Imagine building a log home in a location so remote that the only means of setting the home's ridge log is by helicopter. Today, smart home design and advances in alternative energy have helped fuel a trend toward truly rugged living. Whether you plan a home that's entirely "off the grid" (not connected to public utility lines) or simply in a remote location with extreme weather, there are some considerations you should keep in mind. Think Before You Act
The number-one rule in rugged design is to plan ahead. With rugged sites, special factors come into play. In addition to normal home-design decisions, you'll need to think about your site's accessibility, energy options, terrain and weather patterns. Sometimes these issues can raise your costs dramatically. How Do You Get There?
Is your site accessible by paved roads, or will materials need to be delivered by ship or plane? If roads are available, are they wide enough—and strong enough—for trucks filled with heavy loads of building materials? Evaluate your site's accessibility ahead of time, and work with your production team to come up with solutions. Choose a Good Spot
Don't underestimate the importance of siting your home on your lot. Where you choose to situate your house will impact daily living. Sure, it's nice to capture great views, but you also want to make sure that you maximize energy efficiency and avoid terrain troubles. Design It Right
Smart design is essential to your home's success. Don't rush this stage of the process; take the time to plan every detail. After you've safely sited your home, you'll want to design a floorplan that maximizes the views your property affords. Materials Matter
In a rugged setting, materials may dictate a home's long-term durability. Windows and also play a role in a home's longevity. Choose energy-efficient windows with a good R-value. Cladding on exterior windows also is a good idea. Remember, a little extra research now goes a long way toward creating a home that will last a lifetime.Read the full story in the September 2006 issue of Log Home Living.
Photo by Cindy Thiede