The dream of living in a log home with nature views and a roaring fire is alive and well in Northern Michigan real estate. Here's what you need to know about buying a log home as well as some insights from Traverse City contractor Paul Maurer.
Nothing says back-to-the-land like a home stacked high with logs fit tight. Cozy, beautiful, and efficient, log homes have the warmth of wood as their palette, the heft of beams and wood grain for texture and character. And many designs hearken back to the lodges of old—open great rooms with soaring stone fireplaces, a cluster of bedrooms looking down to the crackling fire below.
Aesthetics: Even humble log homes have a certain beauty that strikes a chord. Romance: A log house sets a dramatic scene different from our everyday urban and suburban lives, and we love the allure of living like a modern day Daniel Boone (with more tricked-out amenities). Green factor: When it comes to insulation and heat loss, these babies are efficient. And while sustainability is debated (depending on how trees are sourced and harvested; ask your builder), trees
are a renewable resource. Compared to stick-built homes, log homes require less processing, because the logs serve
as both the interior and exterior finishes, which cuts down on chemicals and materials used in building. And often, the result is a sturdy, lasting classic.
Wood-as-design-dictator. If you’re not a fan of those warm colors and wood grains, take a pass. Higher prices: Because of costly building techniques and materials, log homes are more spendy per square foot. Maintenance: Newer homes’ logs will swell, contract, and “check,” or crack, which is normal but may require regular caulking to keep out water and bugs. Homes with water-based stains need staining every three to five years; five to seven for oil-based. Water and moisture can darken and damage logs and cause mold and mildew growth, so proper drainage and gutters are critical.
“Remember, you can’t change the look of the outside walls. Interior, yes, but you’ve got to love that log aesthetic. Be sure to understand how your artwork, furnishings will look in a log home setting.”
Log homes tend to get built in more rustic settings—deals on homes abound in Gaylord, Grayling, Williamsburg, Kalkaska, Bois Blanc Island, with posher lodge-type properties in Charlevoix, Harbor Springs, Petoskey.
This newer, furnished 3-bedroom lodge made from white pine logs sits nestled against Wilderness State Park, near Harbor Springs and Petoskey. A private trail leads to Wycamp Lake. $449,000. INFO: BOO LITZENBURGER, SCHAFFER REAL ESTATE, 231-838-1099, STURGEONBAYLODGE.COM.
Large 4-bedroom, 2,500-square-foot log home on a half-acre in Leelanau’s Cedar. Stone fireplace, wood floors, tongue-and-groove ceilings, and two-car attached garage with bonus room above. $239,900. INFO: JUDY LEVIN, 231-218-7653, MLS 1703240.
Town and Country 2,700-square-foot 4-bedroom log home on 100 feet of sandy Lake Charlevoix frontage. Home has two-story great room, huge stone fireplace, beautiful wood floors and log details. $995,000. CENTURY 21 VACATION PROPERTIES, 231-582-6554, MLS 424157.