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Lakefront Log Home Project: Log Home Diary Entry #2, Did We Put the Cart Before the Horse?

Model-home visits and log-home show trips played a major role in this couple's log-home journey. But did they decide on plans too soon?
by George and Marlyn Curnow

Did We Put the Cart Before the Horse?

Log Home Diary Entry # 2

Southwestern Virginia log home project | Open SpaceAll the sage advice from sales people and log-home magazines is to get your land first, then pick a plan. That didn’t quite work for us. We needed to convince ourselves over time that we really wanted a log retirement home. The image was perfect, but we needed to think this through. Perhaps, in reality, we needed time to challenge ourselves that this was right for us. We aren’t known for being impulsive or foolhardy, and we certainly didn’t want a major investment at the time of retirement to be an unwise endeavor. (In our first blog, we told you we’re conservative. We were married 44 years ago while George was a junior in college, so we learned to be frugal quickly.)

Over the next five years, stopping to look at model log homes just became a part of our travel routine. We must have looked at a half-dozen Southland Log Home models, then Kuhns Bros. Log Homes and Blue Ridge Log Homes, as we traveled the southeast. We ordered log-home magazines, and read articles, bent page corners and kept a box or two filled with ideas. George also pulled a government report off the Internet that focused on the insulation value comparison between log homes and conventional construction.

We started to visit the annual log-home shows to try to sort through the many choices and do the inevitable comparison shopping — there are so many suppliers of logs, log species and log homes. We listened to selected seminars at the shows on building your dream. Although there is a certain entertainment and education value to spending a winter day this way, we also noticed something else. There are wonderful people associated with log homes. To be sure, there are the vendors selling cookware and other ancillary vendors figuratively grabbing your shirttail to hawk their wares. But the log-home people are a delight.

As a group, they are knowledgeable, low pressure, genuinely pleasant and proud of their products. The confusing part is largely the choices — there are so many. Much depends on what you want from a log producer. Do you want logs only, logs packaged with some of the building materials, or a package with all building materials and plans? Also, will you do the actual building? Will you be the general contractor? Do you need a general contractor? These are just a few of the decisions to be made. Some are easy; others are not.

Now, back to the original question: Did we put the cart before the horse? It’s a little hard to acknowledge, the answer is yes! We narrowed things down to a few plans without selecting a log-home company or purchasing land. We had learned that virtually any home could be built with logs. We focused on our lifestyle, but we had no land. That came next.

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