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What I would like to see discussed in the magazines . . .

What a great idea! - thanks for asking for our input. I would like to see some information/articles/discussions on the following topics:
1. land loans and construction loans - pros and cons of combining the two, how to find a knowledgeable loan company for either/both, and how to finance in these trying times. Also what to expect when negotiating land and/or construction loans. It is clear that many banks do not understand this process - where does one go for help?
2. Bathrooms - where to locate them inside your home; finishing interior logs for the shower; must haves, nice to have, and "in my dreams"; bathtubs - how many do we really need?; what value does it add to have a bath open into a second-master bedroom? versus just how many doors can that little bathroom have?; what about an outhouse? - is it practical or just for fun? it could be fun to have when one is on a lake - or if you have an outdoor hot tub or pool - is this practical to prevent wet folks from tracking into the house or just plain 'out there?"; discussion on the chemical or self contained toilets that do not require a septic tank (for the outhouse or the basement); what things in a bathroom add value to a home?; what tends to use up money - and not really worth it?; what about the end-line tankless water heaters? - how well do they work in areas where it freezes in the winter?; how many bathrooms are necessary in a home? and what is the minimum of what they should contain (shower or shower and tub - etc)?

OK that's it for now - more later. Dee

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I'd like to see an articles about controlling your vacation home, via yor main homes computer, I hear you can smart wire your utilities, also a way to quickly winterize and shut down the plumbing, so my weekend place can go ice cold in the winter without having to keep the heat at 40-50 degrees when I'm not there, who needs the xtra heating bills !, Also ways to build for efficient natural cooling, re: air flows.Also an article on alternative kitchen counter tops, metals, concrete, ect'' any thing outside the box. Thanks Greg Beck
more:
1. how about a discussion on septic systems with the pros and cons? and of course include upkeep issues. That would be so helpful for a Spring issue as that's when many will be putting in systems.
2. I'm with Denise re: small homes. It can be frustrating to see the lavish and large homes in the magazines when you are designing, building, planning, and decorating a small home. Features could include: best utilization of space; storage and hidden storage; what are must haves, nice to have, and just pure luxury items - and when luxury might be worth it; ideas for guest rooms as double duty rooms so as not to have a lot of unused space; room size ranges; etc.
3. Decks, sun rooms, and screened in porches - how to make the best use of these to maximize living space in all seasons. Can I put "indoor" type furniture on a screened in porch? - for example extra sleeping for those hot humid summer nights or for the kids to camp out. How do you heat a sun room? - or cool it? is it separate or included in the regular house heating/cooling?
4. Hot tubs: on the deck or not? wood burning or gas? cedar or other? I am intrigued with the cedar hot tubs and the notion of heating with a small wood burning stove - would love to see some articles about building an outdoor spa on the deck - with hot tub, outdoor shower, etc.
5. Let's have more mudroom (shed) ideas - the brief article we got was just not enough.
6. What about the basement? - how do you keep the humidity in check?
7. What about a feature series - that takes a family through the whole process - sort of like Blog Cabin was indented to be - with more down to earth realistic issues, decisions, and problems. Start with the dream - move on to picking out and purchasing property, planning a house, picking a builder, making all the choices that go into building a house from scratch (plugs, lights, doors, windows, etc.), deciding on a decorating style - and picking out furniture and foo foos, naming the cabin, etc. You could feature different folks with different experiences in the same phase etc. Do you need a volunteer? pick me! pick me! :-)
Dee - I love your ideas and like you & Denise - since I have a modest sized log home as well - I'd love to see more ideas to maximize my space! It's a slow learning process! Right now on our open loft - I am looking for a room divider screen so the guest bed has privacy and then I'm going to use the rest of the loft space as a seating/ reading/listening to music area. I'd love to see more features on the loft!
Oh - and I vote for you too as a feature series!! :-0
@Dee

1.) I have one myself and it works. Don't put any plastic down your drains, use some Rid-X every now and then, and most important of all leave the cap above ground where you can find it IF you ever need it pumped. You can cover this from your sight all sorts of ways from a fake rock to flowers.

2.) Many homes you see on a lot of sites are liked by the average guy when they see them but you don't see that many get built for the average person out there. Go look at some conventional house plans to get an idea. For me guest rooms at 12' x 12' are are perfect. Not too small and not too big so they want to stay too long. Also, carpet comes in 12' rolls. Do the guests need to have a wood floor and walls? If not save some money. Open planning I believe helps save money while making a small home look larger having no walls between your living area, dining, and kitchen. You might want a mudroom though.

3.) I wouldn't put indoor furniture in a screened porch. You can also get Plexiglass panels to replace the screens during the winter. You may or may not want to arrange for a separate heating and cooling system for your screened porch depending upon the size, and location of your home. If you are in a cold climate you may want to add a small gas heater there.

4.) Hot tubs can go on a deck. I personally like gas better if only because I don't know of a reliable manufacture for a wood burning one.

5.) A mudroom integrated into your porch at some point is one way to do it.

6.) Rock almost to the top and not just around the drain line and a dehumidifier keeps ours dry and we have red clay which holds moisture.

7.) That's just a few of my ideas. There are many more from others I'm sure.
Julie and I have aquired well over a hundred log home magazines during the past 4 years, and I would have to say that at least half of the magazine is advertisements. This isn't always bad, but the advertisements are always the same. We love it when a new article is printed in the magazine that gives us good info or ideas, and I'd love to see more information on smart or dumb things that people do when building. Dave
I like the notion of sharing smart / dumb things in the building process.
Perhaps a regular article with contributions for "Proudest Success" and "Biggest Oops" during the building process. As a side note, I don't think someone should contribute one without the other.
@Dave and Julie

Guilty on the adds. The websites change faster.
I would like to see a few articles on landscaping, i.e waterponds, shrubery, trees, bushes. What not to plant near a log home (things that would attract insects or hold excess water).

I would also like to see an article like "What I would do different" or "things to avoid".
Something I would really love to see is an article explaining the benefits of 3D modeling within the log home community. As a designer, too many people have had too many headaches working with flat 2D plans. Sure, they are great and they are necessary for construction, but I think 3D modeling is going to be a wave of the future and I want to get a jump start on things!

Thanks!
Hi Jeffrey,

That's a great story idea! It's a topic that seems to come up quite a bit among readers. Most simply ask if there's software out there that allows them to tinker with plans, etc.

We've touched on this a little in Log Home Living, but not to the extend we should...

Thanks for the post, and have a wonderful weekend!

Mike
We are about to make an offer on a lot in a subdivision.
This what we've learned with the help of our realtor.
1) Get under contract with the seller. 2) Request a perc evaluation from the county for the septic. 3) Evaluate for the presence and extent of sub-surface rock formations. 4) Perform survey/topo evaluation. 5) Drill for well water. I think all of these are important and necessary for being as certain as we can be that this lot will work for you.

The point here is if the offer isnt contingent to having the list compliant to the site build we could be in for additonal costs or be stuck with an unbuildable site. My message here is that a comprehensive list of what to do step by step as the project matures would be invaluable.
Gatorgene
@Jeffrey
Try SketchUp.

http://sketchup.google.com/

Of course if you have plenty of money and have the time you can get ArchiCAD with Log Home Solutions, but that is thousands of dollars more than free or even the Pro version for $495. That used along with your present CAD package will work well.

If you are into rendering Kerkythea 2008 is free:

http://www.kerkythea.net/joomla/

It's bigger brother is on $200 American:

http://www.thearender.com/cms/

It pays to have several tools in the arsenal.

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