Tips on Choosing the Right and Best Home Designs

It will take a lot of time for you to choose the proper best home designs that are suitable for your needs and lifestyle. You have to recognize a couple of things that you have to consider when choosing a home design. It is crucial for you to pink home design which fits your taste. You also have to consider about your landscape.

Needs and Lifestyle

Family needs and lifestyles are two most important things when building a home. But you have to rely on the plans for your family in the future. For example, new couples will have a different home plan from a retired couple in terms of characteristics.

Before you choose the design that you want to in order to build a home, it is well recommended for you to thinks about your lifestyle and needs.

Privacy

A couple of homeowners want to have home plans which are more intimate in their personal living spaces and master bedroom, while some others want to have some privacy in their office space.

It is also important for you to think about privacy that you want from your neighbors and occupants. If you think this is crucial for you, you have to consider applying design with a U or L shape design. This house plans types will offer you more privacy when building a home.

Aesthetics and Furnishings

You have to consider the floor plan that you want to have for your new home because it will accommodate your furniture. Talking about the sizes of the room, you have to consider the seating places and the placement of your furniture because it will impact on the feel of your room. It is better for you to measure the furniture in order to decide the space that you want to use for your furniture.

Outdoor Space

Your home plan style will be affected by the natural and geographical landscaping features of your lot that you will have to pick.

Meanwhile, you have to consider whether you want to have enough lot space that you want to use for gardens, interesting landscaping, or pools or your lot space will offer a lawn spot for outdoor sports and games.

For those of you who already bought the building pot, you have to consider a couple of those reasons and plan your house design that you pick in order to find your requirements and needs.

Picking Building Lot

Flat building lots house plans are cheap and easy to build, even though you will find that they are not interesting as a sloping lot. You will be allowed by the sloping lot to plan for a daylight basement and tuck the garage under the home.

When planning to build a home, you also have to consider about a couple of cars that you want to use. You have to think about the space for the driveway or you also have to consider about the parking if many people come to your house. For those of you who have bought house plan, you do not have to choose a building lot that will generate that design.

7 Reasons Why You Should Build a New Home

A house is more than just a dwelling. It is an investment, a way to save for the future and to watch your capital grow. It makes sense to buy and own a house rather than pay rent. If you consider the amount of rent you pay over a lifetime you will find that if you own a house and pay a mortgage, you save a lot of money and also become the owner of property you can pass on to future generations or sell at a tidy profit. Should you buy a used house or should you build a new home is the question. There are pros and cons to each. However, a new home is definitely worth considering over buying an existing one.

You can choose the location

It may not be possible to find an old house in the location of your choice. You can buy a plot of land in a location you like and think of building a new home entirely to your specifications.

Design of the new home

When you buy an existing house, you have to take it as it is and renovate or remodel. You could, of course, demolish the house and use the site to build an entirely new home from the ground up. In either case you have full control over the design, placement of rooms, siting of the house in the plot, size and all parameters.

Quality of construction

An old house will have a number of defects. There could be cracks in the walls, leaks in the roof, peeling paint and similar issues. When you build a new home you are in total control. You can decide whether your new house should be made of masonry-concrete or lumber or prefab or even steel, aluminum, glass. Your builder will also factor in “green” building technologies that will help save energy and keep the house cool in summer and warm in winter. The savings alone make it worth the effort. In addition, when you go for new construction and have a reputed builder by your side you have full confidence that quality materials and processes will go into the construction to make the building last.

Cost control

Fix your budget and talk with the builder. He can come up with a clever design that will give you a house within your existing budget with provision to expand later on. You could decide on a lumber home, which might give you a larger space at a lower cost. If time is a constraint your builder could help you select the right prefab house. You could decide on a concrete-brick structure, starting with a ground floor for the present and then build the first floor later on. You can even decide on what goes inside such as the tiles, wall cladding, insulation, fixtures, light fittings and every tiny detail.

Peace of mind for years

A new house will give you peace of mind for years. You will not have problems of water ingress from the floor or walls, dripping ceilings or drainage problems. A well built house should require minimum maintenance for at least five years, if not more.

Value addition

When the design is right and the exteriors blend in with the landscape to create an overall beautiful aesthetic, your house increases in value. Should you decide to sell a couple of years later, you can always expect a profit.

Pride of ownership

Last but not least, if you have invested time, energy, thought and money in the building of a new house, it is the realization of a dream and it gives you pride of ownership.

For More Details: http://www.actionconstructionco.com/our-process/

9 Pro Tips for Selecting a Custom Home Building Contractor

Planning to build your custom home that matches your personal taste in architecture? First, you have to find a contractor you can rely on. Selecting between different residential contractors can be tricky at times, because every other company claims to be the best in business. Here are the 9 pro tips that you need.

1. Ask around. When you are looking for custom home builders, references always count. Talk to your friends, colleagues and neighbors to know about the services that they have tried so far. Ask them about the experience and why they liked or disliked a service.

2. Check if the company is genuine. Don’t be surprised to find that many of the contractors don’t have any experience working with clients. They often offer the best discounts and sell the contracts to smaller subcontractors to make some easy money.

3. Make sure the company is licensed, insured and bonded. You need to check if the contractor has the required permissions to work in your city and area, and they must be insured, as well. These are basic aspects that people often ignore while comparing the options.

4. Are they open to your ideas? A good and reliable general contractor will take the time to understand the needs, expectations and requirements of their clients. They will also discuss the ideas that you may have in mind, and depending on the practical aspects, they may suggest the right things.

5. Will they offer an estimate? As a client, you should be extremely careful about your choice of contractor, especially with regards to the estimate that they provide. Check if their prices are genuine and in sync with the standards. Getting an estimate is also important because you can compare the options.

6. Specialization counts. Always work with a contractor who has worked on and managed projects similar to yours. Not all commercial contractors deal in residential projects, so ask them about their areas of expertise.

7. Check their previous projects. You can never rely on a service that doesn’t have enough clients. Check the work they have done so far, so that you know the kind of experience they have with residential projects.

8. Ask for references. It is not enough to see a few pictures of their previous projects. You need to know the experience of their clients with regards to their services, and for that, nothing is more important than references. A company that has been doing business for more than five years will have enough clients.

9. Ask why you should hire them. As a client, you need to know why a company believes that they are better than others. Know about their highlights and ask them questions about their work. They should be able to convince you about their highlights and the kind of things they do.

Finally, take the time to set up a personal meeting. You may need two to three meetings before you can give a nod for the project.

Building an Energy Efficient Home – Top 10 Tips

  1. Choose an architect who understands low energy efficient house design
  • Be sure that builders are aware of the low energy aim of your house
  • Choose tradespeople that have both knowledge and experience in energy efficiency
  • Remember many architects/builders don’t go beyond minimum building standards and regulations but minimum isn’t the most efficient.
  • Minimize Your Heat Loss:
    • Keep your house plan simple and compact – A house that is compact and without extensions will have less heat loss due to the reduction in the external walls and roof area. Remember that single storey houses such as bungalows lose more heat through the roof than two or three storey houses where the rising heat is used throughout the levels before reaching the roof.
    • External walls should have high level insulation
    • Ensure there is good controlled ventilation and draught-proofing
    • Your architect can provide energy calculations of expected annual fuel bills
  • Maximize Your Solar Heat Gain:
    • Build along the East West axis – An energy efficient house will capture the free energy from the sun to heat your home and water. Ideally where possible choose a site where your house can face the sun (external blinds can prevent overheating in the summer months) and be sheltered from prevailing winds.
    • Houses in the northern hemisphere should locate most windows on the south side with reduced window size on the north side, and vice versa for houses in the southern hemisphere – Most windows should face the sun side to benefit from solar gains. However, some windows will have to be on the non-sun side to enable good daylight in all the rooms in your home.
    • Kitchens and breakfast rooms are mostly used in the mornings, so for houses in the northern hemisphere a south-east orientation will take advantage of the morning sun. For houses in the southern hemisphere then a north-east orientation will take advantage of the morning sun.
    • Halls, stairs and bathrooms can be located on the side that doesn’t get much sun as there are less frequently used.
    • Locate living rooms and main bedrooms on the sun facing side
    • In two storey houses consider having your bedrooms on the lower level (cooler for sleeping) and your living rooms on the upper level further reducing your heating requirements as upstairs gets warmer
    • Use the sun’s energy
      • Wind Turbines can take full advantage of wind power generation
      • Heat Pumps use the sun’s energy – all renewable energy systems are complementary to an energy efficient house design
  • Install Energy Efficient Heating And Hot Water System:
    • Renewable energy systems
    • Solar heaters
    • Use a condensing boiler if using gas or oil
    • Install easy to use controls

    More information on these can be found at the Home Heating Systems and Solutions site.


  • Consider Thermal Mass
    • When thinking of an energy efficient house remember that the use of certain materials will also improve the ‘thermal mass’ of your house by their ability to slowly absorb solar heat during the daytime and then slowly release this free heat through the night – The common materials used for thermal mass are:
      • Adobe bricks (mud or earth bricks)
      • Rocks and stones
      • Concrete (preferably concrete with stone)

      This is because they have:

      • High specific heat – able to store a large amount of heat for a long period of time like the heat bricks in a sauna
      • High density – basically the weight (mass) of a material in relation to it’s volume (it’s size) – the greater the mass per unit volume the greater the density
      • Low thermal conductivity – slow absorption and slow release of heat
    • Thermal mass is not insulation, it is the amount of specific heat that can be stored in a material (water has high thermal mass by being able to store a lot of heat). Insulation materials have a lower thermal conductivity to restrict the flow and absorption of heat.
  • Insulation
    • The percentage of heat loss from a house is approximately:
      • 42% Roof
      • 12% windows
      • 12% Unblocked chimneys and draughts around doors
      • 24% walls
      • 10% Floor
    • So when thinking of building an energy efficient house understand that installing insulation at the build stage is the easiest and cheapest way of improving your homes energy efficiency.
      • You can upgrade standard timber framed walls by using 140mm studs instead of 90mm studs – this will allow you more insulation. Masonry cavity walls can be improved by being filled with polystyrene insulating foam and by using lightweight thermal blocks.
      • You should have at least 250mm of loft insulation, 100mm of insulation between the joists and 150mm of insulation laid across the top. Loft conversions require careful attention especially if dormer windows are installed but a high standard of insulation can still be achieved.
      • Heat loss from the floor varies with different floor types. However, ground floor insulation is pretty easy. Generally a 125mm layer/sheet of polystyrene is used this size will be increased if installing underfloor heating to minimize heat loss.
      • Ensure insulation overlap between elements, e.g, between the wall and loft/roof cavity
      • Ensure air gaps such as wall cavities are clear of debris that can bridge therefore compromising the insulating air gap
      • Make sure fibre insulating materials are not compressed (packed tightly) as this will undermine its ability to properly insulate
      • Make sure that all insulating materials are kept dry
      • Be sure to seal all holes where services such as water and gas pipes enter your home
  • Windows And Conservatories
    • You’re always going to lose more heat through windows than through walls especially single pane windows. To minimize heat lost through windows ‘Low-E’ coated double glazing should be installed in all new houses.
    • Double glazing does not only reduce heat loss, it also offers some sound insulation. With double glazing the two panes are generally vacuum sealed. However, you can get argon-filled units (gas filled), and triple glazing which are well worth considering if you can afford them.
    • Conservatories can save you a little energy by acting as a buffer between the adjoining wall by trapping the heat from the sun, thereby reducing the heat loss from the room separated by the adjoining wall. To be effective, conservatories should be located on the sun facing side of the house and preferably not overshadowed by trees or other buildings.
    • Conservatories correctly placed should not require any permanent heating, but the doors that separate the house from the conservatory should be double glazed and shut when not in use.
  • Efficient Home Heating
    • A well insulated house is a low energy consuming house meaning that energy efficient house heating requirements are lower than a similar sized house which is poorly insulated.
    • Your heating system should take into account:
      • Fuel source and availability
      • The time you will spend in your home – quick or slow response systems
      • Construction material – timber framed houses should have responsive heating, such as radiators or air heat pumps, as the timber retains less heat than concrete, for example
      • Underfloor heating systems are not suited for houses built from lightweight construction materials, like timber frame, because of their slower heating response
    • You can have hydronic underfloor heating (wet or water based) systems combined with radiators. These are usually designed with the underfloor heating downstairs and radiators located upstairs.
    • Tiled solid screed floors work the best with underfloor heating. If you prefer a softer floor finish rather than tiles you should consider rugs rather than fitted carpets for better heat transference/output within the room.
    • Renewable energy systems such as heat pumps and solar heating are perfectly suited for energy efficient house designs.
  • Ventilation
    • Ventilation is an important aspect not to be overlooked as it provides both fresh air and removes stale air and moisture. Removing moisture prevents bacterial growth thus maintaining a healthy living environment.
    • Kitchens must have extractor fans or passive stack ventilation (PSV). PSV works using the principle of ‘rising’ warm air carrying stale air up and out.
    • Mechanical ventilation systems with heat recovery do offer filtered air and a reduction in noise intrusion as windows can be kept closed. However, unless you are using a renewable power system such as photovoltaic (PV) or wind turbines, then the power required to run the fans rules it out as a feature for an energy efficient house. Also, for a heat recovery system to work efficiently the house must be well sealed.
    • All rooms should have trickle ventilation – allowing air to come in at a trickle rate to provide required room air change rate per hour (ACH).
  • Lighting and appliances
    • These should be low energy rated (low-wattage) saving you money in running costs and helping the planet by reducing CO2 emissions.

    So now you can save the planet and save yourself running costs by building an energy efficient home.

  • 10 Tips For Building Your First Log Home

    For some, the idea of building a log home elicits romantic dreams of a return to nature and a simpler way of life but for others it conjures up nightmares of budget overages, poor quality work and absent customer service. While there is no way guarantee an absolutely trouble free build of your log home there are certain steps you can take to minimize the risk and in the process save you some money. Below are 10 tips to help you avoid the pitfall of log home construction;

    1. “You get what you pay for” there is no secret here the lower the price the less that is included in your “package” This is true for materials and service.

    2. Only buy quality materials- keep in mind that the log package which usually includes the walls, support beams, and roof beams is the only portion of the house that cannot be retro-fitted at a later date. Always buy the highest quality materials you can afford. The best materials for log home construction( in descending order) are Cedar, Fir, Spruce, Pine

    3. Deal with reputable a reputable company- make sure the company you are dealing with is legitimate- stay away from offers that are too good to be true. Visit the log home company’s construction site and look around- Is the machinery in good shape? Are the crew members respectable looking? Is the owner present? Are they insured? A reputable company will answer yes to all these.

    4. The contract. A good reputable log home company will have a good contract that clearly details exactly what is and what is not included in its package. Be wary of a company that has a vague contract which does not include details.

    5. Be prepared to pay- You won’t get something for nothing. If you grind the company too much on the price they will grind you on the quality or service. Keep in mind that “they have to eat too” and that building a log home requires large amounts of expensive materials and labour. Before you interview builders determine you budget for the log shell and the overall home. This may require price shopping on your behalf but remember if the price you get seems to good to be true then it probably is.

    6. Be flexible- building a log home requires a skilled labour force that is in short supply. If you can be flexible with your delivery date you can usually negotiate a better price.

    7. Financing- financing log homes is a little different than regular construction because you will be required to pay for the log shell prior to delivery. This can be 30% of the overall cost of your home and some “un-educated” mortgage companies will not release funds until certain milestones are reached. This can put you in a tight situation where the builder won’t ship the home until he is paid but the lender won’t release the money until the log shell is re-assembled. Your best course of action here to ensure smooth and timely delivery is to ether arrange bridge financing or deal with a mortgage company that specializes in log homes- they are out there and they understand the process. Failure to do so could result in penalties or even storage fees until you can arrange financing.

    8. Be ready for delivery- nothing could be worse than not having your foundation and or jobsite ready for the delivery of the log shell. This means that the foundation is finished, backfilled, and the site is accessible. Do not overlook the seriousness of this as most builders have it written into their contract that if the site is not accessible or ready then they are under no obligation to deliver the log shell and instead will off-load it at an accessible location and then leave. Be sure that if you are supplying the crane that it is suitable for the job and that the operator is competent and has the skill as a slow and incompetent crane operator can cost you a lot of money.

    9. A good contractor- finding a good contractor who will finish the home is where your budget is “make or break”. Do not automatically assume that your contractor shares your same vision and budget constraints. It is imperative that you stay close to the project and make you contractor stick to your budget. If you contractor seems to be spinning his wheels or is absent or keeps coming up with more hidden costs don’t be afraid to fire him- its your money and he works for you not the other way around.

    10. HAVE FUN. Enjoy the whole process. Along the way you will meet many great people if you let them in. Log homes, from the builder on up attract a certain type of warm and hospitable person and you will become life long friends with these people because after all you are all working on something more than just a home you are all working on a dream- your dream so enjoy it as much as you can.

    Tips For Building a Log Home

    Log homes have a long and valued tradition in the United States and other countries, and despite our modern age, they’ve never really gone out of style. In fact, they’re more popular today than ever. In our busy stressful lives, more and more people want a first home, vacation home, or retirement home that’s off on a piece of land of their own, away from the hustle and bustle of the city. If this sounds appealing to you, and you’re seriously thinking of taking the plunge and building a log home, let’s talk about some tips that can save you time and money.

    First off, buy the land on which you’re going to build. Do this before you make a commitment to a log home manufacturer or decide on a particular design. Often the lay of the land will dictate the best way to go about building a home on it. (And going against the lay of the land will only cost you money and trouble.)

    Second, have a realistic idea of how much the total project will cost before you sign up for a log home package. What they quote you for the kit and what the actual costs will be are going to be a lot different. To get a feel for how much more you’ll end up paying once labor and non-kit necessities are included, talk to builders, contractors, and other homeowners who have built a log home. Don’t be afraid to ask the manufacturers how much actual costs tend to run in your area.

    Whether you’re browsing kits or planning to have an architect design your dream home, keep a scrapbook of pictures and clippings in the months leading up to your purchase. Trying to say everything you want in words can be difficult, but if you can point to a picture and say “do the kitchen like that and the bathroom like that…” you’ll be more likely to get the home of your dreams. Don’t be afraid to spend months in the planning process, considering everything, before actually committing to a design.

    Before you buy, check references. Look for a log home manufacturer that is a member in an organization such as the Log Homes Council. This means they have a comprehensive construction manual and have agreed to hold up to certain log-grading standards.

    Make sure you’ve taken care of financing before starting construction (and make sure that financing will cover the cost of the whole project–there are too many tales of partially finished log homes out there that have been abandoned because the erstwhile builders ran out of money). Some home buyers with disposable income will start the process paying out of pocket and then try to get a construction loan when they run out of cash. This is a bad idea, since lenders usually refuse to loan money on construction that is in progress.

    Make sure you understand the manufacturer’s terms of purchase and that your financing covers those terms. Especially pay attention to the time period of the agreement (and what happens if you exceed the time limit). Examine the refund and warranty policies.

    Keep these tips in mind as you think about your future log home. Plan copiously and don’t rush. This way you’ll be more likely to survive the building process and get the home of your dreams.

    Some Tips In Building A Green Home

    If you are thinking of joining the advocacy of going green, what better way to do it than to start building a green home. You will need to follow certain environmental practices in building a green home – such as those that help lessen (negative) effects on the environment.

    First thing you need to consider is building materials. Building a environment friendly home would require materials that are eco-friendly and compliant with the current standards in constructing green homes. You may browse the internet for details regarding the compliances and product info to help you where to get and how to use them. If you have a contractor in mind, make sure that the company offers services specifically for building a green home.

    It is imperative to prioritize sustainable materials such as those that can be recycled or natural materials that can be replenished due to their growth rate. Hardwood from large old trees should not be cut down and used, since they take years to grow and the earth beneath will also be affected when they are taken out. Using alternative wood such as bamboo is better since this specie can grow rapidly.

    Lightweight concrete is a type of concrete that has been used in building a healthy home for years. However, this type of concrete is not as strong, but it can perform as well as traditional concrete and can hold up to any weather condition. It is often used as home insulation and it’s also capable of retarding fire.

    Prefabricated panels for homes are also available and they can be ordered and purchased at reasonable amounts. Generally, they are similarly priced to regular building materials that are used for a typical home. And they must also get approval from organizations that monitor environmental compliances.

    In order to have less impact on the environment, building green homes employ appropriate architectural design. Typical green homes are smaller than regular homes like those that are found in rural areas and large counties. Styles may vary from contemporary, bungalow, Victorian, ranch style and many others.

    The important thing about building a green home is that it will help lessen the negative effects on the environment in general. There are many factors that you need to consider such as energy and water consumptions, recycling and using eco-friendly materials. Generally, once you have these factors implemented on your green home, you’ll be able to help reduce harmful impacts on the environment and on the earth.

    How to Build a Home Business With Incentive Vacation Certificates

    Incentive vacation certificates- also referred to as free travel vouchers- provide an excellent opportunity for both experienced and aspiring entrepreneurs to build a home-based business with little to no investment required. In fact, because the market for these no-cost coupons is still virtually untapped, there exists real potential to achieve significant success by distributing these products. Formal training or education in marketing or sales fields is not needed because any person with a little ambition and part time availability can earn a respectable income distributing free travel vouchers.

    Not many people understand what incentive vacation certificates are; let alone that they can be used to start a home-based business. This is because it’s hard for most to imagine why an airline company or hotel would possibly want to give away free tickets or reservations. However, what many don’t realize is that these companies still profit when they give these coupons away: the recipients will still probably buy additional services or upgrades from the airline or buy merchandise and food from the airport. Hotels know that free guests will almost certainly spend money in their gift shops or eateries. Therefore, it makes sense to give these otherwise-unused seats and rooms away instead of earning nothing. After all, the vast majority of seats and reservations go unsold except during peak times.

    How do you get free travel vouchers? It’s actually quite simple. Airlines and hotel companies contract with certain outside companies who are permitted to offer these coupons to the public under very specific conditions. These companies in turn offer printing rights to consumers. Buyers can elect between free airfare vouchers, free hotel stays and complete combination packages, although each has different terms and conditions that must be met. Once you buy the printing rights (very inexpensive, typically $10 to $25 for unlimited rights) your name or company information will be printed on the coupons along with a unique code that identifies you to the issuer.

    Once you’ve printed some vouchers you can give them away for free or sell them- either way you’ll earn money when your customer redeems. Some people find little value in free things and so marketers actually sell the vouchers to their clients, while other people can’t resist the thought of a free vacation and so redeem certificates in droves. Generally speaking this is a product that is appealing to any demographic, so targeting consumers is relatively easy. Whether you charge for your products or not, you’ll need to market them using one or a combination of the following marketing tactics:

    *Your own travel-related website or blog

    *Blog commenting and social bookmarking

    *Article directory submissions

    *Email campaigns

    *Print

    *Direct mail

    With an initial investment cost of $10 or less, capital can be retained for any of these marketing methods. However, you can also market free travel vouchers at next to no cost simply by purchasing a.info domain and using free software to build a website hosted on a free server. You can then write articles yourself and submit them to article directories and drive traffic to them with blog commenting and social bookmarking- all of which can be done for free.

    A home-based business distributing free travel vouchers is completely scalable. You can start off by only purchasing printing rights to airfare coupons and experiment with marketing those. As the number of consumers redeeming your certificates increase you can use the money earned to purchase additional printing rights- like a two-night hotel stay. Over time, you can offer both the airline seats and hotel reservations as part of a package. You can even buy rights to 8 night resort vouchers.

    Distributing free travel vouchers is one of the few home-based businesses that anyone can get involved in that actually works. Even if you’re already a successful internet or affiliate marketer, you can use no-cost vacation certificates to diversify your income streams with little investment and passive efforts- especially if you already have article marketing or other strategies in place.

    If you have $13 for printing rights and a cheap.info domain name, you can get started immediately with your own home-based business.

    Choosing a Log Home Floor Plan That is Right For You

    You made your decision; you are finally going to build that log home. Not just any log home, but that special creation you've held in your mind's eye for so many years. You have walked on those hardwood floors, gazed out from behind those oversized picture windows, cooked dinner, curled up by the fire, and even slept in that special home – using that vivid imagination of yours. Oh yeah, you've been dreaming about your log home for a long time, and you have finally decided to make your dream become your reality.

    Got land? Before you spend too much time browsing floor plan possibilities, you need to know where that home will be built. Not all floor plan designs are suited for all building sites. For instance, a walk-out basement typically requires a home being built on a slope or recessed into a hillside. Additionally, some plans are designed to take advantage of the home's location relative to sunlight so even if you already own your land, you will want to know where and how your home will be positioned on your property. Once you have an idea of ​​where those logs will be stacked it's time to figure out what that stack needs to look like.

    Now the fun begins, and the first order of business is to choose the right floor plan that is consistent with the home you have pictured in your mind's eye – and the property on which it will be built. Odds are you'll probably not open a magazine by chance and stumble upon a floor plan that has occupied your dreams all these years. Choosing a plan and refining the design to meet your needs will require some research, self-introspection and creative inspiration.

    By and large, almost any residential floor plan can be adapted to a log home, but there are substantial differences and considerations that need to be addressed. One such example is that of room dimensions as they relate to the diameter of the logs you will be utilizing. A custom handcrafted home made from 20 "diameter logs will have a different footprint than one requiring 6" milled logs. If this is the first time you will be dealing with a log home manufacturer or architect, make sure you are comparing 'apples to apples' when discussing interior dimensions. If you want a room to be 14 'wide, make certain that your designer knows that you want the interior of the room to have 14' of open clearance and not measured from the center of the corresponding logs. Using the example above, your 14 'room could shrink to 12' if such presumptions are not understood.

    A floor plan is about space deployment, or more specifically, the space you want (or need) for family members, guests, pets, entertaining and basic household operations (ie cooking, dining, laundry, storage, etc.). Furthermore, it is easy to overlook space requirements for many things we take for granted such as hobbies, displaying collections and other family activities. Try to anticipate as many of your family's needs as possible and expand your floor plan to accommodate your desires.

    Once you have identified this all-encompassing 'wish list' you will almost certainly find yourself over budget. If money is no object – no problem, but if that Lotto jackpot has so far eluded you there are things you can do to bring that budget back in line. The most obvious and often least expensive way of doubling your floor space is to make use of the basement. A properly designed and finished basement is the perfect place to have a spare guest bedroom, home theater, hobby or play rooms, additional bathroom (s), laundry facilities or a home office.

    One of the best tips about using a basement for additional living space is to raise the ceiling. Adding an extra foot (or more) in the height of your basement ceiling is much less expensive than adding an additional floor or expanding the overall floor plan, and the added height will eliminate that closed-in feeling you get with so many basements.

    Adding or enlarging dormers is another way of capturing space from a second story or loft that is framed by a sloping roof line. You will be surprised how a well-positioned dormer can make a small loft appear much larger and provide vertical walls to accept seating, bookcases or tables that usually will not work with a conventional knee wall.

    It is also a good idea to keep a list of things that you don't like; things you may have seen in a magazine or noted when visiting other log homes. Some of the most frequent complaints one hears about log homes, especially older models, is the lack of storage space and small closets or bathrooms. This is most often the result of poor planning or not taking into consideration the diameter of log walls and the lack of attics in most log homes. Refer to your list when discussing details with your designer and remember that in most cases you cannot build a closet or a bathroom that is too large.

    These are just a few ideas that can help you choose and refine a floor plan to fit your lifestyle and accommodate your family's needs. Your log home company or architect will have many ideas that you may not have considered so encourage them to offer suggestions. Explain what you are trying to achieve and let their experience and knowledge guide you, but in the end, this is your floor plan.

    Helping people design the log home of their dreams was the inspiration behind the Log Home Directory's "Floor Plan Showcase" . Visitors now have an opportunity to browse as many as ten floor plans form each featured log home manufacturer without visiting dozens of different websites. These leading manufacturers display their most popular floor plans with descriptions, photos or renderings and links to additional information on their individual websites.

    What Is Turn-Key Construction – Why It's a Great Way to Build a Home

    When a customer is looking for a stress-free way to build their new home, they will want to hire a contractor that offers "turn-key construction" to build their home & take care of all of the details.

    The customers responsibilities include: Procuring financing, finding the right property, choosing a floor plan, picking out the colors, flooring, fixtures, wood finish, Cabinet style, countertops, window & door styles, and deciding on the amenities.

    The contractor is responsible for: everything involved with the home being built. The contractor hires the excavator, frames the structure, and finishes the interior. He is responsible for purchasing the materials and hiring the sub-contractors. Everything is completed down to the cabinets and carpet. When the home is finished, the customer "turns the key" and moves in. A Licensed Contractor will provide a post construction warranty, as well as guaranteeing the performance of the project while it's being built. The contractor accepts all of the liabilities that come with constructing the home.

    What are the benefits of hiring a turn-key contractor?

    A turn-key contractor builds the customer a custom home while protecting them from the headaches and stress of a construction project. The customer gets to have all the fun! They get to pick out their favorite amenities and colors and watch as their dreams come alive. When it's all done the customer gets to enjoy the finished result. Should something go wrong, they call on the contractor to remedy the problem according to the warranty and performance guidelines. The contractor takes on all the liability and responsibility so the customer can relax and enjoy watching their new home being built!

    Another way to make sure every one of your construction projects will have a better outcome is when choosing a home builder or a contractor for any building project, always hire a licensed contractor, that's the first way to save yourself from future headaches. Then make sure you know everything included in their price; get their warranty guarantee in writing; do a little research, including a background check; and always ask for references. If any of the information you want for the proposal is missing, or if they withhold information from you, those are red flags and I would suggest moving on, and finding a licensed contractor that will share all of the information you need to feel comfortable before moving forward with your project.

    Building a home should be a fun stress-free experience, finding the right builder enables you to have that!