20 Essentials of Great Log Home Design

Everything you need to know to create a warm, comfortable, attractive log home.

20 Essentials of Great Design Over the past 30 years, architects and designers have taken log cabin design to places our founding fathers could scarcely imagine. Yet no matter how far-flung the application, log homes remain a direct link to things that are earthy and natural. Because these homes are what they are?dynamic, vigorous, natural?there is much to learn from them and about them when it comes to planning and decorating. You'll find many quirky challenges, but also exciting opportunities. Together, they form the core of your journey to home sweet log home. 1 Your Decor Should Fit with Your Logs Rustic and casual styles often work best with rough-peeled and dark-stained logs. Traditional furnishings fit well with hand-hewn dovetail construction. And contemporary decor is a good match for round, smooth-skinned walls with light finishes. 2 Drywall Isn't a Dirty Word Framed walls provide a break from the logs and make room for wall art, decorative paper and paint (not to mention providing hiding places for pipes and wiring). 3 Tall Walls Need Visual Relief To create a visual tier and balance out empty vertical space, consider installing large, attractive light fixtures that drop down into the room, or break up an expanse of log wall by hanging large tapestries, quilts and rugs. 4 Let the Trees Speak When building your interior, consider using curvaceous branches to create spontaneous weavings and decorative rails. Or give a piece of burled wood a place of distinction. 5 The Sun's Kiss Can Be Dangerous Consider installing windows that have special low-E coatings, multiple layers of glazing or tinted panes to reduce the amount of ultraviolet light that gets into the home. 6 Don't "Oversize" Your Furnishings Rather than overscaling everything in a large space, create separate furniture arrangements to accommodate smaller groups or different activities, such as dining or game playing. 7 Every Room Needs a Point of View Wherever possible, create rooms with a dramatic element that draws your attention. 8 Muffling Your Walls Will Improve Acoustics To absorb and diffuse sound waves, try installing large furnishings and heavy draperies. 9 Your Rooms Should Be Versatile You can enlarge your home's practical value by planning and furnishing rooms for multiple uses. 10 Log Homes Crave Extra Lighting Log homes take more light to achieve the same level of illumination. Carefully consider your lighting needs, and include additional lighting in the ceiling if it's warranted. 11 Brightening the Walls Helps, Too Stain the logs a lighter color, refresh your chink lines with a lighter hue, or try lightening window dressings with bright fabric-covered valances. 12 It's OK to Play with Your Decor Don't be afraid to take chances. If the fear of trying leaves you with a dull, neutral palette, your log home might lack the very qualities of originality you desire most. 13 Color Can Accent and Unify Pops of bright color used sparingly unify a space and create flow among rooms that spill over into each other. 14 Fabrics and Textiles Should Match the Setting In log homes, coarse treatments and nubby textures are especially popular, while durability and feet-up comfort are also high on the list. 15 Flooring Should Fit with Its Function Light-colored carpets obviously don't fit well in a home filled with kids and pets. On the other hand, stone, brick or poured concrete are the best options if you intend to have radiant-heat floors. 16 Consider Collectibles for Your Cabin As you pick your furnishings, work in the trappings of everyday stuff?the things people use, wear and eat?or the things they used, wore and ate in former times. 17 Hanging Wall Art Takes a Little Creativity Seek creative solutions, such as fitting corks behind pictures to even out irregular spaces and help the pictures sit flat against the wall. 18 Nature Belongs in Your Log Home To incorporate natural features into your home, look to your local willows, woods or distant red-rock cliffs for color and inspiration. 19 Decorating Doesn't Stop at the Back Door Outdoor spaces enlarge living areas and often extend the connection with nature that log home owners value and delight in. 20 There's Always Room for Improvement Houses grow a little like people do. An older, nothing-special house might need a decorative infusion of cabin spirit and some log accents to perk it up. If you've got an aging log home, consider some structural adjustments to update it.

Photo by Cindy Thiede