Buying and Renovating a Log Home in Alaska

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When you think of Alaska, does a rustic, cozy, log cabin in the woods come to mind? All covered in snow with a fireplace roaring? That’s what we pictured so we were determined to find one. This is our experience with buying and renovating a log home in Alaska.

Buying a Log Home

We searched for a home for several months after moving to Alaska. James and I knew we wanted a log home but they’re not as easy to find as you might think. There were a few to look at but they always had structural issues or bad foundations. We finally found a log home that was built on a strong foundation and was structurally sound.

It was built in 1971 and needed a complete renovation. Previous owners had begun the renovation process but ended up having to leave Alaska before finishing. We had never renovated any home whatsoever but we really loved this house and the land it was on so we decided to take on the challenge.

Refinishing the Logs

The first project that we undertook was refinishing the logs. They were in poor shape and at risk of completely rotting if we didn’t take care of them.

We hired a local contractor who specializes in restoring log homes. Him and his team came out before we even moved in to get the project done. It took just over a week to complete.

They sanded all of the logs completely and it was amazing what a difference that made.

After that job was complete, they stained the logs. Now they will be protected for many years to come.

A New Metal Roof

The next project that we wanted to complete before winter was installing a new roof. The house had a metal roof but it was falling apart and needed to be replaced.

We chose a dark green metal and my husband, along with a contractor and some friends, installed it in a couple of days.

Redoing the Interior

Once the major outdoor projects were complete, we moved onto the inside. It was a mess! As I said, the previous owner had begun renovating but had only gotten as far as ripping fixtures out. This saved us from having to do that job and gave us a blank slate to start fresh.

The kitchen was bare so we installed cabinets, appliances, a new window, and flooring.

This included building a floating wall to hang the cabinets on. This way, they would move with the house if any shifting occurred. My husband and a couple of friends did all of this work and transformed our new home.

We added an island behind the woodstove as well for more counter space.

Adjusting the Woodstove

Part of our rustic, log cabin dream was a fire crackling in a wood stove. One of the features of our new home that originally drew us to it was the wood stove right in the center of the home. This wood stove was brand new and recently installed so we were thankful for that.

The only problem was that it was sitting on a concrete slab, which was a bit of an eye sore.

My husband got to work with a hammer drill and busted up all of the concrete. Underneath we found a big hole going down into the crawl space under the house. We had a cement truck come and we filled the hole before laying flooring down.

Finally, we set the wood stove on a slab of granite. It was ready to be used and enjoyed all winter long!

We also replaced the rough cut posts next to the woodstove with a large log. We needed something there for support and the log looked much better.

The Main Bathroom

There are two full bathrooms in the house, one downstairs and the other upstairs in the girls’ room. The downstairs one needed a complete makeover so we gutted it and started over, putting in completely new fixtures.

I’ll be posting more photos of our home as I go but this is how it all began. We still have some other projects to complete, like putting up new drywall and flooring upstairs and redoing the front entryway.

Our experience buying and renovating a log home in Alaska has been exciting. We absolutely love our little log cabin in the woods of Alaska and it has shaped our experience up here more than we anticipated.

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