When I first told you about Countrymark Log Homes (www.countrymarkloghomes.com), I told you that they had a plan that we were able to modify. That plan is called the Maggie Valley. It features two large bedrooms, one on the first floor and one on the second floor, each with its own bathroom and a large laundry room. Neither Stuart nor I felt that we needed a large master bedroom or bathroom. We thought that if we expanded the length and the width of the plans, reduced the size of the laundry room and open loft areas, expanded the existing shed dormer and added an identical one on the other side, that we could get an additional bedroom on each level. Our motivation for wanting the extra bedroom space is to be able to host our extended family and friends at our cabin. We also wanted to expand the size of the porches and add a porch to the other side of the house. Additionally, we changed one of each of the first floor bedroom windows to doors so that there could be access to the porches from each of these bedrooms.
Luckily for us, Ed Demaree with Countrymark has the knowledge and the capability to tweak his plans to accommodate requests like ours. We went through several revisions and modifications before arriving at our final plan. Even after construction began, modifications were made and Ed was always willing to make the changes. His biggest concern was structural integrity, which we very much appreciated! One of the last minute changes he made was to allow for the old beams that Stuart wanted to put in the basement. This required changing the way the floor joists run. After some head scratching and calculating, his engineering mind made it work. Another alteration he made during construction was to accommodate my kitchen plan. I knew that I wasn’t going to have custom built cabinets in the cabin due to budget constraints. There are many quality stock and semi custom products out there to choose from which are far less costly and still beautiful. I spent many weeks designing the layout of the kitchen and researching cabinet options. Although there are some variations, most of the non custom products come in standard sizes that can translate from brand to brand. The basic layout I had to work with was a ‘U’ shape. One thing I noticed, after studying our plans was that I wanted a bit more width in the dining area. To accomplish this, I need to narrow the kitchen plan a bit. I would come up with a configuration and look at the measurement of the open floor space between the sides, next I would go into the kitchen in my home with a tape measure and set it on that length, then I’d walk around imagining the new space and trying to decide if it was roomy enough. Once I came up with a final plan (well, sort of final since I hadn’t yet decided on a cabinet manufacturer!), I noticed that the window was not going to be in the right place. Reluctantly, I asked Stuart to ask Ed if he could change it. Ed was happy to make yet another change and construction continued.
We were also very lucky that our construction manager, Samuel Girod, was not only willing to make on site changes such as the sizes of the interior door openings to allow our reclaimed doors to fit, but he was excited to use alternate building materials like cedar posts and beams cut from our property for use as exterior and interior posts and accents. We also decided after seeing the actual size of the openings, to turn two closets in the hallway into one, reduce the size of our master bedroom closet about a foot to make a closet in the main room larger, to alter the beams in one of the loft bedrooms to accentuate the vaulted ceiling, and to change the design of the stairways to the basement and the loft. Samuel was happy to work with us and make all of these changes (SDG Investments LLC – firstname.lastname@example.org).
One aspect that I think Stuart and I would both have wanted to be done differently in hindsight, would be to have some sort of insulation between the main floor ceiling and the loft floor. As it is, they are one in the same. The ceiling in our bedroom is also the floor of the bedroom above. When our son had his friends stay overnight at the cabin with us, we can hear pretty much every noise they make. One day, when he’s grown and gone, we’ll probably long for that noise. But right now, it keeps us (mostly Stuart – I am a sounder sleeper) up at night. Check out one of our adorable neighbors who came to visit during construction!
Our HVAC installers were also willing to make changes to help us utilize non standard materials like the vintage grates we found at Architectural Salvage (http://www.architecturalsalvage.com ). When we brought them in, they got very excited to change the size of the openings and cut the subfloor so that they would be flush with the floor. All of these little details has helped us create a cabin that is uniquely ours and reflects our tastes and vision.
Don’t forget to check out this great site for cabin ideas, inspiration, and resources: http://www.log-cabin-connection.com/ !
Lots more great details to follow – stay tuned!