The Log Blog by Appalachian Log Structures

Investing in a Log Home - Quality, Service, Value or Price?

Posted on Fri, Sep 12, 2014 @ 12:06 PM


custom log home

Over the past 20 years I've been blessed to assist hundreds of people in realizing their dream of living in a log cabin home. Every day our team of 40+ Log Home Building Consultants are sought out for their expertise and insight in to the process of building a log home or purchasing wood products from our mill. With all of these Consultants and all of their time spent in the Log Home Industry we have well over 300+ years experience people can tap in to when they want to invest in a log home they will be happy with.

In today's society, with the Wal-Mart's, Targets, Dollar Stores and the like, folks are always looking for what they perceive to be a "deal". With offers of 35% or 50% off pricing a lot of people think they are getting a deal, when actually they are paying retail. If you've ever shopped for jewelry or furniture, you know the mark up from retail is HUGE as no one could make money off of product that is consistently marked down 50% to 70% - I don't care how much "volume" they push. However these large box stores have made a habit of grabbing peoples attention with advertising low prices and today's society expects it. If I had a nickel for every time I get asked "what is the CHEAPEST price you have...?" I would be retired by now. I don't know about you, but when I built my log home I was not looking for cheap....I've never heard of anyone bragging about living in a cheap home.

If you ever noticed, most companies that really push low/cheap prices typically don't use words like quality, service or value and there's a good reason why - to keep the prices so low something has to be sacrificed.

Everyone knows that quality does not come cheap. In order to keep standards high only the best quality raw materials can be used. How those materials are handled throughout the manufacturing process is also important. In addition, if your product is proudly made in the USA with quality, local materials (not the cheap stuff from other countries) and highly trained, local labor you will get a product that begins and ends with quality. It won't be cheap, but it will be made to last.

A BIG part of the quality aspect is the service that goes along with it. Without good customer service from beginning to end quality will be affected. Today's customers expect GREAT customer service, but when a cheap product is purchased and they don't get great service, why are they surprised or disappointed? As my Grandfather used to say - "you get what you pay for" and it still rings true today.

Now a word that a lot of people use wisely is value. A product that is good (not the best), offers decent (not top notch) service at a low (not cheap) price has good value. Of course all 4 of these words will not only have different meaning to each individual, but everyone will have a different set of criteria using these words when choosing products. We're not all the same, don't all think the same nor all want the same thing. If you ever wonder why there are so many choices when making any type of purchase, whether its cars, mowers, or pickles, it's because of this very reason - everyone wants something different. A certain style of car, a

log home building consultant

specific width of mower deck or a pickle that is sliced cross-wise or length-wise, the choices are numerous.

When deciding on what you want in a log home and before you ask about pricing, consider listing these words, in order of importance to YOU...Price, Value, Service, Quality. Once you've established the order it will be a lot easier moving forward and making decisions. You'll also understand a bit more about yourself and your buying habits so when the time comes to make decisions you won't waver on your choice.

Recently I was eating at a local restaurant and I happened to notice what was written on the back of the servers t-shirts. It's obvious that I'm not the first person to discuss this very topic and it does give one pause to think....and think HARD....about it's meaning.  Look closely at the photo below...I think you'll understand that both of the photos are expressing the same thing.

cheaper photo

 

At Appalachian Log Structures we work hard every day to offer QUALITY log home building products that come with excellent customer SERVICE all at a VALUE that is fairly PRICED.

When you're ready to discuss your wants/needs in your dream log home, give one of our Log Home Building Consultants a call. We're ready to listen and to help you move forward with your project.

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Tags: log home, log cabin home, dream log home, log home building consultant

How Log Homes Meet GREEN Building Guidelines

Posted on Fri, Aug 29, 2014 @ 01:36 PM

custom log homeHere is an article from the Log Homes Council website that reviews the GREEN advantages of log home living. Although I've been in my log home for 20+ years and have been telling folks about these advantages, it's GREAT to see the Log Homes Council put these in a concise list that pretty much covers it all!

"Whether the goal is to save money, fuel, the planet or all of the above, American homeowners are increasingly going green. And while the average household spends $1,900 a year on energy, log home owners typically report that they spend far less than their neighbors on heating, air conditioning, hot water and lighting.

Energy efficiency is among several ways modern log homes qualify as “Green”-- an approach to building that started in 1993 with the belief that we can all pitch in to make the places where we live, work and play more environmentally friendly. The hallmark of “green” is to use less energy, renewable resources, limit C02 or “greenhouse gas” emissions and create indoor environments free of mold, formaldehyde, carcinogens, and other allergens.

The most obvious factor that makes engineered log homes “green” is their building material -- solid timbers grown from trees -- a renewable resource. During the milling process, manufacturers utilize all portions of the log, from bark and other sources for mulch, scrap from cut-offs for raw material used in carvings and other home products, sawdust used by farmers as bedding material, etc. The homes are sold as kits or “packages” with the bulk of the building materials delivered at one time. These packages consolidate delivery and generally travel shorter distances conserving fuel, says the Log Homes Council, which represents nearly 60 of North America’s leading manufacturers and promulgates industry and product standards. And, logs require less energy and man-made materials than stick-built construction. With the completion of a log home, you have walls that serve both the structural and insulative needs of a home, as opposed to using many products from siding, house wrap, plywood, dimensional lumber, insulation, drywall, and paints in traditional homes.

Heating and Air Conditioning
The massiveness of the logs plays a vital role in conserving energy. According to studies by the University of Maine at Orono, the logs absorb heat energy during the day and radiate it at night to even out the temperature, which makes the occupants feel more comfortable while using less energy.

In addition to the benefits of solid timber construction, Log Homes Council member companies engineer their log wall joinery and roof systems to eliminate air infiltration and moisture, conserve energy and increase comfort. This engineered approach continues with every product included in a log home package such as brand-name, double-paned windows and patio doors with low-e glass, proper venting and subflooring structures.

Engineered for Energy Conservation and Safety
Companies that belong to the Log Homes Council are up on latest developments in building technology and safety and maintain relationships with suppliers of roofing materials, heating systems, windows and other components. Council members constantly test and evaluate newer components to make sure they contribute to energy efficient, safe and trouble-free homes. Even the interior and exterior stains and finishes are evaluated for their suitability as solid timber coatings and to make sure they meet low Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) clean air standards, in their quest for the ultimate green home.

The Builder
While a green philosophy begins with the log home manufacturer at the design stage, it has to continue with the builder who erects the home. The Log Homes Council’s parent organization, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), has been getting local builders on board by providing them with the knowledge they need to build green. As part of its effort, NAHB has partnered with the International Code Council to develop a consensus committee based Green Building Standard that provides a practical, nationally recognized baseline for resource-efficient, cost-effective home building.

The NAHB Green Building Standard and Certification Program addresses seven key green construction areas including site, resource efficiency, energy efficiency, water efficiency, indoor environmental quality, homeowner education, and global impact. Direct ways log home owners can reduce their footprint include less impact on natural features and vegetation during building site preparation, choosing environmentally friendly components for subflooring, trusses and other conventional materials that go into a log home, choosing energy-efficient appliances, conserving water with low-flow plumbing fixtures and taking steps to increase occupant comfort and indoor environmental quality.

Homeowners
Log homeowners play a big part in going green too. These individuals embrace nature and consider their homes permanent dream homes where they are willing to invest in energy efficiency upfront to reap savings over the years. Their design preferences lean toward open flooorplans that allow for the flow of warmth throughout the home – in many cases, a wood-burning stove is the principal heat source.
From the manufacturer, to the builder to the homeowner, log homes are doing their part for a greener planet. Thankfully, log home construction is and always has been green. With new technologies and products available, log home owners can go the extra step to make their homes even greener."

When you are ready to start your dream log home and realize all of the benefits of eco-friendly living, give one of our Local Log Home Building Consultants a call to set an appointment.

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Tags: log home, log homes, log cabin home, dream log home, log home building consultants

Saving Money on Your Log Home with the ClearTreat Process!

Posted on Fri, Aug 22, 2014 @ 03:05 PM

How much does a borate pressure treated loPressure treating cylinderg home really save you? To answer that question you have to think of the LONG TERM investment you are making. Initially, these ClearTreat-Borate pressure treated log home materials are "priced" about the same as kiln dried, green, laminated, modular or panelized log home products, however the "cost" is far lower in the long term. How so?

Consider the growth in the log home restoration/repair industry. At each of the log home shows and in the log home magazines you will find more and more businesses offering this type of service, and for a good reason - homes built with non pressure treated wood products are needing replaced or repaired!

There are log home manufacturers that will tell you that dip-treating with borates or applying borates with a sprayer or brush is "just as good" as pressure treating. Others supply you with a type of "penetrating" borate solution that "supposedly" will be "just as good" as pressure treating however what they don't offer is a GUARANTEE that you won't have problems with wood digesting insects or rot/decay. The reason - none of these applications will penetrate the wood adequately nor will it deliver the amount of or retain the amount of borates in the wood that pressure treating offers. Now compare that to the 25 Year Warranty on the pressure treated borate log wall product that Appalachian Log Structures offer! With over 25 years of history, ALSI has never had a log wall warranty claim! What a testament to the quality of our log wall components.

Don't be mis-led by those who talk about "chemically" treated logs. Sodium Borates are an organic product that are mined from the earth. They are commonally used in everyday products like denture cream, make-up, laundry detergent (20-Mule Team Borax) and the like. CLICK HERE for an informative article on borates and the advantages of using them. Not only are the borates safe and EPA approved but also a very GREEN (environmentally friendly) product!

Now - how does all of this SAVE you money? With a borate pressure treated log home you don't have to worry about having logs or log siding (or other pressure treated wood products) replaced due to rot/decay or wood digesting insect attack. If you want a dollar amount placed on the 25 Year Warranty we offer - just ask the businesses that do the restoration/repair work what the average amount a homeowner spends when this type of work is required (replacing decayed logs, ridding a structure of powder post beetles, etc). You'll quickly find that by investing in an Appalachian Log Structures home, you'll not only have a nice home with quality log home building products, but you'll never have to find out, or pay for, these expensive repair services.

The next time you see or speak with a company offering log home restoration, ask what their services cost, ask about the manufacturers of the log homes they have made repairs on due to rot/decay or wood digesting insects, and ask their opinion of a Borate pressure treated log home. Besides the comment that they'll never have to repair one - you'll also be pleasantly surprised at the other positive responses they offer.

Call or visit your Local Log Home Sales Consultant to learn more about our money saving ideas on your log home investment.

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Tags: log home, log homes, log cabin home, dream log home, log home building consultants

A Company's Legacy of Log Homes

Posted on Thu, Aug 14, 2014 @ 12:27 PM

custom log homeLooking back 22 years ago, my wife and I were putting the finishing touches on our log home and preparing to move in. Over the previous 18 months, we planned, sketched, met with banks, met with builders, scheduled the work to be done and prepared for our journey in to the building process. We started construction in March of 1992 and by mid-September were moved in. Building a log cabin home in South Carolina during the summer months is NOT the best of planning but we successfully pulled it off.

Along the way we learned quite a few things about building a log home and the construction business in general. Over the past 22 years I’ve been willing to share these experiences and assist several hundred homeowners to successfully move in to their dream log homes.

There are several employees, including myself, at Appalachian Log Structures Inc. that live in log homes and have done so for quite a few years – over 200 years combined in total. My father, the founder of Appalachian Log Structures, who passed away in 2010, lived in two log homes (my mother still does), the President of Appalachian personally built both of his log homes (lots of sweat equity there!), our VP of Marketing has built and lived in two log homes, our VP Sales lives in #13, the 13th log home to roll off our line over 34 years ago (see photo above). The Manager of both our production facilities in Princeton, WV built his home in 1992 as did my oldest sister and her husband who since has moved in to my Grandmothers log home and remodeled it. Over the years we’ve had other employees and family members build log homes and they are still living in them today.

In addition to employees, most all of our Independent Representatives either live in or work from a log model home (or sometimes both!). Several of these Independent Representatives are also experienced builders who have become expert log home builders.

So you see, when you contact someone at Appalachian Log Structures you have the opportunity to speak with someone that has first hand experience of building and maintaining a log home – experience that is valuable to someone just starting the process. In addition, all of us are willing to share our knowledge and experiences so that you too can have the opportunity to live the log home life like so many us have been blessed to do.

When you are ready to start your log cabin home, we’re here and waiting to assist you. We’re only a phone call or a short drive away so come on by for a visit and let’s get you started on your dream log cabin home. Contact your Local Log Home Building Consultant today!

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Tags: log home, log cabin home, dream log home, log home building consultant, dream log cabin home

Log Home Living - Safe in ANY Storm!

Posted on Fri, Aug 8, 2014 @ 12:47 PM

log home bedroomPeople often ask me what the advantages are of living in a log cabin home. Because I lived in Florida and now live in South Carolina, I tell them that for safety sake, as well as other personal reasons, my custom log home will weather most any storm and survive where frame homes and brick homes will not.

In September 1989, Hurricane Hugo made landfall on South Carolina beaches in the early morning. What followed was a devastating event that destroyed not only homes but roads, power lines and other necessities in every day living. In 1992 South Florida experienced Hurricane Andrew which blew ashore with the same type of destructive force causing even more heartache for those in and around Homestead, Florida.

We moved from Florida to South Carolina in 1991, but had friends and relatives in the South Florida area when Andrew came through. We also had relatives in Florence, SC when Hugo blew threw so we knew what type of life altering events these natural disasters can have on houses and everyday life.

It never occurred to me the strength of a log home until reading a few articles over the span of about 3 years as well as a comment made by the person who constructed my home.

In 1990, a log home magazine featured an aerial photo of a log home in South Florida shortly after Andrew. You could see that the structure lost some shingles, but the home was intact as well as all the windows and doors. What really caught my eye were the concrete pads on either side of the log home where frame homes used to be! Those homes were wiped completely off of their concrete slab foundations and blown away.

In the mid 1980's, Appalachian Log Structures featured an article and photos (before and after shots) of one of our homes in South Charleston, WV. A freak tornado touched down and brought a 52" diameter oak tree across this home. The solid log wall construction along with the strength of the heavy timber roof framing and 2" thick tongue and groove, split the tree in two. Of course some of the shingles were damaged along with some of the OSB and solid insulation. In addition the heavy timber ridge beam was cracked and needed replacing, but otherwise the house withstood the impact. Their insurance agent, after inspecting and photographing the damages stated that if it had been a frame home, it would have been destroyed - a complete loss!

In 1992 while our custom log cabin home was under construction, the builder took me aside one day and said that over the past three years he had been repairing a lot of homes from the damages that Hugo left behind. Damaged roofs, porches and the like were all effects of the up-lift from the high winds. As he was putting our heavy timber roof together he could not help but share with me that "if this house were here when Hugo came through, it would not have touched it"! He was very impressed with the strength and stability of the roof structure and was convinced it would take a lot more that a Category 4 Hurricane to take apart my log home.

Over the years I've read even more stories about log home surviving floods, when frame and brick homes were washed away. And because of the solid wood walls, the flooded homes were quicker to move back in to since the pink fluff/batten insulation did not have to be replaced (batten insulation looses about 1/2 of the R-value when exposed to moisture) and there were no worries about mold/mildew because of the lack of batten insulation and dry wall.

Another story out of California where a wildfire jumped a team of firefighters who found themselves caught between two burning fronts. Fortunately, there was a log home with a metal roof close by which they escaped to. The photo shows this log home to be the only survivor in the subdivision and saved all of the firefighters. Once again, the solid wood walls withstood the flames with some charring. As a thank you for saving their lives, the firefighters removed the char from the log walls and the house was like new again.

Not only are log homes beautiful, but they will keep you and your family safe from the storms and other events that Mother Nature may throw your way. When you are ready to build your beautiful, strong and protective log home for your family, contact one of our Log Home Building Consultants to help you get started.

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Tags: log home, log homes, log cabin home, dream log home, log home building consultants

Where in the World is Appalachian Log Structures?

Posted on Fri, Aug 1, 2014 @ 12:35 PM

log home in ChinaSince 1979 we've been manufacturing and pressure treating quality log homes and log home building products. Today, we're continuing the tradition and are proud to be one of the few log home manufacturers to be owned and operated by the same family that conceived our company so many years ago. During these years we've successfully delivered thousands of dream log homes. Although our main market is North America, we've had quite a few go beyond our borders and quite literally, half way around the world.

One of the first exports shipped was to a US citizen living in Japan. Due to the limited logging on this island nation they had to look elsewhere for the supply of timbers as well as a design and a building system that would be approved by the Japanese. West Virginia's economic development department in association with their counterparts in Japan brought together this homeowner and Appalachian Log Structures. We helped the homeowner design his dream log cabin home and engineered it to Japanese standards to withstand the frequent earthquakes that country is known for. Not only did they purchase the log home building materials from us, but they also loaded in to the container countless "western style" finish items (lighting fixtures, plumbing fixtures, cabinets, etc.) that were hard to come by over there. It was quite an interesting project and a good one to cut our teeth on.

We also fielded a call from Australia where a gentleman learned about our use of borates in the pressure treatment of our log home building materials. The ever present termite in western Australia had this homeowner look the world over to find a product that would withstand this insect and one that would protect his dream log home investment. After visiting our home office in Ripley, WV and our mill in Southern West Virginia he was satisfied that he found the right company and the right product to meet his needs. Needless to say, the person sent from Appalachian Log Structures to do the Technical start up on this job had quite a bit of Frequent Flyer miles built up upon his return!

Over several decades we've supplied Jamaica with more than 30 structures not only for residences but also for resorts and Inn's. Our first foray in to this market was also driven by clients looking for log home building materials that would withstand not only the humid/moist climate and termites that Jamaica has but also the pounding of hurricanes that frequent the island. This time we had several folks from Jamaica visit our facilities and took orders for not only several houses but also for a commercial structure. Recently we assisted a client with adding a 2nd story to his existing Inn near Negril which was followed by shipping three smaller rental cabins using our Sportsman log on the same property.

In 2006 we were contacted by a company in China inquiring about our log homes. After numerous emails and research they decided to send a representative to visit our facilities. We were glad to show him our National Headquarters in Ripley, WV as well as our mills in Princeton, WV. Once he saw the logs coming through the mill and could put his hands on the finished product, he was sold. All other product he had been using previously (coming from Russia or Norway) had not been as large or as finished. That it was also pressure treated with borates was icing on the cake! Quality product was what he had been searching for worldwide - only to discover it in West Virginia! The photo above is the first structure they built which was a "Refreshment Hut" on a golf course. I called it the "19th hole"!

Just as we like it here at home in the USA, sometimes folks in other countries just want to have someone listen to their dreams and show an interest in what they want to accomplish. The log home building materials we shipped to Mexico all started with an email stating that he liked on of our floor plans and thought it would look nice setting on his mountain top. Others thought he was crazy but he had a dream and we helped him achieve it. He loves his log home and it does look GREAT sitting on that mountain top.

Whether you live next door to us or half way around the world, we're interested in helping you with your dream log cabin home no matter how big, small or crazy in design. When you're ready to come and see what folks from all over the world have searched us out for, we're ready to show you what we've got. Be sure to contact your local Log Home Building Consultant and set an appointment to talk about your log home project.

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Tags: log home, log cabin home, dream log home, log home building consultant

Ordering your Log Home Package - Step #10 in Planning for Success

Posted on Thu, Jun 19, 2014 @ 01:41 PM

custom log homeNow that you've successfully completed the previous 9 steps in Planning a Successful Log Home Project you are ready to order your log home building materials. 

Remember to contact your helpful and knowledgeable Log Home Consultant so they can assist you with this process.  They are a great resource of information.  If you do not plan on financing any part of the project most log home manufacturers require a 10% deposit to complete your construction set of plans and to start planning for your order.  Usually a 40% deposit is needed to begin the manufacturing of your materials with the 50% balance due upon delivery.  If you are planning on taking a loan, most financial institutions that have previously worked with log homeowners will require the borrower to put down at least 10% with the log home manufacturer and the 90% balance due will be released from the lender on day of delivery.  This is all subject to the loan closing before any manufacturing occurs. 

From this point it will take an average of 6 to 8 weeks for the materials to be manufactured, packaged and ready to ship.  This gives you time to clear and grade the building site, dig and install the foundation and ready the sub floor.  On the day of delivery all that needs to be done is to put the log bundles on the sub floor and start the installation process.  You can look back over the recent past, re-trace the steps you took and be satisfied with all of the planning you did to make your dream log home become reality!

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Tags: log home, log cabin home, dream log home, log home manufacturer, log home package

Log Home Construction Costs - Step #7 in Planning for Success

Posted on Thu, May 29, 2014 @ 02:45 PM

custom log cabin homeNow that you’ve got your floor plans drawn by your log home manufacturer, you can start gathering more accurate construction costs.  Up until now any estimates or quotes you have received have been “any ones guess”.  Most quality contractors we hear from won’t provide any type of pricing until a set of log home floor plans has been produced and folks are ready to spend some time discussing their wants/needs and budget for their log home project.  Once a floor plan drawing is completed contractors now have something specific to associate bulding costs to.

For financing purposes, you will not only need a set of your log home floor plans to submit with the rest of your documents, but your construction estimates as well.  If you have chosen to have your home professionally built by a general contractor, they will provide to you the estimated construction costs. 

If you plan on being your own General Contractor or building the log cabin kit yourself, our Cost Estimating Worksheet will be of great assistance.  When I built my log home 22 years ago, we used this very form to gather our costs and budget our money accordingly.  Not only did we come in on time (we developed and executed a realistic construction time line) but we came in on budget as well thanks to this form.

Be sure to add in about 10% in cost overruns for unanticipated expenses, price increases, or in case you forgot to include an item you REALLY wanted in your new dream log home.  Don't forget to contact your local Log Home Consultant and use their experience as a great resource tool for your building project.

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Next up – Step #8 Choosing a General Contractor.

Tags: log home, log cabin home, dream log home, log home building consultant

Purchase Log Home Floor Plans - Step #6 in Planning for Success

Posted on Thu, May 22, 2014 @ 12:45 PM

custom log home floor plans

Assuming that you have progressed through the first 5 steps in the Successful Planning series you have now completed your research, set a realistic budget, know where you are going to build your log cabin home, sketched some log home floor plan ideas on paper and are within the building/move in timeline you have set for yourself, it's now time to have your preferred log home manufacturer start drawing your dream log home design.  Whether it is a floor plan that the log home manufacturer already has pre-designed, there are some slight modifications you want made to that plan or if you have your own custom log home design, gather your ideas, sketches and other information and get with your Log Home Consultant to get underway.

For folks wanting one of our pre-designed plans we offer a Study Set of plans that will help you gather building costs and/or provide to your lending institution for appraisal purposes.  For those wanting to modify a pre-designed plan or customize their own plan we have a Preliminary Plan option that provides the same type of information as the Study Set of plans include.  Contact your local Log Home Consultant for more information and pricing on the Preliminary Plan option.

Over the year's we have found that those homeowners who start working on their log home floor plans early are the most confident and well prepared when construction actually begins.  You should be very relaxed and not rushed through this step as it is your dream log cabin home.  Both your log home manufacturer and your Log Home Consultant are very interested in assisting you through this process.

Coming soon - Step #7 Obtaining Construction Estimate.

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Tags: log home, log cabin home, dream log home, log home consultant, log home building consultant, log cabin

Designing Your New Log Home - Step #4 in Planning for Success

Posted on Fri, May 2, 2014 @ 02:26 PM

Step #4 in the Successful Planning series is Designing Your Log Home.

custom designed log cabin homesWhat style of home are you dreaming of building, a single story ranch style for retirement (or just to give your knees a break) or a home with a 2nd story or loft? Does one of our pre-designed models fit your wants/needs perfectly or would you want to make some modifications to one? Have your own custom design with rooms sizes and locations exactly where you want them? Any of our Log Home Consultants can help you get started with any of these options. 

When designing your log cabin home, remember what furniture you have now and what you plan to take with you. Is there room enough for the 9 foot tall custom made wall unit you will bring to your new log home? How about Grandma’s dining room table that seats 12 for all the family dinners you have – will the new design accommodate this precious piece of furniture? What is in your attic or basement now and where will it go in the new house? What features in your existing home would you want to duplicate in your new design. What features do you NOT want to duplicate?

Consider your lifestyles too. For 2nd story models with the master bedroom on the main floor – do you want a bedroom above yours? All bedrooms on one side of the house or do you want separate sleeping areas with you on one side of the house and kids/guests on the other? Need a large kitchen since you cook a lot or just a galley kitchen since you plan on ordering take out frequently?

Get your ideas together and contact your local Log Home Consultant. We’re a great resource for your log home project.  Visit our Pinterest page where you'll view photos and gather even more ideas on decorating and design. 

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Next in the 10 step series is Step #5 – Developing a Timeline.

Tags: log home, log cabin home, dream log home, dream log cabin, log home consultant