Home Decor Interview:
"Montana" Tom Heatherington
For anyone who has ever dreamed of building (or creating an addition) a log
home, "Montana" Tom Heatherington should be the first person you consult with.
Log Home Directory is an
outstanding directory of resources that will help you build your dream log home,
and his popular
‘Log Home bLog’, which he posts on
regularly, is another excellent source of useful information.
Even if you don't have the money or space to build a log home or addition, you
can still achieve much of the same look through wise selection of rustic decor
and furniture pieces. Tom can also help you with that, and his
Log Home Store
has almost everything you need for that.
In short, Tom is your man for all things log.
We asked Tom to answer a few questions for us that may be of interest to you,
and we appreciate his doing so. Tom's passion and knowledge shine through,
so please relax and enjoy as we pick his brain
for a moment.
1. Hi Tom, thank
you for time today and sharing your expertise on the log home industry. Please
take this opportunity to briefly tell us about yourself, the services you offer,
and the websites you write for.
I have been
involved with the Internet business since co-founding one of
America’s first ISP’s in 1993; a company named PICnet in
TX. After moving into our cabin in
the woods, I decided to learn everything I could about log homes, and in this
process the idea for an Internet website began to take shape.
What evolved was the
Log Home Directory, which is now
the largest listing of manufacturers, dealers and builders of log homes in the
Canada. In addition to this state-by-state
listing of companies, we also have extensive information about related topics
log home floor plans,
green or sustainable building information, DIY tips, maintenance, financing information and even terms and definitions.
In addition to my personal
‘Log Home bLog’, I am a frequent
contributor to other blogs such as
Log Home.com’s community blog,
Log Home Advisor
and a few other industry
most of our readers probably do not own log homes, many of them are interested
in rustic décor.
In other words, many people with traditional American homes
desire the log cabin look, but don’t have the luxury of owning a log home.
Generally speaking, what can traditional homeowners do to give their homes or
living spaces that log cabin look without actually building a log cabin home?
Actually there are a number of creative ideas one can use to achieve such a
look. Most people are not aware that ‘log siding’ is a popular substitute for
full-log applications. Log siding is often used with traditional log homes to
cover dormers or second story outside surfaces to help address weight issues.
This siding is also used inside and applied to studs or plastered walls to
create a tranquil log cabin atmosphere. Once installed, the siding appears to
look like a genuine full-log wall.
The next best thing is to choose furniture, wall treatments and décor pieces to
create that rustic look. Log beds, tables, chairs or sofas combined with rustic
accent pieces will make an ordinary room feel like a hunting cabin or lake
house. The perfect place to find log furniture and thousands of rustic décor
accents is online at the
Log Home Store.
Something more within reach for readers would be building a log
cabin addition to their homes. For people who pursue this option, what general
advice would you give to them to make a log cabin addition blend in naturally
with their existing homes.
Log additions are not the first thing that comes to mind with most people, but
if done right, they can add a great deal of character to a home. Adding a log
addition is the reverse of what has occurred in a historical context. In years
gone by, log cabins built for protection from the elements, would receive room
additions as the owners’ family grew and more funds became available. It is a
common site in some parts of the country to see a small log extension protruding
from the rear of a modern stick-built home.
To add an addition using logs, you would first need to make sure that local
codes or in some cases a Homeowners Association approve of such building
materials. Providing that is not a problem, finding a builder that is familiar
with erecting a log home is very important. Your average home contractor is not
qualified to build a log home – find an experienced builder.
Blending your log addition with the existing structure can be done in a number
of ways. The easiest way to achieve this would be to use the same color paint
on the trim around windows, doors, fascia, etc. You can also consider painting
the exterior of the logs a matching or complementary color as the rest of the
You recently refinished a deck for your home
(the impressive pictures can be seen on your
‘Log Home bLog’). Now that it is
done, what would you say were the major lessons you learned that you would pass
on to someone else planning to add a log home deck? And for those not doing it
themselves, what advice would you have as far as finding a good contractor?
Possibly the biggest question about building a deck on a log home or
conventional home is the debate about which decking materials to use; wood or
composites. Composites are man-made components that look like wood, but do not
rot or decay the way in which wood does. If you want real wood, there are woods
available that can last 50 – 100 years. To learn more about this option, see
‘Building the Perfect Deck’.
When selecting a
contractor, always ask for 3-4 (or more) references to accompany their bids.
Talk to people who have used this company and ask as many questions as
possible. Was the job completed on time? Was the quality of the finished work
what you expected? Were there any surprises? Would you hire this company
In your experience, how have log style homes held up among the
ebbs and flows of home decorating trends? That is, do you see log homes
standing the test of time in terms of home buyers’ ever changing tastes? And in
recent years, have you sensed an uptick in interest in log homes, or has it
The home building market in the
United States is currently suffering a historical
depression, but the log home segment is holding its own. Business is down from
recent years, but demand for log homes overall continues to rise. The log home
market in the USA
has grown year after year and there are signs that the ‘baby boomers’ will
continue to drive this demand.
Without getting into too much detail, how would you rate the
difficulty of maintaining a log home compared to today’s more traditional homes,
especially those built within the past 10 years?
The maintenance required for a log home is not much different or difficult than
what is required for any wood home. With the exception of ‘chinking’ between
logs (on some designs), a log home needs the same TLC and preventative
maintenance as any other home. As an organic material, wood must be protected
from the elements and insects. If well maintained, a log home can last for
Tom, thanks again for spending time with us today. Our last
question is of a personal nature: when did you first develop your passion for
log homes, and what in particular sparked your initial interest in this
Since my childhood and the hours spent amusing myself by building log cabins out
of “Lincoln Logs”, I have always had an affinity for log homes. However, it
took me five decades and a move to NW Montana before I finally realized my
dream. Being an avid Internet business developer, it was inevitable that my
love for the log home lifestyle would become a hobby and eventually a business.
All one needs to do is browse through our Log Home Directory, read some of our
log home articles and the ‘log
bug’ may also bite you!
We want to thank
Tom again for taking the time out to speak with us at
Decor Medley. We hope he has opened your ideas to log homes and rustic
decor, and if that's your style, perhaps this will inspire you to take that next
And if you do, be sure to visit Tom and all his websites. If there's a
question you have, then someone else has likely asked it too, and Tom knows your
answer. Check him out at:
-Log Home Directory
-Log Home bLog
-Log Home Store
log home articles
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