If you have ever visited Bozeman Montana, then you would know that owning and building log homes is a very popular thing. In the Madison Valley, located out of the west gate of Yellowstone National Park, and the town of West Yellowstone, lies a haven for log homes. Recently I spoke with an appraiser who told me than about 30% of all homes built in the Madison County Valley are log homes, and that did not count cedar or timber homes. With such a high concentration you can't help but notice many of them as you drive north on highway 287. Anyone who has ever driven route 287 and followed along the Madison River as it makes its carefree journey, would have noticed the small log cabins situated on the banks of Hebgen Lake and the large log mansions that sit on benches and hidden among the pines. As lovely as they are, the very first step for the homeowner to realize their dreams is to select some log home floor plans.
The most popular size of log home floor plans is the 1000- 2200 square foot range. With more room than just a tiny cabin but not a monstrous size home, this medium range of plans is a good place to start for many log home customers. Typically log homes in this range have two or more bedrooms, open great room area, and an open loft.
Let's first look at the great room. Great rooms are a combination of kitchen, living room, and dining room. Our first home had a 24x28 great room. A fireplace or wood burner is very commonly placed on the corner or along the side of the home. To maximize interior space, placing a fireplace on the outside wall or corner of the home is the most ideal. Corners are one of the hardest square foot places to get the most use out of, so choosing a corner fireplace is a great way to go. Another economizing idea is to only stone the inside of the log chimney and then use log siding or something other than stone on the outside of the home. Also cultured stone is a good choice. The cultured stone is made to look like real stone but has a flat back. The most realistic if the cultured stone is the river rock blend. Still expensive, it requires a lot less labor and much less expense than real stone.
Many log homes are found with prowls on the front of them. These triangle outcroppings of the home look nice, but they are expensive. A prowl requires a lot more log elements to make it structurally sound than does a flat face of a home and so it is more expensive. A prowl will increase the cost of a home by approximately $10,000.
Other really nice upgrades to a great room are the tongue and groove pine or cedar on the ceilings, sky lighting, and wood flooring. The great room is the main living space of the home. One good strategy is to make the bedrooms of the home as small as reasonably possible and increasing the great room.
Bedrooms are the next main consideration of log home floorplans. A small but reasonable size is the 10'x12' size. This allows for a full size bed and some dressers, but does not allocate extra space to them. A master suite is a must in a log home. A master suite usually includes a master bedroom, master bath, and walk in closet. For privacy some log home plans locate the master suite on the second floor. If the master is on the second floor, then there is no sound of footsteps overhead, as can be an issue when the master bedroom is located on the first floor underneath the upstairs bedrooms.
Some of the most popular floor plans locate all of the bedrooms on the first floor and an open loft over the kitchen area of the great room. Many people wait until retirement age to build their log home. By this point in their lives the last thing they want to do is climb stairs. So only having an open loft still gives the high cathedral ceilings to the great room, allows extra space for company, and lends the "log home feel" to the cabin while still limiting all of the most used living space to a single level.
One of the most time saving things someone can do is to locate a floor plan that is similar to what they are looking for and then modifying it to meet their needs. This can save time and money when the planning stage comes for the new log home. The preliminary drawings stage can take anywhere from two weeks to months, just depending on how quickly the customers and the log home supplier work through the drawings. Some log home companies offer specific types such as handcrafted log home plans, timber frame plans, or milled log home plans. Most homes can be built in any style, but handcrafted log home plans, for instance, can be identified by the narrowing of the logs in the drawings as they approach the windows and door openings.
So whatever choice you make for your log home, be sure to spend some time evaluating log home floor plans. Choosing one with at least two bedrooms is a good idea. For resale value open lofts have also proved to be important. A home should be customized to the owner, but having an eye on things that are universally popular with log homes can help to protect your investment in the home. The more thought, planning, and evaluation that is put into the plans, the more satisfied the homeowner will be through out the years.