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Explore a Fire Tower-Inspired Log-and-Timber Home

Inspired by the fire towers of the Blue Ridge Mountain range, this exceptional log-and-timber home was everything its owner/designer sought.

Written by Donna Peak


Log-and-timber frame architect Jeffery Caudill knew exactly what his clients wanted as he was designing the extraordinary Dobie Mountain Lookout. That’s because he drafted the three-bedroom, three-and-a-half bath home for himself and his wife.

“First and foremost, we wanted to experiment with combining new Douglas fir timber framing with reclaimed antique log walls and their wide bands of chinking,” Jeffery says. “The use of these elements side by side make this design unique.”

The singular vision Jeffery had didn’t stop at the materials. Inspired by the National Park Services’ fire towers that dot the summits of the Blue Ridge mountains where he was building, Jeffery had a vision to create his own take on the iconic buildings for his residence. “Growing up in these mountains, one was very familiar with the National Park Service and its buildings’ ‘Parkitecture’ style. This was the inspiration behind the look of our home,” Jeffery explains. Ample use of stone and timbers, also in the Parkitecture approach, contributes to his success.

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The home’s antique logs were salvaged from a barn in the Pennsylvania Dutch countryside. “The barn, itself, was 185 years old, and the wood is from five different tree species, which were approximately 300 years old when the farmer cut them down,” says Jeffery. “This history became the basis for the look and the warmth that you get from the home.”

The home’s Doug fir timber frame elements were corn-blasted to bring out the grain in what would ordinarily be a very smooth cut. “Douglas fir has a nice rose-tinted hue to it. We wanted to bring more of the wood’s texture and color out to create contrast with the gray, weathered look of the logs,” says Jeffery. You can especially see this juxtaposition in the master bedroom, where the timber frame bents join the log walls. No special engineering was required to affix the new wood to the old, but Jeffery did draw on the expertise two distinct teams of professionals to assist in construction: a crew familiar with erecting antique log structures and a team of specialists to adjoin the mortise-and-tenon joinery in each of the home’s six timber frame bents. In all, it took 22 days to bring the home’s log shell and timber skeleton together.

At roughly 3,200 square feet over three levels, the home is large, but not massive. Despite its size, each room is thoughtfully designed to convey a cozy cabin vibe — a feeling made even greater when the living room’s double-sided fireplace is ablaze. It’s a perfect tribute to the home’s bold inspiration and the fiery passion its creator has for one-of-a-kind log and timber architecture.

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