How We Design Your Custom Log Home

On this page, learn our process for designing and engineering your custom log or timber home, barn, or shade structure. Our California log home experts start with developing a 3-D model, which ensures that your structure made from log or timber will look exactly as you have envisioned it.


After we have put together the 3-D model, an engineer from Sierra Log & Timber structurally designs the plans based on the building site. This ensures that you will be able to obtain a building permit for your project and that your home will stay safe and weathertight. We proudly engineer every home we design so you can feel confident your home is designed right and designed to last!


There are three parts to the process we take in creating a floor plan: Design, Engineering, and Building Plans. We'll break each of these phases down in detail.

Step 1: Design

Realistic 3-D Models of Your Log or Timber Structure

We develop the building's layout from the ground up based on your use and style requirements. Then we model your building with the desired specifications. For example, if it is a home, we model it with the preferred log and/or siding for the walls, gable, and dormers—if it is a barn, we model the type of barn you have planned such as a Monitor, Gambrel, or Ranch. This process produces 3-D photo realistic images that we then share with you. We also create 2-D drafting images or “line drawings” of the elevations and layout so you have a complete understanding of what your structure will looks like and how it will be laid out.

We start the design process with a “design retainer" fee that is credited toward the engineered set of plans. The actual fee is based on the size and intensity of the design desired. It ranges from $500 to $3500. The actual fee for your project will be listed on your proposal.


Sample 3-D Photo Realistic Design Images

Custom log homes

Custom timber home floor plan

Custom log barn

Custom barn floor plan

Custom timber home plan

Custom timber home plan

Custom floor plans

Custom timber barn plan

3-D custom floor plans

Custom shade structure plans


Step 2: Engineering

Our Engineers Help You Obtain Your Building Permit

The next step is engineering your home, barn, or shade structure for your site-specific requirements of roof snow load, wind load and seismic load. This phase is critical in order for the building to stand strong and safe for the long run.


An engineer from our team who is registered in your state performs all of the engineering from the foundation to the roof, creating a booklet of calculations. Elements of the booklet are transferred into the floor plans so the plans reflect the engineering requirements.


The engineer then stamps the plans and stands behind them. The plans and the booklet are then submitted into your county jurisdiction in order for you to obtain your permit.


Step 3: Building Plans

Receive Your Custom Building Plans!

And now the final step: Your building plans. These plans are the conclusion of your design and the structural engineering. These are the elements or pages our plans include, making your plans ready for you to submit into your county to obtain a building permit:

  • Notes – Structural & non-structural

  • Details – Structural & non-structural

  • Floor plan layout – All floors

  • Elevations – All four sides

  • Cross sections – At least one

  • Foundation plan – Structural

  • Floor Framing – Structural (main floor, loft floor & deck framing)

  • Roof Framing – Structural (main & porch roof)

  • Engineering – Structural booklet, stamped for your specific state

  • Blueprinting & printing – Blueprinting and shipping during the building permit process always yielding five sets of plans and a PDF digital copy

  • Energy calculations – California only and potentially optional for other states

  • Site plan – Optional (approximate cost is between $250 to $500)

  • Gas piping plan – Optional (approximate cost is between $250 to $500)

  • Solar & off-grid systems – Our team does not design these systems, but we can help you discuss your options so you are fully informed!

Sample Log Home Plans

Engineering custom floor plans

Custom engineering timber home

Custom engineering floor plans

Floor plans for log home

Custom timber home floor plan

Custom floor plan

Custom log home plan

Custom timber home engineering

Sierra Log & Timber

Log home floor plan

Sample Log & Timber Barn Plans

Custom log barn engineering

Custom timber barn engineering

Custom barn floor plans

Custom log barn designing

Log barn engineers

Log barn floor plans

Log barn engineering

Sierra Log & Timber

Timber barn engineering

Sample Log & Timber Shade Structure Plans

Shade structure floor plans

Custom shade structure design

Timber shade structure engineer

Timber shade structure floor plans


Sierra Log & Timber is a proud member of the American Institute of Building Design.


Discuss your custom log home floor plan with Sierra Log & Timber!