One Floorplan Four Ways
Log Home Design - October 2007
Families are like snowflakes: No two are exactly the
same. So why should your floorplan be identical to the Jones'
down the road? After all, what's ideal for one family might
result in utter chaos for another. But don't think that means
you need to spend the time or the money on a custom design for your
log home - you just need to find a stock plan that fits your
family's needs best. Most log home providers allow you to
make alterations and customize a standard plan so it fits your
Take the "Maplecreek," one of Oostburg, Wisconsin - based
Expedition Log Homes' most popular plans. The Expedition team
has seen countless renditions and modifications to it over the
years, and in this story, you'll meet four families who chose the
design as their starting point. Though each began with the
same floorplan, you'll see that the end result is four very
different log homes, all fitting their owners to a T.
About the Original
What makes the "Maplecreek" plan so popular? "It has a
great look." Explains Sue Hass, a sales representative for
Expedition. "People like the gable dormers, open floorplan
and the sunroom. The porch also gives the home some extra
pizzazz. The plan fits the picture of what most people think
of as their dream log home."
With 2,424 square feet of living space, the versatile stock plan
feels more spacious than its square footage suggests and boasts
open flow within a functional design. The main level is home
to the shared great room, kitchen and dining area, as well as to
two bedrooms, a bath, the spacious pantry and a utility room.
The octagonal sunroom is a focal point, which sits off the dining
room, while the upstairs is reserved for the master suite and an
"The private master bedroom is on the second floor and the extra
loft space can be used either as an extra sitting area or office,"
says Sue. "Yet the plan is adaptable to many different
lifestyles. For example, a homeowner could change the plan by
swapping the bedrooms, with the master suite on the first floor,
putting two bedrooms, a bath and loft on the second."
Although the plan is appealing as is, many customers modify it
to suit their specific needs.
"Individuality is the key," explains Sue. "Most people
choose something they'd like to tweak a bit."
The great thing is, with log construction you can alter to your
Case Study #1: The Albares Home, Emily,
Paul and Nancy Albares always loved the idea of a log
cabin, so when it came to choose a home for their lakefront
property, going log was a no-brainer.
Why They Chose the Plan:
"We liked the look of it," reveals Nancy. "One side
of the house was nearly all windows, which we thought would be
perfect for looking out onto the lake. We also liked the
front porch, and we felt the plan really fit the waterfront
location. The home looks like it's been here a long
What They Changed:
Since Paul and Nancy have three sons, they needed more
bedrooms than the plan called for. So, in lieu of the large
second-floor master bedroom, the couple created two bedrooms
upstairs. On the main level, they kept two bedrooms but
rearranged the space a bit, eliminating the pantry and elongating
the home to accommodate a larger utility room. They also
opted for a square-shaped covered deck in place of the octagonal
sunroom and put the fireplace on a flat wall instead of in the
As for the sunroom, Nancy felt the additional labor required to
construct it would blow their budget, plus it would impact the
home's distance from the lake. "The codes in our area dictate
a home must be 75 feet from the water, and since the sunroom sticks
out so much in the plan, our actual house would have to be set back
even farther," explains Nancy.
Favorite Feature: "We really love the
outdoor space, especially the big, long deck in front," says
Future Plans: "We plan to screen in
the porch on the back, and we're still working on finishing the
inside of the home," shares Nancy.
Case Study #2: The Campagna Home, Lawrence,
With one log home already under their belt, Sal and
Denise Campagna knew what they were looking for when they set out
to build their dream retreat on a 10-acre apple orchard.
Why They Chose the Plan:
"We were drawn to the idea of the great room, kitchen and
dining area being open to each other," recalls Sal. "In our
previous log home, the great home and kitchen were separated by a
What They Changed:
The core elements of the original plan stayed the same,
but the Campagnas chose to add an attached garage and a finished
basement, and they bumped out the front door to create a foyer
area. On the first floor, the couple decided to go with one
bedroom instead of two, plus they made sure the doorways were 3
feet wide, so they'd be wheelchair accessible in the future.
They also flipped the floorplan to better suit their lot. "We
went for a mirror image so that we could capture the views of our
orchard," explains Sal.
They also decided to orient the stairs differently "Inside, we
changed the staircase's angle so that we could accommodate a grand
piano," says Sal. "The stairs in the original plan took up a
good portion of the room."
The second floor still houses the master suite, but they reduced
the size of the bath so they could expand the loft. Outside,
they opted for an 8-foot-wide deck instead of the standard
Favorite Feature: "The best feature is
the octagonal sunroom," gushes Sal, noting that they added an
elevated deck off the space.
Future Plans: "We may move our master
bedroom to the first floor someday," Sal says. And with the
modified second master suite downstairs, there's no reason not
Case Study #3: The Hamilton Home, Dowagic,
From the time he was a small boy playing with Lincoln
Logs, Ken Hamilton was drawn to the cabin look. So it's no
surprise that he chose logs for his lakeside weekend retreat.
Why He Chose the Plan:
"Since my property is on a lake, I was drawn to all of
the windows and the sunroom," recalls Ken. "I could just
picture the home on this setting - I knew it would blend well with
the surroundings. I like the flexibility of it; you can do
what you want with it to make it your own.
What He Changed:
Ken reversed the original plan, swapping the location of
the living room/kitchen/dining area with the bedrooms. "I
flip-flopped the layout so that he living room would face out to
the water," explains Ken. "I just played around with it for a
while and determined what would work best for me." He also
opted for just one bedroom (the master) on the main floor instead
of two, and he changed the location of the fireplace. He also
enlarged the downstairs bath, and eliminated the pantry and large
The second-level master suite was nixed so Ken could enjoy
two-story ceilings in his great room, dining room and
kitchen. Instead of the winding staircase in the standard
plan, Ken stacked the downstairs and upstairs staircases to save
space and make the rooms feel even larger.
Favorite Feature: "The sunroom has
become the main gathering spot," says Ken. "I would make it
even larger if I could."
Future Plans: "The home is flexible
enough that I can add onto it later if I want," says Ken.
"Maybe I'll add another bedroom and bath off the back."
Case Study #4: The Vogel Home, Wyndham, New
David Vogel had been thinking about living in a log home
for 15 years before he took the plunge in the rural Catskill
Mountains of upstate New York.
Why He Chose the Plan:
"I loved how the design fit on the property," says
David. "I really liked the dormers on the front, and I liked
that the plan is just the right size - not too big and not too
What He Changed:
David took out the sunroom, and introduced an attached
garage and cantilevered porch off of the second-floor loft.
Other changes included adding a fireplace to the master bedroom;
building a finished basement with an additional bath; incorporating
9-foot ceilings throughout the home; and creating a sunken living
room, (In retrospect, David admits he wouldn't have done this,
since it interrupts the flow of space and makes it feel
The second-floor master bath was reconfigured to make way for a
corner tub and an additional sink and vanity. David also
incorporated outdoor balconies off of two rooms on the second
floor. "I changed the elevation because the original design
was a little square. This gives it more dimension," he
Favorite Feature: "I just love the
great flow," says David. "The house is so open, but it still
has a warm, cozy feel."
Future Plans; David just built a
40-by-30 foot barn on the property. "It's used for storing my
toys right now," he says with a laugh, "but maybe it will be used
for animals someday."