Planning and designing your first custom log home is a big step. There are many decisions to make and it can come as a shock. However, not being diligent in thinking through all the decisions, in the initial planning stages, can mean mistakes, time wasted and a major investment in something that you end up not being happy with.

In our last blog post, we talked about carefully thinking through the planning stage as an important first step in the designing and building of your custom log home. In the second of three posts, we wanted to highlight some tips and things to think about as you now move from the planning stage to the budgeting stage. And , whether you may already have a location picked or not, making sure that you have a location that you can actually build on is an important part of the budgeting process. No dream custom log home will ever be built without careful budgeting and a suitable location!


Budgeting for your custom built home can be a challenge. Designing your log and timber home can vary in price according to size, finishes and features selected. Here are some quick tips to help you determine – and stick to – a budget.

  1. Set your overall budget by adding any available cash you may have set aside/saved to put into your new log home to your pre-approved home construction loan or mortgage
  2. Subtract the purchase price of your lot from your overall budget amount if you have not already purchased your plot of land.
  3. Divide the remainder by your price per square foot to determine the size of home you can build.
  4. You will want to create and maintain a contingency fund, anywhere from five to 10 per cent of your overall budget, to handle any unexpected situations that may arise. While this will hopefully not be the case, it’s always safer to prepare for unexpected costs, price increases, needed changes or other surprises. Not having a contingency fund can possibly lead to delays and frustrations.

Even the best-laid plans can change once construction is started. Your price per square foot is designed to cover construction costs, including carpentry, electrical, plumbing, heating, cabinets, drywall, painting and flooring. You will also possibly incur costs related to site and servicing, including land permits, site surveys, soil analysis, site clearing, utilities, water and sanitary systems depending on your location and governance so you will need to take those items into consideration as you plan your budget.


It’s always a good idea to gather information about your building site ahead of time and decide if an on-site consultation with your designer would be appropriate for your needs during the preliminary design process. If you have a specific vision for your log home, remember that the land you buy may impact your design choices. For example, on some tracts of land, property-line setbacks will influence the size home you can build — particularly on waterfront properties, which tend to be smaller. Mountain property can also be a challenging and expensive landscape to build on.

Of course, a crucial step is to make sure that the land is, in fact, build-able for your desired purpose. Making sure that nothing prevents you from getting a building permit can involve a lot of up front legwork to make sure that the land is zoned appropriately — and that it’s consistent with what you intend to build and the size desired. For example, you will need to make sure you can build your home at a safe distance from any water that may be on your property.

If you think that there is something about your location that might be an issue, having the designer look at the property could be helpful. While it may involve some costs up front, in can potentially save you time and costs down the road. They will have the experience to look at your property and make you aware of the things you will need to consider. It’s all about finding the property that you love and designing a log home or Timber Frame exclusively for that site.

With your planning, budgeting and the perfect location now in place, you are ready to begin thinking about the next phase. In the last part of our blog series, we will look at how to find a builder that will be able to work effectively with you to get your dream actually built. Of course, Streamline Design is very happy to be able to help you all along the way towards building the beautiful custom log home of your dreams. Please contact us anytime to discuss planning and designing a custom log home that will suit your needs for years to come!