Our Guide to Modern Mountain Home Designs
When you think of mountain home architecture, what usually comes to mind? Most people envision breathtaking and majestic mountain scenery with trees stretching high, playful wildlife teeming around you, and fresh air to soothe the busy city soul. For many, this is the perfect place to call home… most of the time.
House Method conducted a survey and found that the average median home age in the US is 63 years old. If you’ve ever visited or driven past a mountainous state in the US, you might have noticed that some homes have fallen into disrepair, are sorely outdated, or have problems with utility lines. While these 63-year-old homes might feel young at heart, time inevitably takes its toll. Fortunately for us, mountain home architecture and mountain modern home design have come a long way from sixty years ago!
Let’s take a look at mountain modern home design foundation building practices, types of modern mountain home designs (post and beam vs timber frame), and common interior designs of mountain homes.
Lot Restrictions and Exterior Mountain Home Architecture
Like with all buildings, mountain modern home design begins with the foundation. Foundation designs center around the slope of the lot. Let’s quickly cover the pros and cons of traditional poured concrete, pier and beam foundations, and crawlspace stem walls in the use of mountainous/sloped homes.
Poured Concrete/Monolithic Slab
In mountain home architecture, using poured concrete to make a large foundation slab is not exactly ideal. This type of foundation is typically used for buildings on flat ground. If this method is used on a slope, it would require builders to cut out the natural slope, level the site, install an expensive retaining wall, and then create an unnaturally steep driveway.
There are several disadvantages to this style of building on a mountainous slope: this building style typically causes rainwater to fall into the siding of the home, limits the view from the curbside, and does not make good use of the naturally occurring slope. Furthermore, the cost of the extra material for the concrete slab foundation can quickly drain the budget for any home build project.
Pier and Beam
The second method of approach to mountain modern home design is the pier and beam foundation. These homes are actually typically found in oceanfront homes and use stilts to lift the structure to a level position high enough to be safe from the rising tide. In modern mountain home designs, this style of foundation can help alleviate some of the problems created by flat building techniques, many homeowners are turned away by the long stilts and higher insurance premiums.
Stem Walls and Crawlspaces
Stem walls are often used for sloped lots, they are more durable than monolithic slabs and can be built to different heights, depending on the site’s needs. Most stem walls are created using cinderblocks, concrete, and metal rebar reinforcements and can cost more due to the extra time and materials needed.
Most modern mountain home designs actually use a combination of foundation styles and use cantilever house designs in mountainous areas because the design allows for smaller foundations. Having a smaller foundation can mean that the homeowner ends up saving a significant amount of money in their budget. Cantilever homes also allow for more patio space to accentuate the open mountainous views of the terrain.
The combination use of stem wall and pier & beam foundations can further stabilize the house structure and are sometimes seen in modern pedestal homes. Modern architects also sometimes use stone accents on the foundation to hide cinderblocks and create a rugged and luxurious look to the home.
Post and Beam vs Timber Framing
To the uninitiated, the nuances of post and beam construction and timber frame construction are minimal; the two construction styles are very similar but can be vastly different in terms of overall look, cost, and charm. The similarities lie in the framing of the home. Because the weight of the home is carried in the frames, load-bearing walls aren’t necessary and allow for large interior spaces and high ceilings. Both styles are known for their long-lasting durability and the natural beauty of the exposed beams.
The key difference between the two styles is how the connections are made in the frame. Post and beam homes are connected using metal connections to join the frame together. Because of this, post and beam homes typically require less complex engineering and non-precision construction. This style of framing means that the construction is slightly more efficient and simple than timber framing.
Timber frame homes are, on average, more expensive than post and beam homes because timber frame homes require more precision and craftsmanship to make the joints fit together. Precision milling machines with computer-assisted laser guidance and expert construction are required to make a timber frame home.
Common Interior of Modern Mountain Home Designs
So far, we’ve covered general mountain home architecture of foundations, common exteriors to mountain modern home design, and post and beam versus timber frame homes. The interior design of your dream mountain home is usually customizable to your specific wants and needs. Depending on the location of your home, there are some factors to consider when choosing the interior layout.
Mudrooms and foyers are important for locations with a lot of snow, these rooms are often overlooked when individuals design their own homes. Homeowners who are new to snowy areas might be unprepared for the mess that wet and snowy boots can track into the home.
Another feature to consider for your modern mountain home designs is the sizes of your windows. Depending on your budget, having large windows can be a game-changer to the feel of the home. Large windows bring natural sunlight into the home and provide a greater view of the beautiful natural landscape.
When in Doubt, Talk to a Professional
Let’s face it, you’re probably not a master-level architect that is knowledgeable about every facet of modern mountain home designs. Traditional home buying is difficult and stressful enough without having to consider variables that you’re not familiar with or ready for. Luckily for you, Logangate Timber Homes has been building modern panelized post and beam mountain homes for over 50 years. Start your journey to your dream mountain home today and check out Logangate today!