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The Black Bear Lodge in New Hampshire

Based off of a company’s most popular stock plan, the customized Black Bear Lodge led the pack of log homes as the 2017 Readers’ Choice Home of the Year.

Photos courtesy of Natural Element Homes

It began as Natural Element Homes’ most popular stock floor plan — the Tellico — but in the end, the exceptional 5,700-square-foot Black Bear Lodge, with its sweeping mountain views, is anything but standard.

“The Tellico is a popular starting point because it’s a T-shaped plan with a bumped-out great room and a straight back,” says Robert Lambert, founder of Natural Element Homes in Tennessee.

“The house has been customized and tweaked at least 250 times. I think it’s popular because of the way it functions — it’s very livable. It stays true to the open-concept idea that today’s buyers want, but the kitchen and dining spaces are offset from the great room, so that these areas are visible, but also somewhat removed. This configuration helps people talk with one another more easily while still feeling like one big room.”

A master bedroom wing to one side and a sunroom to the other round out the home’s main-level, but the amenities don’t stop there. The second story boasts two more bedrooms and a shared bath.

The lower level sports a gym, home office and a theater. And above the garage, builder/dealer/owner Bob Carper incorporated a 900-square-foot guest suite, complete with private access and a kitchenette.

“I’ve stayed in Bob’s guest suite, and it was so comfortable I really didn’t want to leave,” Robert says with a chuckle.

But one of the most admired features of the house has more to do with utility than appearance. Bob, who uses his home as a model for his construction business, says that many prospective buyers, especially women, comment on the convenience of having the laundry room tucked behind the kitchen and near the garage.

“Women are great multi-taskers, so they appreciate the ability to do several things at the same time,” Bob says.

The log shell consists of 8-inch-diameter white pine logs cut into a D-shape profile with double tongue-and-groove and saddle-notched corners.

Outside, the logs are stained with Sikkens’ Cetol Log and Siding product in “Natural Oak,” and a water-based clear urethane on the interior.

The Black Bear Lodge also features a fair amount of masonry on the foundation and the home’s three fireplaces. Bob opted for Owens Corning’s “Bucks County Fieldstone” to finish these areas off.

But when your home is within a 30-minute drive of six ski resorts and directly overlooks one of them — the Attitash Mountain Village — ample outdoor living is as important as the space you have inside.

This house has it in spades. There is close to 1,300 square feet of deck and porch area on Black Bear Lodge, not including the stone patio on the terrace level or the extension that contains the cozy fire pit. This is definitely a house made for entertaining.

“I belong to my local Rotary chapter and have hosted as many as 140 people in this house for events,” says Bob. “Even so, with all of the open space and areas where guests could mingle, it didn’t feel packed. The layout can handle a lot of people. The house is just designed really well.”

Home Details

Square Footage: 5,700

Bedrooms: 4

Bathrooms: 3 full, 1 half (inc. garage guest suite)

Log Provider/Builder: Natural Element Homes/New Hampshire Log & Timber Homes