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The Oak Leaf – April 2012

By April 1, 2012May 3rd, 2024Newsletter

Welcome to the April 2012 issue of The Oak Leaf! For new readers, this is a monthly newsletter that is sent by e-mail to those that have expressed an interest in Gastineau Log Homes. We use this as a way of communicating technical, design and industry information. For more information, check out our web site at

Trivia Question: What was the average time a home was on the market for sale in the United States in 2011?

This is the loft area of this style of log home. The loft looks down into the living room area. We call this a 3/4 loft plan, as there is a second story floor over 3/4 of the first floor. This shows a dormer across the back wall of the loft which gives the maximum amount of headroom in the loft. Log siding was used on the inside of the dormer to make it look like a log wall. Drywall could have been used. Wood is also used on the ceiling. This is one of the finishes I am talking about that change the “feel” of the home.

After 35 years, I am still asked new questions, something nobody has asked before… Last week I met with a couple who had visited a model home of another log home company. They loved the floor plan and the “feel” that they got from that home. They wanted to know if we could design a home for them that would look just like the one they had visited. This question really took me by surprise. Of course we could! The items they were talking about that gave them the “feel” they loved came from the finishes of the home that the customer chooses. It had nothing to do with the engineering, the interlocking of the logs, the energy efficiency or the quality of the materials in the package. (All the things that we, a log home manufacturer, think are most important and focus on!) So I decided this month I would show pictures of different finishes of the same basic plan so you can see how the “look” or “feel” of the home comes from the finishes. All started with the same log package. I have personally been in over 200 homes of this same design, and no two look alike. The choices YOU make, make the difference.

What are the customer choices that change the interior appearance of the home? When you build a log home, it is a custom home. This means that it can be built just like you want it, and you don’t have to just take what someone else has chosen to put into a home. There are many choices that YOU make that change the interior appearance of your home. Some of these choices are made with the log home supplier. Some are made with subcontractors. 1. There are some basics, such as the interior profile of the log. (You can have round or flat.) 2. Another decision is how much wood you want in the home. Some people want wood on every wall and all the ceilings. Some people only want wood for the exterior log walls and want drywall on all the other walls but wood on the ceilings. And some people want wood for the log walls only and drywall everywhere else. 3. The staircase and railings are another finish that you choose. Oak stairs, log stairs and railings, metal railings, aluminum balusters, are four of the choices available. (Two are shown below. For more, go to the March Oak Leaf.) 4. The choice of exposed beam floor system for the second story floor or a 2 X 10 floor system. 5. Beams in the cathedral ceiling. Do you want them or not? If you do, would you prefer beam rafters or do you want exposed beam trusses? 6. Interior doors can be very rustic or more finished. 7. Light fixtures. Yes, the light fixtures change the design/decor of the interior and can have much more of an impact than you think. 8. Kitchen cabinets. The design, style, hardware and lighting in the kitchen is very important to the overall feel of the home. This has the greatest impact in homes with the great room where the living, dining and kitchen are all one large room. 9. Windows. The number and size of windows in the home is very important. This is something that we can help with during the design stage to make sure the placement and sizes are appropriate for your site and orientation and your view. 10. Floor coverings. Wood vs carpet vs tile vs stamped concrete. All of these give a different feel to the home. 11. The fireplace. Is it large? Where is it located? Is it stone or brick? What type of mantle? 12. And last but not least, is the furniture you plan to use.

This kitchen design and choices really affect the overall feel of the home. The gas fireplace with a tv above and wine rack below in the kitchen is a focal point. The choice of hickory for the cabinets really gives a rustic yet elegant look to the cabinetry. The tile bcksplash, granite countertops and tile floor are all homeowner choices and make this a true custom home.

What should you look for when you visit a model home? Do not pay attention to the things that you can change. (See my list above.) It does not matter if the home is not finished out in the same way you would finish your home. It would be impossible for us to build a home that fits every persons taste. Ask about the options that are shown and what other options are available. Find out how flexible the company is to meeting your wishes for your home. Look at how the logs fit together and are sealed between the logs. Find out about the design capabilities they offer and if there is an engineer on staff.

This is a steel baluster system used with GLH Oak top and bottom rails and Oak posts. The walls could be wood, but the customer chose to finish them out with drywall. Note the wall sconce and the hanging light which have matching glass globes.

This is a heavy timber stair system with a peeled pine log railing. The mantle on the fireplace matches the railing. Drywall was used for the framed walls; there is a wood ceiling. The fireplace is rock and serves as a room divider as well as a focal point.

What design changes can be made to the basic design? One of the reasons this basic, 4 corner design is so popular is because it can be modified so easily to fit your needs. This plan is so popular, that 7 of our 12 Home of the Month plans in 2011 were variations of that design! And they vary from 1400 sq ft to over 4000 sq ft!

This copper sink with it’s unique faucet is a very unique design feature that could go in any home. The white cabinets are pretty unique for a log home as well.

Some of the most common modifications are: 1. Make the house bigger or smaller 2. Add porches and/or sunrooms. 3. Add dormers, both gable dormers and shed dormers. 4. Add garages, either attached or with a breezeway. 5. Add glass in the gable of the living room. 6. Put on a walk out basement and add living space in the basement. 7. Add windows or glass doors. 8. Add mud room or utility room on main level. 9. Enlarge master suite. 10. Add decks. I have seen our 1642 square feet Missourian Loft A turned into a 3100 square foot home with an attached garage and a sunroom. Combine the design capabilities with all the options and choices, and you can see why this home can be built ANY way you want!

  • This is a dormer that has the ceiling and walls covered in wood.

  • Here is the same dormer with the ceiling and walls covered with drywall. And of course, you could combine this with drywall walls and a wood ceiling, of vice versa!

Construction Seminar Schedule for 2012:

April 14 May 19 July 14 Sept 15 Oct 13

The one day construction seminars are held at our model home center on I70 on the southwest outer road of Exit 144 in Central Missouri. Call to register!

See GLH at these log home shows:

Oley Fair, Oley, PA on Sept 20 too 22 from 9:00 AM to 10:00 PM

Open Houses:
Fleetwood, PA April 14, 2012 from 11;00 AM to 4:00 PM Contact Dennis and Colleen Gabel for more information at 610-790-7479 or email:

Fleetwood, PA October 20, 2012 from 11;00 AM to 4:00 PM Contact Dennis and Colleen Gabel for more information at 610-790-7479 or email:

Answer to the Trivia Question: According to the National Association of Realtors Profile of Buyers and Sellers, 2011, the average time a home was on the market was 9 weeks. 35% of homes were on the market less than 2 months before they sold. 39% of sellers did not reduce the asking price, 26% of sellers reduced it once and 35% reduced the price two or more times. Buyers searched for a median of 12 weeks and visited 12 homes before they found the one they purchased. First time home buyers comprise 37% of the market.

Quote of the Month: “The big secret in life is that there is no big secret. Whatever your goal, you can get there if you’re willing to work.” – Oprah Winfrey