From their history to their beauty; their strength to their versatility, log homes are, in a word, awesome.
StoneMill Log Homes clients Connie and Brian Pierce think so, too. They love log homes so much, they’re in the process of building their second log home with the Tennessee-based producer.
“Log homes appeal to us the same as they did 25 years ago when we built our first one. We wanted a home that was unique, but one that was rich in the history of the Appalachian Mountains,” they say. “A log home is comfortable and relaxing. Maybe it’s the way that light shines on the log walls and ceilings or just sitting on the porch swing at the end of the day. Our new log home is now under construction, and we’re so excited. Watching those logs go up reminds us that this is not just a house. It’s a combination of yesterday and today, and it will be around for many tomorrows.”
There are a lot of reasons to follow in Connie and Brian’s footsteps. Here are our 35 faves:
1. Building small never looked so good.Unlike other types of housing that feel more and more cramped the further you downsize; log homes just get cozier. It’s as though the log walls give you a warm hug instead of squeezing you out.
2. They connect us to our past.“Being able to take a step back in time, to a simpler lifestyle with less distractions, is coveted by most,” states Chris Wood, vice president of Hearthstone Homes in Tennessee. A historical piece of property needs a legacy home that looks like it belongs, and nothing can achieve that connection to our American heritage better than log construction can.
3. Log homes are healthy.A log home’s all-natural components mean you won’t suffer off-gassing like you can have with manmade building materials. And when coupled with low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) stains and regular HVAC maintenance, you can create a healthier indoor environment for you and your family.
4. They are good for the environment.Seriously. Though you’ll hear some people erroneously argue that log homes destroy our forests, nothing is further from the truth. Many log home producers use standing dead timbers (trees that were killed while standing, either by insects or by fire), which, when felled, improves the health of the forest and reduces wildfire threat. Companies that use live trees practice reforestation, and, unlike planed 2-by-4s, the milling process for log homes reduces construction waste and minimizes the carbon footprint in the process. Plus, many log manufacturers recycle the waste they do create into mulch or even biofuel to heat their mills.
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5. Log home design is versatile.Whether your style is a cozy classic cabin or a modern mountain abode featuring contemporary architecture and a mix of materials, log construction can be anything you want it to be.
6. Open concept is standard.In an age where everyone wants an open-concept floor plan design, log homes have had them from the start. As you peruse log home providers’ plans, you’ll see that your choices are as plentiful as they are functional.
7. They can be extremely energy efficient.When properly built, a log home can meet or exceed today’s strict energy codes. R-value, combined with the thermal mass of a log wall, a tight sealant system and high-quality roof insulation, windows and doors will increase comfort while decreasing your energy consumption.
8. Log homes are a solid investment.“My mother bought our log home because she wanted a recreational property that the family could use together. She succeeded in that. I watched my parents grow old and my children grow up in our place,” says Paul Peebles who’s not only been a log home owner for more than 20 years, he’s also the western sales director for stain and sealant manufacturer, Perma-Chink Systems. “The happy coincidence is that the house has increased in value tenfold over the years. Recreational property — especially on a lake, stream or in the mountains (within reasonable driving distance from a city) — is usually a smart investment.”
9. They stand out from a crowd.Who wants to be the same as everyone else on the proverbial block? Log homes are unique and instantly recognizable.
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10. Log homes are organic.Once upon a time, spending extra money at a health food store or a farmer’s market for organic groceries was the exception rather than the rule. Now, as more people are conscious about what they put in their bodies, that philosophy has extended to where they live; and no type of home is as “all-natural” as a log home.
11. They’re built solid.A stick-framed house has hollow cavities between the 2-by-4s that need to be filled with some sort of artificial insulation; but a solid log wall is exactly that — solid. This method not only produces a structurally strong shell, it creates quiet and peaceful indoor living.
12. Living off the grid is easier than ever before.More often than not, log homes are located in rural areas, and though the bucolic setting is beautiful, obtaining public utilities can be challenging, if not downright impossible. The good news is that now there are more affordable and less obtrusive alternative-power sources. Everything from solar roof panels that blend into your shingles to solar-powered water pumping systems are available for those who want (or need) to be energy independent. Plus, according to Dan Mitchell, a log home builder and owner of Eagle CDI in Tennessee, “Construction technology has advanced greatly over the past 20-plus years. Plus, with new smart-home technologies, you can manage all of your home’s components from inside the house or even remotely with an app.”
13. Milled precision.The high-tech milling equipment used to prepare the tress for their new place in a log home are so precise, they fit together like an intricate puzzle, making a super-strong home along the way.
14. Log homes convey an appreciation of fine craftsmanship.Log home handcrafters are not only construction experts, they’re artists, too. “Home buyers familiar with the strength and craftsmanship of joinery and texture, as well as skillfully blending wood species, love the idea of living in a piece of art,” says Chris Wood.
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15. Log home producers give you that “personal” touch.As you go down your log home path, you’ll work closely with the manufacturer or handcrafter you choose, and not just the sales rep or the designer — in most cases you’ll have an opportunity to meet with the owner of the company and tour the facility where your home will be crafted. Just try to get that level of service from a tract-builder.
16. They stand up to severe weather.Log homes are no pushovers! There are countless homeowner reports of how their log homes stood strong against tornadoes, hurricanes and other severe weather, suffering minimal damage when everything around them was leveled to the ground. In fact, the Fore family share how their Florida log home fought Hurricane Irma and won!
17. Maintenance can be easy.People interested in log homes sometimes get a little hesitant at “the maintenance question.” We get it — but the fact is that log home upkeep isn’t more difficult than taking care of any other type of house. It’s just different. Don’t be scared. By following your manufacturer’s and stain/sealant provider’s recommendations, you can keep your log home looking and performing its best, without breaking the bank or your back.
18. The decor options are limitless.Don’t feel like by owning a log home you’re pigeonholed into “country” decor. Log homes lend themselves to a variety of decorating options from rustic cowboy to upscale sophistication. Remember, logs are a building material, not a style.
19. You can stop insect issues long before they become pest problems.Any house can fall prey to termites, carpenter bees and other wood-loving bugs. Log homes actually have an advantage, because unlike a stick framed house where the wood components are hidden behind drywall, exposed-log walls make it much easier to spot, monitor and eradicate bugs before they cause serious damage.
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20. Log homes stand the test of time.Ever wondered if log homes will last? Mark Wrightman from True North Log Homes is here to answer that question: “There are eastern white pine houses in Russia and throughout Europe that are over 400 years old!” he says. Even in your own home, though some of the fixtures and finishes may become dated and need updating, your log walls will remain timeless.
21. Log homes go beyond basic brown.Nothing says that the logs have to be stained a dark color. Modern log homes boast everything from traditional golden honey to whitewashing — even moss green and other colorful shades of stain. Color choice can change the feel of the space from woodsy cabin to beach cottage in a heartbeat.
22. They’re good for the kids — and family togetherness.“I believe that kids who learn to love the outdoors have a better chance in today’s world, and the log home lifestyle fosters a love of nature. If they are hiking, hunting, fishing, canoeing or whatever, they’re not getting in trouble,” Paul says with a chuckle. “Better than that – you will be spending time with them, which is all kids really want. Funny thing is, older people like it, too.”
23. They’re head-turners.Do you ever drive by a brick house and say, “Oooh look: There’s a brick house!” Not likely. But whether it’s a grand lodge or a tiny cabin, log homes get a reaction.
24. Log homes are bright.Some people presume that log homes are dark and dim. Not true! The fact is that most log home designs employ walls of windows that flood the house with natural light (as well as capture amazing views). Fixtures and bulb wattages that are properly scaled for a room’s square footage and logs’ light absorption will help Mother Nature keep the light shining bright at night.
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25. Every day feels like a vacation day.“At my log home, I feel like I am on vacation, even when I’m working on it,” Paul says. “It’s a lifestyle change every time I leave the city to go there. Maybe it’s the wood, the fact that it’s rustic or maybe because I’m on my farm and I feel like I can breathe. Whatever the reason, it’s refreshing.”
26. Log homes are made for entertaining.Get-togethers are just more fun in a log setting. The unique, all-natural atmosphere takes any party to the next level. “Save the condo for a week at the beach,” advises Chris. “When the extended family and friends get together for anything from the holidays to poker night, why not have a cool log home environment?”
27. Log homes are authentic.Unlike other forms of housing that seem like they’re imposing on the land, a genuine log home feels more like it’s an extension of its natural setting. They’re perfectly at home nestled in a forest thicket, perched along a mountainside, at water’s edge or out in the wide-open prairie.
28. Money is still cheap.Interest rates continue to be incredibly reasonable, but after years of historic lows, they are on the rise. Wouldn’t you rather invest your money in your home instead of wasting it on interest? Look to a lender that understands the special nuances of log home construction to save time and unnecessary explanation.
29. The timing couldn’t be better.“The Great Recession decimated the pool of home builders and the laborers — especially in rural areas. Building is coming back, but prices for labor and materials are rising as demand increases,” explains Paul Peebles. Bottom line? If you’ve ever wanted a log home, build it now while there are still deals to be had.
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