Each year, Log & Timber Homes Council members, as well as designers and builders at large, vie to have their latest and greatest home designs recognized by a panel of independent, expert judges. This year, six outstanding log and timber home plans made the grade, walking away with the coveted “Jerry Rouleau Awards for Excellence in Home Design” prize. We’re honored to showcase these winners exclusively for you.
Commercial Property: First Canada Home by Blue Ridge Log Cabins
Photo courtesy of Blue Ridge Log Cabins
Square Footage: 4,335
Baths: 3 full
Their goal: This model home was designed to showcase modern log home entertaining at its best. The logs’ dark stain is emphasized by its walkout basement clad in pale gray stone while the oversized, black-framed windows are ideal for unobstructed viewing of Canada’s Georgian Bay — a feature that, according to project manager and president of Blue Ridge Log Cabins’ Canadian operations Brad Harris, was fundamental to the design. And Blue Ridge’s modular approach to log homes is not only unique to this industry, it speeds construction timetables — a big boon to areas with shorter build seasons, such as Canada.
Our take: Every model log or timber home should have such a spectacular locale, but for us, it’s the floor plan, itself, that really brings it home. The plan makes it easy for occupants to move about and mingle. Plus, the main-level living design is perfect for every stage of life, from young families to aging-in-place. This plan is the embodiment of effortless waterfront living.
Less Than 2,000 Square Feet: The Kenzi by True North Log Homes
Rendering courtesy of True North Log Homes
Square Footage: 1,512
Baths: 2 full
Their goal: Contemporary and modern designs are ever expanding in the log home industry, and a key way to achieve the look is with a sleek, low-slope roofline and statement-making walls of windows. This home also ticks all the boxes for a single-family structure, boasting private space for every household member as well as an open floor plan that makes the most of a small square footage and is flexible enough for customizations.
Our take: The Kenzi is the perfect example of how thoughtful design and attention to detail can transform a simple, straightforward layout into something special. The wide-open, voluminous plan makes efficient use of the footprint, and the overall aesthetic of the design showcases how compact, modern living can be achieved with log home construction.
2,000 – 3,000 square feet: The Tributary Residence by PrecisionCraft Log & Timber Homes
Photo by Heidi Long
Square Footage: 2,100
Baths: 3 full, 1 half
Their goal: The challenge for this project was designing an architecturally interesting, livable plan inside a 2,000-square-foot space. The modern lines mix with timber framing, stone and rustic siding to create a contemporary cabin that connects with the landscape, but the star of this home is the layout. The creative footprint allows for three bedrooms, an open common area and the perfect positioning to extend the living space out to a patio.
Our take: From above, the single-level plan vaguely resembles the number “1,” so it comes as no shock that the judges found it first-rate as well. We love the how smart connectivity between the spaces affords privacy yet flows logically from room to room — even extending to the outdoor living areas. No space goes to waste here; a key achievement in a smaller-scale home.
3,001 – 4,000 Square Feet: The Big Sky Residence by PrecisionCraft Log & Timber Homes
Photo by Heidi Long
Square Footage: 3,219
Baths: 3 full 1 half
Their goal: The modern timber home flows perfectly with the slope of the lot, which looks out across the valley below. The main level uses the covered deck as a natural extension of the rest of the layout and is accessible from several points: an accordion door next to the dining room, French doors from the living room and another door from the primary suite. The staircase tower (a huge space saver) leads down to the walk-out basement, which includes three guest bedrooms of its own. The home was built using structural insulated panels (SIPs) and timber framing for an energy-efficient envelope that will keep the home comfortable in every season, while geometric timber framing with steel accents creates a striking profile amongst the Montana mountains.
Our take: Designing for a steep, sloping lot is always a challenge, and this plan is a masterclass in how to design for this terrain. For starters, the exterior is a perfect complement to the mountainous locale, but moving inside, you get the full picture of its intention. The main level is self-sufficient for a couple looking for a forever home; while down below, the basement is a place the grandkids will beg to visit. An abundance of storage, from dual walk-in closets in the primary bedroom to the enormous kitchen pantry, round out a well-planned house.
4,000+ square feet: The Smith Residence by True North Log Homes
Rendering courtesy of True North Log Homes
Square Footage: 6,345
Baths: 6 full
Their goal: This grand, estate-style home ticks off a multitude of boxes for an owner looking for luxury and function. This home features a generous foyer with a curved staircase, cathedral ceilings in the great room, floor-to-ceiling windows, a triple car garage and an indoor pool and exercise room. Its 270-degree views ensure a sunset is never missed. Guests can ascend the curved stair tower to a separate, self-contained bonus suite. And with six bedrooms and six bathrooms, there is plenty of room to host out-of-town guests.
Our take: There’s custom and then there’s CUSTOM! This home boasts so many bells and whistles, it’s hard to know where to begin. Between the grand foyer, generously sized bedrooms, the 500-square-foot pool (punctuated by a decorative timber pavilion and an oversized fireplace) and the fully equipped gym, owners and visitors alike may forget that they’re in a private home and not a five-star luxury retreat. And thanks to the generous dog-washing station in the laundry, even Fido can lounge in the lap of luxury.
4,000+ square feet: The Van De Kamp Residence by Riverbend Timber Framing
Photo courtesy of Riverbend Timber Framing
Square Footage: 4,236
Baths: 3 full, 2 half
Their goal: This timber-frame home was designed to take full advantage of the owner’s lakefront property. Their dream home spans three levels and includes expansive outdoor living space. The beauty of custom timber framing was a key design feature that allows for open living spaces with a warm natural feel and has a lot of exciting rooms and features that the family will enjoy, including: a home gym, a large mud/laundry room and a three-story fireplace. To top it off, the structure boasts insulated concrete forms (ICFs) and structural insulated panels (SIPs) for maximum comfort and energy efficiency.
Our take: It’s not often we come across a plan that can elevate even the most luxurious of layouts, but the Van De Kamp found a way. An upper level that’s entirely dedicated to the owners’ comfort (including a nearly 150-square-foot walk-in closet and a bonus room)? Yes, please. But the main floor shines with its own personalized features, like the boot room, a kitchen island that can seat eight with ease and a dual-sided fireplace. The lower-level rec room and home gym round out a family compound you may never want to leave.