Spacious yet cozy, the Saymanskys’ finished home, nestled in the hills of western Pennsylvania, is picture perfect.
Photos: Gary Saymansky
Over the past three years, my wife, Becky, and I have experienced a range of emotions during the log home planning process. Some of the highs were designing our dream home, watching the first load of logs arrive, helping stack a course of logs, seeing our dream kitchen come together, having our stone fireplace completed and finally having running water.
But, like any project of this scope, it wasn’t always smooth sailing. Along the way, we encountered several unscrupulous contractors, missing materials and going over budget in several areas. And though we were up to putting a little sweat equity into our home, we were not prepared for how long it took to do the work ourselves. The key to getting through these times was to take a step back, evaluate each situation objectively and find a solution. Throwing in the towel on achieving our dream was never an option.
Through the good times (and despite the bad), building our log home was a rewarding experience — one of the best of our lives. Sure, Becky and I had disagreements, but she was usually right. At the end of the day, nothing was more exciting than to see mere sketches on blueprints actually being built, and to walk through the door of our completed log home for the first time.
One of the things we cherish most is the personal relationships we developed between our contractors and suppliers. We can finally entertain and have our family and friends over for gatherings and making new memories. We could never do this in our old house.
Perhaps the biggest lesson we learned along the way was that we could have never accomplished our vision without the help of some accommodating, kind and talented people whom I feel we must thank here:
• Hochstetler Milling. From day one, they have assisted us wherever we needed and even helped out in ways that weren’t their responsibility — or part of our contract. They truly are a first-class company and have become personal friends.
• Raymar Log Homes. The friendship developed between us during building goes on. The crew’s eye for detail, accuracy and ability to meet schedules were unmatched.
• Home Depot in Chippewa. Every time we would walk through the doors, Israel, the store manager, and his team would jump through hoops to ensure that all of our needs were met at the lowest price possible.
• Tom Wilson, our can-do handyman, who tackled everything from our plumbing to installing screen doors; John Nicely, our excavator and septic pro; Tim Wells, our foundation expert; the Bylers, for our beautiful kitchen cabinets; Chas, our stone mason, who did an exceptional job encasing our fireplace; Erb Stove for our fireplace insert; Tim Loefler who helped get our electrical system in place; Country Furniture and Lumber Liquidators, who both stepped up to meet our needs.
It was a pleasure working with each of these individuals and companies. Becky and I would like to also thank you, the Log Home Living readers, who were with us every step of the way. We could feel you rooting for us. The end of our “Log Home Journey” may have been the day we moved in, but the real journey starts now — and Becky and I know we are in for the ride of our lives.
Gary’s Final Guidance:
No matter what style of house you build, follow your dreams and create the friendships that only building a custom home can do!