Sustainable Log Home Designs

  • Published on June 16th, 2016

This post is for the growing number of sustainability practitioners who happen to be interested in log homes, a sustainable building material.

log home windows shutterstock_401867074

Sarah Woods has informed PlanetSave about a new collection of sustainable log home floor plans she has just finished creating. The plans — available at no cost — run the gamut of square footage sizes less than 1,000 sq ft, from modestly sized abodes to ones which are quite tiny.

Log home history

For background, I want to provide readers with a bit of history. Thanks to the National Park Service, here is some basic information:

“The origin of the log structure is uncertain. It is probable that it began in northern Europe sometime in the Bronze Age (c. 3,500 B.C.). By the time Europeans began to settle in America, there was a long tradition of using logs for houses, barns, and other outbuildings in the Scandinavian countries, Germany, and Northern Russia. These regions had vast stands of softwood timber that could easily be worked with simple hand tools. According to C. A. Weslager, whose book on log cabins is considered a classic, the Finns, as well as the Swedes, had a “close attunement” with the forests, and both groups had well-developed forest industries. Weslager goes on to say:

“The Finns were accomplished in building several forms of log housing, having different methods of corner timbering, and they utilized both round and hewn logs. Their log building had undergone an evolutionary process from the crude “pirtii”…a small gabled-roof cabin of round logs with an opening in the roof to vent smoke, to more sophisticated squared logs with interlocking double-notch joints, the timber extending beyond the corners. Log saunas or bathhouses of this type are still found in rural Finland.

“When the Finns and the Swedes began to arrive in New Sweden (along both banks of the Delaware River into modern Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland), they brought their knowledge of such wood construction with them. So did later immigrants from Germany. The Scots, Irish, and Scots-Irish had no tradition of building with logs, but they quickly adopted the technique. The log cabin suited early settlers and later pioneers. It would have been nearly impossible to carry building materials across the ocean in the small sailing ships of the time. It would have been equally difficult to transport building materials on horseback or even in the wagons or river barges pioneers used to cross mountains and valleys in their search for their own land. So, wherever there were forested areas, the log cabin became the preferred type of initial dwelling. Log cabins did not even need nails or spikes to hold them together. Until the 19th century nails were made by hand by blacksmiths, which meant they were quite expensive, and like lumber, they were also heavy.

“Log cabins were relatively easy to build. Weslager reports that a record was set by three men who cut down trees, trimmed them, dragged the logs to the building site, notched the logs, and built a one-room cabin with chimney and fireplace in two days. For most people it took a bit longer, but it was possible for a man working alone to build a cabin in one to two weeks.”

From the Log Cabin Hub

Cabin enthusiast Sarah Woods writes, “We are thrilled to present to you five free floor plans which have been designed by our log cabin experts.Please feel free to make the most of these plans and use them to build your own log cabin or alternatively, use them as inspiration and a starting point to design your own dream home.”

The website offers a range of cabin plans, from tiny homes suitable for a single person or couple, to three bedroom cabins for a larger family.

Plan examples

Evergreen – 796 sq ft

Key Features: ƒ Large open plan living space ƒ- 2 bathrooms -ƒ 2 bedrooms -ƒ porch area

Log cabin Evergreen-Floor-Plan-Feature ƒ

The Evergreen is a two-bedroom, two-bathroom mid-sized log cabin featuring a large open plan living space and kitchen perfect for entertaining guests. There is space for an optional porch, perfect for sitting and enjoying nature. Cabin size: 32’0” x 26’0” (9.75 x 7.92m) Living Area: 20’0” x 12’0” (6.10 x 3.66m) Kitchen/Dining Area: Approx. 12’0” x 16’0” (3.66 x 4.88m) Bedroom One: 12’0” x 12’0” (3.66 x 3.66m) Bedroom Two: 8’0” x 12’0” (2.44 x 3.66m) Bathroom One: 6’0” x 12’0 (1.83 x 3.66m) Bathroom Two: 4’0” x 6.0” (1.22 x 1.83m.

Calderton – 364 sq ft

Key features: Rustic tiny home log sided cabin – One bedroom with built in storage

Log Cabin Calderton-Floor-Plan-Feature

The Calderton was designed towards the larger end of the scale of a tiny home. It has a small L-shaped kitchen with a bathroom opposite complete with a bath. The bedroom has inbuilt storage. Functions as a cozy getaway, easy to clean and maintain. Cabin size: 12’0” x 32’0” (3.66 x 9.75m);Open Plan Area: Approx. 12’0” x 17’5” (3.66 x 5.31m);Bedroom: 12’0” x 9’0” (3.66 x 2.74m);Bathroom: 5’7” x 5’0” (1.70 x 1.52m)

Questions & Answers

The folks at Log Cabin Hub are happy to provide answers to questions from log cabin enthusiast.

log cabin QA-With-A-Log-Cabin-Owner

For those with a plot of land and the desire to build something different, this website serves as a nice resource. When we have more to share we will.

Images: log cabin with windows via Shutterstock; Q&A via Log Cabin hub


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About the Author

is a writer, producer, and director. Meyers is editor and site director of Green Building Elements, a contributor to CleanTechnica, and founder of Green Streets MediaTrain, a communications connection and eLearning hub. As an independent producer, he's been involved in the development, production and distribution of television and distance learning programs for both the education industry and corporate sector. He also is an avid gardener and loves sustainable innovation.