Story by Stacy Durr Albert | Photography courtesy of Golden Eagle Log & Timber Homes
As you feast your eyes on this undeniably rustic retreat set in New England’s White Mountains, you’d never guess that its owners also have a sophisticated Tuscan-themed home in sunny Florida. After all, the two house styles — and their locations — are about as different as night and day.
“We knew that our home in the mountains had to be log,” shares homeowner Bill Dawson.“It’s drastically different from our Florida home and from prior, more traditional homes we’ve lived in. We wanted to combine the natural feel of logs with modern amenities and higher-end details to create a true 21st-century home.”
A quick glance at this rugged-yet-elegant house reveals meticulous attention to detail, an artful mix of sophisticated touches and a very rustic flavor. Set on two pristine acres in the exclusive Mount Washington
Valley resort area in Intervale, New Hampshire, the custom log home not only affords breathtaking mountain views, you can hear the romantic whistle of the local tour train in the distance.
“It feels like we are in the middle of the woods, yet we are still close to town and many of the area’s attractions,” says Bill. “We looked at a lot of properties but kept coming back to this one.”
Though the area is renowned for its top-notch snow skiing, the Dawsons wanted to create a place that would enable them to enjoy this magical area through every season. A referral led them to Wisconsin-based Golden Eagle Log & Timber Homes and to a talented general contractor, Richard Leavitt of Leavitt Contracting in Fryeburg, Maine, who happens to own a log home of his own.
“I met with them from the beginning stages,” recalls Richard. “I served as their general contractor and builder, but I also helped them choose a design that would be best suited for a sloping lot and allow them to gain maximum exposure.”
The base floor plan that the couple selected was the “North Carolina” plan. Golden Eagle’s engineers modified the design to suit the Dawsons’ lot and to fit their personal taste (the company has since added it to their collection of stock plans, naming it the “South Carolina 2310AR”). The layout features a main level plus a full walkout basement level and a sleeping loft.
“They wanted a gathering place for all of their family and friends,” explains Richard. “They also wanted their home to incorporate many of the unique elements from the natural surroundings of New Hampshire and western Maine.”
The resulting home takes “unique” to a whole new level. The interior is chockfull of one-of-a-kind details created from trees felled on the property, including custom stairs, beams, railings and “live edge” boards used for trim and wall coverings. Birch bark-faced shelving, wood from a historical barn, BarkClad shingles and ceiling trim made from tree saplings also define the interior. The home’s log beams are equally distinctive.
“Usually, we send out straight tie beams and spindles,” shares Jeff Heeg, a sales advisor with Golden Eagle Log & Timber Homes. “For this home, the customer wanted naturally curved tie beams and arched braces, entryway beams and spindles. In addition, the Dawsons didn’t want any drywall in the home, so the house has a mixture of knotty pine tongue-and-groove boards, half-logs and stone.”
Golden Eagle’s log package features 10-inch-diameter eastern white pine logs with butt-and-pass corners. Used in combination with wood from the property, the beams impart a great sense of character to the 2,310-square-foot retreat. Ten-foot-high ceilings, 8-foot-tall doors and oversized windows accentuate the sense of spaciousness.
“The great room’s windows are so large you can turn off all the lights and see the stars,” says Jeff. “The home has breathtaking views — whether it’s the changing colors of fall or freshly fallen snow, it feels like you’re outdoors.”
A show-stopping feature inside the house is the kitchen. A dramatic 22-foot-high cultured-stone hood takes center stage. Featuring log framing and angled-log supports, it was designed to mirror the great room’s fireplace directly opposite.
“We decided to carry the fireplace look over the cook stove,” explains Richard. “Instead of just having a vent hood, we created stonework that went all the way up to the peak, giving the illusion that it was a full fireplace going right through the roof.”
Locally harvested pine tie beams add more drama above the kitchen island; one beam was strategically placed to conceal task lighting.
Eye-catching Brazilian granite with a live edge makes a strong style statement, with its beautiful veining and thick appearance (created by using a double layer around the edge). Additional kitchen luxuries include a pot filler, copper sink, extra-tall custom alder cabinetry and gourmet appliances.
“The kitchen is where everyone congregates, so a large, open kitchen/dining/living area was a must,” shares Bill. “We entertain often, and we love the fact that everyone can be in one large space. Keeping it very open and using an oversized island lends itself well to entertaining.”
Other rooms in the home are equally impressive — an inviting four-season room, octagonal game room, secret bunk area and custom wine cellar are all favorite areas to unwind. With seating for four and space for more than 200 bottles, the wine cellar is a particularly popular retreat. It boasts beams from a century-old barn that Richard dismantled. Throughout the house, attention to detail and a sense of “rustic chic” define the space. The owners decorated the home themselves, capturing the warm coziness of a log cabin while also giving the home a high-end vibe.
“The style is ruggedly elegant,” says Richard. “Although the Dawsons wanted it to feel rustic, they also wanted a finished look. It seems like an oxymoron to mix rustic and elegant together, but in this home, it works. Darker colors inside add to the air of sophistication. The logs have a smooth finish when you run your hand across them, but they don’t have a polished ‘shine’ that makes you feel this it is not a real log home.”
All in all, the owners couldn’t be happier with their mountain getaway. It’s a far cry from the marble, stucco and Venetian plaster infused in their Florida villa, and they wouldn’t have it any other way.
Square Footage: 2,310
Bathrooms: 3 full
Log Provider: Golden Eagle Log & Timber Homes