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Archive for September, 2008

Lincoln Logs files bankruptcy

Monday, September 22nd, 2008

Pretty much everybody have now heard about Lincoln Logs’ bankruptcy filing or Chapter 11 reorganization, as the politically correct term goes. Their attorney said intention is not to lay anyone off and to continue operations as usual while negotiating with creditors.

DOUBT
I don’t know about you guys, but if I would be in financial trouble and asked refinancing from my creditors without changing my consumption habits… well, I doubt there would be any reorganization. Personally I expect to see some jobs go or some asset sales.

SURPRISE
For me it was a surprise to see company as big as Lincoln Logs to hit the brick wall. I know that smaller log home companies have already switched from making log homes into renovations etc.

For the most part, I did expect that fervent log home lovers would have kept the industry going, at least for the big players with good brand names. Guess I was wrong, no matter how dedicated customers you have it all comes down to them also having money.

EFFECT
How would you feel if your supplier told that they are having slight difficulties with creditors? I bet that would make you feel insecure. Are you in the stage of making decision between two manufacturers and having very difficult time choosing one… If the other was Lincoln Logs, your life suddenly became lot easier.

No doubt they will loose orders because of this and if they have difficulties now, just wait few months and they really feel the bit of postponed orders or cancellations. Let’s hope they manage to pull through.

Stale homes

Monday, September 15th, 2008

Vinyl siding, vinyl shingle roofing, vinyl roll flooring, vinyl ceiling tiles, vinyl sheet covered drywalls, plastic covered couches, vinyl record player and rubber chicken (what?). Now that is a formula for low cost but dull housing, unless you have all the colours of a rainbow, then we got hideous housing or ginger bread housing. Nobody wants to live in a ginger bread house, but that evil witch. Let’s take a look at something completely different.

Log walls (pine), pine wood shingle roofing, pine wood flooring, pine wood panel ceiling, pine wood panel drywalls, log stairs (pine), log railings (pine), wooden cabinets (pine), wooden doors (pine), wood frame windows (pine)… this isn’t that much different, is it? We got high cost but dull housing solution, but show some paint and rainbow colours you shall have.

That was bit harsh, wasn’t it? It is so easy to go overboard with this log dream that I often have to present some eye opening questions to my customers. If you are thinking to build a log home, no matter what everybody say, you have more options than… wood. One especially bad but common advice is that you can use textiles and other decorative items to make it your own. Please do think about materials first and after that decide on decoration. You’ll thank yourself later.

Another group writing project

Saturday, September 13th, 2008

I was quite content with my first group writing project and now that the first is done with, it is time to get back on that horse. This time I’ll have better price and it’s even more tailored for log home enthusiasts. I’m still in the middle of setting up all the details, but maybe you would like to give me an idea on how to do it.

CONTEST CONCEPT
Here’s how I’m planning to do it. Many blogs run competitions to which one can take part by writing comments on those competition post or by writing related post on their own post and then linking to the competition post. Now, links are important to any website so those outside posts get more weight when determining the winner.

THE PRIZE
Done with that introductory stuff already, let’s get into the prize after all that’s what it’s all about, eh? This time I’m going to give out something extremely valuable - custom floor plan design!

For a person in the beginning of their log home project, planning is the key to successful outcome. Floor plan design is especially crucial for comfortable living experience. Usually custom design costs separately or is included to log home price as an extra cost. Full custom design can cost anywhere between 500 USD and 5 000 USD. Now you get it free!

DETAILS OF THE PRIZE
No matter what stage you are in, be it pen and paper in your drawer, some scribbles on a matchbox or basic floor plan from any house manufacturer in the world, now it’s your time. I will discuss with you, take your ideas and make them into a floor plan of your dreams. Too good to be true?

Yes. I have time limit. I won’t be continuing with your project until the end of world’s oil reserves, I’ll set the deadline to 1st of June so we have more than half a year for your floor plan.

I also have a schedule limit. I’m working with various log home projects and as a free work, this one has to face shelfing at busy times. Practically this means that sometimes I’m not able to get back to you immediately.

Oh, one more thing, stadiums are really not my cup of tea. So, no stadiums.

PROJECT - MY FAVORITE ROOM
This time we are going to do something very simple. Write about your favorite room and link back to this group writing project. If you don’t have a blog, just write your say to comments below. I’ll compile a list of all submissions and put them online and in process we all learn what is important to us. Project is on and ends fifth of October.

Southland and Donald A. Gardner Architects

Thursday, September 11th, 2008

Brilliant news from Southland Log Homes and DonGardner. Southland is going to start offering floor plans from Donald A. Gardner Architects. The beauty of this alliance comes from combining these two companies’ unique strengths.

Southland’s sales channel has massive reach and they have solid manufacturing, however they have never been the strongest player in custom floor plan log homes, but that’s just the trade-off company has to do with production volumes and time consuming custom floor plans.

Donald A. Gardner delivers floor plans and boy do they have plenty! Company has massive slate of different floor plans and even they might come out as somewhat corporative in their company culture, they sure compensate your trouble with abundant slate of floor plans and good pricing. They do have custom services, but those cost extra.

SOUTHLAND BENEFITS

  • Southland doesn’t have to invest heavily on architects, structural designers and floor plan designers.
  • Southland gets better slate of floor plans to attract customers from new niches and sales go up (word on the street is that they already have almost overly aggressive sales channel, so watch out when shopping around).
  • New floor plans are available almost instantly removing long development plans, making this a swift move over competition.
  • Corporate culture in these two companies is very similar and cooperation should be straight forward.

It will be interesting to follow how this affects Southland Log Homes market position. What do you think?

Some log homes are art

Monday, September 8th, 2008

Wonderful, gorgeous log homes and wooden buildings from Siberia! You will get great design ideas for your own log home or log cabin from this site, so you can’t miss this. Really amazing level of detail…

Erlund House floor plan - Taru

Saturday, September 6th, 2008

Erlund is a log home manufacturer from Finland. A family company with an interesting enough product to be featured on a fantastic TV-series Grand Designs. Erlund has developed a fascinating panel-insulation-log wall that can keep up with rising European standards for energy efficiency of housing.

Erlund House log home floor plan named Taru

HOW TO GET IN
With Erlund House, I chose a fairly simple, classic model named Taru with two entrances, one from the side of the building and one from the terrace end of the log home. Side entrance has been planned as the main entrance so let’s go in through that.

INSIDE
In front of us we have a narrow corridor that curves to the right. No cabinets or space for clothes and outdoors gear. For families with kids, I can imagine this to be congested to the max. Corridor is lined with bedrooms and a bathroom, nothing much to comment but very efficient use of space. All the rooms are simple rectangles so there are no in-built closets.

AT THE END OF THE…
Not rainbow, but corridor and it opens to combined kitchen and living room (named lounge, but in my opinion it’s not lounge quality so I’ll just call it living room). Definitive plus here is that this open area just bathes in sun light thanks to those big windows.

WHAT ELSE?
Somewhat - was that it - experience, but one can’t expect much more from house of this size. Space has been utilized fairly well, even the hall area continues all the way through the house.

However, one thing especially troubles me, the only storage room in the house has entry from kitchen only. Given the severe space limitation, this storage room is bound to turn into utility room. Awkward positioning indeed and hampers the functionality (yes, I’m from Finland and here we are all for functionality) of the floor plan.

SUMMARY
Taru floor plan makes good use of the given floor area. Floor plan is slightly on the dull side, because of straight line designing, which also keeps the floor plan clean and simple.

Storage room area is desperately needed. Bedrooms are not that big and if you have to fill them up with closets, you have very little space left for log home living.

Definite plus in this plan are two toilets and their positioning. One can access them easily. However, in order to free that much needed storage space, I would be willing to give up the toilet or rearrange the workroom and bathroom/wc combo.

Like with any floor plans, one little change here creates many little changes here and there. It is often better to redraw the whole floor plan from the start for best results.

Now to what kind of family would this house be suitable? What do you think about it?

Links

Thursday, September 4th, 2008

For the longest time I have not displayed any links on this site. I’m going to start doing it again. I’ll only include sites that provide quality information on log homes, log cabins and timber frame homes. The first one that I have decided to include on the list is a personal site of a dedicated family, which is building their dream home in Kentucky.

Log home building stories are usually quite dull (I’m probably alone with this opinion), they follow the same natural storyline:

Which log is the best?
Can you recommend a good manufacturer?
What about land?
Any good contractors?
Hurrah, we are weather-locked!
Decorating!

People need something to be inspired and motivated… people get this from their peers and given the growth of the industry most of us who live in log homes have done it by buying already finished log homes or employed contractor to build one. Isn’t it just natural that we follow people who have gone the beaten track before us?

Massie house blog is something different. The scale of their undertaking is so huge that you can’t get away with it by just working hard. One has to work determined to reach one single goal. Following how they learn as they go is eye opening and I can’t recommend their website enough.

And the winner is…

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2008

My first ever group writing project is now over. Two women took part and wrote excellent articles, you can reach their articles over here. For the next group writing project I plan to double submissions.

Deciding the winner was extremely easy, but only because from the start I resorted to gambling as a way to pick the winner. Ok, ok, not gambling, but I did use roulette wheel. We had two participants so it was red/black situation. Em Dy was red and Kreez was black, also I decided that in case of bank I would roll again. The ball landed on number 23, which is red so those books go to Em Dy. Congratulations!

The Log Home Experience Carnival #2

Monday, September 1st, 2008

Second episode for the carnival and it really shows that we don’t have long history doing this. I suppose it will take some time and keeping that in mind, original once a month schedule seems to be adequate. Starting from today the carnival will run first day of every month. For today’s episode I did get few submissions, but I could accept only one of them, others being way off topic (not bad, just off the topic). So what about the one that got through screening?

Shamelle from Enhance Life educates us on what to do with all those DVD’s that are lying around. Just the other day I found a CD case under my pillow, guess someone had been reading some lyrics… Some good tips for every household. Read the article at Enhance Life.

  • Log home photos

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