Some people still think of log homes as being one-room cabins with no indoor plumbing. But over the past few years, log homes have moved out of the woods and into the mainstream of American architecture. Entering a golden age, they are often regarded as status symbols - the majority of the handcrafted log homes built today fall into the $500,000 to $1 million range.

Today's log cabins are tailored to the individual tastes of the homeowner. They not only contain the usual rooms that make up a primary residence but also amenities such as cathedral ceilings, indoor swimming pools, skylights and other special features.Homeowners have the option of buying "kit cabins" or handcrafted homes, like the ones built by Alpine Log Home. Each log is individually selected, hand-peeled and hand-notched. In fact, the home is preassembled at the Alpine Log Homes plant in Victor, Mont. It is then dismantled and shipped to the local builder for final completion. Reassembly at the site takes place immediately following the arrival of the trucks, and the superstructure is usually assembled in two to three days.

Alpine Log Homes is a "full-service" company that not only focuses on one-of-a-kind log residences but also log condominiums, churches, restaurants, office buildings, museums, golf course club houses and national park buildings. The company has been in operation for 50 years.

One such home was built this summer in Mapleton and was featured in the 1988 Utah Valley "Parade of Homes." The customized log home falls into the $350,000 price range. It is currently the dream home of builder-/contractor Ed Johnson, his wife, Stephanie, and son Nicholas, 11.

Johnson met with Alpine Log Homes personnel in a number of conference meetings to explain what some of his needs were. He wanted an office in the home where he would not be isolated from his family. So Alpine designed an open loft above the living room. From his "crow's nest" he can enjoy a spectacular mountain view.

Johnson wanted his garage to face south so there wouldn't be as much snow to shovel. Alpine accommodated.

And so the exchange continued until all of Johnson's ideas were incorporated into the plan by Alpine's innovative, in-house design department.

Initially, interior designer Fernando deMoraes came from California with a Spiegel catalog in hand to decorate the home. He selected Spiegel's new "Design Studio" collection of home furnishings.

When Home Magazine personnel came later to photograph the home for a magazine feature, they completely redid what previously had been done; they wanted to get away from the catalog feel as well as mix new and used furnishings.

But since that time, the Johnsons have moved into the home and Stephanie has done extensive redecorating to fit the tastes of family members.

With a knack for decorating, she integrated the muted colors of Southwest decor with accent pieces of antique furniture. And she softened the garden room by adding Victorian wicker and ruffled pillows. She also added personal touches, such as family photographs, children's artwork and memorabilia.

The furniture in young Nicholas Johnson's bedroom is all log furniture from the Naturalist in Provo. And the king-size bed in the master suite is also of log.

The Johnson family has been living in the new home since the end of July. And they love it. In fact, son Nicholas gets upset if any mention is made about selling it.

Ed and Stephanie Johnson have been Utah dealers of Alpine Log Homes for approximately 12 years. Now that they have experienced living in one of them, they are true believers. They're in a much better position to enthusiastically promote the sale of these log homes.