Wake Up and Smell the Coffee … and White Cedar!

Very often here we talk about log home floor plans, timber frame truss design, log connections, flare bottoms, cottage style cedar shakes versus board and batten, etc., etc.. Many clients start their dream-home journey with those elements in mind. They search the two-dimensional universe of visuals on the internet and collect them in old school portfolios and digital idea books, file names like “LOG HOME FOORPLANS I LIKE”, “COOL TIMBER HOME INTERIORS”, “DREAM LOG CABIN EXTERIORS” – things we can see and touch. But what about the other senses?

What about olfaction, the sense of smell? Chemodetection, detecting chemicals related to smell or taste, is the most ancient of our senses. This sense is closely linked with memory, probably more so than any of our other senses; those with full olfactory function can “think” of smells that evoke particular memories. Our smelling function is carried out by two small odor-detecting patches, made up of about five or six million yellowish cells, high up in the nasal passages. For comparison, a rabbit has 100 million of these olfactory receptors, and a dog 220 million. Humans are nonetheless capable of detecting certain substances in dilutions of less than one part in several billion parts of air.

What does this sniffer summary have to do with Cedar home design? I googled “log home design and the sense of smell”. No books, no articles, no dissertations, not even one good meme. But virtually 100% of our clients mention the effect of their first encounter with Cedar – a years old family cabin vacation, a Cedar chest, a Cedar essential oil candle – as an important aspect of choosing our homes. The smell of White Cedar is like a silent walk down memory lane…or a walk in the woods. White Cedar helps to enhance fortified, focused thought. It was traditionally used by Native Americans during sacred ceremonies and for its self-care properties, which is why it is sometimes known as “Grandmother Cedar.” Its major chemical components include Alpha pinene, Camphone, Alpha thujone, Camphene, Beta thujone and Terpineol. The documented therapeutic properties of White Cedar include antibacterial, anti-fungal, astringent, anti-rheumatic, expectorant, diuretic, emmenagogue and stimulant properties…Not a one of these show up as titles on a single Pinterest board or Houzz portfolio.

Well, the secret’s out. New design criteria – “DREAM HOME AROMAS” – You heard it here first…

BTW, Kicking Horse Coffee’s Kick Ass Dark Roast goes really well with the smell of White Cedar


  • I have more questions and concerns about getting an oil-change than I do about this project.

    ~ Tom H.