At John and Maria Fry’s three-bedroom, three-full bathroom, two-half-bathroom log home, the second-story porch looks out on pastoral views of the Pennsylvania countryside. Their vision for the home’s design and ability to age in place is just as clear. Here, the couple looks back on building the log home of their dreams with Timberhaven Log & Timber Homes, along with Todd Fisher and Nicki Young of Todd Fisher Construction.
John: The story actually begins when I was little. My family has property adjacent to this house, and one time when my grandfather and I were there, I told him I wanted to build a house on this hillside. He told me the family didn’t own this piece of land. He says that I looked at him and said, “Well someday I’m just going to have to buy it.” So, eight years ago I bought this property and decided I wanted to build a log home. I had to talk Maria into it; she wasn’t quite sure at first.
Maria: I always wanted a farmhouse, which is why the house is a log home but has some farmhouse qualities. We knew this would be our forever home — everything we need for daily life had to be on the main floor. The plan started as a one-floor layout with a loft and high ceiling, but then we were told we were going to be grandparents, so we were going to need bedrooms we didn’t originally plan for. We changed up the floor plan and added a full second floor.
J: I have four years of architecture under my belt, so I designed this house. I put it all on paper, to scale. I put several months into it, down to the night before we submitted it. I made changes at 2 o’clock in the morning. I wanted to make sure the entire house would be wheelchair-accessible and the first story is self-sufficient. When I get older, I won’t ever have to go up or down stairs. All the doorways are oversized except one, but that’s the second doorway to that room. We also designed the house with family in mind, thinking of holidays and events like that. We can have both our families here.
M: That’s the perk of building a custom home: being able to control everything. Every detail in the house was thought out—either for our everyday life now or our future life.
J: My grandfather is 98. Last year I asked him what he wanted for his birthday, and he said, “I want dinner, and it has to be at your house.”
M: He comes to visit, and if it’s warm, he asks us to take him on out on the porch so he can just sit and look at the views. It’s just so lovely here.