In 1997, Ron and Linda Silber bought a modest 10-year old log home. The house, sited just steps from glorious Lake Lanier, is pure justification for the old real estate mantra of “location, location, location.” Just a few miles outside of quaint and historic Buford, Georgia, and less than an hour from Atlanta, it was in the perfect spot for country loving, but city- rooted homeowners.
Even though it needed some cosmetic sprucing up, Ron and Linda saw great possibilities and immediately fell in love with the solid and well-built house. With more than 2,000 square feet, incorporating two bedrooms, a large living room, generous front and back porches, they thought there was certainly more than enough room for the two of them.
However, they weren’t counting the numerous friends and family members who became regular weekend guests. The Silbers love to entertain but, Linda says, “it became clear that we needed considerably more living space to accommodate lots of people — the kind of space that would work well both for us and for overnight guests. We felt that the solution was an addition to the house that would include a large master bedroom suite with a sitting area sited away from guest quarters that would give visitors and us plenty of privacy. We also wanted a larger second living room, another guest bedroom, and an extra bath so everyone could spread out.”
In creating their log home addition, they found that they had two design options. They could choose either a style of log to contrast with the original house or build an addition that looked as much like the standing house as possible. “We felt that going for the contrast would have looked confusing and disjointed, so we opted to create a log addition that would mimic the older section as much as possible,” Linda says. In the end, it was the focus of the building process to conjoin the 20-year-old part of the house with the addition to make one seamless structure.
This was, by no means, a push button project. Linda researched and oversaw every detail in adding on the log structure. Among her first challenges was to find just the right logs; to that end she spent a good deal of internet time researching log companies that could provide a materials package as close as possible to the existing house.
“In order to emulate the logs of the original structure, we needed D logs 6 ¾ inches high and 8 inches deep,” Linda says. “We wanted to be able to chink them on the outside.”
Linda found that Southland Log Homes had just the logs she needed. However, it wasn’t to be just the logs that would make the expanded home appear to be one cohesive unit. To unite both structures, the Silbers also added a stone base to the original house and continued it around the addition. They replaced all of the windows in the old part of the house to match the new Pella windows in the addition.
Another architectural element that is both striking and binds both old and new parts of the structure is the wooden shakes that cover the roof. Linda felt that this roofing, somewhat unusual in contemporary building materials, gives the house an historic feel.
Another of the possible challenges in putting on a log addition is the joining of the two structures. They resolved that issue on the exterior with the matching logs; Linda solved the problem inside by creating a hallway between old and new with drywall. Her architectural “trick” makes it appear as if the entire house was built as one.
Both for design and life style benefits, Linda felt that extending the back porch of the standing house and tying directly into the back porch of the new addition would accomplish a further bonding of the two structures as well as providing additional outdoor living space. This not only benefited the design but also added a dimension to their lifestyle since one of the great features of the Silbers’ home is its fabulous view of the lake.
Although the kitchen was in the older part of the house, it too underwent a massive redesign. It now features Old World elegance with log home informality.
The rest of the house also features the casual but upscale European country look. Rugs over pine floors have a floral tapestry design. Furniture is a mix of materials — wood with wrought iron accents. This house offers proof that log homes can be as decoratively diverse as any other kind of structure.
Now, the entire project is complete: the addition, interior design and all that goes with such an undertaking. The house has more than 5,000 square feet of space on three levels.
The construction of the addition took six months and, according to both Silbers, went very smoothly. It also provided an unexpected new part-time career for Linda, whose passion for building and decorating are now being utilized professionally. She now helps her friends and associates in the building and decorating processes of their own “less than perfect” homes.
Log Provider: Southland Log Homes.
Designer/Decorator: Linda Silber, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
This article ran in the July 2007 issue of Country’s Best Log Homes.