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A Hybrid Log Home in Wisconsin

A custom hybrid home graces a Wisconsin hillside.

Photos by KCJ Studios Front Exterior

Like many people who desire a custom wood home, John had a very definite look in mind, but he couldn’t decide the best direction to follow to achieve it: logs or timbers.

The solution presented itself in the form of a hybrid wood home, which combines both elements to create the look and feel of a natural wood structure that goes beyond traditional styling to add dramatic flair.

The result is a one-of-a-kind home that exceeded its owner’s expectations. After finding the perfect piece of property in southeast Wisconsin overlooking a beautiful church on “Holy Hill,” complete with rolling hills, green pastures and dense wooded forest, John brought his clear vision and love for all things natural to Wisconsin Log Homes (WLH), hoping the Green Bay company could flesh out his ideas and create a home that would suit its surroundings while flattering the scenic setting.

The first step for the designers was walking the bare land with John to locate optimal building sites and create conceptual drawings. The designers planned the home to conform to the contours of the landscape.

An open floor plan captures precise views from each space and wraps around the shape of the hillside.

The soaring kitchen features custom-built cherry cabinets and exotic gold and blue granite countertops that coordinte perfectly with the soft blue accent wall. The breakfast bar countertop is a custom wavy-edge wood slab, while the stove hood and breakfast bar face are made of stone.

Varying roof-lines, creative angles, the use of stone and glass, and the arched front entry with massive hand-peeled log posts and rough-sawn timber collar ties set the tone for the home and echo elements of the Holy Hill shrine off in the distance.

The owner wanted to let the beauty of the natural building materials and views outside be the home’s focus. A masculine feel was a must and was achieved with the artful mix of wood, stone and metal.

“The mass of log root flares and a custom-built staircase with inlaid slate treads add a sense of strength and nature to the spaces they occupy,” explains Brian Delwiche, WLH’s conceptual design manager.

To take full advantage of views of the towering shrine steeples to the west and his trout pond and deer farm to the east, John decided that the design should incorporate a prow window wall on both ends of the great room and that each be outlined with handcrafted logs to coordinate with the log and timber ceiling beams.

Add drywall to distribute the light coming through the large, fixed-pane windows, and the look of the whole easily exceeds the sum of its parts. Another appealing aspect of the great room is the massive use of stone that starts at the base of the bar and climbs up the wall to create a stone arch passageway into the master bedroom suite. It continues on to wrap the fireplace, which features a custom juniper mantel.

“Clients are looking for avenues of self-expression, but they also want to anchor themselves to a history that has some basis,” Delwiche says. “Those needs are driving a lot of what we are seeing in our hybrid homes today.”

The kitchen features cherry cabinetry with exotic granite countertops. A custom wavy-edge wood slab on the breakfast bar, a stone hood, a soft blue accent wall and wood flooring make this rustic kitchen an ideal hub for entertaining. The sloped site allows for a walkout lower level that accommodates two bedrooms (plus an optional third), a game room with wet bar, theater room, gym and regulation-size basketball court.

The design also features two garages, one on top of the other. John chose geothermal radiant heat throughout. WLH also handled construction of the home, using its signature half-log method. It begins with framed, insulated walls, then applies half-logs to the exterior to convey a full-log look and strategically inside in concert with other materials.

In the case of John’s home, large-dimension log posts frame the dramatic prow and turreted dining room and sunroom. Similarly, squared timbers were included among the structural and decorative components. John was delighted with the results and grateful that he discovered the hybrid-home concept. His home is proof that with desire, dreams can become a reality.