Log House Design Reconsidered

Secret Passion Rediscovered

In late 2008 Liza and I had decided we would buy land in the U.S.A. and build a home where we could live for most of the year. The other part of the year would be lived in Dubna Russia near Liza's parents, our children, her brothers and the extended family, and traveling. I invested most of my time in 2009 in looking for suitable places to live in Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana and Colorado. I did Internet searches in Washington, Oregon, Nevada, New Mexico and Arizona.

California was not in our Top Ten list.......until July 2009 when Liza, our son Vas, and I went to Mount Shasta Buddhist Abbey for a Spiritual Retreat. The rest of that story is told elsewhere on this site. By December we had agreed to look for land somewhere near the area of Weed California. We assumed a radius of 50 miles. I did an Internet search and found many properties that I went to see in early Fall of 2009 and I narrowed the list to a select few. We had a trip planned for February of 2010 so that Liza and I could see them together. Liza had many questions I could barely answer about type and size of homes, costs of land and building, and living expenses. I started getting the answers by doing more online searches for land, houses, construction rules and costs, etc. I spent days reading online reports and information.

Years earlier I had dreamed of building a small log cabin and had even researched it to the point of knowing some of the manufacturers of log cabin kits. I decided that might be a way of answering the questions about costs since some companies offered 'turn-key' packages and listed prices. I was unsure of my skills being up to the task of the building process with logs. I had been involved over many years with 'stick-built' homes. I worked with my Dad and grand father when they built houses for others and for ourselves. I felt very comfortable with that type of construction, but logs might be more difficult to work with. There were also many questions about the energy efficiency of logs versus the new 'green design' construction methods. But my secret passion for log homes had been rediscovered and rekindled....I had to at least consider the idea.

I did a Google Search and the first name that popped up was Log Castles of Roseburg Oregon and the second name was Natural Element Homes offering Tennessee Log Homes. I searched out over thirty-five (35) other companies that offered log home plans, components, complete kits and/or construction services. It was a pleasant way to pass the time during Christmas of December 2009 and the New Years time of January 2010.

As I perused the pages of the Log Castles site I was soon 'hooked' by their designs named the Ashalee II and the Rosebriar Cottage. The Ashalee was appealing because of the tower with a bedroom on the 2nd floor over the kitchen on the main floor. This was very reminiscent of my 1980 concept house plan.... yes, emotions die hard. The Ashalee's floor plan was just a bit too large for us and the Rosebriar became one of our top choices in the early days of this 'horse race'. The Rosebriar 1st floor plan and 2nd floor plan were close but needed modification to meet our needs.

Natural Element Homes has an extensive catalogue of homes of various sizes. They have a long history of producing excellent kits for the person with average capabilities to be able to build their own home. We took a long time narrowing their list to the plans named Bear Paw and Prickly Pear. The Prickly Pear at 1609 sq. ft., was a solid utilitarian home with lots of well-designed space. We favored the Bear Paw at 1507 sq. ft. because it was just simply 'cuter', not better, just 'cuter'. However, both were larger than we had set our minds on.

We visited the Log Castles model home in Roseburg Oregon in February 2009 and met with the California saleswoman for Natural Element Homes a week later. Both companies and people impressed us. We assumed we would do business with one of them if we could get the land we wanted. See the "Serious" section for further information on our choices.



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