In crafting a rustic western red cedar log home for the Koblenz family, Robert Lockerby, co-owner of Summit Log & Timber Homes, and his team employed a variety of masterful techniques — especially the joinery. For example, the unique truss system is called a “bell truss,” because within its more familiar “scissor truss” design, there’s a hanging king post in the center, which resembles the striker of a bell.
Many of Summit’s clients opt for a corner treatment called a “staggered corner,” in which the butt end actually comes out farther than the tip, showing the flared root base and giving the home a more rugged appearance. But this house has a more refined “flush-cut” corner, where the ends are trimmed to the same length. They are joined with a wedge notch, which provides a cavity that allows the logs to tighten as they settle.
Where each log contained within the walls retains its natural contour, the kitchen cabinetry has a sleek, uniform appearance. This creates visual interest even though the walls and the cabinets are stained the same hue. Rough-honed black granite tops the counters and ties in with the slate tile flooring below.
The show-stopping staircase is the focal point of this home. Simple wood-slab treads are notched into a single, naturally curved log stringer that the own- ers affectionately nicknamed “the humpback whale.” The stringer itself is roughly 24 inches in diameter. The result is a piece of functional art.
The large-scale, randomly shaped fieldstone encasing the fireplace (the same rock that was used
for the foundation) creates the dramatic effect necessary for the hearth to hold its own among the large-diameter cedar log walls. Western red cedar is used quite frequently in the world of handcrafting because it’s durable, insect resistant and very easy to work with. Plus, it has fantastic thermal properties, so it’s highly energy efficient.
Though the logs are large, the home’s footprint is not. The cozy master bedroom boasts a reading nook, adding healthy doses of charm and natural light. The furniture is simple so as not to compete with the architecture.
In keeping with the home’s “all natural” theme, the creative tile work in the master bath’s shower mimics a babbling brook trickling down from a gentle waterfall and cascading over the threshold.
For the master bath’s non-log walls, the owners used a paint shade somewhere between mauve and mocha. The logs are stained with a 50 percent cut of Timber Pro Coatings Canada TR-32 “Harvest Brown.”
After a day of hiking, a convenient outdoor shower, located beneath the home’s deck, provides an elegant place to clean up.
Cedar is very straight grained and typically only develops small checks where wood fibers separate. It settles about 4 inches for every 10 feet of wall. “It will take about two years for logs of this size and diameter to completely settle. Many people believe that it’s the slow release of moisture that causes settling, and that’s certainly part of it; but the bigger factor is gravity and the sheer weight of the building materials,” says Robert.