Good De­signs Come Stan­dard

Tricks that will trans­form a com­pany’s stock plan into your per­son­al­ized log home dream.

Log Home Living - - DESIGN -

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.


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.

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