In practicing architectural balance in Vail Valley and in Western North Carolina, a big consideration is always striking the perfect balance of fully incorporating the natural beauty of the landscape and exterior spaces with the design of the interior. Balancing nature with our homes can also extend beyond design as more and more people are embracing green homes. Choosing to go green with your home can mean many things, but let’s look at a few trends that we’ve been seeing.
Smart Homes for Energy Efficiency
Smart homes have become all the rage. They give us the opportunity to manage and monitor our homes like never before. Interestingly, the advantages aren’t just based on the convenience of being able to control our homes with an app on our phone. By being able to better regulate thermostats and lights, it’s much easier to maximize energy efficiency. There are many opportunities to introduce smart appliances into your home at any time, but while building it is worth considering linking the HVAC or heating systems to Wi-Fi.
Solar panels don’t just provide an alternative to carbon-based fuel for our heating and electricity, they can give a homeowner energy independence from the grid! Many people imagine solar panels to be a compromise to a home’s design; clunky panels that are plunked down regardless of what the chosen architectural style. Now that’s no longer the case, and solar panels can be carefully incorporated into the design, adding to the architecture balance.
In the past, sustainable building meant using small windows. Now those who want to live in green homes can enjoy entire walls of windows with improvements to glazing and insulation.
If you’d like to learn more about incorporating green features into your home, then get in touch with us! We love sharing our expertise on all aspects of architecture in Vail Valley, Avon, Edwards, Beaver Creek, and in Western North Carolina!
Initially only used as reserved cabins, second homes, or vacation properties, log homes have gained a lot of popularity over the years as a place for full-time residence. People are not only looking to buy log homes in their desired locations, such as Vail, but also designing them for a more comfortable and personalized living experience. True logs are constructed with interlocking logs and notching at the corners. Log homes offer a variety of benefits over conventional homes. They are aesthetically more appealing in a mountain environment — both from the inside and the outside. They feature internal load bearing beams, a very sought-after design trait that gives a fantastic, traditional look. Log homes are also very strong and can withstand extreme climatic conditions such as hurricanes, earthquakes and snowstorms. In addition to that, they can be more energy-efficient than modern properties, and they smell great! Additionally, log veneered homes can provide the look of a log home without some of the problems associated with true logs, such as settling and checking.
Building a log home requires a lot more attention than what you may think
Are you also planning to build a log home? Great! Have you started doing the research on your options yet? Though it stands true for any property, log homes, in particular, can be a minefield of nuances and require a lot more attention. So, it’s important that you consider your options carefully to ensure that you don’t end up missing or compromising on certain things that later increase maintenance cost. A crucial part of the process is hiring a good log home architect in Vail, Colorado — somebody who specializes in this area and carries a good amount of experience. Keeping your requirements and expectations in mind, they can help you get exactly what you are looking for in your log home.
Types of Log Home Construction
The type of log home construction is determined by how the logs are laid and how they bear weight. In North America, there are four common types of log home construction: Stacked, Post and Beam, Square-Cut and Veneered.
Stacked – Stacked construction creates that iconic image of a log home. Logs are stacked horizontally, forming both the exterior and interior walls, without the need for drywall. Grooves are cut on the underneath of the logs to form a tight seal with the chinking. The stacked construction type is amazingly sturdy.
Post and Beam – Instead of piling logs on top of one another, post and beam construction uses a series of vertical posts and horizontal beams to create a structure that bears the weight of the property. The remaining walls are then built with cinder blocks, timber, logs, or framed with log veneer. This type of construction generally uses less logs than the stacked construction, so it is relatively less expensive. The design is also very flexible, which allows both owners and log home architects in Vail, Colorado more opportunity for creativity. Imagine big bay windows and the steeply peaked roofs! Post and beam construction also has fewer issues with settling as compared to stack construction.
Square-Cut – Square-cut homes, also known as timber-frame or hybrid, are very similar to the post and beam construction type with one major difference. With post and beam, the home features a naturally rounded profile of the logs. With a square-cut home, the logs are sawn flat or square to create a more modern construction type that owners typically pair with siding.
Veneered – These homes are traditionally framed and the half log veneer is applied as a siding material. Full logs with a corner cut out are used as corner treatments and as headers.
There is one word that really haunts log home owners – rot! Preventative maintenance is the key, but keeping your log home moisture-free begins with the design process and ensuring your roofs overhangs are sufficient to cover both the foundation and lower logs. Typically, this will be about a two to three foot overhang. From there, many maintenance tasks are similar to a conventional home. Checking the roof at regular intervals and clearing debris from your gutters is crucial. However, there are some maintenance tasks that are specific to log homes. For example, you’ll want to check the exterior logs of your home about twice a year for any rot or checking, paying specific attention to the south facing wall as it receives the most weather damage. Experts also recommend re-staining your log home about every 3 years to avoid further Sun damage. Also, chinking the checks in the logs is a necessity.
So, there you have it. We went over some of the advantages, the four major construction types, and some of the maintenance tips of a log home!