Monday, October 10, 2005

Log Home Plans, Part I: Why Beaver Mountain

I was reminded today that I have not posted details of our log home. Nor have I told the story of how we came to choose Beaver Mountain Log Homes. Therefore, without further ado, let me rectify both issues. This will be rather long so relax.

Home floor plan

About two years ago when we started to think about building a log home, we shopped around for the floor plan that would suit us. We subscribed to several magazines (Log Home Living, Log Home Design Ideas, and Log Homes Illustrated) that showed different design and decorating ideas. Most issues also discussed the varying aspects of the process of selecting a company for your package, a contractor for construction, and a mortgage company for financing. Each magazine also has a section at the end—often half the magazine—showcasing different companies’ floor plans. I also started to build a computer file of various companies on the Internet and spent a lot of time examining the floor plans available there.

While we were looking at plans we also looked at where we wanted to live. After thinking about the mountains of Idaho and Montana we settled on Pennsylvania’s Endless Mountains region. We chose this for several reasons. Our first consideration was our desire to keep our property in the Adirondacks of New York; something our son was emphatic about. Second in importance were taxes. Both Terry and I have pensions from public service jobs; Terry’s as a federal employee and mine as a public school teacher. PA doesn’t tax those pensions. Our third criterion was climate. We both agreed that we liked the seasonal changes of the northeast. The colors of autumn are more varied and vibrant along the Appalachians than elsewhere in the country.

As a result of these and a few other points we chose to look for property just south of New York’s Finger Lakes region in the PA counties of Bradford, Tioga and Potter. We found an ideal 10+ acre piece with easy access to Routes 6 and 15 in Tioga County and purchased it in December of 2004.

While looking for land we also decided we would rather work with a log home manufacturer that had a presence in the region rather than one from far away. That narrowed our choice to half a dozen. We arranged to meet with each of these companies’ representatives and finally chose Beaver Mountain Log Homes out of Hancock, New York. Unlike the other companies, there was no “middle man.” When we talked to sales rep Joan Decker, we were talking to the company. With other manufacturers, the sales person was only that—the sales person. Each worked out of his/her home and represented a small geographical area and to contact the company you went through them. Beaver Mountain didn’t have this arrangement. You dealt directly with the company through their offices in Hancock where they maintained several model homes.

We also liked the log home models they had on site. If we could have figured out a way to add a two-car garage to their Classic model and still fit it on our lot, I think we would have jumped on that particular model immediately. But, our building site is a bench on the side of a hill so even though it’s 10 acres, the Classic just didn’t fit our site.

Meeting with Joan we asked about the styles of milled logs Beaver Mountain offered, how they dried their logs, the different options for corners, windows and doors, what the package included, and how they put the logs together. All these were questions we had asked the other companies representatives, but we liked the answers Joan gave us and the package offered by Beaver Mountain much better than those of the other companies we spoke to.

Understand, Beaver Mountain wasn’t the largest company we contacted but it was the most personable and the quality of the materials and workmanship was superb. They manufacture between 125 and 175 log home kits a year and nearly all of them go to the NY-PA area. They do ship further afield but I’d say 90% of their homes are within 300 miles of Hancock, NY.

1 comment:

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