Jerry and Joan Artale are working for the weekend. Every Friday this Connecticut couple makes the three-hour drive to spend two glorious days at their gorgeous log home in Lake Luzerne, New York.
The Artales lead a big city life during the week—Jerry owns a printing company in Manhattan and Joan is a mortgage broker in Connecticut. So the mini-escapes that these childhood sweethearts can take back to their hometown are always eagerly anticipated.
“We always say we come home on the weekends. Our log home is so relaxing,” Joan says. “We met up here when we were five years old. This is the life for us.”
That carefree life is nestled into a two-bedroom, 1,464-square-foot log home made from 6-inch plantation red pine logs with interlocking corners. After consulting with several manufacturers, the Artales chose Ashley Falls, Massachusetts-based Country Log Homes because they appreciated the hand-peeled logs that they think give their cabin a more authentic, rustic look.
“We actually hand peel the logs with a drawknife to remove the bark, but we leave a layer of cambium on the wood to give it a dark look,” says Doreen Chassie, owner of Country Log Homes. “It gives it a more natural feel.” The Artales were so pleased with that organic look that they just built a similarly styled guesthouse on their property, which is 15 minutes from Lake George, New York, in the heart of the Adirondacks.
To personalize their weekend retreat, the Artales modified one of the log home company’s stock floorplans by converting the plan’s two-bedroom second floor to one open room with a magnificent pond view. They also made the front porch two feet wider and screened it in so they could enjoy their outdoor space without pesky insects.
The Artales were as pleased with their general contractor, Thomas Neville, as they were with their log provider. “Thomas was able to do absolutely beyond what one would expect without charging beyond what one would expect,” Joan says. Thomas also designed the stairway, mitered all the boards and installed pine molding. “The key to getting the log home of your dreams is to take the time to put your team in place,” she explains. “Our home was a piece of art to the people who worked on it.”
The decor is in the Great Camp tradition, with birch tables, oak floors and unique odds and ends the couple has discovered in local shops. To bring a burst of color to the kitchen, the cabinetry is green-glazed oak, and Tiffany-style pendant lamps provide task lighting over the island. The no-nonsense tile in the bathroom is mushroom-colored, what Jerry calls a “Home Depot special.”
But Joan’s favorite room is the master bedroom in the open loft. Its high ceilings and bird’s eye view of the rest of the cabin (not to mention the pond off in the distance) provides her with a perfect perch to appreciate her perfect home.
Jerry prefers an outdoor spot to enjoy the secluded setting. “The best part of log home living is when you sit on the deck and just look around. There are bears, bunnies, deer and mountain lions that come to visit,” Jerry says, noting that TV chef and media mogul Rachael Ray is their neighbor. “It’s so peaceful here; we can’t believe we own this place!”
Square footage: 1,464
Log Producer and Designer: Country Log Homes
General Contractor: Thomas Neville