Fireplaces – Where and Why

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.

M.T.N Design’s Favorite Projects of 2012

December 13th, 2012

As the year comes to a close, everyone here at PrecisionCraft reflects on all of the amazing log and timber home projects we have been able to work on this year. For our in-house design firm, M.T.N Design, each home they’ve drawn leaves them with a unique memory. We sat down with our designers and had them each tell us about of the projects that resonated with them and why. Here are the 2012 projects they chose.

 Colorado Timber Frame

Timber Frame Tahoe

Version of the Beartooth

This timber frame home, inspired by the unique floor plan and prominent view-facing elevation of the Beartooth concept, is set to be built in Trinidad in 2013. Tim, M.T.N designer for the project, chose this as one of his favorites for the year not only for the breathtaking location, but for the unique circumstances. “The home is being built by a very close group of friends that have built a business together and now want a vacation ranch home together so that their families can all utilize it.” Tim said. This 6,500 square foot home features specialty spaces like; bunk rooms for all of the families’ children and four master suites on the second level.

Connecticut Timber Frame

Version of the Laurette Chateau

Original Laurette Chateau

When we asked Scott what project stood out for him, he spoke of one located in Connecticut that is currently in the design process. He chose this home for its open floor plan and the visibility of the timber frame structure from the home’s entrance. With 100 acres of property to build on, this family hopes to retain the french country themes of the  Laurette Chateau, while creating a floor plan that fits their need for spaces like a carriage house attached to the garage.

California Handcrafted

Peaks Lodge Design

Version of the Peaks Lodge

The rugged look of the Adirondack-style Peaks Lodge is what spurred the design of this California handcrafted log home design. Matt, the in-house designer for this project, selected it as one of his favorites for the year due to the design challenge it presented and the passion of the homeowners. Despite the restrictive guidelines set forth by their development, Matt worked hard with his clients to achieve the exact plan they had been dreaming of, which included almost 1,000 additional square feet for extra bedrooms and specialty rooms.

Oregon Timber Frame

Timber Frame Home

Custom Timber Frame Design

An eclectic mix of architectural styles and an Oceanside location are what Design Manager, Celeste believes makes this custom timber frame project one the most unique of the year. Designed for a couple residing in London, the house will be built a stone’s-throw away from Oregon’s coastal waters. Due to its narrow lot, the project’s designer worked with the clients to develop a floor plan that accommodates the lot dimensions and would still include the layout they wished to see in the home. One-of-a-kind elements were also included to the design, like a spiral staircase that leads from the garage to an Art attic, and a lighthouse that powers the home’s ventilation.

 

To see other projects that are on the boards, visit the M.T.N Design website.

Including that Unique Element

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.

Siding

Siding

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.

Fireplaces

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.

Windows

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

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

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.