Photo: Hochstetler Log Homes
Cozy and inviting; economical and low maintenance — there’s undeniable appeal to owning a log home on the smaller side. But scaled-down houses can pose challenges of their own. For example, how to you keep that cabin charm without feeling cramped, or how do you create an open floor plan that also provides enough space to store your stuff?
1. Start with a stock plan.And it can be any stock plan — your starting point doesn’t have to be exactly the same square footage as the home you intend to build. So as you peruse plans, don’t overlook the bigger ones, because log home producers are willing and able to customize their catalog of designs, and that includes downsizing. The most important thing is that the shape and amenities get you close to your target, so look for features that speak to you; then ask your designer for ways to scale them to the size you want.
Photo: Coventry Log Homes
2. Make it flexible.Rooms that serve more than one purpose are a surefire way to get the most from your square footage. Though this isn’t exactly a ground-breaking concept, the ways in which homeowners are putting it into practice are getting very creative. Take the quintessential home office/guest room — a pretty traditional idea, right? But what if you don’t need a home office? What rooms can pull double duty then? Dining rooms are prime real estate for multitasking. How about a dining/guest room with a space-saving drop-leaf table and a Murphy bed that disappears into the wall? Or, merge dinner and drinks by incorporating a wet bar into the space. In fact, convertible furniture, like a dining table that hides a billiards table underneath, ensures the space is fun and functional — even when the time for holiday dinners has passed.
3. Reduce hallways.Seeking a simple way to downsize without sacrifice? Look no further than the nearest hallway. Like receiving rooms and parlors, halls are going the way of the dodo. By drastically reducing or eliminating them from your floor plan, you can pack a lot more function into a smaller footprint. Just don’t go overboard. Sometimes the separation and privacy a hallway can provide is necessary for a happy home.
4. Be honest about your focal point.
Photo: Coventry Log Homes
5. Forgo excessive cabinetry.
6. Add specialty storage.If you’re downsizing the amount of cabinetry your kitchen has (a la tip #5), then you’ll need to supersize the storage you do have. Rollout trays, door-mounted racks and pullout baskets can triple the amount of space an ordinary cupboard has and keep items from getting lost in the back.
7. Put your appliances on a diet.Grand, chef-grade appliances and other high-end kitchen toys may look spectacular, but few people can actually justify the expense. In a small log home, you also can’t spare the space. Look to skinny appliances. Bosch, Smeg, Liebherr, LG and GE are a few manufacturers who make slender models. With your stove, fridge, dishwater, etc., selected, design your kitchen around them. It may seem like putting the cart before the horse, but knowing how much space your appliances will consume will help you maximize every inch you’ve got.
Photo: Lincoln Barbour / Jessica Helgerson Interior Design