
    4. Photovoltaics
    5. Wind energy

Learn more about PrecisionCraft Log Homes & M.T.N Design.

Designing a Timber Frame Home Around a Pool

September 18th, 2008

Michael and Denise came to us with a very unique request. They wanted to design a Craftsman style home around their already existing swimming pool. Why build a home around a swimming pool? A great question and one that we had to ask as well!

Recently, Michael and Denise purchased a home built in the late 1980s but it wasn’t the home itself that had them sold. The layout of the home they purchased featured a formal entry, separated living areas, and smaller bedrooms with wardrobe closets. A design and layout very typical of the 1980s but not so appreciated by Michael and Denise who were looking for a more contemporary home. But, the home was nestled in a heavily wood area in Granite Falls, WA, complete with distant views of the beautiful Cascade Mountains and a pool with a one-of-a-kind story.

The most outstanding feature of this 1980s home is the kidney-shaped pool located in the daylight basement. This pool took quite a bit of planning and hard work to get it positioned perfectly. Huge granite boulders buried deep in the landscape that Michael and Denise love so much were carved out to make room for a pool. Their existing 1980s home is to be torn down (while saving the pool) and replaced with a Craftsman style, timber frame home complete with a contemporary flair. The layout of their new home will feature a more informal and open design incorporating new spaces and features such as offices, a workout room, a steam room, a caretaker’s apartment over the garage, and an elevator.

Well, it sounds like a great project; a fun challenge. One that the team at M.T.N Design and PrecisionCraft is eager to take on! Be sure to check back with us periodically as we plan to follow this project all the way through.