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Distinguishing Family and Great Rooms

Great rooms and family rooms are two of the most important spaces in a home for gathering, and yet their individual purpose can be confused and the terms often become interchangeable. In this article, we will explain how many homeowners distinguish between these two spaces and how each space can be used within the home.

Great Room

Formal Great Room

Difference between a Great Room and Family Room

A great room is a communal space dedicated to gathering that provides a more formal setting for guests and visitors. Many great rooms are often distinguished by the inclusion of a window wall that frames a breathtaking view. On the other hand, a family room is generally a less formal setting where the family members can be more relaxed. Often times, it is even considered a multi-purpose room where a variety of activities can be conducted.

What Does Each Space Include? 

A main distinction between the great room and family room spaces is how they are furnished. A great room, for example, might include nice, formal furniture and main decorative features would be located here. Whereas, a family room, being a less formal location, can include a variety of furnishings, from a pool table, to an office desk, to an entertainment center.

Family Room

Informal Family Room

Where is Each Space Located?

In wood homes specifically, the great room will usually be found adjacent to the other main living spaces like the kitchen and dining room. It is the space where your main views are appreciated, so it is often in a central location on the main floor of the home. In contrast, because a family room has a more relaxed setting, they can be located just about anywhere in the home, from the basement, to the loft, or even the main floor.


For more examples of great rooms and family rooms, view our photo gallery.

Shop Talk: What We’re Working On

Milled ManufacturingTowards the end of last year, we showed you where all of the action happens here at PrecisionCraft—our manufacturing facilities. In that introduction Boyd, our Operations Manager, imparted his knowledge on the manufacturing process for timbers and milled logs and how that process differs from the crafting of hand peeled logs. We also gave you an insider look at what we were working on in both of our facilities at the time. This week we will give you an update on all of the new, exciting projects going on in the shop right now!

Milled Log Projects

Inside the shop, our CNC machines are running full time to produce a milled log post and beam skeleton for Gerrit and Kathryn’s customized version of the Cedar Falls design concept. When their logs have been cut to exact specifications, they will be sanded and prepped for installation on the couple’s 105 acre lot in Chromo, Colorado.

Handcrafted Log Projects

The raw, natural beauty of handcrafted logs coupled with the unique process of peeling each one by hand, makes this particular building style a popular one for rustic mountain homes. Such was the case for Ryan, whose custom hybrid handcrafted post and beam skeleton has just been completed in the yard. From here, his logs will be disassembled and sent to his site in Oregon to become a part of the 10,000 square foot home he has been dreaming of for over 20 years.

Handcrafted ManufacturingOnce the yard has been cleared of Ryan’s project, the crafting of Rob and Meladi’s hybrid log wall and post and beam skeleton will begin. Along with the hand peeled logs, the handcrafters will also be prepping 15 magnificent, flared western red cedar posts that will accent both the exterior and interior of the home.

Outdoor Living Projects

In addition to the various log homes that are being manufactured in our facilities, we are also producing two Bungalow outdoor living spaces that will become a part of a Napa Valley client’s vineyard.


For more information on our manufacturing process, read our past blog entitled, “Manufacturing Your Dream Home” or watch our milled log and handcrafted videos.

The Importance of a Good General Contractor

In the niche industry of custom home building, the experience of a project’s general contractor can mean the difference between quality construction, and unforeseeable maintenance issues down the road. Today we asked Rick Roeder of Emser Tile & Stone, to share with us why he thinks it is so crucial to have a thoughtful and experienced general contractor.

1.       Why would someone use a General Contractor for their project?

In my experience, I believe if you had 10 home owners that were asked to build a home either acting as their own general contractor, or by hiring a qualified and proven general contractor and cost was not an issue; all 10 would choose the path with the general contractor. A qualified general contractor (GC) has developed relationships with sub-contractors, inspectors, financial institutions, and all other levels that many prospective home owners have no idea will need to be involved in the process.

2.       What are some qualities of a good General Contractor?

In my view, first and foremost would be excellent communication skills. Every person is an individual with their own level of expectations and values, a good GC will know how to ask the right questions to completely understand these expectations. From there they also need; relationships with quality sub-contractors, good wherewithal for overall sight preparation and structure placement, and critical attention to detail.

3.       What are some things a good General Contractor will take care of during construction?

A good GC will not leave out a single detail for consideration during the process. The home owner will be walked through the entire process with complete clarity, from the first meeting to the final handoff of the keys. It is the responsibility of the GC to enable the customer to achieve their expectations, whether it is through good communication or minor details they are asked to change along the way. A good GC will be willing to do what it takes to satisfy their customer.

4.       In your industry, you say 70% of shower surrounds are now failing, how is this a reflection of bad general contracting and what would a good General Contractor do to help prevent it?

If issues like this arise, it is usually because of time constraints that lead to hasty, reckless installation, or the GC is using the same outdated technology they’ve been using for years. A sign of a good GC is their ability to gain knowledge through education—a good GC is always looking for cutting edge products and technology. A shower that is correctly constructed from the beginning may cost a little more, however, the good GC’s understand this will provide the homeowners and themselves the peace of mind that it will not cost more to fix later on. Also, a good GC will align themselves with sub-contractors that have the same standards and will be willing to do the right thing even when nobody is looking.


We would like to thank Rick for his insight on this topic. If you would like to learn more about Emser Tile & Stone, click here:

Progression of a Michigan Lakeside Cabin

View Elevation of HomeAs a Michigan native with a lifelong career in the automotive industry, Steve and his family’s roots were firmly planted in the state. Loving the recreational opportunities Michigan offered, for years they retained a small cottage and land near Dead River Basin on the Upper Peninsula. After several years, Steve decided it was time to build a newer, rustic cabin retreat that was better equipped for their family’s changing needs. Thus, his search began for the perfect company to fulfill these needs.

Having a keen eye and attention to detail, Steve immediately liked how PrecisionCraft’s Total Home Solution® offered him a flexible, yet structured design and construction process. After browsing through the vast floor plan gallery and discovering the Wood River concept, he knew he had found the company that could offer him all he needed for his particular project.

Utilizing the Wood River design as an inspiration for his own home, Steve began working with Tim, his M.T.N Design designer, to create a layout that worked with his budget, style, and needs. Tim’s design was primarily driven by the activities Steve’s family enjoyed on their lakefront property.  For example, an outdoor shower was included to the layout so that the family could rinse off after playing on the lake, and the great room was designed and oriented to appreciate the property’s waterfront views. Steve also had him expand the original design to include an unfinished walkout basement and a loft, and included more bedroom space.Timber Frame Home

Once Steve’s design was complete, he had the original cottage torn down and worked with his project manager through PrecisionCraft’s Builder Bid Administration process to find and secure a builder for the next phase of his project. Now, after several months of construction, Steve’s home exterior is being stained and sided, and work on the interior is in full swing. Steve and his family hope to have their rustic cabin retreat completed in time to enjoy the upcoming summer months.


Stay tuned for final photos of Steve’s lakeside cabin, coming to Facebook this summer.