Lyle and Marsa Lansdell were at a crossroads. Both they and their two children had spent more than two decades at their log cabin in Lake Arrowhead, a mountain town in Southern California. But the 1920s home was starting to show its age.
An arched entryway leads guests into the main living spaces in the home.
"When you stepped into the cabin, you actually walked downhill," Lyle recalls. "It had three or four additions. The foundation and fireplace were cracking. The septic system smelled."
The Lansdells had two choices: jack up the foundation and try to restore the deteriorating cabin or start anew. The couple decided to launch a new legacy by building a family-focused log home designed to last for generations.
After extensive online research, Lyle and Marsa visited Rustic Mountain Log Homes, a distributor for Rocky Mountain Log Homes located in Big Bear Lake, California. Just 15 minutes into their appointment, the Lansdells placed a deposit on a new home, because the model they toured "just felt right," Lyle says.
They reviewed Rocky Mountain's stock plans and worked with the company's design staff to modify the layout for their home, which called for 9-inch-diameter lodgepole pine logs with a Swedish-cope profile. The plans were completed in four months, but Lyle and Marsa waited another 18 months before building to ensure their financing was firmly in place. "You don't want to start something of this magnitude unless you know you have the money to finish it," Lyle explains.
With cash secured, the Lansdells started construction on the six-bedroom, 3-1/2 bathroom home they had envisioned for so long. Because this residence was intended to reflect the family's history while creating a foundation for future generations, Lyle and Marsa ensured that the builder, Brad Lindley of Lindley Log Homes, didn't overlook a single detail. "Either Marsa or I was on the construction site at least two days a week," Lyle notes. "Brad was really patient with us. When you're onsite as much as we were, you can become burdensome; but Brad was a fantastic mentor every step of the way."
The old cabin featured red kitchen cabinets, which Marsa reincorporated in the new home, much to the dismay of contractor and painter. Once finished with a black wash, however, the red alder cabinets proved to be aesthetically pleasing — so much so that the painter "has since done several kitchens like that," notes Marsa.
During the yearlong construction process, the Lansdells' commitment to the project never wavered. "From the very first meeting we had with them in the old cabin, Lyle and Marsa had a vision of what they wanted, and they did a great job of making that happen," says Craig Smith of Rustic Mountain Log Homes.
Marsa oversaw the interior design, which incorporates all the family heirlooms from the old cabin, including china, furniture, quilts and knickknacks. One bedroom, which Marsa refers to as the "Victorian room," features her late mother's antique bed, mirror and dresser and showcases her wedding gown on a dress form. The powder room, meanwhile, houses fishing poles and creels that belonged to Marsa's father.
Protected by large overhangs, the rafters on the Lansdells' front porch feature built-in speakers for year-round enjoyment. Lyle's only regret about the space? Not installing heaters. But that still hasn't deterred the Lansdells from enjoying the porch. "Even in the winter, we'll be out there in our rocking chairs, wearing our parkas," Lyle states.
"My number-one goal was to make this house feel comfortable and inviting — and to create a sense of history," Marsa explains. "There's not an item in the place that doesn't have a story behind it."
That includes non-heirloom items, to which the Lansdells devoted hundreds of hours to meticulous, online research and to purchasing furniture, fixtures and accessories, from the distressed, wide-plank pine floors to the massive chandelier in the great room.
Lyle and Marsa's collaborative efforts yielded a home that exudes familiarity and warmth. "We're the stopping point of all the generations before. Everything has come to us," Marsa says of the family treasures that define this log home. "I like my children to know the history of our family. It's part of who they are. We're leaving a legacy."
Home Plan Details:
Square Footage: 4,342
Builder: Lindley Log Homes
Log Company: Rocky Mountain Log Homes