Holiday Homestead

A Connecticut woman builds a custom log home on a farm that's been in her family for generations.

Home by Ward Cedar Log Homes
Produced by Dick Pirozzolo

Dinner feast in front of the fireFor decades, Marie Ludorf plotted, sketched and dreamed about building a log home on the farm that's been in her family for more than a century.

"We have a gorgeous view of the land, barns and Herefords," says Marie, who lives with partner Julie Wakuluk in Southbury, Connecticut, on the 120-acre family farm where Marie grew up. "A log home seemed like a perfect match for this pastoral landscape."

The property, near Lake Lillinonah and South Britain, is in the oldest part of Southbury—an idyllic spot where animals still graze on the town green and residents stock up at the general store. Marie's grandfather bought the land in the 1870s and tilled its rocky soil, creating pastures and ponds. "I still have the deed," Marie notes proudly.

Sweating the Details
Marie is a quick decision-maker on most matters, but took her time (more than 20 years, in fact) to consider every aspect of her custom log home.
"Overall she wanted an easy-to-maintain home with a tightly designed interior," says Jane Sharpe, co-owner with her husband Don of Design Limited Homes—a Connecticut-based representative for Ward Cedar Log Homes. "When we met to discuss the details, she had ancient Ward plan books (circa 1975) in her files. They're practically collector's items now!":

So Marie shared two decades worth of ideas. Jane offered a few suggestions and sketched the home to scale. After a few final touches, Don forwarded the draft to Ward's engineering department in Houlton, Maine, where they created CAD plans, then blueprints. Following revisions, Ward cut the logs to an exact fit and delivered them to the site.

Sitting Pretty
After 60 years on this land, Marie knew its feng shui without running into New Haven for a pricey coffee-table book. She sited her log home on a wooded knoll above the cow pastures, barns and pond. The south side features large picture windows that capture the sun's warmth and look out on the green rolling hills. The north side has minimal windows for extra insulation against the north winter winds.

To ensure she got exactly the home she wanted, Marie also modified the plan on-site with the builder—taking out a deck, adding stonework and enlarging the kitchen.

"Few clients have been so involved and so meticulous in the process," says Jane, who often shows this log home to her clients.

And get this: Ward Cedar Log Homes was so impressed with Marie's ideas, they added her design (now dubbed "The Georgetown" model) to its new catalog.

Here are a few of the design ideas that made up Marie's log home project:

  • An open floorplan incorporates an eat-in kitchen, generous master bedroom and two porches.
  • French doors in the dining area open onto a side porch featuring an often-used grill and a corner hot tub for end-of-the-day soaks.
  • The exterior boasts 6-inch northern white cedar logs, a species that grows abundantly in the far north woods of Maine.
  • The flooring is multi-grained hickory with a baked-on polyurethane finish.
  • The log home also incorporates natural resources gathered from the farm, including fieldstone used for the chimney, outdoor pathways and fireplace.


    For more on this home, check the
    December 2005 issue of Log Home Design Ideas.

Photography by James Ray Spahn