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Why Log Homes

By Tom Heatherington

A friend of mine, who knows about my passion and fascination with log homes, recently asked me why I was so captivated with log home living. “Why a log home”, he asked. “What’s so special about a house that looks like Abe Lincoln built it?” His question reminded me of a slogan made famous by Harley-Davidson that said, “If I have to explain, you wouldn’t understand”. But let me try anyway…

“Why log homes”… is a question and a statement.

The question is obvious, but the statement may need some explanation for urbanites that prefer to live in apartment buildings or cookie-cutter housing developments. Personal taste is the #1 driving force that compels one to choose a log home over other more ‘conventional’ styles.

I am not an architect and from what I can remember, my psychology classes never covered what causes a building’s design to elicit different emotions from an observer. The point being that if you were to picture yourself living in an ancient castle made of stone – or a glass and metal seaside villa, the cerebral encounters are quite different. It is the experiencing of log home living that makes it so unique. Just as glass and metal create a contemporary or modern setting, logs and heavy timber produce a unique environment that soothes the soul. At least, that is the effect it has on me.

I touched upon this same subject matter in an article I wrote a couple of years ago entitled, “Log Homes and Log Furniture – The Norman Rockwell Effect“, where I said that “logs exude a sensation of warmth, of strength, a sense that all is right with the world. Maybe it’s the informality of the structure itself, or maybe it is the sense of heritage or sanctuary that produces these feelings, but the sensation is genuine; you can smell it and touch it.

Few of us grew up living in a log home so there are no personal attachments to childhood memories or family traditions in our decision to choose a log home. I believe that we opt for the unconventional because we want to escape the conventional. The stress of living in our modern high-tech, fast-paced ‘Crackberry’ world is unyielding. From the morning commute to the evening drive time newscast, we are bombarded with everything from irritating advertising messages to threats to our personal safety.

Escaping those tensions is part of what makes the log home experience so different. There’s something inexplicable about separating yourself from that turmoil with thick log walls.

It’s not just the wood. It’s the size, shape, texture, patina, smell and natural appearance of the wood that makes a log home so inviting. It is living with nature without the bugs.

Log homes are not for everybody any more than we should all be driving the same type of car. Some people would go stark raving mad if they were not living twenty-stories above their favorite restaurant, or didn’t have a dozen neighbors living within spitting distance. However, for those of us who make that choice, a log home becomes part of our silent testimony about who we are.

A log home compares to a conventional home in the same way that an oil painting differs from a photograph. They are both beautiful and treasured, but the painting oozes something extra that no photo can duplicate. Living the log home lifestyle is different – and most owners will tell you that nothing else compares.

About The Author

Tom Heatherington is the founder and editor of the Log Furniture Directory and the Log Cabin Directory, “human edited” directories of log homes and rustic furniture and related information for the United States and Canada.