Good log home interior design provides physical and emotional satisfaction. Establish relationships in your home between space, light and line.
By Michael Grant
Good design isn’t always instantly recognizable. You are more likely to feel it as a sensory response to logical, well-thought-out solutions. Good residential design blends physical and emotional cues to create a house with soul. Size does not matter. It is about scale, detail and pattern. Today, our homes express who we are, what we value and how we live. To get there, establish relationships between space, light and line.
When you enter a room and your field of vision extends beyond what you expected, you experience depth and spaciousness. The room is more than four walls. By aligning walls, windows, doorways and columns, you establish a visual axis. Unless you create a focal point, however, your eyes will wander.
This focal point offers eyes a resting place. The classic example is a fireplace. It can also be artwork, an unusual window or a lighting fixture. For a focal point to work, the room needs a sense of balance or symmetry. The focal point will occupy the middle of the space. It can be framed by furniture, walls, windows, light or doorways.
An underestimated architectural feature is fenestration — the order and placement of windows and doors. This one detail will make or break the curb appeal or comfort of a house. It will define the architectural style, the pattern of light and the sense of order in a room.
When a window occupies a wall, it should balance the space, allow for furniture and provide illumination. Windows also provide transparency. This is more than seeing into the space beyond. It liberates the space, brings the outdoors in, and allows you to experience the changes of daylight, weather, the seasons and landscapes. A room without a window is a cell. A room of windows becomes a gallery.
Remember how you experienced your grandparents’ house, with its sloped ceilings, irregular spaces, nooks and crannies? Houses built generations ago used all of the space for living.
Today, too often, rooms are no more than drywall boxes — no interest or character. Fortunately, log homes often have vaulted ceilings and large and small rooms. The interplay of spaces makes the house more dynamic. When you step from a small foyer into an expansive great room, you experience space with interest and surprise.
These shaped spaces enhance your sensory experience. Add wonder by making second-floor bedrooms open to the underside of the sloped roof. Dormers add light and height. Again, you create shaped spaces that are usable and exciting. Shaped spaces may also accentuate architectural style.
Gabled or shed dormers will suggest a particular architecture. When you add exposed timbers that carry the weight of the roof, the room gains appeal as you anticipate the utility of the structure. A shaped space may be subtle and intimate, as a box bay window that is used as a reading nook with great light.
Barrel-vaulted ceilings, tray ceilings, rounded banisters, art alcoves or openings in walls between rooms also shape spaces by adding light, depth and interest.
Your home doesn’t need to be a castle to have an enticing staircase. Using materials in artistic ways to open floors up and down makes the space much more interesting.
Adding landings makes stairs more comfortable to use. A bench on the landing invites you take a break. Windows in the stairwell provide light. The staircase can be straight, spiral, switchback or L-shaped. If the space, craftsmanship, materials and light are thought out, you will have good design.
The way details are executed fulfills design. A good look doesn’t require expensive materials but does need excellent craftsmanship. This is the fit of one material joining another, whether physical or spatial. Details also define the style of the home.
A Craftsman bungalow has distinct trim details that are simple and elegant. Each style will have its own architectural appeal. At its most functional level, good design solves problems. Room relationships are designed for your convenience.
Doors swing in the right direction. Storage is sufficient. You can entertain friends and family or relax in your private space. Good design will also conserve energy, reduce maintenance and provide lifestyle considerations as you age. Good design doesn’t sacrifice utility for aesthetics. Ultimately, it represents who you are, what you value and how you live.
Michael Grant designs and builds homes for Modern Rustic Homes (modernrustichomes.com).