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The Pennsylvania Vacation Home with Great Lake Views

East-coasters have a long tradition of heading "to the shore" for a little R&R. This eastern Pennsylvania couple's vision of that vacation just happens to be a little bit different.

Written by Chris Wood
Photography by Joseph Hilliard


When it came time for their getaway home, Kim and Norm Cook had some sudden, and serendipitous, second thoughts. As the owners of Cook Drilling, the couple had been up and down the mid-Atlantic coast, working on construction projects at notable properties including the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Temple University and even the Statue of Liberty. So naturally their impulse was to do as other eastern Pennsylvanians have done for generations: head for the shore. 

“It didn’t take long to figure out that the shore wasn’t for us,” recalls Kim. “We don’t like crowds or traffic. We’re much more cabin-by-the-lake kind of people.” A subsequent trip to Lake Wallenpaupack, where Norm vacationed as a child, sealed the deal for the couple. The third largest lake in Pennsylvania, Wallenpaupack has more than 52 miles of shoreline. The Cooks quickly found a real estate agent and got to work selecting a site for their home. 

The area is so peaceful and quiet, it just cried out for a log home, and that’s exactly what Kim had in mind. “At first, Norm thought I was kidding about getting a log home, because at heart I’m such a girly-girl, but I’ve always been obsessed with cabins,” Kim explains. “The look of them has always fascinated me, from the warmth of the wood to how they go together and feel when you walk inside. That feeling has always been something I’ve loved.”

After purchasing lakeside property and demolishing an existing (but mostly decrepit) single family home, the Cooks approached Honesdale, Pennsylvania-based Estemerwalt Log Homes for design and construction consultation. “I remember Norm called me up one Friday out of the blue, and we coordinated a tour of half a dozen houses,” says Estemerwalt consultant Jack Mundy. “We ultimately took one of our existing plans and modified it with a second master suite upstairs, an extra bedroom and an office, and finished it off with the big bunk room over the garage. They can sleep an army.”

Indeed, the final 6,240-square-foot log lodge was specifically designed to accommodate a full complement of six sons and daughters and all of the grandchildren and great-grandchildren, too. Kim was adamant about an unobstructed, expansive view to the lakeshore, so she customized the design to incorporate a wall of windows across the rear elevation. Where financial investments were made in the fenestration, the Cooks were able to save money by having Kim’s father design and construct all of the home’s cabinetry. 

In fact, Kim comes from a family of builders, and was hands on during design and construction. The result is a classic take on the traditional log home, with a 12-inch-diameter milled-log profile, exposed pine cabinetry and flooring and plenty of taxidermy from the family’s years of hunting in the Appalachians and Poconos. “Hands on and detail-oriented is Kim all right, but the Cooks were anything but demanding clients,” says Jack. “They came in to meet our team and our owner and were the nicest, easiest people to work with. That’s generally the way we operate. The whole project could have been a handshake deal.” Not to mention that the Cooks got their easy-going home on their version of the “shore,” complete with a new boat and a couple of jet skis. But without the crowds.


Home Details

Square footage: 6,240

Bedrooms: 3 (+bunk room)

Bathrooms: 4 full, 1 half

Log Provider: Estermerwalt Log Homes


See also The Florida Log Home That Withstood Hurricane Irma 

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