Saltbox Log Homes

Previously on this blog, we’ve discussed the defining features of log home styles such as ranches, farmhouses, lodges and chalets. These styles all rank among the most common log home styles across the country and world. Today, we will consider the saltbox style. This style, named for its resemblance to an old style of box in which salt was kept, is very common in New England for timber frame buildings yet relatively rare for log homes.

The classic outline of a saltbox log home.

The saltbox home has a flat front side with a two-story fascia, and as such is a side-gable design. Traditionally, the saltbox also had a central chimney, but modern examples may move or eliminate the chimney. The most distinctive feature of the saltbox, however, is the roofline. While the home is two-stories tall in the front, the back of the home is only one story tall. This style originated when a small lean-to section was added to the rear of homes for added space, but today homes are constructed as saltboxes from the beginning.

A modern, Energy-Star rated saltbox design.

As with the original saltboxes, modern saltbox homes can offer more room than a more traditional design. While the most room is added on the first floor, a properly designed saltbox can add some room to the upper floor as well. In New England, granite rock is frequently just below the surface and this makes excavating a basement cost prohibitive. With its increased upper floor room used for storage, a saltbox can eliminate the need for a basement.

Traditionally, saltboxes have a central fireplace and chimney.

With modern design, the saltbox can be a great match for the log home. One interesting aspect is how the sloped rear roof naturally accommodates a cathedral ceiling great room that still feels cozy. The two story great rooms commonly found in homes today can feel too open to be comfortable. In the saltbox, a great room in the rear of the home will have a ceiling that slopes from one to one-and-a-half stories tall in the center of the home. This feels much more comfortable to many people, and lofts overlooking the room are very easy to integrate into the design as well.

Saltboxes naturally allow for cathedral ceiling great rooms.

Another possibility in the saltbox is to use the back-side roof for skylights for the first floor. With this design choice, instead of being used for storage the sloped roof will be exposed to the floor below. With skylights running along the whole length of the home, the first floor will be bathed in natural light.

Saltboxes can also allow skylights throughout the first floor.

What do you think of the saltbox? Whether you like this home style or fancy another type of log home, please contact us here to get started designing a log home that perfectly fits your style.