Interest grows in natural timber homes
Heather and Steve Kirner have lived in their family log home since 2009. The experience of building their home took them to the United States where they found a company that was ideal to work with and could supply all raw materials at a reasonable price.
They then decided to form a company – Natural Habitat Homes – to provide other people with the opportunity to build natural timber homes.
“You can build these homes yourself with our guidance, we can assign a builder for you, or you may already have a builder you would prefer to use – we are happy either way,” Steve says.
Today their beautiful, safe and quiet family home continues to inspire others, serving as a Natural Habitat display home.
Log homes are legendary for their very high wind and heavy snow loading capabilities and longevity, even in challenging environments.
“Even the recent run of earthquakes resulted in no damage to any of our Canterbury homes.”
The logs used in Natural Habitat Homes are Engelmann Spruce. These are selected from dead standing trees at high altitude: beetle infestations ring bark trees and they die, but the wood itself is very sound. Once harvested, these trees produce a dry, stable timber that is ideal for log homes.
Western Red Cedar is commonly used for exterior and interior trim, gable ends, porches, external beams and rafters, and sometimes internal doors.
Natural Habitat Homes can also source full decorative trees for structural or non-structural supports.
With timber available in a range of shapes and sizes, prospective homeowners can choose whether they want a typical log home look, or a home with rectangular logs to provide ﬂ at walls inside and out.
Most popular is the D-shaped log, which has a round exterior wall and a ﬂ at interior wall.
Roof cavities are vented to allow the homes to breathe naturally, keeping them dry and well-protected. Natural Habitat also offers affordable exterior cladding solutions for garages and sheds. “In addition, we supply eco-friendly timber treatment and protection products.”
While Natural Habitat Homes are well suited to country settings, Heather and Steve see real potential for their homes in urban and coastal environments.
They are preparing to build a show home at Mangawhai Heads, north of Warkworth, as a demonstration of what can be achieved in a beach context.
“It’ll be a real beach cottage using rectangular logs, cedar ﬁ nish, mono pitch rooﬁng, decks with verandas, and rock to enhance the natural elements,” says Steve. This build is planned to start by mid-April.
The Mangawhai range will be all about affordability.
Strategically, it marks the launch of Natural Habitat Homes NZ Ltd into the North Island, building on the company’s ongoing success in the South Island market.
In Canterbury, Steve reports growing interest by both young couples and retirees in two-bedroom homes with loft options as a versatile solution to housing needs.
With over 50 plans to choose from there is something for everyone.
Whether for town o r country, natural timber homes combine character and comfort with safety, sustainability and lasting durability.