Ever since she was a little girl, Deirdra Howard wanted to live in a log home, just like one of her friends. She carried that dream with her into adulthood, even after she married Jim Howard. “We often talked about building a log home, but it wasn’t until Jim retired from the family business that we were able to proceed with our plan,” Deirdra says.
After purchasing 8 acres of prime wooded property in central Vermont, Jim and Deirdra selected Northeastern Log Homes for their log package, working with Mike Cassidy, who heads up the factory-direct company’s Groton, Vermont, office. Northeastern ascertained what the Howards wanted in a log home and then its designers formulated a complete plan and construction documents.
Although the Howards previously had built a number of different homes, this project was so different that they hired Michael Blair, the owner of Northeastern Log Erectors, with 30 years’ experience building Northeastern log homes, as their general contractor. Michael in turn credits Wendell Downing, Wesley “Bo” Wilson, Greg Kimball and Neal Darling for playing major roles in the home’s completion. “During the time the home was being built, we were living in Florida where we spend the winters,” Jim says. “We were only able to visit the site about once a month, but Michael would call us almost nightly to tell us about the day’s progress and to ask specific questions.”
Intending this to be their last home, Jim and Deirdra selected a floor plan with all of the living areas on the main level, including the open great room with dining area, the kitchen and their master bedroom suite. They modified Northeastern’s Westfield plan by expanding the master bathroom and moving the guest bathroom off the mudroom.
They made another significant change after work got under way. “While we were constructing the deck off of the dining area, Jim and Deirdra questioned if we might be able to screen it in for protection against the black flies that are common in this area in the spring,” Michael recalls. “We simply added a roof and brought the log siding up 3 feet and installed the screen.”
Two guest bedrooms, one bath and a loft sitting area are located in the second level of the 2,400-square-foot dwelling. The basement is devoted to a play area for their grandchildren and for storage. A breezeway, containing a mudroom and laundry, connects the three-car garage with the house. “I have had the opportunity to build most of Northeastern’s models,” Michael points out. “The modifications the Howards made to the Westfield plan make this home one of most eye-appealing and gracefully flowing home I have experienced.”
Deirdra chose a totally country theme with a Southwestern flavor for their Vermont home. They purchased several pieces made of Florida driftwood, including their coffee and end tables. Twin log beds and a bureau in an upstairs bedroom contribute a rustic feel.
“Our Vermont log home is totally different from our Florida residence,” Deirdra notes. “That is primarily because the locations are so different and seem to dictate the lifestyle we have at each. In Florida, where golfing is more important, we have easy access to the golf course. Also, our home there is wide open to the swimming pool. When we are in Vermont, we tend to stay home and spend more time with our family. Home and family are the most important in Vermont.”