On several occasions when Dick and Diane Haight vacationed at Tomahawk Resort on Minnesota’s Lake Kabetogama, they purchased chain-saw carvings from Thor Herseth, the resort’s retired owner. Thor and his wife, Helen, had built a log cabin, and the Haights loved its ambience and comfort. They decided if they ever built a new residence, it would be log.

When the St. Paul couple began planning for their retirement, they were attracted to Lanesboro, nestled in a deep valley of the Root River in southeastern Minnesota. The historic community offers a wide variety of cultural and recreational activities. “We intended not just to live in a community, but also to be involved,” Dick says. “Lanesboro had so many of the amenities we were seeking for an active retirement lifestyle. In addition, the people of Lanesboro were very friendly and accepting of us.”

The Haights located a 4-acre parcel of land with easy access to a bike trail and a bluff with a view of Lanesboro, just 2 miles away. Half the property was wooded. The obvious site to build their home was on the bluff.

They stuck to their plan for a log home and began researching companies. The many different package options and log styles overwhelmed them, but a colleague of Dick’s had built a home by Golden Eagle Log Homes and invited the couple for a visit. “We were impressed with the quality of the workmanship,” Dick says. A visit with the company’s co-owner, Tod Parmeter, made up their mind.

Dick and Diane selected Golden Eagle’s Double Eagle model as a starting point. They extended the footprint 4 feet on all sides and made other modifications. “At one time, Diane considered owning a bed and breakfast,” Dick recalls. “Although we gave up that notion, we still wanted each of the bedrooms in our new home to have its own private bath for our family and friends when they visited.”

Look for the floor plan of this model to be added to this story soon.

The 1,700-square-foot main level opens from the entry directly into the living room. Immediately to the left of the entry are the powder room and the master bedroom suite.  The dining area and kitchen are to the right of the living room. A bar, pantry and mudroom-laundry connect the kitchen to the two-car garage.   

In order to assure sufficient space for their company, Dick and Diane included two spacious bedroom suites in the 1,000-square-foot second story. They are separated by a catwalk sitting area.

A fourth bedroom is found in the walk-out lower level, whose 9-foot ceilings give the feel of an above-ground space. The Haights finished this floor with a living room, kitchenette, additional full bath, sauna, office area with a sleeper couch, pool room space and attached greenhouse.

Since Dick had already retired by the time construction began, he was able to travel to the site at least twice a week. He didn’t just monitor the progress by builder Jesse Rein and crew, but also rolled up his shirtsleeves and stained all of the logs—inside and out. He and Diane also painted the drywall in the home.

Once the structure was completed, Dick and Diane moved the trappings of their 40 years of marriage into the new home. They purchased new leather furniture for the living room and a dining room table, a hutch, and stools for the kitchen island from the Amish furniture crafters in the area. “I had so much fun decorating our home,” Diane recalls. “I love crystal and have found that crystal pieces, Tiffany-style lights, and my collection of Hummel figurines and plates fit well with the logs.”

Although Diane doesn’t label herself a gourmet cook, she enjoys cooking and feels fortunate to have such an efficient and beautiful kitchen, which she credits Golden Eagle’s Janet Felton for helping her design. Diane chose an array of eye-catching and step-saving appliances.

More about this home ran in the March 2008 issue of Log Homes Illustrated.