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How to Customize a Stock Plan

Tricks that will transform a company's stock plan into your personalized log home.

How to Customize a Stock Plan
Photo Credit: Nic MacMillan
 
If you think your napkin drawing of your log home is unique, think again. Just like songs and movies, nearly every idea you can imagine has been done before.

This isn't intended to slight your dream. In fact, it's good news, because changes are your log home producer has designed and manufactured a home that reflects your needs - or comes pretty darn close. On top of that, just about every manufacturer or handcrafter expects that you will want to make some tweaks to a stock floor plan, and they are ready to accommodate you. Armed with this knowledge, you can save thousands of dollars in design fees and still get the log home you long for.

Here are some easy floor plan modification dos and don't to tuck in your bag of tricks as you peruse stock plans:
 

Do:

  • Combine back-to-back bedrooms into one luxurious master suite.
  • Add shed-dormers on the second floor to increase headroom/esable square footage at a minimal cost.
  • Connect a detached garage as an entertainment area or in-law suite. (This is sometimes referred to as a FROG - family room over garage.) 
  • Reduce hallways by eliminating non-load-bearing interior walls to create the coveted open-concept design. 
  • Add or move cross windows for improved ventilation and a clear line of sight from one side of the house to the other.
 

Don't:

  • Increase the width of the plan. If you want to increase the square-footage, make it longer instead. As a rule, increasing the length won't affect the house structurally. However, going wider could mean re-engineering trusses and rafters to support the load.
  • Overdo it. There comes a time when you may be making too many changes. There is typically a fee for re-jiggering stock plans. The more changes you make, the more costly it will become, negating the savings of starting with a stock plan in the first place. 
  • Settle for less. If you are spending $400,000 on a house, don't be afraid to spend $4,000 on a set of plans. Typically, revisions to a stock plan cost an additional 20 to 30 percent on top of the plan itself. Getting exactly what you want is worth the nominal fee.