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Peaceful Lake Home

One man's lake home stands as testament to the power of having a dream—and fulfilling it just in time.
by Nicole Sweeney Etter | Photos by James Ray Spahn | Styling by Colleen Macomber

Exterior of the home

For more than 40 years, Brad Hahn talked about his dream log home. But when the fantasy finally took shape on Snow Lake in Indiana, Brad was diagnosed with a bone marrow disease. He had two seasons to enjoy his dream before he passed away.

“It was his mission to do this,” says his wife, Phyllis. “It’s a beautiful place, and I love it, but it was his dream. He wanted it so badly.”

Brad was an avid fisherman, and a lake home was the perfect retreat from the family’s automotive lift business in Aurora, Illinois. The Hahns’ first lake home was an Indiana cottage so tiny that friends nicknamed it “the one by one.” When they outgrew that space, they chose Real Log Homes (and local dealer Winebrenner Log Homes and Construction) for the upgrade to logs.

And upgrade they did. The family sometimes refers to the new home as their “cottage,” but the term doesn’t begin to capture the 6,400-square-foot, three-story gem built from hand-peeled Eastern white pine logs. “Sometimes in a large home you can lose the warmth and homey feeling, but not here,” says general contractor Mona Winebrenner. Even the expansive great room feels cozy.

In true dream-home fashion, everything in the house was custom built. “It was wonderful to work on,” Mona says. “Brad and Phyllis put their trust in us and let us run with it. When there was a decision to be made, they made it quickly. They knew what they wanted, and they wanted quality. That’s what they got. They never tried to take shortcuts.”

The great room's see-through fireplace is accented with manufactured river rock from J & N Stone. The fish above the mantel are a nod to Brad Hahn's favorite hobby.

With three children and four grandchildren, Phyllis and Brad wanted to make sure the house could serve as a getaway for the whole family. “There’s a lot of places to cozy up and read or relax,” Phyllis says. Brad’s favorite spot was his den, home to a leather chair, a TV and his books. He made a point of having his only chair. “Do you realize there’s no one who can come in here and bother me?” he liked to joke.

Light pours through the patio doors and windows that stretch to the top of the cathedral ceiling. The light fixtures throughout the home are Kalco ponderosa pine.

Even though Brad only got to experience his log home for a few short months, his spirit still permeates the space—and his dream persists. He and Phyllis never got to live in the lake house fulltime, but it’s like home, Phyllis says. “Not only for our kids, but for our grandkids, too.”

Home Plan Details:
Square footage: 6,400
General Contractor and Log Dealer: Winebrenner Log Homes & Construction
Log provider: Real Log Homes

Published in Log Home Living
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