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Building a Natural Log Home Beauty

This northern getaway leans into nature with organic materials, windows galore and a bounty of special, outdoor-themed details.

Written by Suzanna Logan

Photography by Brittany Dolloff


Wanting to “bring the outside in” is a common sentiment among log homeowners, but for Steve and Sharon Petruzello it was more than a bullet point on their wish list. It was the driving force throughout the building process of their New Hampshire vacation home.

For starters, during their property search, only a lot with a view would do. When they ventured past a for-sale-by-owner sign on a piece of land not far from Lake Winnipesaukee with clear sightlines to Gunstock Mountain, they were intrigued. Turns out, the property had originally been a part of a builder-owned neighborhood but was now available to house any type of construction. With dreams of building a log home, the couple was sold. “We had fallen in love with the idea of a log home — the warmth and coziness are perfect for a second home by the lake,” says Sharon.

The Petruzellos reached out to nearby Real Log Homes’ independent representative O.R. Gooch & Son to tour their model, and they visited the company’s headquarters and manufacturing facilities before sealing the deal. “They were very professional, and we liked that they immersed their logs in a borate solution,” shares Steve, referencing the company’s wood-preserving process that inhibits mildew, decay and insect infestations.

With their property and log home provider in place, the couple was ready to begin the design process. Having built other homes previously — six, to be exact — Steve and Sharon had a clear vision of what they were after. “The most important thing was to capture the view with a prow window in the main living area,” affirms Sharon.

Of course, when you’ve got a view that good, sharing it is a must. The couple entertain often, not to mention that they have five children with three still living at home, so it was essential for the house to host a crowd. “We wanted a main area where everyone could be together,” she continues. “But we also wanted the kids to have their own space.” A two-story design with four bedrooms, an open loft and walk-out basement fit the bill.

As newcomers to the log home world, the duo leaned into design advice from Ben Gooch and Real Log Homes’ regional sales manager Mike Heffernan. Together, they helped nail down the structural details of the plan, including the prow front, and helped add other notable features, like a Douglas fir timber truss to highlight the high ceilings and — one of the couple’s favorite features — a live tree post anchored in the center of the home.

If you look closely, the white cedar character post is made extra-special with an added detail. “We had an artist carve out a honeycomb that goes all around the top with little bees,” explains Steve. That same artist was responsible for adding a black bear to the staircase post at the home’s entrance, as well as playfully perching a pair of black bears on the primary bedroom’s four-poster bed. But those are just a few of the interior’s black bear sightings. “We had a count going at one point,” says Sharon. “We were up to 386, and I am sure there are even more now.”

The home’s forest-inspired furnishings continue throughout the first two floors, affirming the couple’s commitment to creating a nature-inspired retreat. Antler chandeliers, twig-style furniture and animal-print upholstery are just a few of the noteworthy finds. Hand-carved iron panel railings along the upper and lower-level staircases each depict a woodsy scene.

Even the bedrooms are distinctly themed. The “bear room” features bedding, artwork, pillows and a bathroom with matching details, while the enchanting “woodland room” and whimsical “treehouse room” (complete with an indoor “campfire” and tent) reinforce the emphasis on outdoor fun. “I wanted it to feel like you were entering your own cabin,” explains Sharon.

Once guests have taken in everything on the first two floors (Sharon warns it can take hours), they can visit the lower level for a distinct change in scenery. “We wanted to go very western,” explains Steve. A saloon-style bar, complete with swinging upper half-doors, a cactus garden tucked under the stairs and a poker table set the tone in the walkout basement.

But even with the switch up in theming, the importance of the outdoors is the same. A set of sliding doors keep the interiors bright and views front and center, while offering convenient access to an expansive patio with a grilling area, built-in bar and hot tub. A short walk away, a covered pavilion with a stone fireplace and cozy seating is a favorite gathering spot. “We can sit out there for hours,” says Sharon. “Everybody slows down and seems a little more laid-back when they come here.”

Steve agrees, adding: “Whenever you’re in a log home, you feel like you’re really away from it all up in the mountains, almost like cell phones don’t exist. It’s like you’re in a different world. And we still get that feeling when we’re here.” 


Home Details

Square Footage: 2,311

Bedrooms: 4

Baths: 3 Full

Log Provider: Real Log Homes

Builder: O.R. Gooch & Son


See Also: This New Hampshire Cabin Proves Planning Makes Perfect

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