Designing and building a log home is fun. Discovering that you’ve made a mistake during the process isn’t, as homeowners are then forced to live with the consequences or spend additional dollars to remedy the problem. The following represents some of the most common or egregious errors that can occur during the home planning phase.
- Planning around wants rather than needs. A lot of homeowners have big ideas about building the “perfect” home and make a point of incorporating all their desires into the log home plan. But then reality hits, and they have to start taking away luxury items and accessories in order to keep from going over budget.
- Falling in love with a particular house design before you own property. Some people fall in love with a home with a walk-out basement, but the lot they purchase is flat, or the house plan calls for a view to the back but the lot will only accommodate a view to the side or the front.
- Not putting in necessary hallways. Hallways create a transition from one zone to another, so use them to separate the master bedroom from the great room, for example, or a bathroom from the dining room.
- Putting in too many hallways. By contrast, too many hallways eat up precious square footage and give the home the feel of being too cut up and chaotic.
- Believing that all square footage costs are equal. Construction costs are sometimes tallied based on a generalized, average square foot cost, but if that price is higher than a homeowner’s budget, they’ll often try to save money by cutting the size of low-cost rooms, like bedrooms or closets. Typically, they’ll be unhappy with the result.
- Failing to consider the cubic volume of a house. Some homeowners will override the floor plan with a three-story high cathedral ceiling in a relatively small room that results in excessive cubic footage in proportion to square footage. The effect? An expensive design and architectural mistake that makes the home feel off-balance and out of kilter.
- Designing a house in a non-rectangular shape for no good reason. A lot of homeowners go for an “L” or “T” shaped house or a home with lots of corners, without realizing that what they’re doing with their walls, they’ll also be doing with their roof, which can be an expensive proposition.
- Overloading the home with accessories. If you’re going to put in accessories like fireplaces and even bathrooms, make sure you plan to use them. Based on square footage costs, they’re excessively expensive.
- Assuming that you’ll be young forever. Sunken great rooms, an underground garage and planning to have all bedrooms on the second floor may fit your thirty-something lifestyle, or perhaps they’re pragmatic cost-cutting options, but none of us is getting younger.
- Overdoing the wood look. “Much as we love wood, a log home with a wood floor and a wood ceiling with wood beams and wood cabinets and wood furniture is not a pleasant environment,” says Allen Halcomb, president of MossCreek. “Make sure you have at least some contrast.”
This article ran longer and with more detail in the Country’s Best Log Homes 2009 Annual Buyer’s Guide.