Your Vacation Log Home: Suitable for Many Lifestyles

by : Frank James

If you have a fondness for wood, perhaps a log home is the right choice for your vacation home. They make for some of the most luxurious homes in the world...unique, renowned for their architectural integrity, and exhibiting some of the finest craftsmanship.

But how to decide what to incorporate into your dream home can be a challenge. There are so many possibilities. And they all don't have to be wood, either. Accentuating the wood home with drywalls, iron work, stone, fireplaces all tend to enhance the beauty of the wood. Think about different materials.

For example, kitchen cabinetry can use stainless with aluminum which will provide a sleek look for your kitchen. Glass doors on the cabinets add rich dimensional space. Your personal tastes might also extend to porcelain and ceramic which add a range of beautiful colors. Earth tones work particularly well in log structures, so don't rule those color tones out either.

But if its wood that you want to see everywhere, then there are so many species with so many different features that you can go wild with wood and more wood. Stain, paint, antiquing or varnish will add even more character and beauty to your choices.

Floor designs are unlimited. The architecture style readily lends itself to great rooms, loft areas, game rooms, family rooms, exercise rooms, studios, decks, and elaborate but cozy bedrooms and bathrooms. In each case, your individual lifestyle will call for certain design elements That special room might be a media center with big screen options, or a fully decked out gym. Your preferences will revolve around what it is you most like to do for recreation or hobby. It might be a yoga studio or a library complete with fireplace and carpeting to send your reading enjoyments to new highs.

But think through your design choices to be sure that the space you are going to use is sized right. If you think you are going to include a media room think through how many people will be using it at any one time. Adequate seating will need to be figured into the design. If you enjoy cooking and welcome participation from your family/guests you will want to make it spacious and interactive, so that people can socialize while preparing their favorite dishes. And gyms...if you put them in the basement, make sure you have plenty of head room, and possibly more if weight lifting is part of the plan.

Yet even with a multitude of design choices, your log home can be environmentally friendly and efficient. The logs themselves offer high insulation factors for warmth or cold, and a greater amount of the actual tree is used in construction, eliminating much of the wastage that comes with stick framing.

Spending more money up front, if your budget can afford it, will result in considerable savings in the long run. For instance, tankless water heaters save money, but initially they are a little more costly. And everything from roofing to the kitchen sink will offer savings, depending on the choices you make. A copper roof will probably cost you 10-15 times what an asphalt one would cost, but it will be there virtually forever, while the asphalt roof will have an average lifespan of 30 years. Flooring ranges from carpeting (generally the cheapest) to hardwood, which is as much as five times the cost of carpeting, and will last much longer if taken care of. And kitchens? They can get pretty pricey if you're making design choices and not paying attention to both costs for product as well as installation costs. But here again, the better products, though more expensive, will last longer.

Whatever your thoughts are on a log home, perhaps the best course to take would be to attend one (or more) of the many log home shows that are offered throughout the year. An on-line check for log home shows will provide you with plenty of show schedules (see insert for some suggestions).

Log home shows are a perfect place to get the answers to all your questions regarding your log home, from financing, land, costs, log profiles, choosing a company etc. Many offer free ongoing seminars on the hour geared toward helping you through the process. Attending a log home show is a small investment to put toward your dream home. A great opportunity to compare companies, meet with industry experts and purchase just the right piece of furniture or accessory for your log home.

Eric R. Johnson, President of Premier Event Productions, LLC that specializes in events for the building industry, believes that 'log homes (will) continue to increase in popularity as more and more people are looking to build them as their primary home...that (will be) where the growth in the industry will come from. (Log homes)... will maintain their (appeal) the leading choice for a vacation or second home.'

Johnson adds that 'current conditions are favorable as people continue to move forward with their plans to build high end homes, (and) second homes are keeping pace (with this growth), and in some markets...are growing. What we are seeing at our shows are very serious buyers looking to build within six months to two years. Keep in mind,' cautions Johnson, 'depending on where you are in the process, two years is very realistic when just starting with design, acquiring land, deciding on a log home manufacturer, financing etc.'

Johnson adds, that 'the term 'green' is the hip new buzz word regarding home building for just about anything; with log homes it's always been there but now is really coming to the surface. A log home is naturally made of wood, a renewable resource, with most companies using selective harvesting and literally using the entire tree. Wood is a natural insulator and when coupled with great design, site orientation, proper overhangs, solar heating, favorable grading practices, alternative power, window type and placement, efficient lighting and appliances, these are all collectively what gets you green.'

The internet is a great place to get information directly from log home companies as well as. Visit The Log Homes Council, a sub council of the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB). Their website is