Lights... Camera... Log Home!

Log Home Design Ideas - September 2001

If you're like most people thinking about buying a log home, you've visited your share of model homes, read your share of literature and taken in your share of home shows.  But truth be told, no part of the research process can top actually stepping into a log home.  That mythic "warm feeling" takes over and the smell of wood invades your sense.

A home show is a good starting point; you can meet and talk to industry professionals and learn about what they do.  Of course, a home show also presents an opportunity to view products.  If you're lucky, you'll have the chance to visit a home show that transcends all home shows - a log home show.  And if you're really lucky, an exhibitor will build a log home onsite.

Expedition Log Homes of Oostburg, Wisconsin, did just that when it built a 1,100 square foot home inside the Des Moines Veterans Auditorium for the city's annual Home & Garden Show earlier this year.  The full-outfitted two-story home was the pet project of Expedition dealers Doug and Laurie Pooch who are based in Waukee, Iowa.

The show home was designed, prebuilt packaged, put together onsite and completely decorated in less than six months.  A lot of blood, sweat and tears went into the home, which stood on the auditorium floor for just five days.  Despite the home's short life, Doug Pooch says the project was well worth the effort.

"We had exhibited at shows before," he says, "but we always thought we could do a little more to draw more attention."  So when Minneapolis-based Trade Shows Inc. called the Pooches in October of last year and asked them to build a home at the show, they couldn't pass up the opportunity.

"We had to say yes," Doug says.  "we didn't know how we would do it, but we had to say yes."  The Pooches got an enthusiastic endorsement from Expedition's home office, though the company was barely a month old, its seasoned staff recognized a prime opportunity when it presented itself.

Doug and Laurie spent the next two months finalizing plans for the home., organizing vendors and brainstorming the hows and whys of the project.  Building a home inside the expo center, where 10-by-10 doors provided the only entry and other exhibitors were clamoring for space, would present some exceptional challenges.

Expedition helped Doug create a home "small enough to build in a short period of time, but large enough to give the feel of living in a real log home."  At the same time, Doug located a customer interested in building a small home.  The customer signed on to buy the home after its show appearance and added his input to its design.

As the New Year came and passed, the home was built in sections in a rented warehouse.  Doug and his customer assembled the floor system and the roof, then disassembled and packaged both the delivery to the show.  Everything they put together had to fit through those 10-by-10 doors.

Next came the wall framing.  Exterior walls were assembled according to Expedition's insulated 2x6 construction method, the half-logs that would eventually cover the walls inside and out were shipped directly to the auditorium for installation onsite, as were the Pella windows used on the project.

Five trailer loads of materials arrived at the auditorium shortly before midnight on a blustery Sunday night in February.  Over the next three days, Doug, Laurie, staff from Expedition's home office and a crew of framers, carpenters, finish carpenters, log installers, decorators and more had the not-so-simple task of putting the home together.  Their goal - finishing the house before the shows' opening on Wednesday - was a s big a challenge as Doug had ever seen.

All told, more than 20 crew and 40 companies contributed to the project.  Consider what they completed in just two and a half days.

  • Assembly of the sub-floor system Sunday evening into Monday morning.
  • Wall erection, rafter placement, tie beam installation and placement of pre-assembled log stairs on Monday.
  • Installation of cabinetry, windows, flooring, knotty pine ceilings and all other components - including working electrical connections - on Tuesday (including an "all-nighter" to ready the home for the decorators).
  • Complete decoration of the home - from rugs and wall hangings to furniture, wallpaper and appliances - on Wednesday to meet the 4 p.m. show opening.

A small crane helped place upper wall sections and the roof system, but the rest of the construction was manual.  Everything was assembled with disassembly in mind - screws were used where nails normally would be, for instance - since the home would have to be taken apart and removed from the premises within 24 hours of the show's closing.  When the show opened, Doug's crew was sweeping away the last of the sawdust.

"We had a 300-foto line to get into the house, but it was only a 20-minute wait," Doug says.  He and Laurie estimate more than 40,000 people toured the home in its five-day run, Expedition staff from the home office and several dealerships throughout the Midwest helped staff the home.

Show attendees weren't the only ones eager to see the completed home.  Local TV crews aired live from the home and Doug even did several radio spots promoting the project.

Today, the home is being re-erected by Doug and Laurie's customer.  He has added about 300 square feet to the design, primarily in sunroom space, as well as several gables, a porch and a garage.

"One of the keys to the success of the project was that Expedition was willing to work with us,:" Doug says.  Equally important were the vendors and crew who supported the project.  "We had a whole list of contributors I could depend on to do their job."

Let us be your guide.....

Blaze your own path with the help of an experienced guide.  Expedition Log Homes® is here to help you map out your very own log home journey..

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