When Carolyn and Frank Hofmann purchased 104 acres in New Hampshire intending to build a vacation home, as a temporary measure they set up a 10-by-12-foot shack and an outhouse and spent many relaxing hours enjoying their 48-mile view of the central Connecticut River Valley.
“Our property was primarily old pasture land with miles and miles of stone walls,” Carolyn recalls. “The locals dubbed it ‘ Sunset Hill,’ as they used to come here after work and decompress while watching the sun slip behind the Green Mountains of Vermont to the west.”
One day, Carolyn asked Frank if he thought he could live there full time. “Yes!” was his resounding answer. “I had been a landscaper in Connecticut for over 20 years and felt it was time for a change,” he says. “I sold my business when Carolyn found a job as a nurse at one of the local health-care facilities in Hanover, and we set about to relocate to New Hampshire.”
First, they built a two-story 2,000-square-foot, gambrel-style barn, complete with a second-story apartment where they would live while their home was under construction. The main level includes a two-car garage and woodworking shop.
Their next order of business was to construct a permanent residence. After a visit to Carolyn’s brother’s log home sold them on the look of solid wood, the Hofmanns decided a log home would be ideal.
Selecting a log-home company didn’t take much looking. Coventry Log Homes was a mere 5 miles away. Additionally, sales representative Deborah Simano was their neighbor. They felt comfortable knowing any problems that arose could be resolved quickly.
Carolyn and Frank turned their attention to designing a home for their retirement years. “Our floor plan was a composite of many we saw in Log Homes Illustrated,” Carolyn says. “We knew we wanted one-floor living and a massive fireplace in the great room and another in the kitchen.”
A big consideration was Frank’s height. At 6 feet 4 inches, he is constantly on the lookout for low-hanging objects. Initially, for example, the beam in the master bedroom was only 3 inches higher than the top of Frank’s head. They added two more rows of logs to both the first and second story walls.
Before construction of the main house began, they erected another freestanding three-car garage opposite the barn that they refer to as the carriage shed. Frank notes that at this point they had five garages and no house. The new garage proved to be a very useful investment, however, as they used the area to store the finishing components, such as windows and doors, of the log-home package.
Because the home would sit on top of a rocky hill, Ted’s Excavating needed three days of blasting to remove all of the granite to dig the foundation. The stone would be transformed into the fireplace in the great room.
Once the foundation was complete, Coventry Log Homes set about erecting the log shell for the 2,700-square-foot home, 1,600 of which comprises the main floor. The home sits between the two existing garage structures and enjoys magnificent views of the Green Mountains<.
Under Frank’s direction as general contractor, assisted by Fiore Builders, the Hofmanns finished the first floor to include the living room, a kitchen with a dining area, a mudroom-laundry room with a half-bath, and the master bedroom suite. In lieu of a wall dividing the entry and kitchen, the couple used a hutch built of salvaged wood by Vermont artisan Bill Peberdy.
Much more about this home, plus a floor plan, ran in the September 2008 issue of Log Homes Illustrated.