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Low-Maintenance Lakeside Cabin

A lakeside cabin emits a low-key ambience through low-maintenance building materials and an open, casual design.
by Sara Brown | Photos by Alistair Tutton Photography

The home features Appalachian-style flat logs with dovetail corners and 4-inch chink joints. The logs are cut up to 40 feet long, a design feature that eliminates leaks in the log system and cuts down on long-term maintenance.

Ask Shawn Polowniak exactly when he knew that he wanted to one day build a cabin for his family, and he’ll confess that, like many cabin owners, it’s been a lifelong dream.

Even though the kitchen and dining areas are in a separate wing of the house, their accessibility and openness to the living room create a seamless design.

“My grandparents built a log cabin when my mom was a child, and I grew up visiting their home every summer,” Shawn explains. “When my grandparents passed away a few years back, I promised my mom that I would build a cabin so that our family could continue to enjoy that lifestyle we’d grown to love. But truthfully, I always knew that I’d build my own log cabin one day.”

Custom Creation
That vision was a casual lakeside cabin with an open plan, perfect for hosting friends and family at their lakefront property in Gallatin, Missouri. It was the home’s stunning views of Lake Viking that led the Polowniaks to StoneMill Log & Timber Homes’ Elk River II plan, but they knew that they wanted to change the original layout.

“They were looking to take advantage of the property’s surrounding landscapes, and the Elk River II, with its uninterrupted wall of windows in the great room, was a great starting point,” explains Mathew Sterchi, vice president of sales and marketing at StoneMill. “By positioning the home the right way on the property, the lakeside portion of the plan more than accommodated the views they wanted to capture.”

The wall of windows aside, there were elements that the Polowniaks really liked, but there also were things that they really wanted to change, Shawn explains:

Shawn opted for brick-veneer flooring woven together in a running-bond pattern in the kitchen and dining room.

  • The couple wanted the house to feel very open, so they opted for a wide-open kitchen space with a large island that flows into the airy great room and overhead loft.
  • To further boost the home’s casual ambience, the couple located their master bedroom right off the living room so their guests would feel like they were welcome and connected to the homeowners at all times.
  • Rather than having the staircase situated in the foyer per the original design, the couple incorporated a separate bump-out off the entry to accommodate the staircase. The foyer subsequently became more spacious and more of an entry focal point with exposed beams overhead, which set the tone for the rest of the house.

Low-Maintenance Living
Like the floor plan, the Polowniaks also had strong opinions about how they wanted their lakeside cabin and second home to live in the years to come.

“Because the house is sometimes unattended for weeks at a time, we needed it to be really easy to shut down and re-open,” explains Shawn.

To do that, Shawn worked with Ply Gem, a building products manufacturer, to finish out the home with low-maintenance materials:

  • The aluminum-clad wood windows require virtually no maintenance and are finished in a dark bronze shade to match the logs.
  • The gable ends and dormers feature shake vinyl siding, which will never have to be painted, stained or maintained.
  • A light, sturdy stone veneer was also used for all the columns, supports and skirts around the house.

Square footage: 2,530
Bathrooms: 3
Bedrooms: 2.5

Cabinets: walnut (built by homeowner)
Countertops: reclaimed oak barn beams (built by homeowner)
Designer; log provider: StoneMill Log & Timber Homes (800-438-8274;
Doors; siding; stone veneer; windows: Ply Gem (888-975-9436;
Flooring: brick veneer; reclaimed oak
Front doors: reclaimed oak barnwood (built by homeowner)
Mantels: reclaimed walnut barn beams (built by homeowner)

Published in Country's Best Cabins
Comment Feed

2 Responses

  1. Dec. 2012 edition. Starry Eded. Westlake’s cabin. Pictures of kitchen and master bath do not match the floor plan on page 70. Looks like someone got in a hurry and did double-check the layout.

    Dawn WrideDecember 14, 2012 @ 2:31 pmReply
  2. do you build in GA? Lake Lanier area


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