Top 10 List of What to Consider When Designing Log Homes

September 10th, 2008

The team at M.T.N Design have put together a Top 10 list below. Take a look at what they say are the top 10 most important factors to consider when designing custom log homes and timber frame homes:

1. Set a Realistic Turnkey Budget. Establishing a realistic budget at the beginning stages of the home design process is critical. It is equally as important to find an architect that is willing and able to work within your estimated turnkey budget range. Some cost factors you and your architect should consider include:

  • Size of Your Home: The size of your log home or timber frame home is probably the biggest cost variable. If the preliminary budget is significantly out of alignment, the first place to look is at the square footage of your log home. Learn more about the layout and size of log homes.
  • Complexity of Design: The complexity of a log or timber frame home’s design is probably the least understood factor impacting cost – the more corners, roof ridge lines and roof valleys, the higher the cost. Adding gables, dormers, hips and other architectural styling elements to your log home design increases its complexity, and as a result, the overall cost of your home. On the other hand, a simple rectangular design with one roof ridge line is simpler, and therefore less expensive, to build. See examples of log home design complexity.
  • Level of Finishes Selected: The level of finishes that you choose for your log home has a dramatic impact on overall cost. Depending on your turnkey budget, you may select a higher level of finishes. Keep in mind that granite counter tops, Jacuzzi tubs, and wide plank flooring are beautiful amenities, but are more expensive than Formica counters, fiberglass tubs and carpet. See some examples of how home finishes can impact the cost of timber frame or log homes.
  • Product Choice: The product you select for your home – milled log, handcrafted log, timber frame, a combination of log and timber, or stick frame with log & timber accents – also has an impact on the overall cost of your home. Work directly with your architect or designer to find the right product for your custom home, one that meets both your aesthetic preferences and budget. Understand product choice in the design process.

2. Know What Exterior Look You Want. Mountain Architects defines seven potential exterior styles for your home: Western Log and Timber, Pacific Northwest, Adirondack, Chalet, Appalachian, Craftsman, or French Country. Study them and other styles noted in the industry and decide which style you like best. Also magazine clippings are a great source for communicating to your architect what style and features you prefer.

3. Consider Your Site / Build Location. The general principle here is to design a log home or timber frame home to fit your build site. Consider the entrance to the site and any views you want to take advantage of. If your site has a slope you will want to consider a basement and if the slope is steep enough, a daylight basement may be in order. Other things that come into play are setback requirements; how much area is available for the house; and if there are any obstructions on the site. These are all factors that your architect should consider in designing your new log home.

4. Familiarize Your Architect with Any CCR’s. If the development you’re building in has published a list of design requirements you should become familiar with them and bring a copy to the meeting with your architect or designer. Of particular importance are any requirements regarding height limit and any submittal timelines.

5. Consider Your Lifestyle. How you intend to live in your custom log home or timber frame home will have a huge impact on its design. For example, questions of how many family members you have, if you plan to entertain, and if you participate in outdoor activities will determine the number and type of spaces within the house.

6. Establish the Main Use for Your Home. The design of a permanent, full time residence will be substantially different than that of a second home in the mountains. This is an important aspect to consider in your initial conversations with your architect or designer.

7. Decide How Many Levels You Want in Your Home. This has to do with the Exterior Look of the house and whether the client wants a basement which could be dictated due to site parameters. This can also involve segregation of spaces, available area on site, the slope of the site, orientation of the site, and of course, your budget.

8. Decide How Many Bedrooms, Bathrooms and Specialty Rooms You Need. Deciding how many bedrooms, bathrooms, and specialty rooms your want to include in your new home requires consideration of your budget, lifestyle, and the available area on your build site. The prime consideration here for you and your architect is your budget.

9. Consider Exterior Amenities. As you think about your lifestyle you should determine what features you will want to incorporate into the exterior landscape of your home. Items such as decks, patios, a spa, outbuildings and water features will greatly enhance how the house will fit your needs. You will want to take these items into account when addressing your budget of course.

10. Garage. Another huge budget item is a garage if it is to be included in the design. You will want to discuss the size and number of vehicles to be housed in the garage. Also of importance is the relationship of the garage (attached or detached) to the house and access in and out of the garage to and from the street.

See this article and more at LandWatch – Land for Sale.

The Dakota Log Home Floor Plan – A New Addition

April 2nd, 2008

Inspired by the popular Crested Butte log & timber hybrid home, the Dakota, smaller in size, catches the eye with its unique flavor.Dakota Log Home Floor Plan

Since its introduction, the Crested Butte has been one of PrecisionCraft’s most popular designs. This overwhelming response to the Crested Butte design has inspired PrecisionCraft’s design division, M.T.N Design to create the Dakota.  Once you tour the Dakota floor plan showcased in PrecisionCraft’s Log Home Floor Plan Gallery, its similarities to the Crested Butte will catch your eye. But, at the same time, you will notice that the Dakota has its own unique features making it a remarkable design in its own right.

The Dakota, featured above, is 600 square feet smaller than the Crested Butte, but still packs a lot of character with its unique design elements. The large vaulted great room has custom timber trusses running from the inside out. The open kitchen, dining and great room area is ideal for entertaining, while the main level master suite includes a fireplace and private access to the patio. Each of the bedrooms on the second level has its own bathroom with the second bedroom featuring a private balcony.

As rendered, the Dakota turnkeys at approximately $700,000. By keeping the same timber frame elements, but substituting the log walls for conventional framing, M.T.N design was able to create a Mountain Accent™ version of the Dakota that retains its unique design characteristics but turnkeys at approximately $550,000.  See the two versions of the Dakota log home floor plan.

The Dakota, as with all of PrecisionCraft’s floor plans, can be customized to fit a client’s personal style, build location, and turnkey budget. Alter the size of this log home plan, adjust its design complexity, and learn how home finishes can impact the overall turnkey cost of the Dakota and PrecisionCraft’s other log home floor plans. Clients work directly with the team at PrecisionCraft and M.T.N Design to custom design their homes. A successful home building project begins with great design!

M.T.N Design and PrecisionCraft provide the best in custom design services. With the most design awards in the industry, this team walks clients through the home building process – from conception to move in.

For more information on custom design services or Mountain Accent Homes, please visit PrecisionCraft’s Custom Log Home Solution Center at or call 800-729-1320.

The Best in Timber Frame Home Design & Floor Plans

January 30th, 2008

Montclaire Award-Winning Timber Frame Home Plan

The Montclaire timber frame home plan receives the “Best 5 Plans” Award in Timber Home Living’s 3rd Annual Floor Plan contest. This award marks PrecisionCraft’s 12th design award in 2 years, making PrecisionCraft and its design firm the leader in log and timber home design.

Created by M.T.N Design, PrecisionCraft’s experienced team of timber frame home designers, the Montclaire floor plan is praised for its creative design in Timber Home Living’s April 2008 issue. Donna Peak – Timber Home Living’s Managing Editor writes:

“How can you not love a plan that takes so many outstanding modern amenities (four fireplaces, anyone?) and packages them with English manor-house style? From the exterior alcove, you enter the impressive foyer, which, with its gently arced staircase and adjacent formal library and dining room, is sure to make a genteel first impression. But move just beyond and a true 21st-century home unfolds before you. The spacious great room leads the way toward a kitchen layout that’s totally in tune with the times, boasting a cooktop island and ample bump-out pantry, not to mention a cozy breakfast nook. The nearby laundry/mudroom is perfectly placed to make unloading groceries from the three-car garage a breeze, plus it offers a family coat closet, leaving the guest closet to, well, the guests. The huge master bedroom and bath, with its private covered patio and hot tub, make this suite sumptuously sweet. Upstairs, a half level gives you the extra room you need without the fuss (or expense) of a full second story. And the L-shaped loft is large enough to be divided into specific zones for reading, shooting pool, whatever activities tickle your fancy. The only thing this plan is missing is you.”

M.T.N designers focus on the design of mountain style homes – full log homes, timber frame homes, hybrid log & timber homes, and homes constructed using conventional framing with log & timber accents. With a full palette of materials to work with, it is easy for M.T.N Design to design a home that meets each client’s unique aesthetic preference and budget. features 70+ floor plans. Exploring this extensive timber & log home floor plan gallery is a great way for clients to generate ideas for their own unique homes. With M.T.N’s design expertise and specialization in green building, design options are unlimited. Also, visit to get more information on designing, manufacturing, and building timber frame homes. Or call 800.729.1320 to speak to a timber frame home consultant.

Caribou Log Home Floor Plan Takes Center Stage

January 8th, 2008

Log Home Living’s 10th Annual Floor Plan Contest Votes PrecisionCraft’s Caribou the “Best of the Best.”

Caribou Log Home Plan Exterior Rendering

Created by M.T.N Design, PrecisionCraft’s experienced team of log home designers, the Caribou plan hit the limelight last year when it was recognized by Log Home Design for 2007’s “Best Single-Level Floor Plan.”

Since its feature in Log Home Design, PrecisionCraft’s Caribou log home plan has staked its reign over most log home floor plans. And, the many accolades continue into 2008. The Caribou plan is voted “Best of the Best” in Log Home Living’s 10th Annual Floor Plan contest.

The Caribou, as highlighted in Log Home Living’s April 2008 issue, is favored by the 3rd party judges for its single-level floor plan living, split bedroom layout, integration with the outdoors, and use of a massive three-fireplace structure. Also voted as the Editors’ Pick, the Caribou floor plan was a shoe-in for this awards contest. Katherine Schuster, Log Home Living’s Editorial Assistant writes, “This plan had us at hello – literally. The unconventional angled entry porch adds a unique architectural element to the home from the moment you set foot inside the door. The rest of the home is just as captivating: The communal areas blend together seamlessly, and the transition to outdoor living space is just as effortless, providing an ideal setup for entertaining. A three-fireplace structure that can be enjoyed from the living room, outdoor patio or master bedroom extends the cohesiveness to the bedroom wing. The handcrafted log home is cozy and intimate without being cramped, and therefore will surely have us for many years to come.”

M.T.N designers, Michael Ray & Tim Schafer, have hit a hot button with the design of the Caribou and have set the bar for the rest of the industry. The level of technical proficiency at M.T.N Design and the 125 years of combined experience in high-end, mountain style architecture have positioned M.T.N Design as the leader in mountain style design across the United States.

The team of designers at M.T.N Design can take any standard floor plan featured at and redesign it to match your product choice (handcrafted log, milled log, timber frame, or a combination of materials), architectural style, and budget. Your design options are unlimited. Visit to check out 65+ additional log home floor plans. Also, get more information on designing, manufacturing, and building luxury log homes.

Clearwater Timber Frame Home Plan

December 28th, 2007

Clearwater Timber Frame Home Floor Plan Who says it has to be all about log? Check out this new design by PrecisionCraft and M.T.N Design’s log home designers. The focus this month is on timber frame! The Clearwater is a modern timber frame floor plan that fits in with both new developments and rustic locations.

The unique look of the Clearwater timber frame plan integrates stone, glass, timber and siding. The floor plan is open and works well for entertaining, while the master suite is secluded and has private access to the patio area. The second floor bedroom has its own private balcony with an innovative clear railing system.

Clearwater Timber Frame Main Floor Clearwater Timber Frame Plan - 2nd Floor

The Clearwater, as well as all standard floor plans found at PrecisionCraft’s log home floor plan gallery, can be designed to match the look and feel of any client. In addition, the Clearwater can be customized in size and layout. Standard floor plans such as the Clearwater are simply starting points for your own unique vision.

Adding timber frame elements to a log home design is a growing trend today. Visit PrecisionCraft’s Log Home Solution Center to learn more about this hot trend or to view 65+ log home and timber home plans.