Winners of Log Home Living's design contest reveal what they learned while building their home.
|Greg and Carey Miller embarked on a journey to build their modest log masterpiece in Pennsylvania’s Laurel Highlands three years ago. They didn’t have the luxury of deep pockets and lots of time to work with architects to get the home just right. Instead, they won a design contest sponsored by Log Home Living. From there, they never looked back—but they learned quite a bit. Here are Carey’s tips for building a home you’ll love: 1. Get at least three bids from contractors and subcontractors. Don’t rely on friends, relatives or the lowest bid. Rather, conduct the hiring process as if it’s a job interview. Compare each bid, item for item, ask questions, and if possible, speak to other homeowners who’ve worked with the contractor in the past. 2. Pick your battles with your budget. It’s human nature to see and want things that weren’t anticipated in your budget. Splurge on items you can’t live without, then cut mercilessly on rooms and details less important to you in order to afford your luxuries. Be careful not to sacrifice quality on aspects that may not be as visible but are just as important, such as good windows and sound framing. 3. Educate yourself. Read, research and learn as much as possible about log-home construction. It’s important to know that a tiny variation in materials, structure and even decor can greatly influence your budget. Making these decisions yourself will ensure that you’re under budget and satisfied with the result. 4. Take advantage of sales. Get to know the employees at every counter of your favorite supply shop, and make appearances often. You can save a ton of money from the tips you receive regarding upcoming sales, clearance items and promotional events on homebuilding materials. Be prepared to buy discounted items and store them until they can be used in your project. 5. Be original. Don’t be afraid to be different or bold in your ideas, materials, colors and personal touches. There are no rules for log homes, and originality is what makes them beautiful.|