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GUTTERS: Yes, you want to get water away from your log home at all costs. There can be challenges; we have an alpine-style home with a vaulted ceiling. However, roof comes to a deep V on corners that create a magnificent rain chute. This is not necessarily wonderful when it dumps onto your deck! Because of generous overhang that comes with a log home, end of that V projects far from walls and doesn't make a logical angle from which to hang a downspout. On one corner I satisfied myself with an old-fashioned rain barrel, and on deck side we had to divert water to pergola we built against house, and ran a gutter along edge of pergola.
OVERHANGS: You should have at least a 1' foot and preferably a 2' overhang to protect your logs. This overhang needs to be taken into consideration when designing your roof line. If you have overlapping angles, make sure you are not creating a water trap or a snow trap. There are times your overhang might bump into another angle of roof. You may actually have to raise part of roof a little to make clearance.
DOOR SWINGS: This can be one of most annoying errors you can make and not catch until too late. Think of what your door is covering when opened all way. Is it covering another doorway? Will two doors bang together? If you are in a tight space, will it open all way at all? When we installed our bathroom vanity, we didn't think about door swing until plumbing was already hooked up. The door cleared vanity by one whole inch; it could have been worse. You can compensate by swinging other way (before it's already hung, or your hinges will be on wrong side). Or, in design phase you can use a narrower door. Or get a smaller vanity.
ELECTRICAL: The electrical and plumbing layout will not come from your log home architectural drawings. The manufacturer is not concerned about where you put your outlets. Once plans are firmed up, time will come for you to sit down with electrician and mark exactly where you want your outlets, switches and light fixtures. Local code will determine minimum distance between outlets, but anyone will tell you to put in more than you need; eventually you will probably use them anyway. Even if you don't need it, put your cable and telephone into every room; it's so much easier and cheaper to do it up front. Also remember, you can't ever have too many lights in a log home. Plan ahead for those fixtures - especially ones in ceiling. They will not be pretty to add later on.
DEAD SPACE: If you are building a huge log home, you've got so much space it doesn't really matter. But for most of rest of us, every inch counts. There are some approaches that might maximize your floor space. First of all, do you really need hallways? Some space-saving designs arrange rooms so they all open into a small hallway. I prefer none at all. Also, consider that every closet door creates dead space. If you can arrange your floor plan so that closet door swings into a place which is already dead (for instance, another closet door or a foyer), you might open up room a bit. Does your loft serve a purpose or is it merely an open hallway from room to room? Can you put a piece of furniture on it? If not, perhaps it would serve to give it an angle and make your "open to below" space a little smaller.
Hopefully I've helped a little bit. I learned many of these tips hard way, and I'm sure there are plenty more I haven't bumped into yet. After all, a custom home is one giant learning curve.
Mercedes Hayes is a Hiawatha Log Home dealer and also a Realtor in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. She designed her own log home which was featured in the 2004 Floor Plan Guide of Log Home Living magazine. You can learn more about log homes by visiting www.JerseyLogHomes.com.