As a young plumber making his way in the world, Pete Post fantasized about living in a log cabin like the ones tucked into the woodlands near his hometown of Branson, Missouri. Then, he met the girl of his dreams, Connie, who had log home aspirations of her own.
When the young couple married, they not only vowed to love, honor and cherish each other—they also promised they’d one day build their little log love nest in the woods. Three decades later, after the youngest of their five daughters flew the coop and they were faced with an empty nest, the Posts decided it was time to make those log home dreams come true.
Quest for the Best
After a two-year search, Pete and Connie purchased “the perfect” wooded lot. “As soon as we drove up, we knew it was where we wanted to be,” Pete says. With the deed in hand, they spent even more time researching log home providers. Only one company, Ward Cedar Log Homes, met all their requirements: a complete log home package; an attractive, durable and low-maintenance log system; custom design services; and a solid track record.
Established in 1923 by lumberman Bruce Ward, the company is the oldest log home manufacturer and the largest white-cedar log home provider in the country. “Cedar logs don’t crack and check like oak and pine do,” Pete says. “And termites hate cedar, which is critical in the Midwest, where bugs can be a big problem.”
The Posts particularly favored white cedar because it’s light both in weight and color. “Log homes can be dark inside. You can always darken logs with stain, but you can’t lighten them. We wanted the rooms to be light and bright,” Pete says.
The couple also knew they wanted the interior walls to be flat, yet they wanted the exterior to have that traditional rounded-log look. They chose Ward’s 6-by-6-inch D-profile logs, which satisfy both requirements. To top off their home, the couple selected a roof system constructed of large, round, eastern-white-spruce purlins topped with pine-board sheathing, rigid insulation and Owens-Corning 25-year composition shingles, giving it that mountain-cabin look inside and out.
Made to Order
Pete and Connie had a pretty good idea about what they wanted for their floorplan design. They began with one of Ward’s standard ranch-style plans and modified it to suit their tastes and lifestyle. “We sketched out what we wanted and the engineers took it from there,” Connie says.
Some of the modifications they made had a substantial impact on the overall design, such as the reverse walkout basement that added 750 square feet and an additional level to their living space. But one design change, the front porch’s roof, was made solely to fit their aesthetic vision. “The original plan had a gable, and we wanted a shed roof, like the old log cabins in the Ozarks that I’d fallen in love with as a girl,” Connie says.
The house has all the arche-typal log home regalia—a great room comprising the living area, dining space and kitchen, two bedrooms and two bathrooms on the main level. A family room, bedroom, bathroom, laundry room and storage area are tucked in the lower-level walkout.
To create a feeling of spaciousness in this 1,850-square-foot home, Pete and Connie added vaulted ceilings with false purlins in the great room. They increased the width of the hallways from 3 to 4 feet, used double doors in the bedrooms and incorporated oversized windows into the design. “I really enjoy my windows. They let in so much light and really bring the outside in,” Connie says.
For flooring, Connie and Pete chose hardwood for most of the house. “The pecan floors are really unique and absolutely beautiful. I just love them,” Pete says. “But then, we love everything about this house. So much so that we sometimes have trouble deciding where to sit—out front in the living room, in the dining area by the side deck or in the family room overlooking the back patio.”
That patio leads to a charming garden with a waterfall to soothe the senses—a feature they built themselves. They also designed and built the native-stone fireplace, constructed of river rock they pulled from the creek behind their house as well as a few shed deer antlers—a decorative element suggested by the couple’s grandson. “It turned out really neat. My wife loves to curl up in front of the fire and read,” Pete says.
If you ask Connie what her favorite spot in the house is, though, it’s the downstairs guest room. “You can see the waterfall and garden through the windows. It’s like a sanctuary. So peaceful and relaxing.”
The Voice of Experience
The Posts had little time for relaxation during the six months their home was under construction. Serving as his own general contractor, Pete did much of the work himself, which saved the couple some money, but was grueling.
While working full-time in his commercial plumbing business, he’d then make the 80-mile round trip to their building site every evening, weekend and holiday. “When I walked in the door the first time after it was finally finished, I had such a feeling of satisfaction. But I’ll admit it was tough— and I’ve been in construction all my life,” says Pete. “For people without a lot of construction knowledge and time on their hands, it’s better to hire a contractor.”
Pete also strongly recommends hiring a builder with log home ex-perience—and carefully choosing the log home provider. “People have gotten taken, usually because they didn’t do their homework or pick the right producer and contractor.”
An outstanding reputation was one of the main reasons the Posts chose Ward Cedar Log Homes. And Ward came through, Pete affirms, providing “fantastic service, from the time we first contacted them, all the way through construction.”
With their home complete and with Pete’s recent retirement, he and Connie have plenty of time for relaxation now. And they enjoy their little log love nest as much today as they did when they moved in nine years ago. “It’s so peaceful and suits us so well,” Pete says. Connie adds, “I feel like we’re always on vacation. We’re truly living our dream.”
Square Footage: 1,850
Log Company: Ward Cedar Log Homes
This article is featured in the December 2006 issue of Log Home Design.