Although life in the fast lane has its appeal, some prefer a slower-paced existence, soaking in their natural surroundings. Such simplified living enticed Connie and Fred Woolard to trade their busy lifestyle in Cary, North Carolina, for the relaxing atmosphere of Fleetwood, North Carolina, nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
“Cary is a tiny town that exploded — it became the up-and-coming place to live,” says Connie, a Michigan native who has lived in North Carolina since 1980. When town traffic started to increase and trees were taken down to make way for building projects, the Woolards decided to find an area with fewer people and plenty of nature.
Connie first visited Fleetwood (population 1,917) while staying at the River Farm Inn Bed & Breakfast for a silent auction event. She brought her husband to see the area, and they both knew they had found where they wanted to live.
“The people drew us to the area — we felt at home,” explains Connie, who currently works part time at nearby Appalachian State University and is also a realtor. Fred, originally from Little Washington, North Carolina, works full time as a software developer at the university. “The people are a real treasure: self-sufficient, caring and neighborly.”
When the Woolards asked the owners of the inn for the name of a realtor, the owners mentioned that they had property nearby for sale. The Woolards’ home now sits on that three-and-a-half acre lot as part of the River Run development. “It’s not overdeveloped,” Connie says. “There are 18 home sites in the development and 13 homes built. Only three are full-time residences.”
Located 3,200 feet above sea level on a beautiful mountain, the Woolards’ home, which features 6-by-12-inch kiln-dried eastern white pine logs, provides a stunning 270-degree view all around, with the New River running below. The couple did extensive research on log-home manufacturers before opting to work with Nicole Robinson, vice president of Log Homes of America, Inc., who also served as general contractor through Logs America, LLC.
The Woolards designed the 2,380-square-foot home themselves using a software program. “We were fledglings at figuring out how to design a house,” says Connie. “But we lived in enough houses to know what we wanted.” One main goal was to incorporate an open-floor concept with a lot of windows so that the house lives larger than it is, which they executed well.
“We didn’t change much in their plan from the final drawings to the field product because they knew exactly what they wanted and had great visual perception of room sizes and layouts,” the general contractor adds. “This is a very difficult trait to develop.”
The Woolards were an integral part of the building process as well, even going so far as to create a cardboard model that they brought to the site to help with visual placement on the lot. “Connie and Fred moved to the area and rented a home so they could be actively involved in portions of the construction,” notes the general contractor. “I enjoyed working with Connie so much because she was thorough and detailed that I actually hired her to help me out for a while after she got moved in.”
Such thorough planning has left the Woolards with no regrets. “By designing the home ourselves, we got what we wanted,” says Connie. “We both say we would build this house again.”
Home Plan Details:
Square Footage: 2,380
Log species: eastern white pine
Log supplier: Log Homes of America, Banner Elk, NC (800-564-8496; loghomesofamerica.com)
Builder/general contractor: Logs America, LLC, Banner Elk, NC (828-963-7755; logsamerica.com)
Cabinetry: Master Craft Inc., Wilkesboro, NC (336-903-8871; mastercraftshowroom.com)
Cultured stone veneer: Eldorado Stone, San Marcos, CA (800-925-1491; eldoradostone.com)
Etched glass doors: Glass Works of Raleigh Inc., Raleigh, NC (919-231-2155)
Masonry: Trivette Masonry, West Jefferson, NC (336-877-4877)
Windows: JELD-WEN, Klamath Falls, OR (800-525-3936; jeld-wen.com)