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This Virginia Forever Home Was Built for Sunday Suppers and Porch Sitting

A Virginia couple builds their forever log home on land that has been in their family for more than a century.

Written by Janice Brewster
Photography by Rick Lee
Lori Wilson has fond memories of playing with her sister and brother on her grandfather’s farm overlooking the South Fork Shenandoah River. Back then, she probably didn’t envision that one day she would build a home of her own on 4.5 acres of the family homestead, but that’s exactly what happened.
The Stanley, Virginia, site has been in Lori’s family since 1893. When it came time to build a forever home with her husband, Ron, she knew just where it would go. But in terms of what they would build, Ron weighed in: He had always wanted a log house. Lori, wasn’t so sure; however, once she was convinced it would be a spacious home and not a cozy cabin, she was on board. They contacted a local consultant for West Virginia-based Appalachian Log Structures and began to translate their ideas into a design.
Wedged between the Blue Ridge Mountain range to the east and Massanutten to the west, Lori jokes that they built their house on the only flat spot around. It sits at the top of a hill and provides long views over rolling meadows, the river and majestic peaks in the distance. To help capture the unparalleled views, the Wilsons worked with Appalachian Log Structures’ design team to modify the company’s “Lakefront” stock plan. “Where the ‘Lakefront’ has a flat wall of windows, our house has a prow that juts out with really large windows and two sets of French doors,” Lori explains of a handful of the changes they made to the existing design.
The couple also extended the stock plan’s porch, shares Appalachian Log Structures’ vice president, Dorie Workman. That porch, which wraps around the house, is now one of the couple’s favorite spaces. At the prow end, it expands into a spacious deck warmed by an outdoor fireplace — a feature on Lori’s “must have” list.
As for Ron, he loves to perch himself on the outdoor refuge to appreciate the view and watch the wildlife.
“One of his favorite pastimes is to watch eagles soar along the river,” Lori says. “In fact, a very young eagle swooped down off the roof in front of us one morning as we were having coffee. It shocked both of us!”
Inside, the 2,000-square-foot home centers around an open area that combines living and dining spaces with the kitchen. Dry-stack stone veneer accents a wall in the kitchen and the fireplace. The couple chose a log profile that creates a round-log look on both the interior and exterior of the house. They also upgraded to round log beams and joists instead of the standard rectangular shape Appalachian includes in their material packages. “The round beams give more of a lodge look,” Dorie explains.
Copper — one of Lori’s favorite materials — appears in a variety of applications throughout the home. Working with their builder, the Wilsons were able to incorporate the metal in the kitchen sink, pantry door, chimney cap and roof color.
Another unique touch can be found on the stair railings. Ron cut rebar for each railing and Lori painted them a copper-bronze color. They lost count of how many they did, but in the end, the staircase adds to the rustic-but-not-too-rustic look Lori was after for the interior design. “When you step in, it’s very dramatic,” Dorie adds. 
The placement of bedroom suites works for their current lifestyle, while also giving them the option to adjust as their needs change. Presently, the couple uses the upstairs bedroom, where an adjacent loft serves as Lori’s office with a bird’s-eye view through the prow. Downstairs, the second bedroom and bath, now used as a guest room, can serve as a master suite if navigating stairs becomes difficult in the future. An outbuilding and a garage on the site provide storage.  
Of all the home’s spaces, the welcoming dining area and outdoor seating are all-important. Every other week, the couple hosts family for Sunday dinner. A dozen or so loved ones drift easily between indoors and out, sharing good food and conversation.
Company or not, the Wilsons end each day the same way — outside, enjoying the spacious porches. “There’s always a breeze,” Lori says. “We just can’t get enough."

Home Details

Square Footage: 2,000
Bedrooms: 2
Baths: 2 full
Log Provider: Appalachian Log Structures

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