Pros: Helpful advice on milled log homes.
Cons: Not all homes feature floor plans.
My obsession with log homes started in 1994, the year my younger brother Monte helped build a kit log home in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Gifting me with a Real Log Homes? calendar, I was entranced by the variety of lovely cabins, logs and mansions made of logs.
Interested in designing my own energy-efficient milled log home, I began reading 4 or 5 magazines geared toward the log home enthusiast, or loggie. The 5 major publications available are Log Home Living, Country's Best Log Homes, Muir's, (a Canadian publication), Log Home Design Ideas and Log Homes Illustrated. This also happens to the the order of preference I've found for the various magazines.
Geared exclusively toward the milled, (read: factory prepared and shaped), log home buyer, Country's Best Log Homes, (CBLH), is published 6 times a year. It features 5 regular issues and an especially-recommended Annual Buyer's Guide.
The Buyer's Guide has an expanded floor plan section, always one of my favorite sections of any log home magazine. The 2002 issue has over 60 floor plans, most with 2 or 3 bedrooms and 1 or 2 baths. There are single story, 1 1/2 story (the typical loft setup, with steep pitched roof), and 2 story home plans.
This issue is also jam-packed with the sort of Log Basics 101 that newbie log home enthusiasts must have to make the best buying decisions. Examples are articles on a variety of important topics such as:
Myths and truths about log homes
Construction guidelines, from site prep to turn-key
Log species: Which type is best
Log corners,(butt-and-pass, dovetail, Swedish cope)
Fourteen Questions to ask before committing to logs
Financing available for log homes, & Comparables
What to consider when designing your dream home
Regular issues feature 20-25 log home floor plans from a variety of highly respected companies such as Wilderness, Greatwood, Wisconsin, (my all-time favorite), Jim Barna, Ward, Northeastern, Satterwhite, Tennessee Log Homes, Rocky Mountain, Kuhn Brothers and more.
These same manufacturers and more are listed in the Reader Services directory of each bimonthly edition, as are current and upcoming model homes you may tour, available plan books and videos, to give you a "virtual tour" through selected models.
Helpful for the computer buff, are web site addresses for the vast majority of the manufacturers and CD ROM information that may be ordered. I especially like the state-by-state directory of log home dealers and builders, which at a glance, let's you know which companies are featured in your area.
Wonderful full color pictures accompany most of the articles, and there are an average of 5 or more profiles of log homes-from cabin to lodge-available to show you exactly how adventurous people, much like yourself, first got the log home itch, and carried this from planning to fruition.
Many, but not all of these featured homes include floor plans.
So whether it's a red cedar chalet near Lake Tahoe, an Appalachian white pine and dovetailed retirement home, a cypress stilt house in Key West or a vacation retreat in Wisconsin's Door County, Country's Best Log Homes has your milled log home needs covered.
Personal Log Home Dream Particulars:
I've designed a 1,500 square foot, 1 1/2 story milled log home, with help from magazines and plan books like the ones mentioned above. The cozy Swiss chalet style cabin is designed to accommodate our need for single story living, when no family or friends stop in for a visit.
There will be a downstairs master suite, an adjacent computer/media room, with master and half bath downstairs.
The first floor also boasts a convenient in-home laundry closet, eat-in country kitchen, (we have no need for a formal dining room, a space waster in our kicked-back lifestyle) and a family/living room with cathedral ceiling, pellet stove and log stairway leading to the guest loft.
The guest loft has another media nook, overlooking the gathering area below, a full bath, walk-in closets and separate bedroom, under a slanted roof. The pine green metal seamed roof will shed snow and make soothing music whenever it rains.
The log profile (style) I've decided on features rounded standing lodge pole pine, cut with saddle notch corners.
Available in increments of 6, 8, 10 or 12" heights, we'll save money with a modest 8" log.
Because of allergies and expense, we plan to forgo the typical forced air furnace and will use in-floor heating, which uses an oil-fired boiler to supply hot water for both heating and bathroom/kitchen needs. Full-sized dual fuel kitchen appliances are just the ticket for the two of us that love to cook and create wonderful memories.
Outdoor decks and covered porches will help protect the logs/reduce maintenance needs and expense, and add living area to our own special retreat among the fragrant pines.