Good Designs Come Standard
Tricks that will transform a company’s stock plan into your personalized log home dream.
COMING UP WITH A TRULY UNIQUE HOME DESIGN these days is tough. They all have to have the same basic components, and in terms of flow, some layouts just make more sense than others.
For the log home buyer, that’s good news, because chances are your log home producer has designed and manufactured a home that reflects your needs — or comes pretty darn close. On top of that, just about every manufacturer or handcrafter expects that you will want to make some tweaks to a stock floor plan, and they are ready and willing to accommodate you. Armed with this knowledge, you can save thousands of dollars in design fees and still get the log home you long for.
Here are some easy floor plan modification dos and don’ts to tuck in your bag of tricks as you peruse stock plans:
■ Combine two conjoined bedrooms into one oversized master suite.
■ Incorporate shed-dormers on the second floor to increase headroom/ usable square footage at a minimal cost.
■ Connect a detached garage with a breezeway for convenience or enclose a rear porch to create a mudroom.
■ Utilize space above the garage as an entertainment area or in-law suite room. (This is sometimes referred to as a FROG – family room over garage.)
■ Reduce hallways by eliminating nonload bearing interior walls to create the coveted open-concept design.
■ Add or move cross windows for improved ventilation and a clear line of sight from one side of the house to the other.
■ Increase the width the plan. If you want to increase the square footage, make it longer instead. As a rule, increasing the length won’t affect the house structurally. However, going wider likely will mean re-engineering trusses and rafters to properly support the load.
■ Overdo it. There comes a time when you may be making too many changes. There is typically a fee for re-jiggering stock plans. The more changes you make, the more costly it will become, negating the savings of starting with a stock plan in the first place.
■ Settle for less. If you are spending $400,000 on a house, don’t be afraid to spend $4,000 on a set of plans. Typically revisions to a stock plan cost an additional 20 to 30 percent on top of the plan itself. Getting exactly what you want is worth the nominal fee.
THE OWNERS of this home fell in love with two plans: The Victoria (left) and the Preacher Plan (right). 1867 Confederation Log & Timber Frame combined these two stock plans and after seven revisions, arrived at the perfect custom floor plan for their clients.
WHAT WAS CHANGED?
1. The central core of Victoria was kept, but the kitchen was moved to mirror the Preacher Plan.
2. A sitting room was added to the righthand bedroom wing.
3. The garage was detached by a breezeway.
4. The master bedroom was condensed.
should be realistic about what can and should be included within your budget. Remember: Just because it may not be feasible now doesn’t mean it can’t be done in the future.
4 Map Out a Plan.
You don’t have to be an artist to sketch a floor plan your designer will understand. Start with a simple bubble diagram, with each bubble representing a room, then place them in relation to where you will want them to be located within your home. Then square off the bubbles to create walls of your rough floor plan. Easy.
5 Be a Show Off.
Conveying your ideas to your designer and builder through photos and drawings will be much clearer than trying to interpret it verbally. Keep a scrapbook of clippings or a file of digital downloads of homes and ideas that represent what you’re looking for in your log home design.
6 Expect to Compromise.
Managing size, quality and budget is a tough balancing act. Unless you have unlimited resources, you can expect a little give and take while developing your log home’s floor plan. That could mean anything from shaving of a few square feet to eliminating an entire wing. Just remember: Never skimp on the structural essentials (like proper sealants, foundation, roofing and insulation) that will affect your home’s performance.
7 Site it Right.
How your home will sit on your site affects its overall design. (This is why having your land in hand before you draft a floor plan is so important.) Take note of your site’s advantages and challenges, as well as its sun exposure in various seasons and times of day. And never put the house on the best spot on the lot. Orient your house so you have a clear view of it instead.
8 Think in 3D.
Seeing your home on paper or a computer screen gives you an idea of its layout, but we live in three dimensions, not two. Consider the vertical space and volume of each room, not to mention its elevations (the way it looks on the outside — its curb appeal.) Most designers utilize 3D CAD programs that will help you virtually walk through your house before a single log is laid.
9 Log Your Style.
From the diameter of your logs to whether you choose a milled log profile or a handcrafted f inish, these decisions will affect the look of your home. Consider all your log options in tandem with your floor plan design choices.
10 Keep Your Eyes on the Prize.
Seeking guidance from log home professionals, designers or architects is a wise decision, but keep in mind that this is your home. Make sure their ideas make sense for your needs before you adopt them, and be sure to work with people who are as excited about making your dream log home a reality as you are.