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


The Oak Leaf - January 2016

By Lynn Gastineau
President of Gastineau Log Homes, Inc.

Welcome to the January 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!


This loft looks down into the entry way and out through the custom glass that is above the front door. A similar vew is through gable custom glass the opposite direction as well. Sometimes the loft serves as a way to enjoy the long range view through your windows....

Trivia Question: Why do we have a Leap Year every 4 years and when is the next Leap Year?

Focus on Lofts: Lofts are a favored room in many log homes designs. Some are open bedrooms. Some are offices or game rooms or playrooms. The idea of a loft which looks down into the first floor of the home has a huge appeal to a large number of log home owners. In this months Oak Leaf, we will look at how some people designed and use their loft.


This catwalk/loft is centrally located and combines the railing posts as roof supports.

What is the definition of a loft?: A loft is the upper story of a building directly under the roof. An attic typically covers the entire first floor while a loft covers only a few rooms. The space for a loft is created by the pitch of the roof which creates more headroom in the center of the building. The steeper the roof, the more useable space there is in the loft.


This is the loft area in a custom one story home design in PA. It looks down into the dining and kitchen areas and serves as an office space.

Design elements to consider: When you are planning your loft, you should think about how it will be used. How much room do you need? How much natural light? How much privacy do you require? What area of the home do you want it to look into? How much time will you spend in the loft? With those questions answered, your GLH designer can incorporate the proper specifications into your home plans.

Loft to Bridge3

This loft has doors that open onto a covered porch which then goes onto stairs. The floor of this loft was carpeted to deaden sound as it was directly over the kitchen and dining areas.

Lighting the loft: Sloped ceilings can provide a challenge for lighting. And they also can create dark spaces are the ceiling slopes toward the floor. Recessed lights and track lights are the most common choices and I have found them to be very successful at illuminating a loft. The loft shown in the photo above also had a very large ceiling light fixture that hung from the peak of the roof. The size of the fixture was very important as it had to be scaled to the size of the room. (It was about 4 feet across.) When choosing any light fixtures, consider the size of your room so they are balanced.

Chandler Inside.lowres

This photo is of a Dakota design built from our Back to Basic package #3. The dormer across the back allows for a lot more useable space (headroom) and for more windows to provide lots of natural lighting.


This is the loft area of a Julian design, one of our Anniversary Plans.

Loft Area2

Railings: When you have a loft and/or staircase that is visible from your living space, the railing is a very visual design element. The type of railing you use can be modern, rustic or eclectic and should be complimentary to your cabinets and design style. The railing above, to the right, and below are all different and show some examples of what you may want to choose.


This loft covers the dining and kitchen area and looks down into the living room. The round log railing provides a woodsy, rustic feel.

The relationship between the loft, the roof and the staircase: These three have to work together! The stairs have to reach the top in a location that has enough headroom to function (and meet code requirements!) The design of the roof (or dormer) determines where this location can be. And the stairs should enter the loft in a way that is consistent with how you will be using the loft. Plus the roof engineering may require supports that will be placed in your loft area. These three are sometimes the biggest challenge in the entire design of the home!


Loft floors: Most people prefer the exposed beam floor system like those you see in our pictures. The decking used on top of the beams is a 2" thick T&G which serves as the ceiling for the first floor and the floor for the second. You can sand and finish it for a wood floor or can carpet if you prefer. A less expensive option for construction is to use a 2 X 10 floor joist with plywood flooring and drywall ceiling for the first floor.


Skylights are an option for natural lighting in a loft area. They don't provide more headroom like a dormer, but are much less expensive. The steep roof that you typically need for a home with a loft is perfect for skylights also as it contributes to fast run off of rain or snow. Which means less chance of leaking over the life time of the skyiight.

Wood vs drywall There are no rules as to what/which you have to use where. The photo above shows wood ceilings and wood floors with drywall on the dividing wall. This photo also shows how the second floor can be divided up vs being all one big loft area. This second floor serves as a bedroom, bathroom and loft.

Construction Seminar Schedule for 2016:

February 6, 2014
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 will be 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 6 days a week! We have three houses there that you can tour! We open again on Sundays in late January.

Answer to the Trivia Question: The ancient Egyptians figured out that the solar year and the man-made calendar did not exactly match up. It actually takes Earth 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes and 46 seconds (to be exact) to travel around the sun. And the next Leap Year is this year: 2016. Do you know that even though we have a Leap Year every 4 years, we do not have a Leap Year on years that are divisible by 100 unless they are also divisible by 400? Thus 1900 was not a Leap Year while 2000 was a Leap Year. Now that is some Trivia for you!

Quote of the Month: "Take a leap of faith and begin this wondrous new year by believing. Believe in yourself. And believe that there is a loving Source - a Sower of Dreams - just waiting to be asked to help you make your dreams come true." - Sarah Ban Breathnach

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