As a kid, there were three things that I couldn’t get enough of: long bike rides, Pee Wee’s Playhouse, and quality time spent building miniscule homes with Lincoln Logs (a set with real wood, not plastic). While I did have flashy, 1980s-appropriate toys (Lincoln Logs were invented in 1916 by a son of Frank Lloyd Wright), something about the throwback simplicity of log home construction appealed to me. Building with miniscule, interconnecting wooden logs was a challenge — especially when attempting to build something of grandiose proportions — but completing a project always felt much more rewarding than creating a weird looking structure built from those infuriating plastic blocks from Denmark that were all the rage with my peers.

As an adult, I don’t see a whole lot of newly built log homes. When I do, they often appear rather chintzy and the whole “rustic cabin” motif is really taken to the extreme, like something you’d see in an Americana theme park and not in an actual neighborhood. Most green architects tend to focus on more modern building techniques that do indeed sometimes seem Lego-inspired. 

That said, I was pretty happy to catch wind of America’s first and only (or at least Preston from Jetson Blue seems to think so) LEED Platinum home built with traditional log construction. The home, called “the Watercress Project,” was built in Pentwater, Michigan, by Hybrid Homes LLC and was designed by Image Designs LLC.

I’m not blown away by what I’ve seen of the home but that’s exactly the point. Log homes are supposed to be handsomely understated, not loud and large. Among the home’s green features that helped it win LEED Platinum certification are soy-based based insulation, dual flush toilets, energy efficient lighting, concrete and bamboo flooring, recycled glass countertops, programmable thermostats, SIP panel construction, a Logix ICF foundation, and more.

Check it out. What do you think? Does “the Watercress Project” change your opinion of log homes at all? Do you think they're child's play or a viable way to build green?

Via [Jetson Green]

Photos: Image Designs LLC

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

Log goes LEED
Lincoln Logs grow up and go green with the nation's first LEED Platinum home built using log construction.