The Log Home Experience Carnival #2

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.

Finnlamelli floor plan - Aapo

August 30th, 2008

First floor plan that gets the honor of being reviewed is Finnlamelli’s Aapo. Finnlamelli is less-known custom log home manufacturer from Finland. Excellent product quality and flexible manufacturing and deliveries make this company one of the first choices when you consider buying a log home from Finland. Being so strongly technology oriented log home manufacturer, Finnlamelli’s standard catalog models aren’t stunning architectural thrills, still I found one that I especially like.


Floor plan of Aapo log home

So you come back from work and pick up some groceries on your way. You park into the carport and expect to conveniently get those bags inside. No such luck! There is no access from the carport to wetroom and inside. Luckily overhangs extend far enough to protect you if it’s raining so you get inside without getting wet. There are two independent storage rooms connected to the carport one with optional access to inside the house.

Open living room with cathedral ceiling greets you, once you get past the entrance. Statue-like oven is the focal point of living room. Imagine those warm and cozy nights, family getting together and playing board games and fire flickers through glass crate. Door to backyard veranda invites outside to sunshine and to sunset.

From living room you have an access to almost every room in the house. Kitchen is almost integral part of living room and separated only by cabinets and the decorative partition wall behind them. Large kitchen area, plenty of room for dining table. Is there anything more natural than whole family having dinner together?

Three bedrooms make this log home a small family home. All the bedrooms have plenty of storage space, one comes with its own closet. Parents’ room is separated from kids’ rooms by living room, a nice detail that gives some privacy. Unfortunately same cannot be said about toilet, which is directly connected with living room. No matter what, it is always slightly embarrassing to use this kind of toilet when some guests are visiting.

Utility has lots of room for washing and drying machines also cabinet room for linen. This room also has a door to outside, you’ll probably find some kind of rack to hang laundry on. This kind of wetroom/mudroom area is reasonable to marry with bathroom and (as in Finland we are) sauna. Nothing splendid in bathroom, just very efficient, pretty much the same goes with rest of the house.

This floor plan uses space extremely sparingly, providing good return for your money. Efficiency turns against itself and takes away some points, also carport should be connected with direct access to the house and mudroom. I can warmly recommend this floor plan, but with slight alterations. Luckily the company is up for the challenge since most of their homes are custom made.

Do you want your floor plan reviewed? Just leave a comment, I read them all.

Floor plan Friday

August 29th, 2008

Let’s play with themes. From now on Friday will be a floor plan day. I’ll do floor plan walk-throughs from various log home companies. Rate them so to speak. Hope some companies would like to promote their floor plans by giving them for a review (free of course).

I don’t have an exact step-by-step plan for this, so I’ll learn as I go, maybe changing the routine according your feedback. The very first Friday log home review coming later in the evening.

Come hell or high water

August 28th, 2008

I believe in global warming, I believe in melting of polar ice, I believe in rising sea levels, I believe in massive flooding, and so does Johan Huibers who has built a replica of Noah’s Ark. I have to admit, he is much better prepared for coming age of water than me. Check out the official website via above link and get your hands on some additional information. Click this link here to see some beautiful timber framing photos inside the Ark. Renee, thanks for the heads up.

My Dream Home - Group Writing Project still goes on

August 27th, 2008

My first group writing project is now on final lap, but you still have this week to turn in your take on the subject. Two books related to green home building are up for grabs (let’s face it, not everybody wants to live in log dream home and those people might value general home book instead). Winner will be chosen randomly and right now chances are pretty good, because there are only two people who have followed the instructions and submitted their dream homes. Here they are by the way Em Dy and Kreez - thanks guys!

Excellent website on building a log home

August 26th, 2008

Not every day I come across with a website providing such detailed information as Log Building (dot org). Today I did. Robert Chambers is the person behind all the info and I can’t recommend his site highly enough.

Robert focuses on handcrafted, scribe-fitted log building and amassed tremendous amount of expertise in this area. Real gem of info is a spreadsheet he put together to calculate log selection. If you are more learning-by-watching person then you better check videos he has posted. He has filmed quite a sleuth of them and they are scheduled for release.

If you are looking for information on how to build log homes, this is the website to go to. If you need a book about how to build a log home Robert’s book is your resource. Sigh, yet another book on my list, it’s almost like for every book that I read, I get two unread ones. This way it’s going to be a lifetime of reading log home books! :)

Log home company segmentation

August 25th, 2008

Log home manufacturers aren’t only competing against each other, but also against other home manufacturers, which use different materials and building technologies. It is surprising to see huge differences in strategies that various log home manufacturers are using. Here’s a short example from Finland.

Of all the single houses that are built in Finland slightly less than 8% are log homes. To many this is surprisingly large share of newly-built single homes, but Finland does have long log building tradition and like elsewhere log homes are experiencing some kind of a renaissance.

It’s interesting to observe how companies are focusing on different niches, trying to carve big enough market share for themselves. Some log home companies focus on cabin production and don’t manufacture log homes. Some do everything, but in long term that doesn’t seem to bring good results. Some focus on exports while some remain domestic.

Honka is extremely strong in all kinds of vacation homes and cabins, as well as on several international markets. However, there are companies that sell more log homes in Finland’s domestic market. We can say that Honka is especially strong in vacation homes.

Mammuttihirsi is a log home manufacturer that has grabbed sizeable piece of total market in Finland, but it is not as strong on the vacation home market. Actually it is almost off the radar when we look at cabin side of the market.

As mentioned above, Honka is the king of vacation log homes and it is that on domestic and export markets. There are markets (eg. Slovenia), which Honka dominates with over 50% market share and that translates into fact of Honka being the biggest log home company in the world.

Right after Honka comes Kontio, which has grown steadily on all markets. Kontio has fared well in all product categories and markets. New contender behind these two giants is company called Finnlamelli, which supplies only glue-laminated logs and custom log homes. Finnlamelli’s strategy has paid off, because of their narrow focus, their quality is high and prices affordable - expect to see this company to close the market share gap to two biggest competitors.

Some companies provide anything you can think of. Very tiring strategy and only feasible for marketing companies that don’t actually manufacture everything they sell. Some companies only deliver round logs and some only glue-laminated straight-planed logs. It is evident that wider selection increases costs, because of more complicated production process. This is something that log home companies can’t afford in general, because log buildings are already considerably more expensive than e.g. element or stick-built buildings.

First I would check what companies deliver to my area and then I’d choose a company that can provide assembly and installation services. Only after these issues are settled, I would go into style and material. Fact remains that most log home manufacturers consider themselves as custom home makers so projects rarely stall because lack of manufacturing capabilities. No easy answers here, you see, companies are good in different things.

Spy mirror

August 21st, 2008

It turns out we are not the only generation fascinated by observing our neighbors, famous people or just plain strangers. Here are some photos of clever piece of spy gear that people used to observe activities on the street they lived on, and all this took place around 100 years ago. Ok, let’s check them out:

Spy mirror without mirrors
Spy mirror in front of a window.
This is really worn out, nothing but metal frame left, but that has actually hold up quite well, don’t you think? Well, local blacksmiths can still whip up such an item in a day, so don’t expect all of them to be several decades old.

White is new black
White spy mirror on the wall, fully functional.
This one is fully functional and I noticed there was old lady sitting in this window, managed to take the photo even I kept feeling I was being watched. Yes, innocent white really is new sinister black.

Lots of spy mirrors.
In this house lives a soldier. Who else would position these reconnaissance gear so strategically? Sitting in the corner and keeping an eye to both streets.

Too bad this tool works in city surroundings only, as it uses normal mirrors. What about a version with lenses? I bet that city folks loved to sit by the window and drink coffee while looking outside to see who are walking by. Can you see how it worked?

Turf roof

August 19th, 2008

Vintage turf roof
Old turf roof

Turf roofs used to be very common and there were some good reasons for that too.

First of all they have terrific ability to withstand sunlight. Even vampires would love to use turf roofs because they can handle sunlight much better than any other traditional roofing material. Actually they thrive in sunlight, where other materials wear down.

Another important reason is insulation capability. Turf roof is instant protection against elements, but also gives the better insulation the thicker the roof layer. Hard to achieve same result with tiles, eh? As a result, turf roofs provide warmth during winter and soothing coolness during summer.

Third reason for their past popularity comes from durability. Like I said, turf roofs are especially good in dealing with sunlight, but it doesn’t end there. Thick layer of soil gives good foundation for small plants, which keep pushing new sprouts, no matter how much wind, snow and rain the roof gets - sort of a regenerating roof, how cool is that?

We are never going to run out of people who like cheap. Turf roofs are your thing if you happen to like cheap things. Materials are readily available and building is rather straight-forward. Maintenance is also easy, just occasional watering during long dry spells.

Here is a photo showing that turf roofs are not only yesterday’s news, but defend their place in modern log home building. Photo from Norway, a country where turf roof can put all its good features in good use.

Modern turf roof
Modern turf roof

Group writing project - My Dream Home

August 17th, 2008

Just on the heels of my first carnival post comes my first group writing project. Here are the rules:


  • Write a post on your blog about your dream home
  • Submit your entry by posting a permalink to comment section of this post
  • Include a backlink to this post
  • You are entitled for prizes if you live anywhere Amazon delivers
  • Submitting time ends 31st of August, 2008 at GMT 24:00
  • Roulette wheel will be used to determine the winner

  • Natural Remodeling for the Not-So-Green House: Bringing Your Home into Harmony with Nature
  • Green By Design
  • As you can see, prizes are heavily skewed to green direction and winner gets them both.

    • Log home photos

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