The Oak Leaf - September 2015 By Lynn Gastineau President of Gastineau Log Homes, Inc. Welcome to the September 2015 issue of The Oak Leaf! For new

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The Oak Leaf - September 2015

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By Lynn Gastineau
President of Gastineau Log Homes, Inc.

Welcome to the September 2015 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 www.oakloghome.com.

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This park model is in Maine and overlooks a beautiful lake. The glassed in porch was added after the cabin was installed. The cabin was modified to accommodate the homeowners site and personal wishes.

Trivia Question: Who developed the first mobile dressing rooms for the stars and when?

Focus on Park Models: The Log Cabin 2 Go cabins we build (like the ones shown in this issue of the Oak Leaf) are certified as a Park Model and built to meet the ANSI 119.5 code. This month we are going to explain how they are made, where they are used, and how they compare to the "Tiny House" movement that is all over the news.

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This is a rear view of the same cabin. You can see the dormer for the loft and almost see the view of the lake!

What is the difference between an RV, a park model, a mobile home and a modular home? Each of these types of housing designations must follow particular code requirements that are set by the government. An RV can be motorized or not and is built to transport to various locations. The dimensions of an RV allow it to be moved without permits or over width issues. A Park Model is still an RV but it is semi-permanent and used for seasonal or recreational use. A park model is built to meet the ANSI 119.5 code. It cannot exceed 400 square feet but you can add a loft or porch. It has to be built on a permanent chassis. Transporting a park model will require permits and usually over width flag cars. A Mobile Home is designed for full time occupancy. They are now called a "manufactured home" and are built to a national code that is set by HUD. For this reason, they are often called HUD housing. They are limited to one story but can be any square footage. A permanent chassis is required. A Modular Home is built to IRC code requirements, the same standards as any site built home. They can be one or two story and do not require a chassis.

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Above is our most popular floor plan, the Weekend Memories. It features a bedroom, a full bathroom and a full kitchen. A loft can be added as well as the porch on either or both ends. Four other standard plans are available and all can be customized to fit your site and needs. The Get Away plan features a bunk room to accommodate more sleepers.

What is different about a Log Cabin 2 Go vs other park models? First, we used solid Oak log walls for an authentic log cabin. This is not log siding on the exterior! Second, we design and build each one to order. These are not massed produced. They are built just like a residential home vs like an RV. You won't find any formaldehyde or pressed wood in our cabins. (You can smell the difference!) A few other important construction details: 1) we use extremely energy efficient high quality wood windows; the same windows we use in our homes 2) solid Oak flooring, not laminate. 3) foam insulated roof for an very air tight, energy efficient cabin 4) custom solid Oak cabinets 5) all wood ceilings and partition walls 6) exposed beam ceiling 7) full size appliances 8) 30 year warranty metal roof 9) residential quality electrical and plumbing fixtures including Pex plumbing lines 10) new chassis custom built for each cabin. 11) Oak trim for doors, windows and interior. All of this for a base price of $54,900. That includes full size appliances and a ready-to-live in cabin to set on your lot!

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The cabin above has an underpinning of stone for a rustic, authentic appearance.

How do you Set a Park Model? The park model is pulled by a mobile home transport truck and arrives on a chassis with axels, wheels and a tongue. All of these are removable if you prefer. It is ready for you to hook up to your water source, sewage, and electricity. You can anchor the cabin down with special anchors or you can build piers or a wall to support the cabin. A lot of these decisions depend on your site, as shown below. Many people choose to hire a mobile home installer to set their cabin as it is very similar. You can then underpin the cabin as shown and can add any decks or porches.

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The slope of the site required a stem wall built under the cabin using poured concrete on the front wall and block on the rear. An access door was built into the wall to allow entrance under the cabin.

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The open concept is very popular in a park model because of the versatility of use of space it provides. A sofa bed is often incorporated to provide sleeping space for guests.

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This home blends into the surrounding woods environment and looks like the house grew in that spot! The natural landscaping adds to this feeling.

What type of modifications can be done on site? The owner of the cabin shown on the right wanted more headroom in the standard loft. This could not be pulled down the highway so we left the walls and roof off of the loft. A builder then completed the cabin at the site. He also added the deck. One word of caution: check with your local building code to determine if this would be acceptable. Some areas will not allow the loft of a park model to be above 55" tall.

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A screened in porch is a very popular option. This really extends the living space during the warm months.

Can a park model be lived in full time? The photo on the left is of a park model that is used as a full time residence in a county where this is allowed. A park model is defined as being used for seasonal or temporary housing. Every county or city has jurisdiction over what it will allow. Check with the appropriate governing body before you buy.

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Another option is to put logs around the bottom of the porch for a more finished porch space.

Is a Park Model the same thing as a Tiny Home? Yes and No. A tiny home is defined as being up to 400 square feet so they are the same size. (We can build a park model any size, just not larger than 400 square feet.) The primary difference is that a park model must meet a set of safety and construction codes while most of the tiny homes do not. In addition, any RV or park model is intended for temporary living vs full time living. For more explanation, read this blurb titled "Are Park Model RV's Tiny Homes?" In many parts of the country, people are having trouble finding a location where the municipality will allow them to live in their tiny home because of the fact that it does not meet the new stringent codes adopted in many areas and/or because it does not meet minimum size requirements. Again, you need to check the laws in the location where you want to live in your park model or tiny home.

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This is the optional double wardrobe with window seat in the bedroom. The wardrobe is typically used for clothes storage but we have had customers modify it for a washer and dryer and even as a gun safe!

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An electric or propane fireplace is an option. This is an electric fireplace with an Oak surround. If you prefer rock, it is best to apply the rock after the cabin has been set on site.

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Granite countertops and stainless steel appliances are also an option.

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This shows our taller units option which gives more head space in the loft. This height can be much more expensive to transport if going a long distance.

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Stairs going to loft vs a ladder. This also shows the extra headroom achieved by the taller roof line.

Options available: As you can see above, you can put anything in a park model that you can put in a conventional home. We have done custom showers (tile applied on site), dishwashers, wine refrigerators, double porches, glassed in porches, sliding doors off the bedroom, up to 16' long porches, skylights, double dormers, composite porch floor and railing, steel porch railing… the list goes on and on. We have built homes for rentals in RV parks, hunting lodges and as honeymoon suites. They have been used as a mother in law weekend cabin in the back yard. Artists studios. Man caves. Woman caves. Ticket booth at a national park. Rentals in state parks. Where would you like one?

Construction Seminar Schedule for 2015:

Click here for information on our one day construction seminars.
Sept 12th
Oct 24th

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: Howard Hughes in 1940. He converted busses into full equipped travel trailers. Created for RKO Studios, they served as homes to celebrities when filming in desert or mountainous locations. (And I thought he just designed air planes!)

Quote of the Month: “Passion will make you crazy, but is there any other way to live?" - Howard Hughes

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