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The French Countryside in Pennsylvania

Living on the banks of the great Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania, Matt had always wanted to build a home that reflected the natural feel of the area while embracing the historic look of European building styles. Securing a piece of land a few miles down the river from his primary residence, Matt began his search for a home design that would highlight his personal style and preferences.

Matt's Home Rendering

Coming across PrecisionCraft in his search, Matt was instantly drawn to the Chaumont, a French country style concept. The design’s charismatic blend of log and timber with a dynamic, hipped roof design and prominent stone turret, offered Matt that unique look he had in mind when he began his search.

Matt also liked the Chaumont for how well the layout fit his needs. For instance, he liked the separated master suite on the second level which would give him the privacy he needed, while the extra bedrooms above the garage and a main level suite would also provide privacy for his guests and children when they came to visit.

Working with M.T.N designer, Matt Franklin, the two decided to mirror the original concept to better fit his property. A basement was also designed into the plans so that an exercise room, a lower level garage, and additional outdoor living space would be possible.

ICFs are installed on Matt's lot

As the president of several limestone and concrete contracting companies, Matt was very familiar with the world of construction. Liking the option PrecisionCraft provides of including Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) and Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs) to create a complete, efficient envelope, he had them drawn into his final design.

Today, the beginning stages of construction are in progress for Matt’s riverside project. His basement level ICFs have been installed and his home is scheduled to be completed by summer of 2014.

 

To follow the progress of Matt’s dream home, check out his project’s Facebook album: A Hybrid Chaumont in Pennsylvania

Outdoor Living Ideas

Stone Patio

The smell of pine trees, the babel of the brook and the breathtaking view of the valley are all common sensory emotions connected to the locations people dream of building their log and timber homes.  Since this exterior experience is so connected to these style of homes,  outdoor spaces will undoubtedly play an important role in their overall design.  Today we review some options and ideas for expanding your living space from the indoors out.

Patios

Patios – made of concrete, stone pavers, or rock – may be preferable to a wooden deck in some situations.  For example there are many options available for stone patterns and colors these days, which can make a patio fun and inviting.   Designing separate patios, such as a private space off the master bedroom or an easy- to-get-to dining area just off of the kitchen, can extend your living space without converting your entire exterior into one big patio.

Decks and Porches

Wooden decks and porches can provide a nice transition from your log home to the outside living space.  Decks can be continuous, or broken up between living areas – this option lends space for landscaping like flowers, ponds and large planters.  One way in which you can increase the uniqueness of your deck space is by your choice of railing.  While wood spindles are common, many are opting for iron or even glass.  There are a variety of iron styles and patterns, ranging from twigs to leaves and complex twisted shapes.  Special glass can be used to reduce the loss of visibility and make your deck space seem larger.

Balcony with Clear RailingBalconies

Consider extending other rooms in the house to the outdoors, such as upstairs bedrooms and lofts.  Adding a balcony or multiple balconies can give you and your guests an instant connection to the outside.  Balconies can also play an interesting role in the overall look and feel of the exterior architecture of your home.

Screened-In Porches

A blend between a patio and a sunroom, these spaces allow you to enjoy the fresh air and the sights and sounds of nature.  They can keep the bugs at bay in the summer and add a buffer from the cold of winter. Many clients choose to incorporate these spaces on the side of their home that receives the most sunlight. Work with your designer to find an area of your floor plan where a screened-in porch makes the most sense.

Bungalow Log Gazebo
Outdoor Living Structures

Decks, patios and balconies are direct extensions of your home but sometimes it makes sense to add an entirely separate structure to your property. Perhaps your land has a great spot for a lookout or extends down toward a lake.  Adding a permanent log or timber outdoor space will help your family to fully utilize the area.   Outdoor structures can also be placed near other permanent features of the property, like a pool, outdoor kitchen or water feature.

For  unique and stylish outdoor space ideas, take a look at our sister company’s outdoor living site: www.timberscape.com.

 

 

 

An Ode to Log Homes

Cabin

Courtesy of Scugog Shores Museum

With our Nation’s Independence Day just a week away, now is a time where many Americans reflect on the rich history of this country and the cultural trends that have carried us to where we are today. There are many things in our history that are definably American, on a list that usually starts with baseball and apple pie, the log home would also be among the top candidates. Today, all of us here at PrecisionCraft would like to reflect on the evolution of the log home, from the first pioneered cabin to today’s luxury structures.

Log Cabins of Yesteryear

If the pioneers of the 1700’s could see how log homes have evolved into the 6,000 sq.ft. masterpieces they are today, they would be astounded. For them, building a log home was a necessity, and they were anything but luxurious. Chosen as the prime building material in that time, logs were easily worked with simple tools and could be cut, notched, and stacked into a suitable cabin quickly. Starting out as shelter on the untouched lands of the new world, and then spreading with the westward movement, log homes have played a pivotal role in the early American lifestyle.

An Evolving Building Trend

While log cabins of the 17-1800’s were homes built for necessity, a few hundred years later, their purpose changed. From hunting cabins, to seasonal retreats, the uses for a simple 4-wall log cabin began to broaden as more and more people began to see these homes as a relaxing, escape to nature from everyday life. Building systems also began to change, making these structures more solid and secure. It was from this point that the idea of the log cabin vacation home really began to take root.

The Mountain-Style Log Home

In more recent years, we have seen the evolution continue. In the past, 4-walled wood structures were the norm, now the mountain-style has evolved in size, complexity, and materials. Building systems have been created that address the age-old issue of log settling. Architects are consistently finding new ways to create dynamic, multi-level floor plans that have never been thought of before, with specific designs for specialty spaces like mud rooms, theater rooms, and even indoor pools. Where once the average home size was less than 1,000 sq.ft., now a home’s square footage is only limited by budget, land, and the client’s imagination. Even the materials used in a home’s construction have changed. Whether it is log or timber, handcrafted or milled, the wood homes of today have all become distinctly unique with these diverse elements.

 

Today is truly an exciting time for the log home. Like many other things in this great country, the leaps and bounds that have been made in this industry are astounding. However, they can only really be appreciated by taking a step back and acknowledging where it all began.

Read: The Evolution of a Mountain-Style Home for more information on this industry’s history.

Progression of a Wood River Ranch

Rear WindowColorado City, just a stone’s throw away from Pueblo and overlooking the breathtaking Sangre de Cristo Mountains, is a quiet area comprised of rolling plains and panoramic vistas. It is in this southern part of the Front Range that Garry has lived on his 226-acre ranch for years. An Army veteran turned rancher, it has been Garry’s longtime dream to build a wood home on his property.

Seeking out the expertise of PrecisionCraft Log & Timber Homes, Garry hoped to create a simple, yet rustic home design that would fit in with the rugged peaked skyline. Another main goal of his was to also have the energy efficient capabilities to go off the grid. Having already installed two large solar panels on his property, Garry was looking for a building system that could easily incorporate structural insulated panels (SIPs) and radiant heating. PrecisionCraft’s history crafting unique, quality homes and their experience with energy efficient building systems made them a natural candidate and perfect fit.

Exterior truss workOnce Garry began working with PrecisionCraft, he was immediately drawn to the Wood River floor plan concept. A single level design, the Wood River included the open main living spaces and pronounced view facing elevation that he was searching for. Working with a designer from M.T.N Design, Garry was able to modify this concept to fit his unique needs, which included plans for a future basement.

From there, the construction phase of Garry’s home was a smooth process, with frequent communication between him, PrecisionCraft, and his contractor. Today, his 2,679 sq.ft. home stands proudly on a quiet corner of his ranch. With 3 bedrooms on the main level, and three more bedrooms suites set to be completed in his unfinished basement, Garry will have plenty of room for guests to join him for a visit on his personal slice of heaven.

 

For more images of Garry’s project journey, visit the PrecisionCraft Facebook page.