Absolute support and tailor made designs - the main keys today in good cooperation with a professional house producer
31. January 2012

Log homes are warm and environment-friendly buildings that are loved all over the world, especially for many centuries in Nordic countries.  In the past quality was one of the main criterions in professional house building process. Nowadays quality still has an important role, however new keywords in building are also absolute support from house producer during the whole project as well as personalized approach to client’s needs.
Estonian Woodhouse Association interview with Ulf Backman, Swedish log home owner
Author: Triin Ahonen

TA: Where did you get the idea for building a wooden house and why did you choose handcrafted log home?
UB: We have plenty of log houses in Sweden and especially around Lake Siljan (Dalarna) were we often stay. We have seen those houses and liked what we saw. Another reason is a log homes’ ability to create a good environment to live in – I think log homes are healthy.
TA: Would you please describe briefly your log home
UB: We have designed the log house our selves, of course with good help from Hobbiton. We wanted a house that is made just for us, tailor made. Main idea is open space, high ceiling (Cathedral ceiling as they say in US), light, main fireplace visible all over the house and a lot of other fireplaces. 

Photos: Ulf Backman
TA: Can you bring forth the features you like the most about your house?
UB: The rough, coarsely timber, big logs everywhere. We love our staircase, wonderfully built of rough timber. Of course we love the open space of our home and the fact that it is made just for us.

TA: How did you find the wooden house producer and why did you choose to cooperate with an Estonian wooden house producer?
UB: We started our search for a producer in here, Sweden. We went to a lot of producers in Hälsingland and Dalarna and visited their factories. Either did we refuse them or they denied building the kind of house we wanted. A friend then told us about his brother who had a log home built by an Estonian producer. We visited the brother and got the name of the producer. I did also a search on internet for Estonian log home producers (and producers from other countries as well). I found Hobbiton on internet and liked what I saw and read. The fact that Hobbiton has a Swedish agent was important to us too. So I set up a meeting with the agent and the guy that produced “the brother's” log home. We were very happy when we learned that Andrus Prangli from Hobbiton spoke also Swedish. Ease of communication and a trust in their quality made us chose Hobbiton even though they had a higher price tag on their log house.
We have not regretted that we chose Hobbiton – they have been fantastic!  Absolute support is the keyword.

TA: Now when your house is ready, how satisfied you are with the whole project?
UB: The house is NOT ready…I have a lot of work to do before we can call our home ready. Hobbiton has done their part of the work and I am very satisfied with them and the result – our log home.

TA: What would you like to emphasize most of all within the good cooperation process with a house producer?
UB: Absolute support! Support before building starts and after. Hobbiton has supported us during the design phase without pushing us – they gave us all the time we needed (years!). Then during building they did communicate with us, asked questions and did proposals, in order to build a house that satisfied us. After building there have been some issues that needed improvement and Hobbiton reacted quickly to fix them.  They are still around to answer to all of my questions.
TA: Would you recommend Estonian wooden house producers?
UB: I would absolutely recommend Hobbiton but also Estonian producers in generally.

Manufacturing wooden houses in Estonia

Manufacturing of wooden houses started to develop in Estonia in the 1950s. Nowadays, the manufacturing of wooden houses has developed to one of the key industries in Estonia with 140 enterprises.  The sector’s turnover is approximately 128 million EUR per year and apx. 85-90% of wooden houses produced in Estonia are exported.
All Estonian manufacturers have a long term traditions in producing wooden houses and are competitive in foreign markets. The main export countries of Estonian wooden houses are Scandinavian countries but also important export partners are Japan, South Africa and South Korea.
Members of the Estonian Woodhouse Association manufacture wide range of wooden houses: machined log homes, handcrafted log homes, timber frame houses, modular houses, prefab houses and garden houses.
The products of Estonian Woodhouse Association members are mostly factory-built.