Nestled in along the Delaware River, Pennsylvania's Bucks County is a hushed paradise—the proverbial land that time forgot. The rolling countryside is dotted with covered bridges and fieldstone farmhouses. And thanks to the region's quaint restaurants and charming inns, it has become quite a popular travel destination.
But for Rick Bowles, it's home sweet home.
“I feel like I'm living in vacation land," says Rick. "I don't have to go anywhere. Instead, I just walk out my front door and see deer in the front yard, foxes on the hill. That's the kind of environment it is."
Rick didn't originally plan to go the "log" route. But while looking for a home in Timicum, he fell in love—with an existing log home.
"I was stunned by the character of the logs and chinking," he says. After being outbid when the property went up for sale, Rick started looking for a place to build his own log home. “I wanted a relatively quiet, secluded area," he says.
An outdoorsy guy, Rick was impressed with Timicum's dedication to preserving the native flora. Now he lives among a pristine landscape with brilliant wildflowers, towering maples—even an environmentally protected creek.
"Almost half of Turtle Rock Settlement has been designated as 'green space' that can't be developed," he says. A trip to the headquarters of Hearthstone Homes in Dandridge, Tennessee, was all Rick needed to find his ideal design partner. Specifically, it was the company's folk-style homes developed with renowned artist and designer Bob Timberlake that sealed the deal.
"I didn't want a house that looked like it was just dropped into the field," explains Rick. "I wanted it to fit naturally with the land and setting."
With the Timberlake style, the logs don't look machined. They have natural edges that beautifully reflect the trees they came from. Chris Wood, Hearthstone's vice president of sales, explains the authenticity of these large, rugged timbers.
"In the old days, logs were axed and hand-hewn to use the heart of the tree," he says. "We mimic that look, but with better technology to create a tighter fit."
Not only does the home fit the land, but according to Rick's friend Diane Smith, it also fits his lifestyle.
"Rick loves the outdoors," she says. "The transition from outside to inside in his home is quite gentle. It really gives you that living-on-the-edge-of-the-woods feel."
Rick's appreciation for the Craftsman tradition was the driving force behind his home's interior design and decor. He was dedicated to a setting that was more historic than rustic.
"I wanted large beams, clean lines and Mission-style lighting that would blend well with the surrounding architecture," he says. "Craftsman design is naturally subdued, but it's far from boring. The emphasis is on the quality of the wood—and on the quality of the work."
Not surprisingly, the home's color scheme is organic, inspired by the nearby forest.
"Since there was already such a strong wood presence with the logs, we were careful to choose lighter tones for the furniture, floors and cabinetry. All of the species have great texture and really interesting grain patterns," he says.
When it came to the home's landscaping, irony played a role. It takes diligence and careful planning to create an environment that looks like Mother Nature did all the work.
"It's really challenging to maintain a garden with all native plants, especially the first couple of years," says Rick, who hired Larry Weaner Landscape Design Associates in Glenside, Pennsylvania, to do the honors. "it was definitely worth the effort. To sit outside in the middle of summer and see all the beautiful flowers—it's quite rewarding."
And as spectacular as it looks from the outside, the landscape also serves the interior spaces. Flowers and plants are strategically placed outside of windows, blurring the boundaries between inside and outside. Of course, this home also blurs the line between the present and the past. As a finishing touch, Rick added on an authentic stone room to serve as an office and library.
"A lot of older homes have that graduated feel, where people have started with one room and added on over time," he says. "The stone room gives this home that same look."
The result is just what Rick wanted: a log home that blends the practicality of a 21st-century abode with the ambiance of a historic bed-and-breakfast.
"I didn't want to maintain two homes—and this one feels like both a primary residence and a vacation getaway," says Rick. "I still travel a lot, but it's always nice to come home to this welcome treat.”
Square footage: 2,425
Log Producer: Hearthstone Homes
General Contractor: Zark Markovich – Markovich Construction