Top 8 Log Home Floor Plan Mistakes to Avoid
Planning and designing your dream log cabin means you get to call the shots.
Choice is KEY.
You are not restricted to remodelling an existing home – you can create exactly what you want.
However, it is vital that you design your floorplan carefully to avoid making costly mistakes. A poorly designed floorplan can shatter your chances of building the log cabin you dream of.
An under developed floorplan can leave you spending thousands, trying to correct or change elements half way through your build.
So, how do you avoid these mistakes?
How, exactly, should you plan your floor layout?
Read on to learn from years of log cabin living experience; how to create your dream log cabin floorplan, and the key mistakes you should avoid.
The importance of the floor plan
A floor plan is a scale drawing to show rooms, spaces and features from a birds eye view. It is not comprehensive enough to actually construct a home from; instead it should be used as a starting point in the design process.
Architect Jean Nouvel said, “Space, space: architects always talk about space! But creating a space is not automatically doing architecture. With the same space, you can make a masterpiece or cause a disaster”.
THIS is why floorplans are so vitally important – they allow us a way to visualise how a space will be used, and whether it is practical.
So with that said – let’s look at the 8 key mistakes to avoid.
Mistake 1: There is no ‘one size fits all’ floorplan
Don’t purchase a set of floorplans from the internet, and hope that they alone will result in you building the ultimate log cabin.
By all means, browse the internet for log cabin floor plans, you’ll be sure to find plenty but; be aware that you will probably not find one that is exactly what you need.
Use these premade plans as a starting point for your own plans. Adapt them, switch rooms around, and change the walls to create the space you want.
There are plenty of programmes to use to create a floorplan. This is my personal favourite tool.
Mistake 2: Being a dreamer!
Envisaging fancy features is dreamy, but is your idea practical?
Do you dream of having huge, whole wall ceiling to floor windows to make the most of the Mountain View? Be prepared to lose a heck of a lot of heat through that window in the winter and have sky high heating costs!
Similarly, don’t get side-tracked with the thought of beautiful features, if they simply aren’t practical. Sure, go ahead and build that beautiful brick fireplace, but functionality should be your number one priority. Will the rest of the room function well around it?
Mistake 3: Leaving paths of travel to be an afterthought
This is one of the most crucial elements in your floor plan.
Thinking about the way in which you will travel around your log cabin and how you will get from one place to the next will set the whole feel of your home.
Having walkways that are too small can make your home feel cramped and small.
Mistake 4: Under-estimating room sizes
The worst thing you can do is think, “OK, my current bedroom is 120 square foot, I want it to be slightly bigger, so I’ll make it 150 square foot”.
By all means – use this as a starting point.
But you will then need to think more about the size and shape of the furniture you want to include in each room, the rooms purpose, the style of room you want to create (cosy or spacious).
Micro-plan each and every room in the level of details that follows.
Let’s take the kitchen for an example:
- Where will you do most of your food preparation?
- How big does your food preparation surface need to be?
- How many cupboards will you need?
- Think about what exactly each cupboard will be used for (dry food, plates, large pans, electric mixes, scales etc – check the contents of your current kitchen!)
- How big does each cupboard need to be?
- Do you want a centre island?
- Is there enough space to walk around the centre island?
- Is there enough space for two people to prepare food?
- Where will your waste disposal go?
- Will your appliances be in the same room, or a utility room?
- Where will your sink go?
- Think about plumbing and drainage.
- Make sure you plan for enough drying space, or will you have a dishwasher?
- Do you want your fridge close to the food prep area?
- Where will the door to the kitchen be placed?
- Do you want a dining table in the kitchen?
- What works well in your current kitchen?
- What doesn’t work so well, how could you better that?
By planning each and every room like this, you will be able to determine the size of the floor space you need, and make sure it will be a practical, useful space.
Mistake 5: Not planning for the whole family
The view of your perfect log cabin has probably morphed and changed over the years, from single bachelor pad, to cosy cabin for two, to a large modern cabin to suit the needs of your ever growing family!
If you do have a young family, think about the safety aspects of your design.
As much as that swirling staircase with no banister appeals to you, will your little ones be able to walk up and down it safely?
The beautiful open roaring fire – how can you enclose it to make it safe for the children?
Mistake 6: Location (Don’t be blind-sighted by your floorplan)
It is all very well planning your rooms, and placing your windows and doors in relation to how you want the inside of your home to feel and where your furniture will be.
BUT – don’t forget about the orientation of your floorplan with regards to the outdoors.
Where will your cabin be placed?
You need to consider access onto the property before you can decide where your front door will be placed.
Think about the views that you want to make the most out of so you can place your windows in the best possible place.
Think about where the sun rises and sets, take into account any trees or obstructions that will block natural light.
Be sure to read how to site your log cabin in the perfect location, for more help.
Mistake 7: Letting your budget get out of control
Before you even begin to consider your floorplan or any aspect of design, you should know what your budget is.
Plan and design for what you can afford now. You can always add luxuries and upgrade at a later point.
Do you want a home office AND a guest room, could you combine the two? Making the use of your room’s flexible can reduce costs and also makes your home easy to change around and possibly to sell at a later point.
Have a look at our thorough costs breakdown to work out realistically how much you should set your budget at.
Mistake 8: Keeping your floorplan under wraps!
The more people you talk it through with, the more opinions and ideas you will have to work with.
Sit down one evening with all your family and share the draft floorplan, listen to their ideas about what works for them, and their particular spaces.
It is a good idea to think of different scenarios with them, and imagine acting them out to see if your space really works.
Picture a house full of people at Thanksgiving – is there enough space for everyone to be together, are there quiet spaces to escape to?
Think about your morning routine – are there enough bathrooms to cater to your requirements?
Picturing different scenarios will ensure that your plan is thoroughly though-out, and will make the transition between your paper floorplan drawing, and the actual build, run smoothly.
Now you know the 8 floorplan mistakes you must avoid.
The three most important mistakes that I urge you not to make are going over your budget, choosing fancy architecture over practicality and forgetting about your surroundings when designing your floorplan.
So, what is the best way to develop a floor plan I hear you ask? Find out in the next part of our design series. Sign up to receive our blog updates to be sure you don’t miss it.
I would love to see your floorplans, or hear about your process of designing your log cabin. Did you go it alone or get the help of an architect? Let us know in the comments below.