Meeting a stranger at a house in the woods might sound like the start of a horror movie, but for newlyweds Erin and Zach Parmeter
, it’s the beginning of their favorite love story — their own.
Here’s how the tale goes: It was a blind date, and the two had agreed to meet up at Zach’s house. When Erin pulled off of the road and onto the gravel driveway, she wasn’t sure what to expect. But when she caught a glimpse of the house, she knew in an instant the man she was about to meet must be something special. After all, this was no typical bachelor pad. Surrounded by forest on all sides, the custom-built half-log-and-timber home and its neatly manicured grounds make a stunning first impression.
“It was right at that golden hour when I pulled up, and I had never seen anything like it before,” Erin says. “It was beautiful.”
Over the following months, the couple’s dates often centered around the house, including evening strolls along the five-acre property with chocolate Lab, Jasper, in tow; cooking together in the gourmet kitchen
; and cozying up in front of the wood-burning fireplace over a game of Rummikub. So when Zach decided to pop the question, he didn’t look far for the perfect location: “I proposed in the exact spot where we first met.”
Although Zach had no marriage prospects when he purchased the property five years ago, he spent a significant amount of time planning how the house would function for his future family. “When you build a log or timber home, it’s not just a house, it’s a legacy,” he explains. Zach’s longing for a forever home made choosing a log and timber hybrid a no-brainer. Of course, so did the fact that his family owns Wisconsin’s Golden Eagle Log and Timber Homes
and he serves an Interior and Exterior Design Coordinator for the company. (Erin’s family also works in the custom-home industry.)
Taking into account his expectation to age in place
, Zach chose a 2,400-square-foot, open-concept ranch floor plan, but he doesn’t expect to wait decades to enjoy the benefits of single-level living. “It will be nice when we have young kids because we will all be on the same floor.” With three bedrooms, each with a loft; three bathrooms; and an unfinished basement, the home offers plenty of room for the newlyweds’ family to grow, yet is short on unused space, even for the two of them.
“I had originally planned something much larger, but this size fit within my budget and allowed me to maintain the quality of finishes I wanted,” he explains. “I prioritized quality over quantity. I wanted a home I could appreciate living in at 60, 70 or 80 years old,” he says.
On the exterior, long-lasting materials
and products are the name of the game, such as maintenance-free decking, a mix of 50-year architectural shingles and standing-seam metal roofing, aluminum soffit and fascia and low-maintenance vinyl windows. Where possible, Zach opted for dark bronze materials to create an industrial vibe. Exterior wood elements include eastern white pine half-log siding and Douglas fir timbers in the arched queen post style, plus cedar shingles and board-on-board siding.
Inside, Zach opted for finishes
that would feel “rustic, rugged and comfortable” yet “warm and welcoming” — a look he refers to as a “Tuscany timber” aesthetic. In the shared living areas and bedrooms, dark stained, hand-hewn Craftsman-style timbers, reclaimed pine ceilings and rustic alder cabinetry come alongside skip trowel textured walls, stone accents and textured tile floors.
While Zach loved his selections from day one, one thing he didn’t expect was to appreciate them more over time. “With all of the big windows, you’ll often see a beautiful beam of sunlight reflecting or casting a shadow on a certain feature,” he says. “I find myself admiring and appreciating things in a new way every day.”
Fittingly, Zach and Erin feel the same way about their relationship, having tied the knot this summer. The celebration took place where it all began. “Getting married here tied everything together for us,” says Erin. Zach adds: “I like that the house is part of our story. One day when we are telling stories around the campfire, our grandkids will be able to say, ‘Grandma and Grandpa stood right here when they got married.’ To us, that’s pretty special.”
Square Footage: 2,400
Baths: 3 full
Log & Timber Provider/Builder: Golden Eagle Log & Timber Homes
Follow the full story!
If you missed any of the eight installations of our “Dirt to Done” series, these highlights pulled from Zach’s home building process will bring you up to speed.
For Zach, creating a new custom home
meant educating himself on all things log and timber (being involved in his family’s custom home business gave him a head start) and learning to trust his design instinct.
To stay within budget and build the home of his dreams, Zach had to score a good deal on property.
When he found one that hit his wish list and price range, he didn’t hesitate.
Bigger isn’t always better. Zach prioritized quality finishes and functional spaces over additional, unnecessary square footage during the design phase
Zach used the rough-in stage
to enhance his home’s future functionality, including creating an electrical layout plan that allowed him to put special lighting and tech features in place. May 2020
To ensure long-term efficiency and day-to-day comfort, Zach carefully selected and positioned the home’s utility systems