A detached garage that matches the home’s exterior houses the homeowners’ vehicles and lake toys, along with a finished upstairs play room for the grandkids, complete with game tables and a spot for movie-watching.
What do you do when you love your neighborhood, but your current home isn’t cutting it? That was the dilemma facing John and Cathy Blankenship. Five years ago, when the couple first ventured into the private, wooded community of Hide-A-Way Hills in central Ohio, they knew instantly they had found the spot for their second home-away-from-home.
With their current residence — a condo in the city — just over an hour away, it was the perfect weekend getaway, thanks to resort-style amenities ranging from a golf course and lodge to a swimming pool and tennis courts.
But, as much as the couple loved their social, close-knit community of retirees and weekenders, they didn’t feel the same way about their home. For starters, the walk to and from the lake was a tiring (and precarious) hike that wasn’t conducive to hosting their children and grandchildren for long weekends and holidays.
So when a long-coveted waterfront property next door came up for sale, they decided on a no-holds-barred solution: Purchase the lot (a grouping of three level parcels joined together and situated on a quiet cove of the lake), knock down the existing outdated 1970’s cottage and start from scratch.
“It was one of the most sought-after pieces of property in the community,” explains John. After purchasing the land (and counting their blessings) the couple began to dream about what their new home would look like.
A log house wasn’t first on the wish list, but it entered the picture when, “on a whim,” John attended a local log home show. There, he met Sarah Jubach Claypool, the sales and marketing manager of The Jubach Co., a family-owned, one-stop-shop, custom log home builder. “Sarah was the last person he talked to before he walked out the door,” says Cathy. “From the start, it felt right.”
After Sarah and her father, Tim Jubach, visited their property to get the lay of the land, John and Cathy toured a few of the company’s local projects. They were quickly hooked by the beauty and longevity of the logs, but it was the wide range of customization options that ultimately reeled them in. “The biggest thing we wanted was a home that didn’t look like a cookie-cutter house,” says John.
The couple settled on a 3,800-square-foot, open-concept layout with three bedrooms, two-and-a-half bathrooms and a walk-out lower level. “It has the rectangular footprint of a traditional log cabin, but then we created a T-shape with wings that come off of each side,” explains Sarah. “One side is the master suite and the other is a large utility room with a half bath.”
With the floor plan in place, the couple shifted their focus to the top-to-bottom custom touches they craved. High ceilings, a wall of glass — inspired by their original house next door — and a huge fireplace topped their list of must-haves. Now, from the moment you step inside, those soaring cathedral ceilings and the imposing 38-foot fireplace, all washed in natural light from the abundance of windows, are the first things to catch your eye.
Once you’ve had a moment to settle in, the home’s mixture of materials stands out next, from the hardwood paneling (a blend of cherry, maple and apple) to the cultured stone and drywall accents. But amidst all of the visual stimulus, it’s the hand-peeled eastern white pine logs that are pure log home eye candy. “There is one that is 53 inches in diameter, and another that is 38 feet tall,” says John of the home’s 6-by-8 D-shaped logs with butt-and-pass corners. “They add so much to the home.”
As you continue your survey of the room, the next layer of detail begins to emerge, including a hand-forged railing with a leaf motif on the lower level stair rail, a pair of shed antlers found on the property and displayed on the hearth and a carefully curated collection of local art pieces and decor. “We like to buy local, so almost everything was found within a 100-mile radius from our house,” says Cathy.
The custom details and decor make this home special, but it never feels too precious. “We had to make it very livable. Life happens here,” says Cathy. “We didn’t want to worry about keeping everything so ‘perfect.’ This is a very comfortable log home.”
Amidst the abundance of welcoming spots, there’s no more comfortable place than in front of the home’s double-sided fireplace — a feature that makes the great room and porch vie for the title of “favorite gathering spot.” While John prefers to settle into the great room, Cathy most enjoys the fireplace from the porch for its vantage point of the lake.
“Just this morning, I wrapped the blanket around me, headed outside and turned the fire on,” says Cathy, who says early mornings promise sightings of everything from foxes, coyotes and deer to herons and even a neighboring eagle. “It’s worth waking up for.”
: 3,800 Bedrooms:
: 2 Full, 1 Half Log Provider/Designer/Builder:
The Jubach Co.