Focus on Floor Plans
Smart design is central to log home success.
Floor plan design is one of the most exciting parts of the log home purchase process, because it’s where you get a first glimpse as what your dream home will look like. Chances are, you won’t get it right the first time, but don’t fret. It’s common to go through many drafts and revisions, shifting rooms, tweaking size and adjusting scale. Then, once it’s fine tuned and you see it on paper, your project takes that allimportant leap from pipe dream to real-live log home. These 10 tips are designed to help you assess your wants and needs so that you can achieve log home floor plan perfection.
1 Look at Your Life.
There’s a tendency to blindly follow current design trends whether they work for your lifestyle or not. Essentially, making your family fit the house instead of the other way around. The smarter strategy is to consider the makeup of your brood. Are you empty nesters with visiting grandkids?
Do you have teens or aging parents? These factors can impact your plan.
Then, look at the way you live. A family that enjoys formal meals needs a dining room; one that loves to kick back with a pizza and watch the game on a big screen may not. Formal entries, oversized master suites and similar design features are great, but they aren’t one-size-fits-all. Find your balance.
Bigger isn’t always better ... but it does always cost more. Before you arbitrarily decide you need a certain number of square feet to be happy, make sure that number makes sense. Think of your rooms in terms of activity zones; how many people will occupy them simultaneously on a regular basis; and what they’ll be doing in them at that time. If the kitchen is your hub of activity, more elbow room per person will be in order. If everyone lounges on the couch in your family room, this is an area you can downsize (and foster more togetherness in the process). Once you determine the square footage you’ll need to maneuver in each room, tack on another 15 percent to account for walls and traffic flow.
Floor Plan Fantasies.
With your essentials covered, it’s time to indulge in all those fun extras like exercise rooms, home offices/ libraries and game rooms. Bring your ideas to the table and ask your designer if they’ll work within your budget. Many of your requests may be doable; especially if what you really want is the feeling of more space. Walls of windows, sky-high kitchen cabinets and a generally open design can give the perception of space in a smaller footprint. Of course, your designer 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 down the road.
4 Devise 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, and place them in relation to where you will want them to be located within your home. Then square off the bubbles to create the walls of your rough floor plan. Easy.
5 Show, Don’t Tell.
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’s design.
6 Expect Adjustments.
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 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 it 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 you also need to consider the vertical space (volume) of each room, not to mention its elevations (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 prof ile or a handcrafted finish, these decisions will affect the look of your home. Consider all your log options in tandem with your f loor plan design choices.
10 Make Sure to Make it Yours.
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.