Dream Log Homes
A Nod to Traditional
With an expansive 500-square-foot front deck and a porch of more than 300 square feet, this kiln-dried log home is reminiscent of pioneer days – with one exception: It has all the conveniences of a thoroughly modern home. Set on a beautifully manicured woodsy plot, the cabin is at one with nature. A wall of double paned, Low-E, and argon filled windows allows plenty of light in while protecting against drastic temperature fluctuations. Built from a kit, energy efficiency was a key factor for this design. Inside you'll find three bedrooms and 2-1/2 baths. The main living area is the 1,300-square-foot downstairs. The 400-square-foot second floor is where the master bedroom and a bath are located.
Comfort and Design
How does your family interact? What are the activities they enjoy? These are the first questions to ask when designing your home.The fireplace is a traditional centerpiece in log homes. It's the gathering spot in the great room. In this home it is truly in the center of an open design, with the kitchen behind, the dining room to the right and a loft right above. Designed to create an airy, lodge feeling, this living space offers a comfortable family-room atmosphere and plenty of area for entertaining. But sometimes you just want to find a little privacy. Keep that in mind as well when you begin designing.
An International Approach
So you thought log homes were a uniquely American phenomenon? Well, think again. These lodge-like structures sit squarely in a mountainous area of northern Slovakia, where a tradition of log living is centuries old. The design has a clearly European flavor, but the lumber preparation and construction techniques are similar to those in the United States and Canada. These particular homes were designed as weekend getaways, suitable for families of 3 or 4 out for a ski holiday or mountain bike adventure. Another area where traditional log home construction is enjoying a resurgence is Scandinavia. Check out some of the Finnish and Norwegian designs for a unique perspective.
Drama and Illumination
Talk about fabulous foyers! This breathtaking entryway, with its towering cathedral ceiling and exquisitely crafted lumber is a work of art. Designer Murray Arnott spared no detail. Check out the stairs, carved from individual logs, and the stone work on the stairway heading down. It is the lighting, however, that is the dramatic key to this design. Lighting – pardon the pun – is not a decision to be taken lightly. Before you begin selecting fixtures, think long and hard about how you will be using each room and what mood you are trying to achieve. There are a lot of illumination factors to consider, but one rule of thumb is that logs are generally dark and log homes usually require more lighting.
A modified Chalet
Fitting snuggly on a relatively small lot, the soaring roof line and angled walls of glass allow lots of light to pour in. This log home is perfect for a family with an active, sporty lifestyle. It combines elegant casualness with modern convenience. Inside you'll find a cathedral ceiling and many opportunities to enjoy a view. This modified chalet, with its dominant "prow front," is designed to accommodate a variety of options, including a front porch. Built from a kit, it can be constructed in a variety of sizes.
Home is where the hearth is. Sheer elegance meets rustic luxury in this extraordinary wraparound living room. This is hardly the fireplace where Abe Lincoln strained his eyes to read as a young man. Whether you are constructing a towering masonry masterpiece that stretches the height of your cathedral ceiling, or you plan to tuck a small gas hearth into a corner, the fireplace is a focal point of your log home. But before you settle on a fireplace design, create a checklist of your needs and desires. You'll want to be utilitarian about this, of course, considering safety issues, fuel efficiency, location in the house, wood storage and building costs. But emphasize the aesthetics and architecture as well. This fireplace will be a centerpiece.
These days there's no need to skimp when it comes to bathroom design in log homes. But there is reason to be thoughtful. Log homes present unique challenges for installing tubs, showers, plumbing and cabinetry due to the profile of interior logs and their movement as they settle. Provisions have to be made for that movement. But before you consult the experts, make a general assessment of your bathroom and powder room needs. Keep in mind, for instance, that a bathroom used by multiple bedrooms will likely require more counter space and cabinet space. For aesthetic reasons, avoid locating bathroom doors right off of living areas, especially if the toilet is directly visible when the door opens. Another good idea is to provide natural light if possible. Use of light colors can make for a cheerier room, while limiting vertical lines will give the impression of more space.
A Big-House Feel
Efficient planning in a small home can optimize your living space and make it feel bigger. You can learn a lot from the arsenal of tricks that architects employ to create the perception of space. For example, reducing the number of hallways and creating an open plan makes the house more breathable. Using built-ins will reduce furniture clutter. Lighting, windows and varied ceiling height can work to dramatic affect as well. Living lofts are a great way of creating a private but airy room and adding a modern casualness to your home. And it's a great place for a houseful of young skiers to flop down after an exhausting day on the slopes.
Off the Grid
The innovations over the years with log home construction are not just relegated to how the logs are kilned, cut and prepared. Many people who opt for the log lifestyle also yearn for simpler, cleaner and more efficient ways of living their lives. And many seek out lifestyles that promote independence and allow them to be closer with nature. In an effort to become more energy efficient, the owners of this cedar home have incorporated an array of roof-integrated solar panels to provide electricity and reduce dependency on traditional sources of electricity.
A Log Mansion
No prairie pioneer could have imagined a "log cabin" like this. Using a unique round design to provide a panoramic view of a beautiful setting, the home incorporates rural charm with state-of-the art design. The generous use of stone nicely complements the environment's natural setting and repeats on the stairway, bridge, wall and fireplace. In an effort to be part of nature, the babbling stream is an added audio element to design. The large, well-lit patio — accessible through French doors and visible through the abundant windows — is an alfresco extension of the living area.
It's not just the log craftsmanship or the use of sweeping entryway curves that infuse this home with that Old West rustic elegance. This is the whole package. The dark bar area is in stark contrast to the light streaming in through the living room doors. You can almost smell the leather and see the panorama of Ponderosa Pines right out the door. The period furniture and well selected lighting fixtures and lighting design tie the architecture and ambiance together, creating a masculine and powerful environment. And the stonework on the fireplace underscores the weightiness of the room and the home.
A Water Feature
The sound of water — a gently trickling stream or a small waterfall — can have a wonderfully calming, hypnotic effect. So why not integrate water into the design of your home? After all, this is where you are going to spend a lot of relaxing time, isn't it? Designer Murray Arnott says you can incorporate water such as an ornamental pond or waterfall to define the look and feel of a space. Or you can use water such as a pool or spa for recreational purposes. There are benefits to both, and an option to consider as you design a home unique to your family.
Just like the bathroom design for a log home, some very unique challenges exist for kitchens. The contours of the interior logs and their movement as they shrink and settle are the primary concern when installing cabinetry, plumbing and appliances. Once you've wrestled with that, however, you are free to let your imagination soar. This kitchen is chock full of all the latest appliances. A thoughtful plan, designed for owners who pride themselves on their kitchen expertise led to the installation of expansive counter space, three sinks and a very comfortable eating/preparation island. But pay special attention to the lighting. Not only is there an abundance of natural light streaming in from three sides, but the fixtures illuminate all corners of the room. The eating area enjoys a beautiful 180-degree view and access to the deck.
A Log Garage
You've built a beautiful home. Don't ruin it with an ugly garage. Remember, garages take up a lot of space and are hard to disguise. But there are a few things you can do to help it complement your log home. First, consider how you will use the garage. Can you make do with just a carport? Will it be used for storage? What kind of security will you need? One aesthetic trick that architects often recommend is to build the garage perpendicular to the front of your house. That hides it a bit. And don't skimp on the materials. Match them to your house.
Front Porch Traditional
There is, of course, something very appealing about a traditional log home set in a placid valley where you can kick off your boots and rock on the front porch with your favorite hound. Nowadays, log home design and innovation are limited only by your imagination and your pocketbook. Relatively inexpensive kits are available for do-it-yourselfers, and extraordinarily expensive architects and builders are available for custom projects. Realizing your dream of living in a log cabin is closer than ever before.