A New York log home celebrates vistas and openness.
The oft-told tale of the cobbler’s shoeless children rings true for Kurt Propst. He started out working in his family’s hardwood-lumber business in northeastern Pennsylvania.
Yearning to do something with “more pizzazz,” Kurt says that the turning point in his life came after watching a video of a planer making a log. It inspired him to start Estemerwalt Log Homes in the mid-1980s. For the next 20 years, he helped other people’s dreams come true. Finally, Kurt got around to building a log home for himself. He and his wife, Ellie, moved from their stick-built house to a hilltop home with a view that overlooks a not-too-distant lake and extends to New York’s Catskill Mountains, 56 miles away. This idyllic site was on family land that had become so overgrown since the 1920s, no one remembered it even had a view. “You couldn’t see 10 feet because of all the brush and brambles,” Kurt recalls. A few years ago, however, his father wanted to clear the land for a field. Kurt was helping, when he happened to stand up on the bulldozer and spied the lake. “That’s the day,” he says, “I decided to build a house there.”Since the Propsts had recently begun looking to move, they decided to go ahead and build their first log home. Selecting the company to produce it was, of course, a no-brainer. Like most other log-home buyers who already own their land, the Propsts started working on a design. Two crucial considerations were capturing the 90-degree view from northeast to southeast and accommodating Ellie’s limited mobility due to multiple sclerosis. “I just started sketching plan after plan until I finally got the layout where I wanted,” Kurt says, adding Estemerwalt’s in-house design staff formalized the plans.
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