Iron Details in the Log Home

Two weeks ago, we discussed how the metal roof is a great choice for the log home. While metal (usually steel or copper) roofing is a good choice on the outside of the home, the inside of a log home is also a great canvas for metal accents. Usually, cast or wrought iron is the metal of choice on the inside. These metals have a rugged appearance that fits right in with the log home character. Here are a few ways these metals are used around the log home.

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The wood stove and staircase feature iron construction.

Wrought iron has inclusions within it that are very fibrous, which gives the iron a grain resembling that of wood. This helps explain why it is such a popular material choice for balusters in the log home. While wood is also a popular choice, metal balusters can help lend a more modern feel to the home. Wrought iron can also help give a more open feel to a staircase when used as a banister (which is just a specific term for a baluster on a staircase).

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Iron balusters create a more open feel.

Wrought iron is also a popular choice for furniture items throughout the log home. Since wrought iron was once a popular building material but now sees little use, most of these items are made with reclaimed or recycled iron. Most fire irons are wrought iron, and it is also a popular material for everything from barstools to pot racks.

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Fire tools are traditionally wrought iron.

If you’re going to have a wrought iron pot rack, it only makes sense to use it to hold a cast iron pan or Dutch oven. Despite their antique appearance, cast iron cookware has many advantages over more modern cookware. It retains heat very well, which is great for searing and simmering. It is also non-stick if it is seasoned properly, although some care should be taken with cleaning and you should avoid acidic foods. For a more modern option, consider enameled cast iron cookware, which is easier to clean and works with acidic foods.

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Cast iron is great for pot holders.

Since iron is a great material for hot locations, woodstoves and inserts are often made with cast iron as well. Since early chandeliers held candles, fire-proof iron was a popular choice here as well. While a modern chandelier uses electric light, wrought iron is still a popular choice for chandeliers in the log home.

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Chandeliers, balusters and wood stoves look great in cast iron.

Do you like the look of iron in the interior of a log home? Whatever materials you like, we would be happy to design and build a log home just for you. Please contact Real Log Homes today to get started.

French Terms Around the Log Home

The home as we know it is a concept that originated in the Netherlands. Despite this, many of the words we use to refer to items around the home are French in origin. This may seem peculiar, since the English language contains approximately the same number of words of French and Germanic (including Dutch) origin. In fact, it is an interesting consequence of English history.

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Many home terms are French in origin, even if home designs typically aren’t.

After the Norman Invasion of England in 1066, the Normans removed essentially all of the Anglo-Saxon nobility. Since the new nobles spoke French, words with French origins began to be regarded as more prestigious while the Germanic Anglo-Saxon words were regarded as crude. Since homes in England were typically defined by aristocratic estates, the French names stuck.

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Porch is a French term, meaning passage or colonnade.

Even before entering the log home, we can see this dominance of French words just by looking at the entry. The log home almost demands a porch, which is of course a word of French origin. It literally means passage, since in many cases a porch can simply be a small area through which one enters the home. It also is very close to the word for colonnade, which many log home porches resemble.

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While porch is French, terms like rafter and timber are Germanic.

French terms continue at the front door. While door itself is a Germanic word, many of its components are French. The door sits in a jamb and is surrounded by a casing. It is composed of panels and is decorated with an escutcheon. All of these part names come from the French language.

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Many door components have French names.

Inside the house, rooms are more likely to have French names if they serve a public function. As we covered before, parlor is a French loan word. It also seems very appropriate given the French passion for food that the dining room and pantry take their names from French as well. At the same time, more private rooms in the home have Germanic origins, such as the bedroom and den. Kitchen is also a Germanic word, since this was not a public area of the home until recently.

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The kitchen wasn’t a public room until recently, so it has a Germanic name.

If you look at our name, you’ll find a neat blend of Germanic and French origins. Real is a French word, while Home comes from Dutch or German. Log, however, has an unknown etymology. It first appeared in English in the 14th-century and may not have come from another language. The Oxford English Dictionary suggests log may have been created since the word suggests through its sound “the notion of heaviness.”

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The word log suggests a “notion of heaviness”.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this look at the origin of French names in the log home. If you’re looking to build your own log home, please contact Real Log Homes today.

The Versatile Metal Roof

In log homes, as in all homes, there are a great many materials you can choose from when it comes to selecting a roofing material. You can look at this post from three years ago for a quick comparison of roofing types. Among all homes, the asphalt shingle is the most popular choice. However, we’ve noticed that the metal roof has above average popularity for the log home buyer. Here are a few ways the metal roof is the perfect complement to a Real Log Home.

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Standing-seam metal roofs are a very popular for log homes.

One aspect of a metal roof that appeals to the log home owner is durability. Since the log home itself is a very durable structure, it is only fitting that you pair it with a durable roof. Steel roofs need to eventually be recoated, but this typically is not required for 30 or more years. Copper roofs are well known for lasting over 100 years, and any small leaks can be fixed with solder.

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A metal roof helps keep this Massachusetts home cool in summer and warm in winter.

A metal roof also has a timeless characteristic that goes well with any style home. While we frequently think of metal as a “new” building material, it is one of the older roofing materials used today. Asphalt shingles only came about at the beginning of the twentieth century, while copper roofs date back to at least the 3rd century BC. Thus, whatever style of log home you are looking for, a metal roof will be a great choice.

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The hot Texas summers are no match for this metal-roofed log home!

Metal roofs are also a more environmentally friendly choice than other roof types. Steel and copper are completely recyclable, and roofing is usually made with a high percentage of recycled material. Also, metal roofs are more energy efficient in both the summer and winter seasons. In the summer, the metal reflects heat away from the building keeping it cool. Although a smaller effect, it also reflects heat back at the house in the winter keeping it warm. A 2008 study by the Department of Energy found that a metal roof can reduce summer cooling costs by up to 40 percent and winter heating costs by up to 15 percent.

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Metal roofs are also popular in mountain homes.

Even the past drawbacks of metal roofs are less of an issue today. Although metal roofs have greater upfront costs, their greater longevity and recyclability means they hold their value much better than any other roof type. Another common complaint from the past was that metal roofs were noisy in the rain. Proper roof insulation, however, will stop both heat transfer and deaden sound waves. A metal roof with modern insulation beneath can be as quiet as any other roof type.

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Metal roofs excel in snowy climates as well as warm ones!

As you can see, the metal roof is a great choice for the log home. If you’re looking to build a log home with a metal roof, or any other roof type, please contact Real Log Homes today.

California Mountain Log Home

At Real Log Homes, we pride ourselves on having a complete team that provides services from design to construction and beyond. Sometimes, however, homeowners wish to work with local architects or designers. Also, sometimes homeowners will add embellishments from other providers. We are happy to work on these projects as well, and this is a story of one such log home.

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This log home was designed and built by Meeker Log Homes, a Real Log Home’s Independent Representative. The home is situated on top of a hill in the Sierra Nevada, which made for a challenging build site. Care was taken to protect the oak trees surrounding the site, and this house was built to take in the wonderful views.

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The massive front entry with its scissor-truss design and trapezoidal footings suggests an oversized Craftsman-style log home. The exterior logs are 8-inch V-Groove style (also known as “D” logs), but many different types of wood are used throughout the home. The ceiling is lodge pole pine tongue-in-groove, while alder is used for the kitchen cabinets. Out back, a massive deck overlooking the mountains is constructed with ipe, a resilient wood that also pays homage to the owner’s Brazilian heritage.

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The great room space also finds two features provided by other companies. The massive logs framing the prow window in the great room are California redwood, provided by a local company. The half-log staircase uses wood from Minnesota and iron working from a nearby welding company. Using this staircase takes us to the master suite, which occupies the entire upper floor of the home. Both the bedroom and bathroom naturally command impressive views.

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The guest bedrooms are located on the main floor, separated from the great room by the home’s only hallway. Each of these bedrooms has its own private bathroom. Back on the other side of the home, we find an interesting feature in the kitchen. While the range hood looks like copper, it is actually a wooden piece designed to look like the metal.

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We hope this mountain home has shown you how we enjoy making a quality home, whether we design it in house or collaborate with other designers and architects. If you’re looking to design a log home, or are even already consulting with an architect or designer, please contact Real Log Homes today.

To learn even more about the design and building of this REAL™ Log Home, pick up a copy of the 2016 September Issue of Log Home Living and flip to page 30!

The Pros and Cons of Vessel Sinks

For the past few years, a different type of sink has been gaining in popularity in both homes and commercial developments. The vessel sink, unlike most sinks, uses a washbowl that is placed on top of the countertop or vanity. This arrangement has both its advantages and disadvantages over more widely used sink styles. Here are some considerations for determining whether a vessel sink is right in your home.

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One advantage to the vessel sink is its style. While what’s in style can come and go, this type of sink has an appearance that is both modern and antique at the same time. Before indoor plumbing became standard, a sink placed on top of a counter was the only option. While this can give the sink a rustic feel, modern materials and forms can instead be used for the sink construction to create a modern look. Judicious selection of the faucet can also give an old or new appearance as desired. Log or barrel pedestals are very popular choices for holding vessel sinks in the log home, which creates a cohesive look with the rest of the home.

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Another advantage to the vessel sink is that the plumbing uses less space inside the cabinet on which it is mounted. Surface mount sinks have their bowl below the level of the vanity, so they require space below both for the sink body and the plumbing. A vessel sink, since it sits on top the vanity, requires only a small space below for the plumbing. This can be especially helpful when repurposing a drawer or other piece of furniture to serve as a bathroom vanity, or just when trying to maximize bathroom storage.

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The recently featured New Castle uses a vessel sink on top of a barrel.

One of the biggest drawbacks of the vessel sink is that they are difficult to clean. While surface mount bathroom sinks typically have a smooth surface from the counter to the sink bowl, the elevated vessel sink has an acute mounting between the sink and counter surface. This makes it difficult to clean, requiring more time than a typical sink. Also, the higher vessel means that placing items in the sink is challenging, so use in a kitchen or bar area is usually avoided.

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Tall vessel sinks should be used with care.

Another drawback is the vessel sink can be harder to use than other sinks. The elevated position means that water is more likely to splash out onto the counter, again requiring more frequent cleaning than other sinks. The higher position also makes the sink harder to use for children or even shorter adults.

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Surface mount sinks can also provide a rustic feel.

While the vessel sink is quite popular at the moment, it also has its drawbacks. We hope this guide has helped you decide on what sink would go best in your new Real Log Home. Please contact us to further discuss the design of your dream home.