When Jo LaMarche gave boyfriend John Lentine a log-home magazine as a Christmas gift, his life changed forever. As John perused the pages, he dreamed of owning a log home when he retired—someday.

But then he decided not to wait for someday. “My mother also inspired me to believe I could do anything and to move forward with that dream,” John recalls. “She told me since I only live once, I should go after what I want before it is too late.”

He and Jo began looking for property in Vermont. She located a parcel of land in a new development called Gray Stone Estates in Richmond. The 6-acre lot included a million-dollar view of the Green Mountains and Valley.

After researching log-home companies, John chose Kuhns Bros. Log Homes because he intended to build the home himself and felt the company’s turnkey package provided everything he needed to erect the weathertight shell. John purchased the package from Kuhns Bros. dealers Bob and Debbie Manzi of Maine Log Homes. They have retired but remain friends with John.

Next, John quit his day job as director of information technology for the Town of Wakefield, Massachusetts, and devoted the next two years to building his log home. He hired Bill Barnes to help him erect the log shell, joined by two high-school students that Bill had undertaken to teach log-home construction. The four workers had the home under roof in only six weeks.

John selected a version of Kuhn Bros.’ Fawn Lake floor plan but made three major modifications. First, he widened the footprint of the home 4 feet to allow for 28-foot ceilings in the great room. Next, he extended the farmer’s porch to run not only the full length of the house, but also on the side of the garage. Finally, he moved the fireplace from the center of the great room to the outside wall. “The fireplace is 5 feet deep and 7 feet wide and would have taken up too much space,” John explains. “By repositioning it, we allowed only 1 foot to extend into the interior of the great room and the remaining 4 feet are on the exterior front porch.”

John budgeted closely for the entire home and was able to keep within that budget for the project with the exception of the fireplace. “I spent three times what I initially had planned to get what I wanted in the fireplace, but the result is well worth every penny,” he says but points out he saved some by fashioning the mantel from some extra staircase treads that Kuhns Bros. included in the package.

With 2,800 square feet of living space, the home’s main level includes an entry foyer, great room, galley-style kitchen and adjoining dining room for entertaining, a powder room, and a walkout to the attached two-car garage. The second story has three bedrooms, one of which is in the bonus room over the garage, a full bath, den and loft sitting area.

Throughout the project, John planned for what he thought he might want in the home in years to come. That foresight included installing the plumbing for a future full bathroom in the yet-unfinished 1,600-square-foot basement. He purposefully did not build an entrance into the basement, as he wanted the home to be completely watertight without the risk of any leakage from ground level doors and windows.

Much more about this home appeared in the April 2008 issue of Log Homes Illustrated.