The Oak Leaf - March 2016 By Lynn Gastineau President of Gastineau Log Homes, Inc. Welcome to the March 2016 issue of The Oak Leaf! For new readers


The Oak Leaf - March 2016

By Lynn Gastineau
President of Gastineau Log Homes, Inc.

Welcome to the March 2016 issue of The Oak Leaf! For new readers, this is a monthly newsletter that is sent by e-mail to those that have expressed an interest in Gastineau Log Homes. We use this as a way of communicating technical, design and industry information. For more information, check out our web site at

Please "Like" Gastineau Log Homes on Facebook! There are LOTS of photographs of our homes in the Photo section!

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This home was a custom design which resulted from several evolutions of the GLH preliminary design process. We will share more information below. This is a Seven Gables as a "Reverse Ranch." The second floor has been reduced to a small loft and the two bedrooms have been moved to the walk out basement level.

Trivia Question: During what months of the year do the most people move from one home to another?

Focus on the Blueprint Process!: Building a home begins with the blueprints. This is where your "dream" is put on paper. Critical mistakes can be made if you try to build without blueprints that are properly engineered and detailed. Few people have the vision (or the ability to communicate that vision) to build a home without a full set of working blueprints. This month we will explain the process that we use to achieve a set of plans that will reflect your desires and meet your needs.

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This is the side and rear view of the same home. The wrap around porch allows you to walk completely around the home. The double doors off the living room provide a view and access to the big porch.

Where do you start?: Every situation is different, but first you should start with some basic decisions. Second, you should make a list of "Must Haves" and "Like to Haves." The basic choices include: 1) One story or Two story. 2) Approximate Size or square footage 3) Foundation 4) Any view your property has that should be considered 5) Dollar Investment you wish to make into the project. Your "must/like to have" lists should include things like wrap around porch, fireplace, garage, cathedral ceilings, granite countertops, hardwood floors, etc. All of these are things that can be added or deleted from the home to meet your desired investment range. With these decisions behind you, you are ready to start looking at designs.

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This is the FIRST preliminary design for the home above. (This started as a Seven Gables.) This was sent to the customer who then marked up the changes they wanted and we proceeded to Prelim 2, shown below.

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The customer decided to move the fireplace to the center of the room vs being on the outside wall of the living room. This allowed them to turn the two 3' glass doors into two 6' glass doors. It also allowed for trapezoid glass to be added to the living room gable end. This was the biggest modification they made in the design from Prelim 1 to Prelim 2.

Should you hire an architect?:

Most of our customers do not need an architect to design their home. The design services that we provide are sufficient in almost all cases. Few architects understand the engineering aspects of a log home and we usually have to redraw the architects blueprints for structural reasons. If you do choose to hire an architect first, request only that they do the conceptual design vs an entire set of blueprints. We can also help you keep the cost of the home within your budget parameters, as we are more knowledgeable of material costs. Of course if you prefer to work with a local architect, we will cooperate with him as fully as possible.

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This is the preliminary plan #1 rear elevation with the fireplace on the exterior wall. Note the difference below when the fireplace is moved to the middle of the home.

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Here the fireplace is in the middle of the house and the living room wall now has two French doors and trap glass in the gable.

The Preliminary Design Process: At Gastineau, we know that a lot of people want to see their design before they make a significant investment. So we created a process where you can have your custom home designed without a huge investment. Some people come to us with a floor plan they have drawn themselves or with a plan they have seen elsewhere. Or maybe they like one of our standard plans but want to make changes. Or maybe they don't have any plan but have a general idea of what they want. It does not matter. We will take your design and/or ideas, and draw it in 3D in our CAD program. You will receive the floor plans and two elevations (exterior views) to scale along with a firm quote for the materials to build the home. After reviewing the design and discussions with GLH, your requested changes are submitted and we repeat the process. You will then receive your second set of plans reflecting your modifications, along with an updated quote. You again have the opportunity to make changes and the process is repeated a third time. All of this is provided to you for a charge of $1244. And that design fee of $1244 will be credited toward the cost of your building materials package if/when you purchase the home.

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Here is another exterior view of the home after it was completed.

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This is the front "elevation" for this home from the final blueprints. The finished product is above.

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This is a Seven Gables with a "standard" front elevation. The home above started with this design and has a very similar first floor plan. But they both "started" as the same home!

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Our design staff is quite talented. This customer came to us wanting a log home with an Arts & Craft feel. Don't be afraid to give them a challenge!

Floor plans vs Exterior Elevations:

In my opinion, people are more successful when they concentrate first on the floor plan and then on the exterior design. Using the information you gathered, look at floor plans that fit your size and design criteria. Focus on the plan being "close" to what you want. Remember that any design can be modified so don't throw out a design because of something small that could be changed.

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This is a typical roof framing plan. This is a critical requirement to ensure that the home is built structurally correct.

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Every preliminary rendition is accompanied by a quotation for the materials to build the home as designed.

How do I get from preliminary plans to full blueprints? With your preliminary plans, you should be able to get bids from builders and obtain financing. This should put you in a position to be able to sign a purchase agreement for your log home package. After that is done, we will complete a full set of blueprints. In addition to more details on the floor plans and elevations, it will include the foundation, first and second story framing plans, roof framing plans like the one above, log sheets, and electrical plans. Custom details are provided as needed in addition to all of the standard details for construction. All our plans are examined by an engineer to ensure structural capacity and verification of all components. After the final working blueprints are completed, we will prepare a detailed and complete material list which you and your builder will receive. This will show all the materials in detail that you have purchased to build your home.

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Here is a sample of the type of detail that would be provided with your blueprints based on the design of the home.

Can I make more changes after the 3rd Preliminary Plans are done?: If you have signed a purchase agreement and made a deposit, there is no limit to the modifications you can make. If you are still under the Preliminary Plan Program, you are limited to three renditions for $1244. If you need more changes, an agreement can be made at an hourly rate for design services. Again, these will be credited from your package when you make your purchase.

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The cover sheet for your blueprints is customized for your home and show the type of log profile, corner and other details for construction.

Home Shows:
We will be at the St Louis Home and Garden Show in downtown St Louis at the Dome this weekend, March 3, 4, 5 and 6th. Click here for more information.

Construction Seminar Schedule for 2016:

September 24, 2016

Click here for information on our one day construction seminars.

ALSO: We will be announcing the date for our first Annual Log Home Owners Party to be held in the summer of 2016. This event provides an opportunity for all our past customers to come and bring photos of their home and share their experience with other Gastineau Log Home Owners. Prospective home owners are also invited to come meet those that have built their home and want to share their experiences. We will be providing some good ole' Missouri bar-b-que for everyone to enjoy!

Open Houses:

Remember that the GLH Model Home Center on I 70 in central MO is open 7 days a week! We have three houses there that you can tour!

Answer to the Trivia Question: According the the Ntl Assoc of Realtors, most moves occur between the months of May and September. (Which means that if you need to sell your home, you should be getting ready to list it!)

Quote of the Month: "Don't accept your dog's admiration as conclusive evidence that you are wonderful." - Ann Landers

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