Putting the Horse Before the Cart
Finding log home plans that suit your needs, is one of the most important steps that you will take, if you are building a log or timber frame home.
And, while it may look easy, once you actually start the process, you’ll find that there are a lot of things to consider and many decisions to make before building a log cabin or home…
So how do you go about choosing a lot for your new log home? You probably have a good idea of the location. What else do you need to consider?
You want to build a summer home on your favorite lake. You always wanted a rustic mountain cabin for skiing. You just want a little cabin for hunting and fishing.
Or you’re building your dream log cabin for your retirement home, and you want to be near your kids and grandkids.
Your Lot will Affect your Log Home Plans
So how do you narrow down the field? Which lot will best work for you?
You’ll need to wear clothing suitable for walking through the woods or unmowed fields, and shoes or boots that can get muddy and provide good support.
This is a time for dreaming. Walk the lot, and try to imagine where your house would go. Take this things into account:
Topography of the Lot
Is the lot flat (cheaper to build on), hilly or mountainous? Depending on where you will be building, clearing the lot for a house can be quite expensive. For example, this is true if you choose a lot with large boulders or rocks or a forested area with many trees that will have to be removed.
Also consider that you will need to clear the lot for a driveway. If you want to be tucked into the middle of a large lot for privacy, you’ll need to consider the cost of clearing the land for the drive, the ongoing costs of maintaining the driveway and the costs of having the drive snow plowed in the winter.
Is there a spot that is naturally flat or appears to be almost ready for your house? This may or may not be an ideal location.
Your house plan will be different, based on whether your house is built on a flat area or built into a hill or on a slope.
Your House Site Location
Where would you build your house? Do you want your house to be close to the road or located in a private spot, well off the road?
If your house is well off the road, winter snow plowing is more work if you’re in the North.
Long driveways are more expensive to install and maintain, and, if you must pay to have utilities brought to your house, distance can be a factor for them, as well.
If views of a lake, the mountains, or a beautiful valley with farms are important to you, how can you situate your new home to capture the best views?
When you look for a house plan, consider where you want windows with views. Which rooms will have the best views?
Consider log home plans that will give you the views that you love and want to have in your new log home.
Things that will Affect your Choice of Log Home Plans
When you have purchased your lot, you are ready to start looking at log home plans. While it’s fun to look at plans for all kinds of log and timber homes, you can quickly become overwhelmed.
Before you get started looking at log home plans, quiz yourself on what you want and need. Here are some questions and thoughts to help you:
It is important that you decide how much you can spend. Having a realistic idea of what your budget will be, will go a long way in helping you decide what kind of house you can afford, how large it can be and how fancy or glitzy you can make it.
How big do you want it to be? You may base this on how much you entertain, how many children you have, or simply how much house you want to maintain.
How Many Bedrooms and Baths
How many do you need (or want)? Will you need bedrooms for all your adult children, or can you improvise when you get extra company?
I’ve seen many people build a new home, thinking that their kids will visit often, only to find that their children are busy and only visit occasionally. Guest rooms in their big new home are empty most of the time.
It’s cheaper to pay for your guests’ stay at a local motel than to build a larger house!
Aging in Place
Even if this won’t be a retirement log home, you might want to consider making your new home handicap accessible.
Making doorways a little wider and all essential rooms on the first floor makes a lot of sense. Even a fun trip skiing can result in crutches or a wheel chair for awhile.
How Many Stories?
If you are building a timber frame home on a narrow lot that is a block from the ocean, you might want to consider building up a story or two, to capture the view of the ocean.
On the other hand, if you are building a log home on a large lake lot, you might prefer a long, wide plan, to capture the views from every room on the lake side.
What Kind of House?
To some extent, your log home plans or house plans will work better for one kind of home than another.
As an aside, some log home companies, like Crockett Log Homes, do employ architects who can modify log home plans to work for another kind of house.
What is the Purpose of your House?
That might seem obvious, but it really isn’t. Do you just want a small hunting cabin or fishing cabin for occasional use with the guys?
Are you looking for a summer home (or winter skiing lodge), where you will spend a whole season?
Or are you looking for a year-round home where you can raise your family?
Perhaps you planning to build your dream log home for your retirement?
How you answer this question may change the design of your log home plans!