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Family Affair: Pennsylvania Log Home

Building a second home turns into a true labor of love for one Pennsylvania couple.
by Iyna Bort Caruso | Photos by Mark Anderman

Paul Mocciaro didn’t just dream about owning a log home; he dreamed of building it himself. And with more than a little help from his friends and a lot of help from his father, Paul finally realized his vision of developing a private getaway for his large inner circle.

The kitchen cabinets are custom built of maple and complemented by granite countertops. The family's penchant for large-scale entertaining is clear. The kitchen has two dishwashers, two ovens, two sinks and two microwaves.

Construction began nearly a decade ago and was a long time in the making. Paul spent most of his weekends and vacations working on the home, which sits on a 200-acre parcel of land in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. His army of friends and his father, Paul Sr., also rolled up their sleeves and got to work, sleeping in tents and campers in the early days of construction. “We just loved being up there,” Paul says. “Some days I would drive two-and-a-half hours from my house in Colonia, New Jersey, work the whole day and come back home. I tell people that house was my drug. When I got there, I didn’t mind working.”

A plumbing contractor, Paul has worked on all different kinds of construction projects in the past, but taking on a log home was a first. “It was definitely an undertaking,” says Paul. “Building a log home is complicated. There’s settlement and log shrinkage—a lot of different things that you need to account for.”

Paul found the claw-foot tub in a supply house well before the log home was even a thought. "Before I had a concept of building the house, I bought the tub thinking some day I'll use it," he says. The tub is now in the master bath. The vanity was originally an antique dresser once owned by Paul's late mother.

Even with all the challenges, though, the final product was a success, and very little of the finished home is exempt from Paul’s imprint. He built the railings for the wraparound porch, operated the crane to install the roof panels and hand-picked the stones used for the fireplace. Paul’s wife, Sandra, lauds, “It’s an amazing thing for the children to know their father and grandfather built this house.”

The home comprises Norway red pine timbers milled to 6-inch heights and 9- to 11-inch widths. It features tongue-and-groove construction with mortise-and-tenon stockade corners. Doreen Chassie, co-owner of log supplier Country Log Homes in Ashley Falls, Massachusetts, says the company’s niche is hand-peeled logs, where all the knots and curvatures are left behind for a rustic look.

The dining area, like the rest of the first floor, features tile, radiant heat flooring. "Being a plumber, I couldn't not do that," Paul jokes.

Doreen describes the home as a “custom prow cape” for theV-shaped window wall that resembles a bow of a ship. In many ways, though, it’s a creation of Paul’s own imagination. Three bedrooms are on the main level, with a large kitchen and oversized great room. Two guest bedrooms are located on the walkout lower level and dual-wing upper floor. Each wing has two bedrooms and a bath.

The 6,300-square-foot home sees plenty of action, thanks to the Mocciaros’ four children, ranging in age from 2 to 14 years, and the dozens of overnight guests the family hosts on a regular basis. For the family and their friends, the home is a year-round resort. They ride snowmobiles in the winter, then fish in their private 4-acre pond, and ride ATVs and dirt bikes during warmer months. Paul also plans to build a motocross track and install two additional ponds for another of their many hobbies: retriever field trials.

The deck of the Mocciaro home overlooks a 4-acre pond, and features EverGrain composite decking and Norway red pine railings.

After all these years, Paul says, “the newness of the home still hasn’t worn off. Every weekend we come here, I get that feeling all over again. I turn into somebody else when I’m here. And the family loves it so much. Come Sunday, when it’s time to go home, the kids are upset they have to go back to the real world.”

Home Plan Details:
Square Footage: 6,300
Bedrooms: 9
Bathrooms: 5
Log producer; general contractor: Country Log Homes
Log species: Norway red pine

Published in Country's Best Cabins
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One Response

  1. Tony–You would need to contact the log producer for this project, Country Log Homes, for that information. The company can be reached at 800-229-8084.

    Whitney RichardsonMarch 9, 2010 @ 10:09 amReply

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