The Oak Leaf - February 2018

By Lynn Gastineau
President of Gastineau Log Homes, Inc.

Welcome to the February 2018 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!

Blinder.Rear Ext.lowres

A one story home can fit into any kind of environment. Even in the Grand Teton mountains where you would expect a much steeper roof with multiple levels.

This Month: Pros and Cons of a One Story "Ranch" Home: Log homes are traditionally a story and a half or two story design. Today, however, many people are choosing a one story or "Ranch" design. This issue of the Oak Leaf will explore the advantages and disadvantages of one level living.

Trivia Question: How much of the United States land is privately owned? Which state has 95.8% of its land owned by the government? (See the answer at the end of the newsletter.)

The biggest "pro" to one level living is convenience: Having everything on one level makes everything easier to access. This is true no matter if you want to quickly reach young childrens bedrooms in the middle of the night or if you are older and are tired of climbing stairs.

Schleunning.Front - Copy

Rock, porches, beams, unique roof designs. All add up to a dynamite and unique home.

Todays One Level Homes are NOT Boring!: Today's ranch style log homes are not the 1200 to 1500 square foot ranchers of the 1950's. Today they have creative angles and unique design features that are just as attractive as any you find in story and a half log home design. We see cathedral beam ceilings, custom glass and unique roof designs. There is nothing boring about these homes!


Pretty as a post card....

Separation of sleeping areas: Many people like to have the master suite separated from the other sleeping areas and this is easily done in a ranch style home. Two master suites is a common request from our customers and a design like the one below accomplishes that goal.

Screen Shot 2018-02-01 at 4.31.25 PM copy

This is an example of a standard plan that was modified to fit the buyers needs. Based on the Cumberland standard design.

Aging in Place: Most of our customers do not plan to sell their home. They plan to live in their home as they age and plan accordingly. A one story design with wider halls and doors and without stairs can accommodate physical limitations that may occur in the future. And even if you don't plan to keep your home for a long time, this type of design is a good selling point to a future buyer.

Access to Outside Living Spaces and Natural Light: With a one level design, almost every room can have access to the outside with windows and doors, bringing in more natural light and providing access to your view. And with most one story designs, the windows are easier to reach as they are not as far off the ground. Making maintenance and cleaning easier.

Allison.end ext

You can see that almost every room in this home has natural lighting and most rooms have access to a porch.

Eliminates Stairs: In designing many of our two story homes, the challenge of making the stairs meet todays codes can be quite an issue. A one story home often eliminates this problem, creating more living space. So not only do you not have to climb the stairs, but you also gain living space in your home!

laurey int great room

This one story design has all the bedrooms on one end of the home. The open concept great room provides lots of living and entertaning space.

Cons: Cost: A one story home will typically cost more than a story and a half design of the same square footage. The foundation and the roof will be bigger (and therefore cost more) for the one story home.


On acreage like this, the size of your footprint is not an issue.

Cons: Large lot or land required: Obviously, a one story home is going to need more "room" on the land than a home with a smaller footprint. This is probably not important if you are building on acreage. It may be important though if the spot where you want to put your home is not very big. For example, you may own 5 acres on the side of a mountain but the spot for the home is only 40' long. In this case, you may want a story and a half or two story design vs a one story plan.

Con: Loss of Flex Space: Often with log home designs, there is a loft or space on the second level that can serve as a flex space. Meaning it can be an office, a sewing or craft room, a guest room, or just an additional space for reading or watching tv. If this is important to you, you need to plan for it in your one story floor plan.

Con: A lower pitch roof does not shed snow as easily: If you are building in northern climates where there is significant snow fall, you will want a roof pitch high enough to easily shed snow in the winter. This is certainly doable with a one story ranch home, it just raises the cost of building your home.

Mixing the two: The home below has a loft area in the center of the home with one story "wings". This provides a smaller loft that is very popular while keeping the rest of the living space on the main level.


The center has a loft which is accomplished with the much steeper roof design.

Cost savings: A one story home can provide some cost savings. For example, this fireplace only requires the rock to go up about 10 feet. In a story and a half home, a much taller fireplace is more common.

Open Spaces: A one story home allows you to have cathedral ceilings throughout or just in certain areas. This flexability is demonstrated below where skylights were added to the vaulted kitchen area. For all these reasons, there is a resurgence in the construction of one story homes. A log home can make your "Ranch" style home beautiful, safe and energy efficient. As you can see, all log homes do not have a second story!

Home Shows:
The Log Home Show will be in Kansas City February 23-25, 2018. For more information, click here.

Log Raising:
This weather has eliminated our ability to have a log raising but we hope to have one the first weekends of March near Kansas City.

Construction Seminar Schedule for 2018:

March 10, 2018
September 15, 2018

Click here for information on our one day construction seminars.

Open Houses:

Remember that the GLH Model Home Center on I 70 in central MO is open Monday - Saturday until March 1st. We have three houses there that you can tour! We will be open on Sundays also after March 1st.

Answer to Trivia Question: The land surface of the United States covers 2.3 billion acres. Private owners held 61 percent in 2002, the Federal Government 28 percent, State and local governments 9 percent, and Indian reservations 3 percent. Alaska is the state with the highest percentage (95.8%) owned by the Government. Rhode Island and Kansas are almost tied for the highest percentage owned privately. RI 98.5% and KS 98.1%

Quote of the Month: "[N]o man but feels more of a man in the world if he have a bit of ground that he can call his own. However small it is on the surface, it is four thousand miles deep; and that is a very handsome property." ~Charles Dudley Warner, "Preliminary," My Summer in a Garden, 1870

Powered by Mad Mimi®A GoDaddy® company