The Log Blog by Appalachian Log Structures

NC Log Home Owners use Strategic Planning

Posted on Fri, Jan 3, 2014 @ 11:59 AM

Nantahala floor plan, log cabin home, log home

Good strategy, communication, vision and hard work eventually pay off for two homeowners who used all of the planning tools in their tool belt to build their dream log home.

It was not planned or executed overnight but over several years.  Cultivating the dream, envisioning the finished product and working towards a common goal all paid off in the end.  Now this beautiful log home is the Shaffer's dream log home come true.

A lot of their own blood, sweat and tears went in to their retirement home in Western North Carolina and it really shows.  For the protection of their investment, they chose to use logs pressure treated with borates to guarantee against wood digesting insects and decay.  In addition, they also liked the advantages that the spring loaded thru-bolt offered - keeping their log cabin home tight and energy efficient over the years.

Now that it's complete - they enjoy their time on the porch looking over the picturesque views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  Their home was featured in Country's Best Log home magazine and you can CLICK HERE to see more photos and read about their experiences.

When planning your dream log home, take your time, think it through and don't forget to work with a Log Home Consultant that has your best interest at heart.

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Tags: log home, log cabin home, log structures, custom log home

A Happy Log Home NEW YEAR!

Posted on Fri, Dec 27, 2013 @ 12:24 PM

log home, log cabin home, log home christmas, log structuresThis greeting comes with heartfelt thanks to all of you who took time from your life to call us, visit us, or write us an email about the dream of living in a log home of your own. Having experienced owning, building and living in a log home for over 20 years, I understand the overwhelming desire to live in a quiet, warm, and comforting environment that leads one back to a simpler time of living. Log homes provide this ambiance. Appalachian Log Structures looks forward to it's continued mission of providing not only the highest quality log home building material components, but also timely, educational and important information concerning the numerous choices to be made during the log home buying and building process. We hope our blog has helped you explore some of these important choices, and we have given practical and logical information to be used in making the best choice for you. We will continue to bring you the best information and suggestions concerning log homes, and look forward to hearing from you for input on topics for discussion.

As we say goodbye to 2013 and welcome the New Year of 2014 our wish for you and yours is a healthy and prosperous New Year, and that we may help you realize your dream of owning a log home in the near future.

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Tags: log cabin home, log structures, log lome

Modifying Pre-Designed Log Home Plans to Meet YOUR Needs

Posted on Fri, Dec 20, 2013 @ 12:39 PM

Fair Oaks, log home, log cabin home, pre-designed plan

modified fair oaks, custom log home, modified log home floor plan

 

 

 

 

 

 

Although Appalachian Log Structures offers over 60 pre-designed log home floor plans, the majority of our homeowners have chosen to either modify or fully customize a floor plan to suite their lifestyle.  In over 32 years of manufacturing log home packages we've rarely cut the same log house twice!

Take for instance the Fair Oaks floor plan above (left).  We modified the Fair Oaks floor plan (above right) to take advantage of a beautiful lake front view for homeowners in Tennessee.  We reversed the kitchen/dining area on the left hand side of the plan so the dining room could flow out on to a covered porch through beautiful sliding glass doors (with sliding screens).  This offers wonderful opportunities for entertaining family and friends with traffic flowing easily from the kitchen and dining room to the specatular views from the porch and deck beyond.

The first floor 1/2 bath and utility area was re-designed to make easier access to the kitchen from the front door and to add a nice pantry to the kitchen area.

Upstairs, the two doghouse dormers on the front of the original plan were moved to the back of the house in order for both of the upstairs bedroom to have views of the lake and mountains beyond.

To take advantage of the sloping lot, a drive under two-car garage was designed for the basement and included another full bath and large gathering area with access to another deck below the 1st floor deck.

The modifications were done keeping in mind where the views would be, how the traffic would flow through the home and to take advantage of the wonderful weather in Eastern Tennessee and access to the lake from the home itself.

When viewing our pre-designed log floor plans, keep in mind that these are just a "starting place" from which your ideas can flow.  Based on the building site, slope of land, the directional orientation, lifestyle, want/needs and especially your BUDGET, our experienced Log Home Sales Consultants are ready to help you modify or customize a floor plan to suite you.  Let us help make your dream log home become reality!

View the two log home magazine articles that featured this Modified Fair Oaks by clicking on the links below:

Mail Order Log Home and Coming Together in Tennessee

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Tags: log home, log cabin home, log structures, log home sales consultant

Is YOUR Log Home Manufacturer a Log Homes Council Member?

Posted on Thu, Dec 12, 2013 @ 12:10 PM

custom log home, log cabin home, log structuresBuilding your dream log home is likely one of the largest investments you will make in your lifetime. But you’re not the only stakeholder in this project. Your local building department requires the log cabin home be constructed to code. Your lender wants the log home to be valued correctly. The builder wants to earn more business through word-of-mouth, as does the log home manufacturer.

With so much riding on this decision, who do you trust? We suggest limiting your choices to members of the Log Homes Council like Appalachian Log Structures. Why? Because for decades now, new log homes buyers have trusted members of the Log Homes Council to make their dream home a reality. That’s because all council members must:

  • Abide by a strict code of ethics
  • Grade their logs and timbers by third party agencies to ensure quality
  • Provide construction manuals to ensure correct construction techniques
  • Sponsor scientific studies that advance log building technologies
  • Provide information to help consumers make smart choices

"This means when you buy from a Log Homes Council member, you are getting quality building materials that will stand the test of time," says the Chair of the Log Homes Council.

But those aren't the only advantages in choosing a company that belongs to the Log Homes Council. While member companies compete fairly for your dream home while adhering to the membership requirements, they are united in their passion for their work.

"When was the last time you bought anything from anyone who not only harvests the raw materials, but also designs and crafts the finished product?," asks Robinson. "You will find everyone from the sales rep to the owner of the company have something in common with you: They share the same passion for living in a log home as you do."

Learn More About the Council
The Log Homes Council is a national organization with membership comprised of manufacturers of log homes. The council is part of the National Association of Home Builders.  Appalachian Log Structures is proud to be one of the companies that first formed this organization and throughout the years have had two of our employees being Chair of the Council as well as serving on numerous advisory boards and committies.  We proud of our association with the Log Home Council and their efforts to promote and support our industry.

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Information above is taken in part from the Log Home Council's web page.

Tags: log home, log cabin home, dream log home, log structures

The Log Home: An American Dream!

Posted on Fri, Dec 6, 2013 @ 11:41 AM

Custom log home, log cabin home, cozy log cabinOver the centuries log homes have come a long way.  The resurgence in log home construction came in the mid-1970's and along with it several opportunities to improve on what our forefathers taught us about constructing homes with full logs.

Of course when log home construction started in this country, our virgin timbers were HUGE and contained a lot of heart wood.  Heartwood of all wood species is naturally resistant to insects and decay. Preservatives weren't so necessary then and what was used to help protect the wood was organic.

Now that we're on our 3rd or 4th harvesting of timbers there is a lot more sapwood exposed when the logs are milled or hewn.  Sapwood of ALL wood species (yes - even cypress and cedar) is susceptible to decay and insects so preservation is very important today.  It's the reason we started in 1977 to pressure treat our log wall building materials - something that no one had tried before - and we have never had a homeowner with insect or decay problems.  In addition, just like our forefathers we're using an organic preservative in our pressure treating process - borates.

In the infancy of the new log home building industry the Log Home Council (LHC) was formed and became a division of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).  Appalachian Log Structures was one of the companies that helped form and support the LHC and still does today.  Over the years several white papers have been produced by the LHC and one of them is featured here today.  Click Here for an overview of the Log Home Industry and be prepared to learn some interesting and useful facts that you can take with you and use in your own dream log home project.

Don't forget to contact your local Log Home Consultant when you have questions or are ready to turn your dream log home in to reality!

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

We're MORE Than a Producer of Log Homes!

Posted on Fri, Nov 22, 2013 @ 02:52 PM

custom log homeMost people think of Appalachian Log Structures as a producer of log cabin homes, but we're SO much more than that.

In the past few years there has been a resurgence of remodel, repair and restoration of existing homes and log homes.  In addition, there has been an increasing interest in hybrid homes which are those structures built using different building techniques like log walls with timber frame roof components or a conventional frame home with timber frame accents.

As a mill that produces wood items, we've been busy making these types of products (not necessarily log walls) for just such projects for years.

Recently we had a client interested in using some of our timber frame materials for his conventional framed house.  They liked the look of the heavy timbers for the 2nd floor framing as well as the exposed heavy timber rafters and tongue and groove in the roof and dormers of the home even though they were not building a log home.  In addition, they also like the heavy timber look for the exterior porches.  Our porch railings were used on the wrap around porches to finish off the project and tie all of the wood features, both inside and out, together.  It's a wonderful combination of both conventional framing and timber framing.  Visit our facebook page to view a photo album of this "hybrid home".

Along with some considerations of placing timber framing on a conventional frame structure, the builder also had to be in on the design to make sure that a good understanding on how certain construction techniques would be accomplished when marrying these two construction types together.  Good communication and understanding is key when building not only a hybrid home, but any type of construction project.

We've also milled custom log siding profiles for some clients who had a certain look they were going for.  In addition there are folks who have had log siding on their home for years and are now putting an addition on to their existing home.  They don't know where the original siding came from so they brought a piece to us and we custom cut their siding for them.

How about a custom log profile?  In 2012 some high winds in Virginia did some damage to a cedar log cabin home.  Not only was it a profile/shape that was unusual, but they needed it in Western Red Cedar species to match the rest of the house.  With the dimensions and a sketch of the existing log profile, we purchased the Western Red Cedar raw materials and custom milled the logs for their repair job.

So although not everyone may be looking for a log home, if you are looking for wood components in your new (or existing) home consider Appalachian Log Structures as a resource for your project.  We offer structural as well as decorative beams/rafters/timbers, exterior and interior log siding as well as log siding corners.  If you are looking for a smaller log to use for a storage shed, camping cabin, man room, hobby room or a back yard get-a-way we also produce a 3"x7" Sportsman log. Need some hardware to put your timber framing together? Give us a call - we may have what you need in stock.

If you need a finish for your exterior wood items we offer a line of water or oil based products in addition to additives that help repel carpenter bees and other insects as well as a mildewcide additive.

Trim lumber, board & batten and various other wood products are also offered and all it takes is a quick phone call to your Local Log Home Building Consultant or a visit to our website www.applog.com to find out more.  To help you get started, click here to view our Component Price list that will show you just a few of the items we do everyday!

Enter for a chance to win a $50 gift card by liking us on Facebook.  Drawing is in December - so do it today!

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

Halloween, Trick or Treat and Appalachian Log Structures

Posted on Thu, Oct 31, 2013 @ 02:00 PM

custom log cabin homeRemember the good old days - when you would put on your home made or store bought costume and walk the neighborhood with your friends trick-or-treating from door to door?  We used to use paper bags from the grocery store or pillow cases to hold all the goodies that were being handed out.

Some houses would have candy, some fruit (candied apples), some had home made treats like popcorn balls or cupcakes.  At some houses people put the treats in your bag but the ones we liked the MOST were the houses where you could pick and choose what you could take with you.

At Appalachian Log Structures we've taken a similar "pick what you want" approach with our pricing of log home building materials as well as our promotions that save you thousands of dollars.

Not only do we offer a choice of pre-cut or random length building materials but you can also choose what items you want to purchase.  Although we have 3 levels of packages (Log Wall, Log and Beam and PLUS) you can customize your own package and choose what materials you want.  If you want a pre-cut log wall with random length beams and rafters - it is not a problem.  If you want a PLUS package but want to remove the loft decking - it can be done!  You have the opportunity to take the materials you want for your project and your budget.  We make it as easy as possible for you.

In our current promotion you have the same opportunity to make some choices to save on your materials depending on when you are ready to start your dream log home.  By placing an order early on you will earn the most savings.  By taking delivery early in 2014 you can receive a nice freight allowance as well.

At Appalachian Log Structures it's all about choices and what we have to offer that will fit your price point.  Whether it is a full log and timber frame log home, a log wall with truss or conventional built roof, log siding and log siding corners for your conventional built home or modular/mobile home, decorative timbers for a hybrid home or log railing to finish out a re-model project - we offer it all.  Don't see a manufactured wood item on our list that you may be interested in?  Contact you Local Log Home Building Consultant and ask if we can custom mill something for you (custom log profiles, custom log siding profiles, hand peeled posts, etc.).  We've done PLENTY of that, so don't be shy about asking.

Oh - and by the way - HAPPY HALLOWEEN!  Hope you get everything you want in your trick-or-treat bag this year!

Be sure to "like" us on Facebook and enter a chance to win a $50 gift card in December!

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

The World Through the Windows of My Log Home

Posted on Fri, Oct 25, 2013 @ 02:08 PM

custom log cabin home

The weather is now cooler and I can work in my home office with the windows open and take advantage of the nice breezes and lower humidity.  I over look a small part of the back lawn and on in to the back 10 acres or so of woods.  Recently a clutch of turkey have been making their morning and evening tour of the back yard foraging for food as have the doe and her four fawns.  Just this morning as I was making some phone calls someone commented that they could hear the crows calling in the background.  I'm very blessed to have this to listen to and watch rather than the noise of the city or suburbs.  My wife is known to comment on our drive way as the "entrance to a beautiful State Park".

Soon enough the windows will need to be closed in order to retain the heat inside the office as the winter months approach.  Although it's nice to have windows to look through, I really like the fresh air.  A lot of folks building log cabin homes will design with lots of windows in order to "bring the out-of-doors, inside".  I know exactly what they mean!

Windows not only allow us to see what is going on outside, they also protect us and our belonging from weather and the sun outside.  When considering what type of windows you will use in your custom log home be sure to think not only how you will use them, but where you want to place them.

Most every window manufacturer has a broad range of offerings not only in the quality of the window but also in the operation of the window sashes.  For instance, one of the most popular windows is a double-hung window where BOTH the sashes are operable up/down.  Also popular are the casement windows that crank open and close and the sliding windows where the sashes slide back/forth.  The awning windows also crank open/close but are hinged at the top of the window where the sash will swing open from the bottom of the sash.

In addition to the types of windows offered, the quality that is available also needs to be considered.  Most log home manufacturers will offer just the basic window, usually a wood window unless you ask for a better window or are offered an "up-grade"  If you don't mind painting/staining wood windows frequently this type windows is suitable for you.  However, if you want to lower the amount of time and money you'll spend maintaining a wood window you probably should consider investing in a clad window.  At Appalachian Log Structures our Premier and Pioneer packages come with a Premium window that is all wood constructed but the exterior is clad with aluminum. 

The type of glass that is included with windows is also important.  If you've ever had your carpet or an area rug fade along with your curtains it probably because you have just plain glass in your windows.  The use of Low-E glass is more popular today than in years past.  This Low-E glass virtually eliminates the harsh UV sun rays and protects from fading.  The better window manufacturers also offer optional glazing to further reduce UV for those homes built in the south and are interested in reducing the heat transferred into the home through windows.  For more northern climates, triple pane glass may be an option to consider as well - keeping the heat inside the home during those long cold winters.

If you are planning to live in a high wind area (coastal areas where hurricanes need to be considered or mountain tops) you should consider a high DP-Rated window.  In most cases if you are building in an area like this the local building codes will require a higher DP-rated window anyway.  These windows are built to withstand the higher wind loads against the glass and sash that will occur in the area you are building.

One last item to put on your window check list - how easy are they to clean?  If you want to look through the windows, they'll need to be cleaned occasionally.  Do the double-hung windows offer the "tilt-sash" action where the windows are easily tilted in to allow easy cleaning of the exterior glass?  Nobody really wants to climb a ladder to clean windows anymore.  In some cases you can ask for a special glazing to the exterior glass where rain water or water from your garden hose will wash these special windows clean.  Its new technology but one that I would be happy to try out - especially on my fixed glass in the hard to reach gable ends!

As you can see there are lots of things to consider when choosing a window for your dream log home.  Be sure to take the time to do some research and decide for yourself what is going to be best for you.

When you are ready to start designing your log home be sure to visit or give your Local Log Home Building Consultant a call.  We're happy to share our insights and those of our more than 5000+ satisfied homeowners.

Click here for more photos of windows.

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

October Log Home Maintenance Checklist!

Posted on Fri, Oct 18, 2013 @ 10:18 AM

log cabin homeOctober is the first full month of fall; by the end of this month, most of your winterization should be completed. Falling leaves and dwindling daylight signal a final opportunity to do some outdoor organizing before winter settles in.

Reinforce windows
Replace your screens with storm windows. If your screens are dirty or damaged, repair and clean before storing them to prevent further deterioration. Light scrubbing followed by a blast from a hose will eliminate bird droppings and other grime. Small tears can be sewn up with thin wire. If you have older single-pane windows and no storm coverings, apply heat-shrink plastic to the inner or outer window frame to create an insulating air space and save heating expense.

Fire fluency
Make sure your damper is in good working order by opening and shutting it prior to lighting the first fire of the season. If you didn't clean your chimney at the end of the heating season, do it now — especially if you burn soft woods, which release more creosote. Often the first indication that a chimney needs cleaning is a chimney fire, so preventive maintenance is important.  The fireplace/wood stove in your log cabin home is now ready to enjoy on those soon to be cold nights!

Detect deadly gas
If you heat your home with wood heat or a gas heater, a carbon-monoxide detector is a must. These devices look and sound like smoke detectors, but they detect carbon-monoxide gas instead. Units that plug into an outlet are also available.  Protect your loved ones as well as your dream log home investment!

Check batteries in smoke detectors
Daylight saving time ends Nov. 3. Get into the habit of checking smoke-detector batteries when you "fall back" and "spring ahead." Also make sure household fire extinguishers are fully pressurized and in good working order.

Close seasonal air conditioners
If you live in a place where air conditioners are used seasonally instead of year-round, this is a good month to close them down. Switch off power, make sure the condensate drain is clear, and clean condenser coils and filters (a vacuum will do). Either remove window units or cover them, to protect your home from drafts and the units from inclement weather.

Bleed air from radiators
Radiators can get air pockets in them when not in use. If air pockets stay, they will keep the unit from heating up to its full capacity. If your unit doesn't have automatic air valves, you need to bleed it prior to every heating season. To bleed air out, turn on the furnace and circulator and open the supply valve to the radiator. Find the bleeder valve (it's usually opposite the supply valve) and open it while holding a pan to it. Air should be released, followed by hot water (thus the pan). Close the valve as the water comes out. Lightly feel the radiator to make sure it is heated along its entire surface; if there are gaps, repeat the procedure.

Cut brush back from the house
Before stowing all of your gardening equipment for the winter, walk around your house with a weed whacker and a pair of pruners and cut back any brush, weeds or branches that contact your house. This task will eliminate a common access point for insects, rodents and rot. It will also keep branches and shrubs from scraping away at your siding during windstorms.

Watch those leaves
If you don't want the tannin in fall leaves to leave hard-to-clean imprints on your deck and concrete walkways, keep those surfaces leaf-free. If you do get some leaf prints, try a solution of half water and half bleach (test it first in an unobtrusive spot — it may lighten the wood on your deck) or trisodium phosphate (commonly known as TSP) and warm water. Or, just leave the prints and consider them an artistic addition to your exterior look.

Store outdoor furniture
Scrub and store outdoor furniture; even furniture designed to stay out year-round will last longer if protected from extreme cold and wet. Store or cover your barbecue unless you cook with it all year. Empty and store large planters — clay or terra-cotta units will crack if left out to freeze and thaw. Clean and store your gardening tools, but don't put them completely out of reach — shovels are useful year-round.

Winterize external plumbing systems
This is the most important job of fall if you live in an area that freezes in the winter. The simple fact that water expands upon freezing has caused countless homeowners innumerable woes. Ignore this job and flooding, water damage and thousands of dollars worth of plumbing bills will be your constant winter companions.

Here's your to-do list:

  • Drain underground sprinkler systems

  • Have outdoor pools drained and professionally serviced. 

  • Drain exterior water pipes and any pipes that run through unheated areas (such as a garage, crawl space or unheated porch). If draining these pipes isn't possible, wrap them with foam insulation or heat tape.

  • Cover exposed spigots with foam covers. Or, if cosmetics and ease of removal don't matter, wrap spigots in layers of newspaper, cover the newspaper with a plastic bag, and seal the whole affair with duct tape.

  • Drain and store garden hoses. Leave one hose and nozzle somewhere that's easily accessible; you'll need it for gutter cleaning and car washing.

Preparing now will save you time and money next spring when the thaw comes.  Take care of your log home and it will take good care of you!

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Parts of the article above was reproduced from a posting by By Anne Erickson of MSN Real Estate

Tags: log home, log cabin home

A Fireside Chat about Fireplaces in Log Homes

Posted on Thu, Sep 26, 2013 @ 01:43 AM

custom log homeWhen speaking with folks about their dream log cabin home the 3 features of the home that they are most excited to talk
about are:

  • Master Bedroom/Bath
  • Porches
  • Fireplace

We had fireplaces in the homes I grew up in. Dad always put in the
iron swing bar so we could cook over the hot coals from the fires he
would build. I have wonderful memories of coming home on a Sunday
afternoon after Church to a big iron pot of White
beans with ham hocks that had been cooking all morning and afternoon in
the fireplace. The smell of the fresh baked cornbread coming out of the
oven to have with it makes me drool even today!

When Dad and Mom built their last log home they installed a vented,
gas stove.  As we age it becomes harder and harder to swing an ax and
haul wood.  Dad always said that wood will heat 3 times – once when you
cut it, once when you haul it and once when you burn it!  Over the years
I’ve come to understand what he meant and if you have a wood burning
fireplace I’m sure you do too.

The other issue with a true, open hearth fireplace, is that the heat
you’ve paid so dearly for to heat your home with is being used to fuel
the flames of the fire and then it’s going right up the chimney. 
Although open hearth fire places are the most beautiful, they are also
the most heat in-efficient.

Now days there are several energy efficient fireplace options to
choose from – vented and non-vented fireplaces and gas stoves, wood
pellet stoves, zero clearance fireplaces, inserts and wood burning
stoves.  Each option has its own appeal for different reasons and you
should chose and carefully research each option when deciding what to put in
your dream log home.

As we started to design our custom log home in 1992 we considered all
of the fireplace options and decided upon a wood stove.  We live out in
the country with only electricity to power our home.  In case of power
outages we needed a source of heat in the winter as well as something to
cook on.  Fortunately, the longest we’ve been without power (so far) is
4 days in a bad ice/snow storm.  When we know an ice or snow storm is
coming, we usually cook some food in advance and use the wood stove to
re-heat or to cook chili, fry eggs/bacon, etc. to keep ourselves going. 
So it’s a multi-purpose unit that is nice to look at and such a comfort
on a cold winter night to set by and watch the flames and listen to the
crackle of the wood as it burns.

We positioned the wood stove in the center of the house so even with
the power out the house never gets below 68 degrees.  During
construction, I also consulted with the HVAC contractor and we put a
cold air return up in the gable end where the stove pipe exits the
roof.  This allows all of the heat up in the cathedral ceiling as well
as the heat being generated from the stove pipe to be circulated when
then heat pump is on.  By leaving the upstairs bedroom door open just a
bit the upstairs HVAC  unit rarely comes on as the heat from the stove
naturally rises.

The type of wood stove we chose also offered a catalytic converter
that will burn the smoke coming off of the wood so that what goes up to
stove pipe is 98% clean.  In essence we have a heat source that burns a
natural renewing resource, it burns very clean and hot, can be used to
cook on, was made in the USA and provides a source of exercise (have you
ever chopped wood?) that is much needed in the Winter time!  Does it
get any greener/better than that?

When you are ready to start planning you log home and deciding where
to put your fireplace, wood stove or other heating feature be sure to
contact your local Log Home Building Consultant.  We’re here to help  “light the fire under you” to get you started on your Dream Log Home!

Click Here to view more photos of log home fireplaces!

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