A s the owner of two restaurants, Alfredo Gomez knows it takes hard work to succeed. He also appreciates the importance of relaxation. An avid fly fisherman, Alfredo enjoys spending time at the lakes in central Kentucky and previously purchased a three-acre lot on one in Renfro Valley. His intention was to build a second home close enough to his restaurants and primary residence in Mount Vernon that he could easily get away for a few days when his business responsibilities would allow.
While waiting in a supermarket checkout lane one day, Alfredo happened to notice a log-home magazine. He had never seen a log home before. In his native Mexico, most homes are built of brick or stucco. Wood homes are few and far between. Seeing the warmth that log homes exuded appealed to him, and he vowed then and there that his getaway home would be log.
The problem was he didn’t know where to start. He was unfamiliar with any of the log-home companies. One evening, Alfredo explained his predicament to an acquaintance at one of his restaurants. Fortunately, the customer was familiar with the builders in the area. “He recommended Samuel Mast, owner of Cedar Creek Cabins in Crab Orchard, Kentucky, to act as both the general contractor and the builder,” Alfredo says, adding he set up an appointment immediately.
Mast has been building homes for Hochstetler Milling Company, an Amish manufacturer in Loudonville, Ohio, for a dozen years and was very familiar with their product. He showed Alfredo two homes he had built using two different log profiles: D-style (flat inside, round outside) and squared (flat on all sides). Alfredo preferred the D log.
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Next came the design. “Initially, I just wanted this to be a small vacation residence, but after meeting with the Hochstetler Milling team, I changed my mind,” he explains. “I decided this would be my permanent residence someday. I selected a larger floor plan than I initially intended and added a walkout basement.”
Because he wanted to use the natural elevation of the property to take advantage of the views of the lake, he chose Hochstetler’s Clear Fork plan and made some minor modifications. One was to use rope trim as filler between the drywall and the logs instead of the traditional caulking to give the home more of a Spanish feel.
On the main level of the 2,975-square-foot home, the tiled foyer flows into the great room, which features a two-story gas-burning fireplace. The porch wraps around a prow front filled with windows, allowing a view of the lake during the warm summer months. The remaining layout suits his family’s lifestyle. “I designed the kitchen with lots of cabinets and counter space in case I ever decide to cook there,” he says. “However, after so many years of running two restaurants, I have become rather lazy about preparing meals when I am at the lake. To date, the only appliance that I have really used is the microwave.”
The master bedroom suite is to the right of the great room and includes a large walk-in closet and a gorgeous tiled walk-in shower. Two bedrooms flanking the large comfortable loft sitting area in the second story and a full bath are available for the Gomezes’ three sons when they visit during breaks from their college studies.
Construction went smoothly, largely because of Alfredo’s belief that anyone planning to build a log home needs to be on-site as much as possible during the construction “so the result is exactly what you want,” he says. “Walk through the house every day and notice if there is anything that you are not satisfied with. If you find something not to your liking, point it out to the builder right away.”
“Alfredo was at the site almost 80 percent of the time,” Mast recalls. “From a builder’s standpoint, this is very helpful. If there were changes that he wanted, we could make them right then before the deed was done and we had to re-do it. When we work with potential clients, we strongly urge them to really think through what they want. This is probably the only time they will build a log home, and it should be perfect for them.”
After Cedar Creek Cabins finished building the home, Alfredo enlisted friends to help him finish the walk-out basement. They constructed a family room with a bar and a stage where his friends can play their music. A poolroom and half-bath make this level perfect for entertaining.
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Throughout the home, Alfredo endeavored to incorporate the style of his native Mexican culture. He utilized vibrant paint schemes on the drywall and included wall hangings and large globe chandeliers he purchased in Mexico as accents. He combined family heirlooms with comfortable leather couches and wood tables for a stylish decor suitable for relaxation.
Because he finds gardening a delightful diversion from running his business, Alfredo completed the landscape himself. “I really like pine trees and bushes, so I created beds of compact evergreens on both sides of the front entrance,” he explains. To make a dramatic statement, he finished a portion of the front lawn with rocks, where he strategically placed decorative clay pots from Mexico. These he filled with colorful blooming annuals.
Doing much of the work himself and with help from friends paid off. “After we were finished building the home, I still had some money left over,” he points out. “I decided I wanted to have a swimming pool opening off the driveway leading to the rear of the home.”
His new log home is everything Alfredo imagined it would be that first day he saw the log-home magazine while waiting in line at the supermarket. “I feel so comfortable here,” he says. “I love my view of the lake, and I feel so relaxed looking at the wood. This truly is my dream come true.”
Log home details:
Square footage: 2,975
Log Company: Hochstetler Milling Company
Tour a Kentucky Log Home with Mexican Flavor