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Every Camp, Campground or Resort has different needs when it comes to Accommodations for its campers

Does your campground or resort need to build bunkhouse cabins?  Do you want to create your own bunkhouse designs?  With that in mind, Conestoga Log Cabins & Homes is proud to provide you with a unique, interactive online floor plan program that helps you craft the perfect building customized to meet your specific needs.  You can even design your own cabin kits floor plans and log home floor plans.

Build bunkhouse cabins and log cabins by starting here.  it’s Easy As 1-2-3!

  1. Simply click the link below to open the program.
  2. Select an existing floor plan or choose to create an entirely original plan.
  3. Drag and drop everything imaginable from the drop down list on the left into your floor plan!

Click here and start planning!

Planning Application

  1. Inventory of previously saved plans
  2. Create a new plan
  3. Save plan, save as (new plan), export as Image
  4. Print plan
  5. Send to a friend and/or a Conestoga representative
  6. Undo function
  7. Share plans on Facebook through your “wall” and “friends’ news feeds”
  8. Login/logout of planner
  9. Planner help
  10. Floor plan selection tool (select items within plan)
  11. Hand tool (easily navigate plan)
  12. Wall tool, surface tool, line tool
  13. Text tool
  14. Dimension tool (add dimensions to plan)
  15. Photo tool (add image to plan)
  16. Zoom in/zoom out tool
  17. Dynamically size plan
  18. Symbols: furniture, structure, patio, gym-fitness, fixtures-appliances, wiring, miscellaneous
  19. Symbols: doors, windows, stairs, miscellaneous

How to Design Your Own Log Cabin

There’s something about a log cabin that says warmth and coziness. Log cabins bring back treasured memories of family gatherings at a lake or a quiet getaway in the mountains. Maybe it’s their simple, solid and economical structures. Or maybe it’s the uniqueness found in log cabins that appeal to so many people across the nation and in countries around the world.

Log cabins have a historical connection with rural land like no other dwelling. Though log cabins date back to the Roman times, America’s roots began in log cabins, with the Pilgrims building basic cabins to protect themselves from harsh elements found in the new world. Today, they are still one of the most popular choices when it comes to acreage living, getaway retreats and even commercial campgrounds.

Log Cabins of Today

Log cabins have a tremendous hold on the American psyche. Log cabins represent the independent, fierce-willed frontiersman who carried on in the face of adversity. They’re a reaction to suburbia and an aversion to the plastic, paint and polyurethane products used to slap-up subdivision housing. The natural materials in log cabins are a true connection with nature, and for that reason, the National Park Service adopted log structures as their official theme for all its park offices.

Over the years, log cabins have evolved from the simple four walls of the frontier into beautifully appointed homes, high-end lodges and welcoming chalets. Today’s log buildings use high-tech processes to produce durable and dependable structural components that remain remarkably affordable. Log cabins start with small kits that can be assembled by the do-it-yourselfer who has recreational property, or they’re available as complex structures that include the finest of amenities found in mansions.

Just as there’s no one size that fits all in log cabins, there’s no one design that serves everyone.

The beauty of working with logs isn’t just the woodsy façade. It’s the tremendous flexibility that can be worked into log cabin designs to get that perfect match for the building site and the owner’s lifestyle. There are thousands of log cabin designs available, just as there are thousands of people who’d love a log cabin.

Log Cabin Design Factors

Deciding on a design takes in many factors. The location, climate, material supplier and budget are main concerns when working on a log cabin design. The availability of services and qualified contractors to assemble the building are considerations as well. Variables like these confront everyone who’s considering a log cabin, but they’re part of the building process, just like getting the right design.

Many log cabin owners and prospective buyers are handy people with significant skills that let them assemble their own cabin kit. This can be with help from the supplier to supply the materials that meet their design and local constructors to wire, plumb and heat the home. But none of these talented folks can start without a design.

Designs are available from stock catalog layouts that are proven winners in comfort and affordability. Stock plans are easy to modify or tweak to suit individual tastes or requirements. Often, though, prospective owners opt to create and draft a custom design that’s unique to their vision.

Log Cabin Design Technology

Designing your own log cabin has never been easier since computerized drafting tools have become readily available, and factory processing of log layouts are turned into cabin kits that are assembled on site with minimal fuss or expensive tools. Designing a log home simply starts with a concept that’s improved by CAD or computer-aided drawing, and developed into a workable plan that’s followed through to completion.

 

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Conestoga Log Cabins has been providing proven designs and kits since 1983. With over 3,000 engineered log structures across 50 states and a proud presence in seven foreign markets, Conestoga has mastered the art of log cabin design and production. Conestoga has worked with hundreds of clients to help design and build their dream log cabin. We offer amazingly effective online drafting tools that allow you to easily design your own log cabin by tweaking an existing stock design or by simply starting from scratch. Visit the Conestoga Log Cabin catalog for more information.

Although the Conestoga design tool is easy to use and incorporates dozens of features that help build a custom log cabin plan, it’s extremely helpful to understand effective building design principles. These elements and practices are the foundation of proper building design, techniques and considerations. Like so many other unique Conestoga Log Cabin projects from the past, these practices ensure your project becomes an affordable success that comes in on budget.

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Log Cabin Design Location, Budget and Sizing

The absolute basic principle of building design whether it be a skyscraper or a tiny log cabin is to work with the building site (property) and make the design fit the property, not modify the property to accommodate a particular plan.

3-location-climateThat’s not to say that a specific log design can’t be chosen and then a suitable building site be sourced. This does happen where an owner has fallen in love with a specific design and then has the time and budget to fit their dream. However, it’s generally ideal to choose the property before the plan of the log cabin.

Log Cabin Building Location

There are certain elements in play before starting a cabin design. Location of the proposed building site is paramount. There are factors that either can’t be changed to suit a design or that can be prohibitively expensive to modify. Such elements include:

  • Sun pattern
  • Direction of prevailing wind
  • Snow loads
  • View corridors
  • Watercourses
  • Drainage
  • Lot slope
  • Driveway access
  • Finished grade
  • Stability of soil

 

5-build-to-propertyService availability is another main factor. Supplies of potable water, electricity, natural gas and communications need to be considered as well as discharge of sewage and rainwater. Local requirements like building permits, zoning, setbacks, easements, emergency service response and environmental restrictions may be restrictive and not open for variance applications.

Log Cabin Design Budget

This all has to fall within an affordable budget that can be financed and supported by appraisals or assessments that banks will honor. Once the building site is fixed and before going too far into a cabin design, it’s vital to have a realistic look at what a project is going to cost in terms of materials, labor, site servicing, financing and legal payments.

Be acutely aware that budgeting any building, including a log cabin, is not a precise science, and many variables come into play. Size and complexity of the building design are two of the biggest cost factors. Fortunately, these are the two factors you have the most control over when designing a log cabin.

There is an old rule of thumb that a building costs so much per square foot of floor area to build. That’s true, but it only applies at the end of the project when you add up the square footage and divide it by the totality of your construction bills. For instance, if your cabin is 1,000 square feet and you spent $80,000 on the job, then your cost per square foot would be $80.

You have to be careful as to what you’re including in this square foot pricing, though. Here are some questions to ask when it comes to determining your log cabin’s square foot pricing:

  • Are land costs included?
  • Where are services like the well, septic system, powerlines and driveway?
  • Are you including financing and legal costs?
  • Have you considered temporary expenses like tool rental?
  • Have you budgeted for the inevitable loss, waste and damage to materials during construction?
  • How much will unexpected expenditures like weather effects cost your project?

These incidentals could add a large percentage to the building budget and greatly increase your financial investment. Don’t let that deter you from planning your log home. Being aware of these issues while budgeting is the key to success. Designing a log cabin to make effective use out of every square foot and keeping design complexity to a necessary minimum is vital for the best returns on your investment.

Log Cabin Sizing and Design Complexity

You’re probably still thinking about the cost per square foot budgeting rule that everyone is so used to hearing. Approaching a budget with a square foot rule at the start of a project design is wrong, and it’s financially dangerous. The truth is that buildings don’t vary so much by the square footage of floor area — they are truly valued by the linear footage of wall area and the multitude of roof design changes like ridges, valleys, intersection, dormers and hips.

7-gable-roof-costAs with roofs, lineal wall assemblies are the most expensive components in a home. They’re also the easiest to control when designing. Lineal wall assemblies contain exterior finishes, structural stability, interior finishes as well as insulation, wiring, plumbing and air barriers. The more lineal runs of walls you design, both inside and out, the more it’s going to cost you. These complex design elements can easily double the ratio of wall to floor space by stretching your design from a square box to an elongated rectangle.

As an example, if you design a square cabin at 20 feet by 20 feet, you’ll have 400 square feet of floor area with 80 lineal feet of wall run. Now, if you design a rectangle at 80 feet long and only five feet wide, you’ll still have 400 square feet of floor, but now you’ve more than doubled the lineal wall run to 170 feet. That design change significantly raises your cost-per-square-foot ratio.

This might be an exaggerated example because no one designs a building at five feet wide. However, on every project, these design changes extend costly lineal wall runs by adding jogs and angles to their designs. Every corner and change of wall direction adds to the overall building costs without adding usable floor space. In some cases, it unnecessarily detracts from versatility, especially with interior wall division that creates “dead spaces” like hallways and adjoining corridors.

Corners add to the cost of lineal wall space area just like increasing wall height increases the square footage of wall exposure. Consider a 20-foot long wall that’s built at a conventional eight-foot height. Its exposed area is 160 square feet. If you extend the height to 10 feet to give that vertical space effect, the wall exposure becomes 200 square feet for an increase of 40 square feet. That’s a 20 percent increase. That height increase has a price, and it also raises the ratio of floor space to price.

Consider a roof cost as well when budgeting and attempting to apply the square footage approach. A standard gable roof is the simplest to construct in labor and material costs, but when you change the design to make an intersection of roof lines, the costs rise dramatically.

9-floorplansThe takeaway from this square footage, wall run, corner and roof complexity is that when it comes to log cabin floor plans and principles, simpler is often easier and more affordable. Keeping your design as close to a square footprint as possible, controlling the height and eliminating needless roof intersections is going to have a dramatic reduction on what could be an inflated budget.

Another practical and proven design principle is to work with the number 4 in your measurements. There’s something magical in the number 4 when it comes to residential, wood construction, and it comes from the numbers multiplication, division and square root peculiarities. It’s so easy to work with an even number like 4 whether it’s halved to 2, multiplied to eight or increased to 28.

For that reason, standard building products have evolved to the basic dimensional building lumber being 2 by 4, plywood sheets being 4 by 6 and even Conestoga Everlast logs being a maximum, single length of 28 feet. Sticking with exterior dimensions based on the number 4 allows you to use conventional building product sizes with minimal waste.

Log Cabin Design Features and Additions

The best advice on building a financially viable log cabin goes hand-in-hand with design considerations. It’s always best to begin by discussing your ideas with an experienced professional who works in the industry. Professionals know current costs and how they apply to design complexities. Conestoga Log Cabin experts work with you from the start with a realistic look at how their existing log cabin packages are priced and how they compare to a custom design.

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Conestoga representatives can also suggest some variables that affect their log cabin kit prices. Here are some extra log cabin design features to add depending on who will be using the log cabin and how:

  • Contracted assembly or do-it-yourself build
  • Foundation selection (slab, pier, basement, crawl space)
  • Excavation
  • Roof material upgrades
  • Garage additions
  • Deck addition
  • Porch extensions and side porches
  • Screen doors
  • Upgraded insulation package
  • Landscaping choices
  • Stonework
  • Upgraded fixtures
  • Appliance selection
  • Cedar log furniture
  • Custom doors and windows

These options are above the Conestoga log cabin kit and need to be built into your budget. Contact Conestoga to discuss additional options for your log cabin design. Once you’ve discussed your budget parameters and have an idea on what’s affordable, it’s time to get serious about your log cabin design.

Conestoga Computer-Aided Design Tool

Your Conestoga representative will also be happy to introduce you to the Conestoga computer-aided design tool that’s available for free on the website. This unique, interactive online floorplan program helps you draft the perfect building customized to meet your specific needs. You can even design your own cabin kit floor plans as well as large, log home floor plans.

4-CAD-softwareTo run this tool on your computer, you need the latest Flash Player plug-in as well as a JavaScript-compatible browser. We recommend using the most recent versions of Netscape, Internet Explorer, Safari or Firefox browsers. Here is the simple three-step process:

  1. Simply click the link to open the program.
  2. Select an existing floor plan or choose to create an entirely original plan.
  3. Drag and drop everything imaginable from the drop down list on the left into your floor plan.

There are two easy ways to get started. You can open an example design from the Conestoga gallery. Choose from the popular Hickory Hill floor plan that’s a mainstay at Conestoga or select others like the Mountain King, the Susquehanna, the Hampton, the Alpine Ridge or the Lakewood.

With any of these proven stock floor plans, feel free to wander through the design tool’s many features that allow you to change floor area, wall lengths, shapes of rooms, fixture locations, furniture placement and even structural elements like doors and windows. The user-friendly icons include dragging and dropping symbols for:

  • Furniture like sofas, chairs, beds, tables, rugs plus office and entertainment pieces
  • Appliances such as ranges, fridges, dishwashers and laundry
  • Electronics including computers and entertainment centers
  • Patio pieces like furniture, barbecues and hot tubs
  • Gym and Fitness Equipment including weight benches and treadmills
  • Wiring and Plumbing symbols and location for switches, outlets and fixtures
  • Landscaping ideas such as natural stone features, lawns, driveway, trees and walks
  • Other Buildings including garden sheds, garages and guest houses

Conestoga’s design tool is fast to learn and fun to operate. You can easily save and print copies of your design ideas and send them to a friend or Conestoga representative for free feedback. Post them on Facebook for others to share and like. Or, when you’ve made a mistake and want to correct, there’s an easy undo function that lets you scrap the design and start over.

There’s more to the Conestoga design tool. It has hand, wall, surface, line and text tools that allow you expression to mark, notate and visualize your emerging concept. You can also import photos, adding images to the plan as well as zooming in, zooming out and rotating. Saving your work in progress is also easy with the login/logout planner.

The coolest freedom feature of Conestoga’s design tool is the ability to create your own log cabin floor plan from nothing but your imagination. Many use this feature to add ideas and images that they’ve sourced from all over. That may be the Conestoga online or print catalog, or other custom Conestoga homes that are already built.

Creating an entirely new log cabin plan is just as easy as modifying an existing Conestoga floor plan. You start with a basic shaped room, enter the dimensions and go from there. All of the same features and symbols are available and are only as limited as your imagination.

Here’s one other main principle of design that’s as old as the first log cabins: Form Follows Function. Start with the function of your log cabin, and the form will automatically follow. That may be the placement of the fireplace, the layout of the kitchen, the number of bedrooms, how to best capture the view or even planning the flow from the front door.

Once you’ve settled on a basic design and you’re comfortable with the budget, continue working with your Conestoga representative to turn your CAD dream into a log cabin kit. We’ll help you decide which log options suit you best.

Regardless of your design or your budget, Conestoga Log Cabins can make your dream a reality. Order our catalog, browse our website, explore our computerized design tool and contact a Conestoga representative today to start on your log cabin design.

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What’s the Next step

Contact us to discuss your bunkhouse or log cabin kit design.  We are happy to work with you on your floor plan or any of our standard bunkhouse cabin or log cabin floor plans.  Conestoga Log Cabins & Homes has an extensive history of working with businesses to help them craft log cabins and other log buildings that maximize return on investment.