Inspiration | Building Materials

Inspiration… Building Materials



1.The process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.

When I was first approached with the idea of selling log homes I was not immediately interested.  After all I was accustomed to working with high end office and residential furnishings in a very corporate environment …and then I took a closer look. What I saw was an opportunity to put my own spin on design, a fresh face on log homes.  What my inspiration become, was the texture and character you see in logs.

The beautiful knot patterns and the wood grains.  Interestingly this was the same fascination I found in fine wood furniture.  The imperfections found in the wood logs became beauty marks in my eyes.  I was inspired to work with these variations in the materials to make them add interest.  I realized that square logs are more often associated with log homes you find in Appalachia.  Round logs are more often used out west.  The wood species was also a regional thing, as early settlers in these regions would use what was available to build their homes.  Rock also complimented these homes and added another layer of texture.

If you have visited Linville, North Carolina you will see many Bark Clad Shingle Style structures.  This is another example of how a material inspired a look and style. Originally Chestnut bark was used for these until a blight killed off the chestnut trees.  For a while the bark shingle style went away until the tulip poplar tree was found to work just as well.  Henry Bacon was the architect that developed this style and many of his buildings are still standing today and in remarkably good condition.  As an aside, Henry Bacon was also the creator of the Lincoln Memorial.  Recently on a trip in western North Carolina I saw a new contemporary house clad in bark siding, giving it a rich texture set between the clean lines of modern architecture and contrasted against the transparency of glass.


Another influence for materials selection has been durability and maintenance.  If you are anything like me, you do not enjoy spending the little down time you have maintaining a home.  So, I went on a search to find natural and synthetic materials that have the look and durability I wanted for my houses.  This is a good news story.

Several manufactures provide fiber cement or PVC based products that have a great look that mimics the grain patterns you find in aged wood.  Finish materials then allow you to apply the color you want.  Other natural materials are available that provide the look and durability.  For decks we often specify ipe or larch wood.  Both of which age to a beautiful driftwood gray color.  Many synthetic deck options such as Azek or Trex are also available to reduce maintenance.

Roofing finishes are available in both synthetic and natural materials for shingles, slate, and tiles.  Metal roofing also takes on a variety of profiles and colors. With all of the options available I have all I want to work with to design a home that has the look and feel that you envision as well as a solution the reduces the maintenance.As I have developed my own look and style for the houses I have designed for my clients the many choices available for materials has been a pleasure to work with.

Let me know your story about the materials that inspire you.

Michael Grant

Residential Designer

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