A Custom-Made Design

We helped one couple design a home that's big on gathering spaces, porches and taking in the views. Here are the results!

The Challenge

by: Mike McCarthy | Log Home Living

A Log Home in Georgia photosBonnie and Ted Steele own a slice of paradise in Western North Carolina. It's a place that represents the best of each area of the country where they've lived. Now the couple needs to design a home. That's where Lynda Tompkins, director of engineering at Kuhns Bros. Log Homes (, comes in. We matched up Lynda and the Kuhns Bros. Design Team with the Steeles, and the design pros created a masterpiece.

Future homeowners: Ted and Bonnie Steele
Desired square footage: 2,000+; will be a primary residence for two adults and frequent guests
Location of new home: Nebo, North Carolina

Most important rooms: "We haven't retired and will continue our home-based accounting and property-management business, which means we'll need an office near the entry foyer or a separate entrance off the porch," says Ted. "The office will need access to a full bathroom and a closet. Eventually, in our rocking-chair days, we'll convert the office to an additional bedroom to make room for all the grandchildren."

Outdoor spaces: "We'd love to have a walkout basement that opens to a fire pit and hot tub," says Ted. "It's also important to have an open deck on the main level flanked by covered, screened-in porches."

Special property features: "We're lucky to have a panoramic shot of our property, and the view says it all: Blue Ridge Mountains," says Ted. "It would be great if we could take in these vistas from the great room, dining area and kitchen, as well as the loft and bedrooms on the second level. A prow design is preferable."

Hobbies or special interests that might influence design: Bonnie would like an area to piece together photo albums and scrapbooks. In the basement, the couple wants a workshop and storage area for gardening tools and equipment.

Why a log home? "A log home will never feel dated, and it will provide a vacation paradise for our children and grandchildren. At the end of our lives, we won't have much to leave them—except a legacy of memories and an incredibly special architectural treasure. If a home can do this, we must be doing something right."

Designer's Solution

Square footage: "Since this is a primary residence that will host lots of guests, we felt it was important to boost the square footage a bit to achieve the overall design requirements," says Lynda. "A design should be based on how you want to live in your home today—and 20 years from now."

Most important rooms: "We included an office that's accessible off the interior foyer, as well as from an independent entrance so Ted and Bonnie can come and go. We also designed the space with enough flexibility to become an additional bedroom—even a master bedroom."

Special property features: "Ted wanted a prow design. This approach, along with an open plan, allows the family to enjoy incredible views from any spot in the house—even the spare bedroom."

The lowdown: Talk about universal design. Nearly every square inch of this home can be modified as the Steeles' lives change. When they ditch the home-based business and more grandchildren come calling, the home's transformation could be significant.

Proposed Plan:

Square footage: 2,561
Bedrooms: 3
Baths: 3 full, 2 half

A custom Log Home elevation front A custom Log Home elevation rear
Click any image to enlarge.
A custom log home plan level 2 A custom log home plan level 1 A custom log home plan basement
Upper Level Main Level Lower Level