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A Log Home With a Learning Curve

Peek inside the 3,200-square-foot log home of one reader, whose Pennsylvania abode is a case study in the one-of-a-kind character log and timber homes provide.

Compiled by Katherine Owen

Photos courtesy of Amanda Swartley 


For Amanda Swartley and her family, a log home may not have been the original plan, but when she found one bursting with character and a certain sense of kismet, they simply couldn’t pass it up. Here’s her story.


Amanda: When I found this home online, it had been for sale for three years with no takers. I immediately sent it to my husband. The first showing came around, and as I walked down the spiral staircase, I was sold. My in-laws were with us at the showing and said, “Why do you want this home? What would you even do with it?” But my husband and I knew right away what we would do with it: host lots of gatherings and large parties to make awesome memories here. 

The house was empty, so I was able to picture how everything would look. I knew the addition — that large, curved space — had to be our entertainment room. We put in a low offer on it, and I think because it was on the market for so long, the owners just kind of let us have it. So, we thought, “Okay, guess we’re buying our first house!” 

Right away, we had Stoney Ridge Log Homes come out and teach us everything that we needed to know about owning a log home, like spraying your house for insects and other maintenance routines. He taught us how bushes and trees touching the house are not good for log homes, as it’s easier for bugs to get in. And he showed us how many rotten logs there were, as well as how you’re supposed to wash off spring pollen. It was definitely overwhelming in the beginning.

But that’s also when I learned you could stain log homes a different color. We had the whole house corncob blasted so we could start fresh. As far as the interior, in the room there where the bar is, there used to be a hot tub under there. It was a whole hot tub room. They poured over it with concrete before we moved in, but left it so that if we wanted, they could just chisel that part out and it could be a hot tub again. (It’s our bar now.) It’s funny; we have a lot of people, even relatives, come to our parties and say, “We were in this house when the old owners were here, and they had wild parties with the hot tub!” And I say, “You were here, in the hot tub?” To me that’s so crazy — everyone has been in this house before. 

Now, we love how it feels like our home. I think that’s what I love the most about it. We’ve done so much work to make it what we want. It is such a unique house. It just amazes me how different log homes can be; I think that’s what makes them really special. And now, at the end of the day, we really feel at home and grateful that we have a place like this.


See Also: This Cabin was Love at First Sight

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