Log Home Jour­ney

The log home jour­ney isn’t a sprint; it’s a marathon. And as Sean Mur­phy and his fam­ily dis­cov­ered, per­se­ver­ance and pa­tience go a long way to cross­ing the fin­ish line.

Log Home Living - - CONTENTS -

The log home jour­ney isn’t a sprint; it’s a marathon. And as Sean Mur­phy and his fam­ily dis­cov­ered, per­se­ver­ance and pa­tience go a long way to cross­ing the fin­ish line.

In or­der to run a marathon, a run­ner must train dili­gently for many months. Dur­ing those months, the “norms” of life change, and the lux­u­ries one might be af­forded dur­ing other times are set to the side. No late nights out with friends; no un­healthy meals; no sleep­ing-in. All of this is done with a sin­gu­lar goal in mind: To win the race. This is their sac­ri­fice in or­der to suc­ceed at some­thing many peo­ple would sim­ply leave to dreams.

Build­ing a new home, par­tic­u­larly one as unique as one with logs, is re­mark­ably sim­i­lar. There are choices to be made all along the jour­ney, each with a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact to your abil­ity to cross the fin­ish line healthy and happy with your re­sults.

Here are the two main sac­ri­fices my wife, Amanda, and I made for the re­ward at the end:

Sac­ri­fice 1: Time

From be­gin­ning to end, this is a time-con­sum­ing process that will im­pact how you live your ev­ery­day life. At the be­gin­ning, Amanda and I spent days trav­el­ing to dif­fer­ent log home shows (with our then-one-year-old in tow) to gather ideas,

in­ter­view log crafters and gen­er­ally learn about this build­ing sys­tem. Then, I spent a week of my own pre­cious va­ca­tion time in Mon­tana, work­ing closely with our log home de­signer and the folks at Bit­ter­root Val­ley Log & Tim­ber to fi­nal­ize the construction con­cepts; all while Amanda kept the homestead (now with two kids and an­other on the way) un­der con­trol.

Later, there was the time spent leav­ing home early in the morn­ing to stop at the build site, work through the in­evitable de­ci­sions that come up once construction starts, then con­tinue to the of­fice to gather my bear­ings and ac­com­plish the things my other boss needed done … or this jour­ney would come to a halt pretty quickly!

Week­ends even­tu­ally be­came just an ex­tra two days of work. Foot­ball Sun­days de­gen­er­ated from re­lax­ing in front of the TV for eight hours (ok, 12) to lis­ten­ing to score up­dates on the ra­dio as Amanda and I tack­led the in­side of our fu­ture home, while construction con­tin­ued in par­al­lel. There were no sum­mer bar­be­cues for us; no nights out with friends; and quite a few din­ners at fast food joints af­ter long days of work at our new home. Time is the great equal­izer, and there is a fi­nite amount of it to go around. Along this jour­ney, you will make choices that im­pact how you al­lo­cate your time; some easy, oth­ers hard. Some friend­ships could suf­fer, but the strong ones will sur­vive.

Sac­ri­fice 2: Money

Time is not the only fi­nite re­source: Money is the other. As the dream of a new log home is born into re­al­ity, there are a seem­ingly in­fi­nite num­ber of choices to be made that have a di­rect im­pact on the bud­get you hope to hold.

Ev­ery­one’s cir­cum­stances are unique; but if I may of­fer some ad­vice in this area, it’s to come up with a set of guid­ing prin­ci­ples. They can help ground your de­ci­sions around where to spend your money and where you can hold back. For Amanda and I, it was to (1) build with fam­ily use in mind (i.e., the kids are go­ing to beat up a lot of stuff like cab­i­nets and floors); and (2) to build for the long term, putting mon-

ey into things not eas­ily changed later on, like geo­ther­mal heat, spray-foam in­su­la­tion, high­qual­ity doors and win­dows, hand-hewn logs, ra­di­ant floor heat­ing, etc. Fancy ap­pli­ances, cus­tom cab­i­nets and my home bar can wait.

The best ex­am­ple I can think of to il­lus­trate this was our roof. I orig­i­nally en­vi­sioned metal roof­ing and ar­chi­tec­tural qual­ity shin­gles … un­til I got the price. We de­cided those things did not fit with Mur­phy Prin­ci­ple #2, and we could just go with good-qual­ity shin­gles, with in­stal­la­tion work­man­ship to match, to get a beau­ti­ful and func­tional roof.

While on your own log home jour­ney, don’t fret over the sac­ri­fices. Re­mem­ber, these are the choices you make in the name of a greater goal. They are not re­grets to be lamented later. Re­grets are choices that run con­trary to your prin­ci­ples and hin­der you from your goal. You want to cross the fin­ish line in fi­nan­cially good health and be thrilled with your end re­sult. Sac­ri­fices are the choices you look back on in 20 years and are happy you made them, be­cause you know they are the things that al­lowed you to live in a house most oth­ers rel­e­gate to their dreams.

The Mur­phys’ log home jour­ney is nearly com­plete! Need to catch up on their story? You can see how far they’ve come at loghome. com/ step-by- step-mur­phys

And be sure to check out the fin­ished, fur­nished prod­uct when we take you on a full tour of their beau­ti­ful home in our De­cem­ber 2017 is­sue of Log Home Liv­ing.

Next time, join us as the day fi­nally ar­rives for the Mur­phy fam­ily to move in, and Sean shares what it’s like to wake up that first morn­ing in a dream log home.

As the Mur­phys’ hy­brid log home nears com­ple­tion, Sean re­al­izes he’s gain­ing much more than he’s had to give up.


A fam­ily af­fair: To save money on la­bor, Sean and Amanda do what they can them­selves while their three kids cheer them on to the fin­ish line.

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