Top ten goals when designing your log or timber home.

1- Budget – Nothing is more heart breaking than designing a beautiful home that just got all you want, then get construction quotes… and find out you are way over budget.
First step before starting design is to inquire about construction cost at your building site and establish what you can comfortably afford without crippling your finances with a life time mortgage.
Building costs vary greatly depending on location.

Log and timber cabin off-grid renewable energy system

Many of our log /timber home design customers plan to build on a remote property away from power lines.
Living without power is not an option as we are so used to the comforts electricity brings us.
Building power lines to the property can easily cost many $10 000.
And even if you have power at the end of a long line, chances are you will be out for days during a winter storm.
No light in the house, no computer, TV or radio working, no water running and may be no heat, makes it an unforgettable experience.
Start the car and rush back to the city becomes the only option…

About smaller homes

Within the last half century, North American homes have more than doubled in size becoming castles to impress by volume alone.
Real estate agents define a home by it square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms and pictures of luxuriously furnished formal living and dining rooms that are left unused by its occupants.
Due to high building and energy costs, dwindling investments, savings and pensions and an emerging consciousness not to waste and embrace “green concepts”, designing a home is now much less about impressing our neighbors and friends with size and wow factor.

Settling for log home construction styles


When a stacked log wall reduces in overall height, it is called settling, a well known occurrence in log home construction.

Settling in log homes can occur in three ways: compaction, slumping and most significantly, radial shrinkage of the logs.

A- Compaction occurs mainly in log construction using cope style lateral groves where the interior and exterior sharp corners of the cope are the only contact with log below. The cumulative weight of logs, roof and snow above crush these contacting lines of wood fiber into the log below, creating a tight seal between stacked logs.
Compaction can account for up to 1% height reduction of a log wall.
Compaction is minimal for logs with large contact areas like tongue and grooved flat to flat log profiles.

Geothermal home heating and cooling

On our planet Earth, air, ground and water store close to half the energy striking it’s surface from the sun.
This huge store of renewable solar energy can be tapped using a heat pump to heat our homes in winter.
Also, in the summer, that same heat pump can be reversed to provide air conditioning for our comfort.
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that ground source systems can save 30% to 70% of home heating costs compared to natural gas, propane, electricity, oil or coal.
In the summer, cooling costs can be lowered from 20% to 50%.

Water heating options for your new home


Heating water typically uses 10% to 25% of the overall energy spent to run your home, and is the second largest energy expenditure after heating and cooling.
Water heater options:

A/ Storage tank water heaters are by far the main choice in North America.
They are cheaply mass produced, and have an average life expectancy of 10 years, depending on your water quality.

Custom design and drafting of construction plans


Unless you have significant architectural and building experience, designing a home is likely a daunting endeavor to most future homeowners.
Your first step is to define what you like; and to a certain extent, also what you dislike. Almost endless architectural styles are available from simple log cabin, traditional timber frame, cap cod, colonial, Feng shui, historic, passive solar, Victorian, modern or contemporary to name a few…

The masonry stove or thermal mass heater

Over ten years ago, I met Chris Hedderson from Rocky Mountain environment Technologies outside the Denver log home show. Chris had an outside booth with a masonry stove (modular refractory kit) fired up within a large tent. While it was a very cold weekend, I recall how toasty warm it was inside that tent. I kept his business card and after much research, knew that one day I would install my own stove.