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"Look Like a Million - for a whole lot less"

August 2008, Log Home Design

- by Donna Peak


Handcrafted Log Home Caribou Chances are when you hear the word “hybrid,” your thoughts immediately flip to the latest eco-craze in automotive technology. But, if you’re in the market for a log home, it is time to think “green.” And we’re not talking about solar panels or wind turbines. No, we’re talking about saving Benjamins, bones-the almighty buck.

The reality is that, far too often, log home devotees on the cusp of buying their dream home fall in love with a certain design or log system only to find that their impeccable taste doesn’t quite align with their means. Fortunately, an increasing number of log home manufacturers are accommodating a wider range of budgets with product lines that are diverse, flexible and gorgeous to boot.

One of these is Meridian, Idaho-based PrecisionCraft Log & Timber Homes. Because PrecisionCraft prides itself on being a design company first and a log and timber provider second, its team of talented designers is continuously seeking ways to expand the scope of what a “log home” can mean. And, in the case of its newly launched “Mountain Accent” line, that translates to blending conventional construction (to cut down on costs) with log posts, beams and trusses strategically placed where they’ll garner the most attention. This hybrid approach can translate into huge cost savings for you.

“Our company provides the full spectrum of log home options, but our designs are what draw people in. That’s what distinguishes us in the marketplace,” explains Jim Banner, PrecisionCraft’s general manager. “In the past, a certain percentage of people who were attracted to our designs didn’t have the budget to build it as a full log home, so we created out Mountain Accent™ homes to provide them with an option to have the design they love for less money.”

With the Baby Boomers on the brink of retirement and facing life on a fixed income, many modern log home shoppers are seeking ways to have that dream home for less. And the money saved on hybrid materials and construction costs can go right back into their nest eggs.

One of the most intriguing things about PrecisionCraft’s offerings is its flexible approach to the design-and-build process. For example, its popular “Caribou” design (shown above) and others are available as a full handcrafted log home, a log-and-timber hybrid, a timber frame, a milled-log home and a Mountain Accent home, each with a decreasing turnkey cost, but without sacrificing a bit of the original plan’s unique architectural features. In fact, the cost of the Mountain Accent version can be almost half of its handcrafted cousin. See example.

“There are several major design variables that affect cost: square footage, level of finishes and design complexity,” says Jim. “Most people grasp the first two, but when it comes to complexity-that is the number of corners, angles and roof lines it has-people need to consider the impact that design has on the finished cost of a home.” Of course, hiring and paying a construction crew is another key factor to consider when you’re budgeting for your log home. “Since hybrid homes often are stick framed and the log or timber accents are usually nonstructural, it’s relatively easy to find a qualified builder,” he adds.

Jim believes the most satisfied customers are the ones who approach home design as a holistic exercise, where the main price influencers are considered simultaneously rather than separately. For some, this means all the bells and whistles of an authentic log home. For others, it means opting for a less complex floor plan or keeping the design they love and going with a rustic hybrid house. The bottom line is that as you’re exploring log home companies, the key to success is to look for a menu of options that enable you to get the home of your dreams at a price you can afford. No bones about