Owning a log home has long been defined as living and loving a certain lifestyle. Whether the log home is of traditional design and located on a remote hillside or a totally contemporary model in a resort community, the owners are often independent spirits who enjoy the attention a unique home offers. They love being surrounded by the ambience of natural wood and the feeling of rootedness these sturdy homes imply.
Kathy and Dave Janczak of Wisconsin Log Homes have been building these custom log beauties for more than 25 years — starting with their very own home. They are not surprised by the continuing appeal of log homes, but they have noticed an interesting change in the way their customers are approaching building these days.
“When we first started in this business,” Dave says, “the majority of our buyers were the hands-on types. They wanted to be right there and involved in the building.” Now it seems that trend has changed. Current buyers are often professional couples who are way too involved in their careers and other aspects of their lives to want to micro-manage the building of their log home. While they will often have very definite ideas about the interior layout and what they want the home to look like, they are very willing to turn the process over to the log home manufacturer once these aspects have been determined. They want their particular log home to look like those they’ve seen in the log home magazines, but they don’t have the time or inclination to make that look happen.
This trend has brought about some interesting changes in the industry. At Wisconsin Log Homes, for instance, they don’t just design and build the custom log homes, they are now involved in interior design and furnishings as well. “We find more and more of our customers wanting us to handle the total package,” Kathy states. That has meant adding a design center full of custom furniture, lighting, cabinetry and floor coverings, along with specialty items, all specially designed for log homes. People are no longer content just to live in log homes, they want a coordinated feel inside and out that says “log home lifestyle.” Much of what is offered in most furniture stores just doesn’t fit that image. The scale is too small, or the style too formal.
Log home furniture might feature wood frames and intriguing upholstery patterns and colors. The beds may be made of logs and the headboards intricately carved with outdoor scenes. The lighting fixtures, including table lamps and chandeliers, can be made from antlers or have rustic metal shades featuring cut-out silhouettes. Everything from carved front doors and mantles to log staircases and window frames — it all comes together for that total log home feel. The Janzcaks find that their customers are thrilled to discover the variety of furniture and specialty items all available in one place and all featured in a log home showroom that helps them visualize what their final product will look like.
“Log home buyers are certainly immersed in finding and creating a home that is theirs inside and out,” says Dave Janczak. “They tend to do a lot of research before building by reading log home magazines and checking out various Web sites. They definitely know what they want.” By taking advantage of the knowledge and enthusiasm of their buyers, and by adding their own expertise in the log home industry, the Janczaks work to make each of their custom homes a unique creation reflecting that particular buyer’s needs and taste.
The log home design center is a natural progression in the log home buying process. The concept is new to the industry and was generated by customers’ requests for help. “Often times they knew furniture and fixtures like this existed, because they had seen them in photos,” Kathy states, “but just didn’t know where to begin. Now they can walk into one place, or visit the Wisconsin Log Home Web site, and it’s all there for them.”
This innovative idea of one-stop shopping for log home buyers is sure to make log homes even more popular. It’s a place to tie it all together so that each new home has the look, feel and furnishings that only a log home can supply.
For further information about the Wisconsin Log Home Design Center call (800) 678-9107 or visit their Web site at www.wisconsinloghomes.com.