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Roland Sweet's Blog (23)

Out One Era and in the Other

One day, I’m convinced, you’ll be able to buy your log home online, probably from Amazon. I don’t begrudge them their success. I have an Amazon credit card for the reward points because I buy so much stuff from them. I wish they sold even more because I love free shipping. But they’re killing independent stores. I wouldn’t mind, except one of them is ours.


That’s right. The Log Home Bookstore has gone out of business. I remember when I started at Log Home…


Added by Roland Sweet on March 30, 2013 at 8:00am — 2 Comments

Wishfulfillment Thinking

People who make their living selling log homes regularly inform me at log-home shows that they want customers who’re ready to build, not just wishful thinkers. But anyone wishing for a log home is ready to build it. They just haven’t cleared the hurdles to make it happen.


The past four or five years, a lot of people have been postponing their dream. Now, instead of sitting on the sidelines they’re finally making their move.



Added by Roland Sweet on March 14, 2013 at 8:00am — 2 Comments

Show Time

If you’re in a post-holiday slump, one way to lift your spirits is to attend a log-home show. The 2013 show season is just getting under way, with shows being held all across the United States through next fall. Click here for a current schedule of upcoming shows.


Each show is different, yet all can help you move closer to owning a log home. If nothing else, they prepare you for what lies ahead along the…


Added by Roland Sweet on January 5, 2013 at 8:00am — 2 Comments

Don't Bury the Lead

Journalism school taught me that you begin with the important news and put the stuff that matters least at the bottom. I was reminded of this lesson when I received this email from a log-home company:




Added by Roland Sweet on November 24, 2012 at 8:30am — 1 Comment

Storm Warnings

The East Coast suffered a big blow from Superstorm Sandy, but it wasn’t an isolated weather disaster, just the latest. "We get a storm of the century every two years now,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo commented, Sandy left thousands homeless, prompting the need for new housing in its wake.


If that means rebuilding devastated areas with the same flimsy houses popping up practically overnight in developments all over America and if Governor Cuomo is correct, then we’re looking at…


Added by Roland Sweet on November 10, 2012 at 8:30am — No Comments

Plan for Then, Enjoy Now

Problem: Waiting for retirement to build your retirement home delays your enjoyment and could put a strain on your finances. Also, once you retire, you don’t want to wait a year or two to move into your new home or, worse, move into a rental as an intermediate step.


Solution: Build your home now and use it as a second home or rental until you can move in full time.


• Second homes are big with boomers, especially those nearing…


Added by Roland Sweet on October 27, 2012 at 7:30am — 1 Comment

Finding Design Ideas

Houses, log or otherwise, have to be designed before they can be built. Design can be purposeful or inspired. Purposeful design is practical. It may seek to improve livability or control construction costs. Inspired design is fanciful. Its aim is distinction. The best log homes blend these design facets.


But where do design ideas come from? Houses are almost never imagined in a vacuum. Other houses or a particular setting often influence their look. People seeking design…


Added by Roland Sweet on September 29, 2012 at 9:00am — 1 Comment

It's Show Time

That sudden nip in the air is a harbinger of autumn and the start of another log-home show season. The Log & Timber Home Show kicks off its 17th year next weekend with a twin bill: a three-day event in Asheville, North Carolina, and a two-day one in Dallas. Other Log & Timber Home Shows are scheduled for Denver (September 28-30), Chantilly, Virginia, (October 26-28) and Chicago (November 9-11). To find out more and register,…


Added by Roland Sweet on September 15, 2012 at 8:00am — No Comments

Optimism At Last

Here’s some encouraging news for log-home buyers. Home prices rose for the second straight month in major metro areas, even hard-hit cities like Detroit and Atlanta. If the main snag in your plan to buy a log home is getting a decent price for the home you’re in now so you can sell it and move, you stand a better chance of improving your equity. Equity is what many people intend applying to the purchase of their log home.…


Added by Roland Sweet on September 1, 2012 at 8:30am — 1 Comment

Dedicated to a Dream

Too many people who want a log home give up on their dream once they find out what one costs. Quality of the building material, uniqueness of the design, expertise of construction — these aspects that distinguish log homes from ordinary houses might make buying one a challenge. It’s one that can be overcome, however.


A couple that built near my weekend place…


Added by Roland Sweet on August 18, 2012 at 8:30am — 2 Comments

Rejoice in Choice

With all the choices facing you as you plan your log home, the most important ones will determine your home’s look and layout. Advances in design and engineering in the past quarter-century have opened up plenty of possibilities.


Time was, you wanted a log home, you built it out of logs and that was that. Nowadays, you’re likely to see as much glass and stone…


Added by Roland Sweet on August 4, 2012 at 8:30am — No Comments

Steps to Success

If a log home is in your future, here are 10 steps to make it happen.


1. Buy your land. Where you choose to build influences subsequent decisions, especially the home’s design.


2. Pre-qualify for financing. Whatever the state of lending, you’ll almost certainly need to borrow. Better to learn where you stand now than later. Locate a lender who welcomes log-home buyers and see whether you’ll be able to borrow what you need or…


Added by Roland Sweet on July 21, 2012 at 7:30am — 1 Comment

Go for the Green

Green makes too much sense for some people to ignore it. Others resolutely refute it. Folks on the fringe go so far as to lump it with such conspiracies as fluoridated water, fake moon landings and President Obama’s birthplace. In short, “green” has become a politically charged word. That’s unfortunate because, at its core, green represents a commitment to the future.

One way to take green out of the political arena is to regard it as conservation: of energy, building…


Added by Roland Sweet on July 7, 2012 at 8:00am — 1 Comment

Inside Story

People usually don’t own a log home to be like everybody else. Why, then, do so many people furnish their log home based on how other log-home owners furnish theirs? There are clichés, which enough folks stoop to that that’s why they’re clichés. That’s understandable, though, given that even people who recognize standard interior styles in other homes often can’t identify what characterizes log-home style.


It goes beyond the individual components — this chair, that bed, those…


Added by Roland Sweet on June 23, 2012 at 8:30am — No Comments

So or Not-So?

If you recognize the phrase “not so big,” you already know about Sarah Susanka. If not, you’re bound to run into her name again on your way to a log home. She’s the architect whose 1998 book The Not So Big House: A Blueprint for the Way We Live inspired followers with its make-more-of-less take on home design. Eight books later, Not-So-Big has risen to a cottage faith. Susanka spreads the word through not just books, but also DVDs,…


Added by Roland Sweet on June 9, 2012 at 8:30am — No Comments

Memory Maker

Memorial Day is time to remember men and women who served their country. But the holiday is more about the future than the past. It signals that a brand-new summer lies ahead and, with it, fresh memories.


This impulse forward stokes some people’s determination to get going building their log home. Folks with fond memories of cabins in their youth often long for logs later in life. How much later depends, but once you decide to make it happen, sooner’s…


Added by Roland Sweet on May 26, 2012 at 8:00am — 1 Comment

Don't Get Caught Short

Can you imagine living in a home where you have to climb a stepladder just to reach the kitchen counter? That was pretty close to being the case with a Japanese woman who sued her builder. The Kyoto homeowner, who stands 4 feet 6 inches tall, accused the builder of making her home too big. The diminutive plaintiff insisted she couldn’t reach the keyhole, for instance, and was able to see only the top of her head in the bathroom mirror. The court sided with the woman and ordered the builder…


Added by Roland Sweet on May 12, 2012 at 8:30am — No Comments

What's Cooking

Kitchens’ prominence is apparent from the existence of certified kitchen designers. After all, there aren’t planning specialists for living rooms, master bedrooms or other individual interior spaces. Clearly, kitchens deserve extra attention to create the right look.


That doesn’t mean you need to hire a certified kitchen designer for your log home, however.…


Added by Roland Sweet on April 28, 2012 at 8:30am — No Comments

Tree-mendous Honor

The last Friday in April is Arbor Day, an occasion to celebrate trees. Log homes are all about trees.

I remember the first log yard I visited, seeing hundreds of branchless tree trunks stacked to dry. Then I watched some being turned into wall logs. They still implied the tree they came from.

By contrast, boards from a lumberyard, say…


Added by Roland Sweet on April 14, 2012 at 11:30am — 2 Comments

"L" of a Deal

Anyone who doesn’t think log homes are the best homes there are, promptly proceed to Everybody left either already wants to live in a log home, or at least is thinking about whether they might like to. Both groups agree log homes are tops.

After seeing samples of these charming homes, many log lovers wonder what makes some log homes better than others. Not in a loggier-than-thou sense, but by standing out from the crowd.

Curiously, size and money matter little.…


Added by Roland Sweet on March 31, 2012 at 1:30am — 2 Comments

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