My father-in-law likes to brag about his 100 acres in Wyoming. “I’m a land baron,” he says with a twinkle in his eye. “I bought that land back in the 1970s when it was going for nothing. Incredibly shrewd move, incredibly shrewd!”
Ah, but don’t ask this funny Irishman how much he paid for this slice of terra firma in 1975 versus how much the land is worth now. The answers: not much and, um…not much. The glory of Wyoming is its proverbial wide-open spaces, which, if you’ve ever slogged across the state via car, becomes apparent in the first hour or so. Turns out my father-in-law bought scrubland that doesn’t actually perc, probably has limited water or mineral access and is miles and miles from anyone or anything that doesn’t crawl, slither or sleep on a rock. Jackson Hole it is most definitely not.
How can you find the perfect piece of land? We give you a head start with the “Best Places to Build Your Log Home
”, a rundown of 10 sweet locales that combine affordability, outdoor diversions, civic amenities and small-town charm. We also pride ourselves on finding places that haven’t been on everyone’s radar but probably will be in the next year or two. Of course, these criteria are different for everyone, so make sure you do your homework—the setting for your home is everything.
Designing your house also can be a challenge, and our first annual “Small Home Design Contest
” proves that smart floor plans always make a world of difference. Our winners, all less than 2,500 square feet, are anything but ordinary; they combine the best elements of functionality and rustic style while taking log-home design into a whole new era. I think you’ll love what you see.
Building a custom home is forever challenging. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. That’s why our old friend Jim Cooper, also known as the Savvy Builder is a log-home construction icon. The man tells it like it is. He tackles another common challenge in this issue: building on a sloped lot
. His advice—from calculating your site’s slope to redirecting water away from the foundation—is priceless. Whenever Jim and I plan one of his columns, his enthusiasm is contagious. “Sure, it’s tricky endeavor,” he’ll say about a particular subject, “but if folks are educated about it, everything comes together nicely in the end.”
In other words, your log home—whether it’s finding pristine land, crafting a masterful floor plan or working with a builder—is worth the journey.