Buying a used log home doesn’t mean furnishing it from scratch.
By Joyce Standridge
Discounting cost, the easiest thing for a potential log-home owner to do when building from scratch is plan living space. Not enough room for what you want? Change dimensions, bump out a wall, add a room above the garage, move visitors to a guest wing.
But how many of us who are lusting for logs can truly discount cost?
Maybe the smartest thing we can do is back up a truck to the door, load our accumulated treasures, and move on down the road to love logs that were once somebody else’s scratch plan.
Used log homes are increasingly on the market. It’s new log homes that are lacking. According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, in recent years somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 percent of home sales were new construction of all types.
But as Ron Silliboy of Ward Cedar Log Homes observed in his recent blog, of the nearly 1 million times ground was broken last year to build new homes, fewer than 25,000 were log homes.
There has been a real contraction in business (and not just in the log world), which has resulted new business models that have caused manufacturer and consumer alike to take a fresh approach. It could easily be argued that it’s also a smarter approach. Log homes remain primarily upscale, but adopting and adapting existing homes has become increasingly attractive.
Manufacturers are offering packages for additions, expanded services for architectural adjustments and lots of cost-free suggestions for how to maximize the log-home investment. Increasingly, new log-home owners are also turning away from a totally clean slate in furnishing and accessorizing, and making a fresh appraisal of what can be not only salvaged, but also enhanced in the new setting.
With so many designers and home-furnishing entities pushing the mid-century and Swedish-modern style, with its hard edges and surfaces, blindingly shiny finishes and — let’s face it — cold lack of color, it’s harder to find new things that are a better and more natural fit with logs.
Instead of replacing larger pieces, consider recovering upholstery and refinishing wood.
Homeowners coming from stick-built living often have some well-built pieces that will transition beautifully into a log setting with just a little cosmetic update.
The best news about purchasing an existing log home is how well ideas developed for other settings will become equally or even more striking when integrated with log. “Timeless” is a word worn well when teamed with log, and the same can be said for the kind of well-loved styles that show best inside log homes.
So, all that “new” stuff (that’s really just stolen from our parents’ generations) can be sidelined as it becomes old yet again. Hug your best furniture and promise it a facelift if it makes you happy, but welcome to the Judgment-Free Zone that is log-home living.
Even if you’re moving into a used log home and intend keeping your old furniture, you might consider buying two new pieces. They’ll give the place a fresh feel, match the scale of your new home and anchor the remaining furniture that you’re bringing with you.
An overstuffed, leather sofa, ideally with at least one companion chair may seem like a cliche, but that’s because it’s a natural fit for a log home.
Leather goes with wood. It isn’t mandatory, however, so you can opt for upholstery.
The important thing is to install a sofa with substance, perhaps a sectional. If you’ve blown your budget on the house and have no choice but to keep your old sofa, consider having it reupholstered.
Most likely, whoever designed your log home, assuming it was this century and not the 19th, provided a roomy master suite. Maybe that’s what clinched your decision to buy the place. Your new bedroom is destined to be your sanctuary, so why keep your old bed if it looks dwarfed in its new setting? Even if you keep your old mattress, at least treat yourself to a new frame. And if you don’t already have a king-sized bed, get one.
If your furniture looks too dainty for a log home, chances are you’re not the kind of person who’ll be moving into a log home in the first place. But if you are, that doesn’t mean going whole-hog rustic. Maybe a contemporary country theme suits you. What you need are some establishing pieces and a few accessories that signal your “new-old” look and allow you to build around with items from your former home.