1. Where will I build? Evaluate the contour of your land before designing your home. Consider the effect of the seasons, accessibility and views. This helps determine where and how to install the driveway, septic system, plumbing and foundation.
2. What style do I want? Read timber home books and magazines, gather catalogs and plansbooks from timber producers, surf the Internet, go to open houses and home shows, and talk to home owners of the timber companies you're considering.
3. What are my design needs? Decide what features are conducive to your family's present and future needs and design a floorplan that's based on your lifestyle.
4. What's my budget? Decide which amenities you need immediately and, if there's a budget issue, the items you can postpone until you can afford them. Then figure out how much you can afford to mortgage, what the local and state taxes are and what types of insurance you may have to carry.
5. How will I choose a timber company? Call the producers in the region where you're planning to build, review literature, call client references and visit web sites.
Read the full story in the February 2006 issue of Timber Home Living.
Photo by Rich Frutchey