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What about Electrical and Plumbing?

Two aspects of design and construction that often generate questions involve electrical and plumbing. Questions like, ‘where do they go?’ are common queries we receive. Many often believe that the installation of these two features becomes complicated with a wood home, but in actuality, the installation isn’t much different from that of a conventional home. Today we asked Project Manager, Derek Best, to tell us about how these two necessities are added to a wood home.

When does the planning for electrical and plumbing begin?

Derek: Planning for both electrical and plumbing will begin in the design phase. As far as the electrical goes, within the construction drawings the architect provides, there will be a set of basic electrical plans that they have designed in accordance to the area’s codes and regulations. While the design set will not include plumbing drawings, the architect will always take the location of pipes into consideration as they design the layout.

Where will my electrical and plumbing go?

Derek: Log homes have been designed with electricity and plumbing for decades. Depending on the design of a home, there really are very few differences between where these fixtures will go in comparison to a conventional home. With electrical planning, if a project will include full exterior log walls, the electrical contractor will need to know as soon as possible so they can plan to have their electrical chases drilled into the log. Many homes include interior log walls as well as exterior. By consulting your architect, you can determine where and how your electrical chases will need to go before installation. On the other hand, plumbing is something that will generally not be affected by your wall’s composition as pipes are not built inside your exterior walls. Even with spaces like the kitchen that can often times include log walls; the plumbing will typically be contained within a cabinet or cupboard. The pipes will run down into your septic system like they normally do in conventional housing.

What other electrical and plumbing considerations should I make?

Derek: By having electrical plans drawn based on your home’s layout and considering where plumbing will go during the design process, your general contractor should be prepared to move forward with construction. However, don’t forget to consider the less obvious places where electrical chases may be needed. For instance, we have many clients who will ask to have a fan installed in a ceiling truss, or can lights along the kitchen ceiling. There are all kinds of lighting schemes that can be coordinated. By speaking with your architect, interior designer, and contractor, you can be sure that your design is accurate and your project is ready for a seamless transition into the construction phase.

 

Visit the PrecisionCraft website for more information about our construction solutions.

Countertops 411

Like any home, the countertops used in a mountain style design can really make an impact on the aesthetic look and feel of a particular space. While you may be familiar with a number of different countertop options, building trends are always evolving and changing overtime. Here is an up-to-date look from Bob Vila at some of the most common countertop materials available and how they compare by cost.

Laminate
What you might like: laminate is one of the most commonly used countertop products for its variety and affordable pricing.

What you should know: While there is a lot that you can do with this product, it is also more susceptible to scratches and burns that can be difficult to repair.

Price: $15 to $40 per linear foot.

Ceramic Tile
What you might like: this product also offers a wide range of colors and designs depending on the types of tile you choose and it will not burn or scratch.

What you should know: cost is very much a factor as prices can fluctuate based on the tile selected and the difficulty of installation. Also, while the tile doesn’t scratch or burn, it can break and the grout in-between will have to be redone periodically.

Price: $10 and $50 per linear foot.

Wood
What you might like: this type of material is often a popular one for those building a mountain-style home because of the natural look of the wood and how it compliments their overall home design.

What you should know: wood surfaces can often be more susceptible to burns, stains, or dents, but it is a simple process to sand and reseal them.

Price: $50 and $100 per linear foot.

Stone
What you might like: these countertop choices are often synonymous with a feeling of luxury and include products like granite, marble, and soapstone. Stone is virtually impermeable and a great choice for those looking for long lasting countertops.

What you should know: stone is one of the more expensive choices available and can be difficult to install without a professional.

Price: $100 and $200 per linear foot.

Quartz
What you might like: much like the hard, durable surfaces of stone, quartz is another crack resistant countertop material that is popular among future homeowners and renovators. With its glossy sheen, it provides a unique look to enhance any space.

What you should know: this option is not heat tolerant and seams will be visible on large countertop designs.

Price: $60 and $100 per square foot.

Concrete
What you might like: concrete is a popular choice for those wanting a more industrial look in their living space. To avoid the appearance of a sidewalk, these countertops are often tinted with color and sealed to become stain and heat resistant.

What you should know: there may be some difficulty found in its production and transportation, and it can look “wet” without proper sealant.

Price: $65 to $135 per square foot.

Solid Surface
What you might like: while it may seem like a broad term, a solid surfaced countertop means that it is comprised of synthetic polyester and acrylic resins. This option can be made to mimic several different surfaces like wood, stone, and glass.

What you should know: while these surfaces are unlikely to stain, they can be scarred by knives or discolored by heat exposure.

Price: $50 and $200 per linear foot.

 

For more information on countertop styles and prices, read Bob Vilas’s full article: Countertops Types.

Everything and the Kitchen Sink

Let’s talk about fixtures within your home design. Of course you know you will have a kitchen sink, just like you know that a bathtub is a necessity, but have you thought about what other fixtures can be included? Here are some innovative ideas clients are considering for their future home.

The Kitchen

The kitchen is often argued as the most important area of the entire home. Being a place for not only cooking meals, but also social gathering, you want it to be as efficiently planned as possible. If your kitchen design has a center island, consider including a second work sink with a disposal for washing, cutting, and general food preparation. Leaving room for a spout above the stove is another option many homeowners love because it allows them to fill up pots for boiling water without having to carry the water-laden pots between the sink and the range.

Bathrooms 

Where once traditional countertop sinks were the most commonly chosen fixture, now there are vessel sinks, vitreous china sinks, pedestal sinks, and more to choose from. Looking at additional fixtures that can be included, perhaps you want to do as the Europeans do and incorporate a bidet. Including a sauna, steam room, or shower with multiple shower heads are other popular features that can also be considered.

Specialty Rooms

If your home will have a bar area in the basement or near a space of social gathering, including a sink and maybe even a compact dishwasher can eliminate the hassle of transporting dirty dishes between the kitchen and the bar. Perhaps your home will be located on the beach or mountainside and you are including a mudroom to lessen the intrusion of sand, dirt, or snow on the rest of your interior spaces—a wash basin or pet shower would be useful additions.

The Extras

What other areas could you consider? Don’t limit your creativity to just the main spaces within the home, think about the extras. For instance, outdoor showers can be of great use for homes designed on a waterfront location. Drinking fountains are also a unique thing to consider for cooling off on an outdoor patio, while hot water taps make a cup of tea or hot cocoa readily available on a cold winter evening in the mountains.

Now that you know, don’t forget to look for opportunities to add faucets, sinks, and other fixtures to your design to make your completed home more useful!

Custom Timber Frame on June Lake

Lakes

Gull Lake View

Carl and Celyna had wanted to build their retirement home in the resort area of June Lake, California for many years. Purchasing a steep lot overlooking June Mountain and Gull Lake—June Lake is a mile down the valley, the couple set out looking for a log and timber home company who could create the retirement home of their dreams on a challenging piece of property.

After years of thorough searching, the couple chose PrecisionCraft Log and Timber Homes upon seeing past project they had done both in real life around California, and on their website. These projects were all completed on terrain similar to their central California location, so they knew that PrecisionCraft had the skills and experience to work with their property.

Front Rendering

The couple got right to work on their design with Tim Brock, a designer from M.T.N Design, an design firm PrecisionCraft works exclusively with.

“Their lot sits on a steep slope with limited space, so in order to include the spaces and rooms Carl and Celyna wanted in their home, I had to create a unique elevation for the floor plan to fit the contours of the lot.” said Tim.

The entire home’s view side utilizes covered deck space on the basement and main level to compensate for the steep, limiting lot. It even includes a lowered deck with a fire pit for fireside enjoyment on a summer night.

Rear Rendering

The basement level of the home includes a family room and additional bedrooms are accessible for the couple’s children and guests. Moving up to the home’s main floor, a spacious kitchen and great room flow into one another in the center, while a wing to the right is dedicated to the master suite. A secluded, formal dining space is located on the left. The third and final floor reveals a large loft, providing an area for quiet conversation with guests and family.

After years of searching for the right company and months of design meetings, Carl and Celyna are now ready to move forward and begin the process of bringing their dream home to life. The construction of their dynamic hybrid log and timber home is set to begin in the spring of 2014.