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Archive for July, 2008

Home Show in Vaasa

Monday, July 21st, 2008

As you can see from yesterday’s “preview“, the striking specialty of this home show is that every year new REAL area is developed just for this show. Any city in Finland can apply to be the host city or a town for that matter. It is THE show revolving around homes and is very much sought-after marketing opportunity.

How does it work for city?
It’s a great chance to polish up that worn old image and attract new people (tax paying people!) to live and create new activity. Businesses also notice new improved profile and might be interested in relocating or expanding activities to that part of the country, which is so appealing that even the home show is being organized there. Applicant must provide decent lots for the show and take care of setting up utilities and other communal services. The smaller the applicant the bigger the job.

What’s in it for companies?
Exposure! Quotations? Sales? Yeah, that’s how it goes, but usually visibility will bring money at least under some time frame. Companies must invest heavily though, because building one showcase house normally costs 500 000 - 1 000 000 USD. There is no guarantees that company is able to sell it later on, so it is always quite a balancing act between latest innovative products and mass market solutions that are easy to sell to people. Unfortunately easy to sell usually means hard to make headlines and vice versa.

What about people then?
The biggest benefit one can get from home show is - you guessed it - money. In order to guarantee good participation and successful show, city and companies give special offers, discounts and subsidies, which make building much more appealing than it normally would be. Home show might be the only chance for someone to build that extraordinary home and not to loose it to the bank right after completion.

Coming days I’ll walk you through some houses, which are of special interest for log home lovers.

House expo - first impressions

Monday, July 21st, 2008

Yes, I was there and took over 600 photos. Here are just few of them, I’ll try to make some sense out of them during the coming week. They did have couple of log homes, though…

Lineup

From the up

Shoreline

Street view

7 reasons why log homes won’t be swept away by finance crisis

Sunday, July 20th, 2008

As any homeowner, log homeowners are deeply concerned about effects of current financial crisis on their homes. Foreclosures are happening left and right, maybe our friends are affected or maybe a family member. I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to worry about your log home’s or log cabin’s value and I’m going to give you a list of seven good reasons to stop worrying. For other valuable log home tips, subscribe my feed.

woodland cabin

1. Log home is a dream
Some call it longing for times long gone or sentimentality, some call it the ultimate way of life, but they all have one thing in common - log home is a matter of heart and soul. Dreams are difficult to value in money, but we all know that they are worth a LOT. This means that log home dreams are highly valued by the people who live in them and therefore log homes and log cabins prices remain high.

Living in a dream home makes people cling to it. If everything is perfect, why change anything? However, if you are not yet living in your dream home, it just might be that during rough times, flipping down would be easier. No flipping down in log homes, we love and live them.

2. Log home stands among beauty
Lakeside, mountain top, prairie, riverside, woods, slope, resorts and some other beautiful locations are places where you find most of log homes. Suburban log home… nah, not really and this shows in the price of log homes and log cabins. Many log home lots cost more than our everyday single home in the midst of other similar houses.

mountaintop cabin

Mark Twain said along the lines that land is always a good investment because nobody’s making more of it. Make sure your log home stands in a special environment and value appreciation is guaranteed.

3. Log home residents are older

How many young families that you know live in log home? Not many, because log homes tend to be luxuriously designed by using unused space (now that’s a funny term), those cathedral ceilings or large foyers and what about those outrageously large fire places… Yes, log home is not a place for young family, which is fighting with the bills and commuting between school, daycare, work, hobbies etc. When would you have time to enjoy your home?

Log homes are for people who have time to enjoy environment, staying home and doing little chores, all part of the lifestyle, which comes along with a log home. There’s a big chance that these people have already stepped into retirement, there are no sudden changes in every day life (4th baby! We need a bigger home and we need it now!) and years of work life have brought enough to get by without working. So, as a result, these log home enthusiasts stay in their log home and have a ball while doing it. Not many log homes are coming to markets to be sold and market prices of log houses stay high.

4. Log home stores value
Log home is very special in the way it’s built. Builders have to solve many structural challenges while creating someone’s dream. Robust structure and thick walls set the log home for decades and while lesser homes get torn down, log homes get renovated and remodeled to suit the likings of different generations. When log homes age, they age like fine wines, bringing more meaning to the story of the house and to the people who live in it.

5. Log home is made of quality materials
It ain’t no way to dream without silk and satin sheets. Log homes are all about wood, stone and steel. No one is going to water down their dreams with vinyl, plastics or polyester. Another angle with materials is down right cold cash. Poor materials devalue home and increase upkeep costs over time, because cheap must be fixed more often. Also people who value quality know that there is price tag included, moreover they look what they get with their money not how much it costs.

6. Log home is unique
Just about every log home is built according somebody’s special plan. The plan might have been brooding up for years. Before building project starts, the planning book can contain clippings from magazines, textile samples, photos of real life log homes around the country, news stories, wood material samples, floorplan sketches, coffee stains… Log home is a labor of love.

People recognize love and dedication to unique details and in turn fall in love with the place. Sometimes it might be bit of a wait, but the right person is bound to find the right home and match is made to last. These perfect matches create so much value to the owners of log home that benefits easily outweigh monthly payments.

7. Log home builder loans are a pain to get

Because large part of log home crowds love to have the deluxe log home experience, they end up building the home from ground up. Unfortunately banks are not too trusting towards the combination of owner/builder and log home therefore loans are hard to come by. Luckily, today this means that log home owners are less likely to fall into the turmoil of financial crisis. Also it means that many log homes have been built with lot of elbow grease, which has helped to keep the building costs at check. Living in a home that was relatively cheap to build and sports high market value is a perfect combination.

Do you have a good point that wasn’t mentioned, please, help me and post a comment.

Secret of Finnish log homes

Friday, July 18th, 2008

Secret of attending parties
Official dress code baroque

Picture yourself in a large party, maybe slightly official with uncomfortable dress code and quite splendid surroundings. You were supposed to come here with your friend but she had to stay home because of migraine, so you are all alone in a party where you don’t know anyone and everybody seems to be making (or at least having) more money than you. Quite a task to feel relaxed, don’t you agree?

A Finn in a haystack
I hope you didn’t think you can get away from the party, because you are stuck there. Fear away though, amazingly you are going to meet a genuine Finn. Agreeable person, really quite surprisingly straight-forward and honest, but do you know what this Finn will ask from you as soon as he has the chance? “So, what do you think about Finland?” Ha ha, ain’t that quaint? We are overly concerned what others think about us, spiritually Finland is insecure teenager. You know what you would ask, How are YOU?, What do you think about the band?, Excellent food, eh?

World is 99,9% non-Finn
Just about 99,9% of world population are not Finns. Now that’s one heck of a big party! Can you imagine, how desperately insecure Finns feel themselves? All those people and nobody we know. Solution? Try to be better than you really are. That’s why we make so good log homes. We don’t want to be stared at, while there is a whole world in the same party.

RESOURCES:
This post is part of International Marketer Review Blog Carnival at Cindy King.

Housing expo

Thursday, July 17th, 2008

Every year we have this housing expo somewhere in Finland. Totally new area is developed and all sorts of latest housing and construction engineering solutions and products are introduced. This year we have couple of log homes included and I’m heading there this weekend. I’ll give you the first impressions on Sunday and more detailed report during next week. I plan to take lots of photos (especially those log homes), I just wish it wouldn’t rain like it has been raining here throughout July.

Log home book to read

Tuesday, July 15th, 2008

Log homes made easy by Jim Cooper is the book to read before you embark on the quest of log home building. Here Jim has written the most down to earth book about log homes that I know of. I really have to get back to reviewing log home books. Anyway to cut the story short, this book takes general approach to having your log home dream. Nothing fancy just plain simple advice, which help you to take necessary steps. Expect review during the month of July.

Log cabin storage

Sunday, July 13th, 2008

pigeon sitting in front of log cabin storage

It’s a big step for a pigeon and so it would be for a mice too. This last step - pictured in the photo above - is bit higher and open for specific purpose. The idea is to create a distance, which can’t be crossed by all the hungry little critters. This in turn saves amazing amount of food stuffs stored.

foundation level system to keep uninvited guests at check

Look at this structure, first layer is there to create a level base, on which it is easy to build further. It is clearly visible how the foundation level is much newer than actual log cabin over it. Also notice how the first layer of foundation is built over rocks and stones, so that those lowest lying logs won’t get wet and start to rot. Boy they knew what they were doing back in the day (or century for that matter).

Let’s to move our eyes bit higher. Stretching up from the first layer we have vertical posts and on top of them very broad logs. Think how hard it is to climb forward while back is pointing towards ground, so the purpose of this combination is to drop every single interested critter on their backs. Top of the post is the point of no-climbing-forward and food is saved.

old log cabin storage

Now we can observe the building’s shape in general. Foot of this log storage cabin is relatively small and walls extend outwards as we go upwards. This gives maximal cover for walls against rain and sunshine, extended overhangs seal the case with non-existence of windows. This is your everyday log cabin fortress. One thing that testifies for the fortress cabin is the date of erecting, which is estimated to be around 1850, later generations have made some small modifications on the structure, like more decorative architraves, but essentially it is like it was originally built.

RESOURCES:
This post is part of The Homesteading Carnival at HowToMe.

RSS contest update

Sunday, July 13th, 2008

These two weeks I have surprised myself by being able to write rather constantly, which is a definitive improvement over previous one and half year absence. Kick-start for such a U-turn in my ways was a fun little contest called Blogging Idol, you really have to go and check the logo on Daniel’s site. The contest is about increasing the RSS subscriber count during one month. Well, I didn’t even have RSS-subscription button, so I added one and now I seem to have two loyal readers :)

I haven’t done anything special to explode my numbers, except writing few posts and adding a call to action (subscribe to my feed) to couple of posts. Still, I am really happy to my development, this has done lot of good for the site already, and looks like I can keep it going. Future plans regarding the contest are to post regularly and nothing more. Oh yeah, having run the site for years without any monetization, I acted on a whim (John Chow’s post about Kontera) and added Kontera contextual advertising on the site. It will probably take a year to earn enough money to cover domain cost. I don’t even dream about

There has been one major setback though, before this recent revitalization, site got about 50 unique visitors per day, but now with my sudden burst of new content and selective dead link cleaning… I’m close to zero search engine visitors. Goodbye organic traffic from Google, luckily Yahoo traffic still remains. Oh, go figure. So, time for the next log home post.

The best American log home manufacturer?

Friday, July 11th, 2008

Which company is the best American log home manufacturer? I’m playing with an idea of representing an American log home company here in Finland. I know this is tough market, because half of world’s biggest log home companies come from Finland. Still, I believe that American rustic log homes have a suitable and distinctive style, which is hard to imitate. Log cabin rental business is growing by leaps and bounds in Lapland and rental companies need specialties to compete efficiently.

American log homes have character
That’s true, say what you will, but American log homes are one of a kind, bit like American cars - big, bulky, powerful and cool. Unfortunately, American car manufacturers are in a bit of a trouble, markets cry for efficient cars and companies can’t deliver. Let’s hope the log home industry understands to jump the energy efficiency bandwagon and doesn’t just lull itself into thinking that people will buy those dream log homes no matter what. I’m all for dreams but if we can’t afford them, then we just have to change our dreams. Anyway, back to the topic.

Local competition in Lapland

log cabin home in Finnish Lapland

Now, here is a photo of competition. You will see this sort of new log homes and log cabins in ski resorts of Lapland. Good thing with this style is that it reads log home all over it. However, like most Finnish log homes, design is so Scandinavian that it starts to lack character. This kind of Scandinavian-styled log cabin will surely loose against rustic American log home. The victory prize is yet another happy family of overnight renters. So, any recommendations? Please, just type it down to comments.

Looking for a Finnish log home

Thursday, July 10th, 2008

So I took a glance on visitor data and what do I see, most of the people arriving to Log Homes Cabin are looking for “log homes from Finland”. I have to admit the focus of this site might have been Finnish log homes, but I guess it really is more about log homes industry in general. This got me thinking and then doing.

Now the list of Finnish log home and log cabin manufacturers is more complete. I’ll still tune it a bit in coming couple of days. I also have plenty of material on some of the companies on that list, so writing few detailed company histories is in the works. But don’t expect me to write books, I’m nowhere near that level.

  • Log home photos

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