Few people build their own log home these days, but some relish fixing up old ones. Mike and Chelsea Palubiak are two of those people. The Ohio couple bought their log home in 2011, intending it for weekends and vacations. It had been built a dozen years earlier but was obviously neglected and sat vacant for two years.
“It looked scary,” Mike recalls, adding the logs were sturdy and undamaged, just dirty. Its overall dilapidated look made it available at a bargain price. Much work needed doing.
“It was a challenge, to say the least,” Mike recalls. “From the very second we purchased it, we realized just how much work was ahead of us, but we viewed it as a labor of love. We have always dreamed of owning a log cabin.”
The 7,000-square-foot home is perched high on a hill in southern Ohio, on 100 acres.
“We both can remember how the view from the top took our breath away the first time we saw it,” Mike says, “and even today we are in awe of the sunsets, sunrises and the view.”
“My background is pressure washing and restoration,” Mike says. “We do a lot of decks, cedar homes and even some log homes. So that helped out.”
They concerned themselves primarily with cosmetics, organization and design aspects. For the log work and heavy construction, they found help online: Lawton Brock of Brandywine Construction & Restoration.
Inside, Mike says they spent “about 500 man hours cleaning out the dust and spiders.” The original owners had applied one coat of polyurethane but unevenly.
“We sanded the logs down to smooth the poly, then applied mineral spirits, then applied another coat of polyurethane, then sanded that and applied a final coat of poly to make the logs look good,” Mike says.
Once the home was restored to a livable condition, Mike and Chelsea began making it their own.
“We started by converting the large attached garage into a beautiful family room,” Mike says. “After that, we finished the basement, which we designed to include a theater room, arcade room and western saloon. We also added some stonework and vaulted the garage ceiling.”
They also revamped the water system, converting from well water to an environmentally friendly rainwater system. Beyond the home itself, they’ve added two large barns and an outdoor pavilion with fireplace.
“It’s just been nonstop with all the projects we’ve been doing,” Mike says. “We weren’t expecting to do so much, but one thing led to another. I had so much fun doing it that I just kept going.”
The couple lives about 90 minutes away and visits at least once a month.
“It has been a long journey, but one that we have truly enjoyed every second of,” Mike says. “Every now and then, we look around and cannot believe that we are blessed to own such a place. It reminds us of what is important, and since the purchase, we have enjoyed many milestones and celebrations within those walls.”
See also Choosing Logs