Midwest couple draws from an eclectic blend of design and decor to complete their log home
Story by Laura Stapleton
Photography by Roger Wade
You have to find what feeds your spirit, what makes you feel whole in yourself,” the owner says. “In this home, there is a feeling of being around nature and of bringing nature indoors. It’s really inspiring, it just feels whole.”
The home owner is fondly referring to the picturesque lakeside log home in Iowa that she, her husband and her teenage sonand occasionally her two grown childrenreturn to for weekend getaways and summer vacations.
“We have been married for 34 years, lived in eight states and talked for years and years about having a place to get away,” she says. “Now we have a weekend and summer home that has a totally relaxing atmosphere. It’s a good place to let it all hang out.”
When deciding what type of home they wanted, the couple was set on a log home. It was an easy, natural decision.
“My husband loves trees. He plants them, he reads about them, he takes care of them,” the home owner says. “He has always said that his alter ego is that of a logger.”
Her husband agrees, adding, “I’ve always felt extremely comfortable in log construction, whether it be restaurants, ski resorts or homes. I had seen a lot of log construction in ski areas; I wanted to bring that back to the flat Midwest.”
So the search for a log home producer began, but to no avail. The couple began to get discouraged, coming to the conclusion that they would build a cedar home instead because they weren’t finding what they wanted in a log home.
But they received a phone call from Jay Enderson, then a representative for Wilderness Log Homes. The home owner informed Jay that if he was willing to go all out for her husband, she had faith that he would build a log home with him. So Jay pursued the sale, finding out more and more about what the couple wanted in their dream log home and devising a suitable plan.
The home owners started with a standard floorplan, which they wanted to customize to fit their specific needs. Jay listened to their ideas and implemented them into a design that the couple fell in love with.
“I was feeling them out for what they wanted,” Jay says. “With the custom work we do, it kind of makes optional choices infinite.”
“He was very creative with the design. He looked at the way our family functioned and the way we wanted our space to feel,” the owner says.
During the planning process, the home owners relied on various crew members, including builder Bill Eich and Mike Peschon, the lead foreman for the crew. “Bill had never built a log home, and he did the finest work; Mike put his heart and soul into this project,” the home owner says. “Overall, we had a super crew. It was one of the most creative projects ever. It really fed the soul.”
The home may seem simple in style but includes many elegant features, such as a wall of windows and a two-story, stone-and-mortar fireplace.
Possibly the most distinctive feature in the home involves pieces of the past. A hand-built cabin, which had been on the land for about 80 years, had to be torn down during the building process. The home owners used some of the stone from the foundation of the old cabin as part of the fireplace in their new home, combining the past with the present.
“The cabin was like a wooden tent, but there was a nice stone foundation,” she says.
When decorating, the couple decided to keep their outdoor theme throughout. They used dark green leather couches, wicker and rattan chairs, and brocade and tapestry animal-print fabric. The flooring for the entryway, living room, dining room and stair landings is hickory, while the kitchen, bathrooms, porch and laundry room are covered with ceramic tile.
The couple also used tile for the kitchen countertops, which include a molding with a Greek design. For lighting, the couple decided on fixtures that portray an Old West-style tavern look.
Although another log home has appeared up the street since the couple built theirs, they say it still remains a street filled with homes built of stone or brick. “We have neighbors on our street who have been here for 20 years or more and share their tremendous appreciation with us for building a home that exudes such a natural feel,” the home owner says.
“People tell us they love our house,” she adds. “They love walking by itthat it enhances the neighborhood.
For a list of companies who contributed to the home, see the July 2001 issue of Log Home Living.
Wilderness Log Homes photos/Styled by Debra Grahl