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Nature's Goodness: Planning an Earth-Friendly Log Home

Planning an earth friendly log home in the mountains of North Carolina. Featured in Log Home Design magazine.

Earth-Friendly Log Home View

Life in western North Carolina is like living in a painting by Thomas Kinkade. Pristine mountain peaks roll across the landscape, illuminated by soft sunlight and the air is nothing but crisp and pure. Tucked among the pines and sweet mountain laurel, charming hamlets lie snug in the valleys and Appalachian-style log cabins dot the hilltops, fitting right in with their unspoiled locale. Tricia and Jeff Covin are the lucky owners of one of them.

Sited on a one-acre lakefront plot in the mountains, Tricia and Jeff designed the delightful log home retreat where they’ll one day retire, and Red Fifer, owner of Blue Sky Design & Build, fashioned the home to ensure that every room would have a fabulous view and blend with its surroundings. “A perfectly sited house should feel as though it grew out of the ground,” Red says. “Each home should be a fusion of who the owners are, how they live and the natural beauty of the site.” “Red had the same vision that we did for the property,” says Tricia. “He saw the site with an artist’s eye and understood that we wanted to blend the feeling of the outdoors with the interior environment of our home.”

Tricia worked on designing the interior of the North Carolina retreat from the couple’s home base in Indiana. “Designing from afar is a challenge,” she admits. “Red’s help was indispensable. He went far beyond drawing up the floor plan, joining me in searching for everything from the antique heart pine floors to granite for the kitchen to iron for the stairwells and unique doors for each room.” The Covins used reclaimed materials wherever possible in their home. The doors are an especially interesting use of recycled material.

“Every door on the main and second level of our house was found at a salvage market,” Tricia says. But taking care of the planet was only the beginning on Tricia and Jeff’s preservation plan — they also wanted to bolster the local economy. So, in an expanded effort to go native, the couple commissioned regional artisans exclusively to design various interior pieces for their home. One of these, the bed in the master suite, was made by hand of walnut with curly maple trim by a local craftsperson.

Earth-Friendly Log Home Bathroom

The flooring and lighting fixtures were purchased through retail outlets, but are as unique as the artisan-crafted pieces.

For example, the couple selected reclaimed antique heart pine wood flooring from Clark Antique Wood in Marion, South Carolina. Each of the planks is infused with cottonseed oil thanks to its former life in a cotton mill, giving it a rich luster. The Covins chose Hubbardton Forge lighting fixtures for their simple-but-elegant design, as well as the fact that the fixtures are hand-forged using environmentally sound finishing systems. “We tried to protect the environment and the local economy throughout every step of planning and building our home,” Tricia said. “The result is a home that was inspired by nature and designed for living.”

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