Now grown-ups can have tree houses

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A HAWICK man has returned to the Borders to build eco-friendly log houses from local wood.

Chris Houston has set up Caledonia Log Homes with his brother, professional rugby-player John, at Monteviot, Ancrum, near Jedburgh.

“We build hand-rafted natural log homes,” said Mr Houston. I don’t think you can get much more ecologically friendly as very few machines are used. It’s hand crafted, the wood is all local, the logs are used almost in their entirety – all that’s removed is the bark and that’s removed by hand. There is minimal waste, you don’t use many chemicals and you don’t need as much heating in your home.

The green entrepreneur graduated in American studies at Sheffield before deciding to follow a lifelong interest in working with wood.

“I was in Canada and fell in love with the bush and the forests out there. I have always been interested in building so I combined the two. It’s just a beautiful craft, it’s very rewarding, “ he said.

Mr Houston, 29, attended the respected Okanagan School of Log Building in British Columbia, training with Del Radomske, the father of modern log house building who set up the school. After completing the course he worked for a successful log home company in Canada for more than three years gaining experience and more skills and knowledge.

Mr Houston then worked for some of the top builders in the industry in France, Austria and latterly New Zealand.

He builds the shells of the houses – a small one costs about £60,000.

There is only one other log home company in Scotland, in the Highlands, and Chris expects customers will be UK-wide

“Nobody in the UK has had the experience I have had being abroad and working in Canada, which is a Mecca of log house building, “ said Mr Houston.

He also builds handcrafted log furniture, benches and picnic tables and he specialises in log truss work, roof systems, floor systems and handcrafted stairs.

More information at www.caledonialoghomes.co.uk or from Mr Houston on 07801 584136.