Natural Harmony | A Secluded Log Home in Michigan

A Michigan woman discovers tranquility in the Upper Peninsula.

Exterior of the home

While searching the Internet, just for fun Barb Piper typed in “Upper Peninsula Property.” She had been considering building a log cabin there to escape her busy life in Ossineke, Michigan. One Realtor’s website listed 244 acres in the Nature Conservancy easement. As a supporter of that organization, Barb was drawn to its appeal to help preserve an area with restrictions on its use, as well as to the location itself. “I was familiar with the region, as my late husband, Bill, and I had spent a considerable amount of time in the Upper Peninsula because of his family ties,” she says. “His grandfather had worked in the mines in the region. An additional appeal to me was the mile of private road, which I knew would allow for solitude.”

Barb chose Hiawatha Log Homes for its Swedish-cope log profile and proximity to her building site. After living in a post-and-beam home with cedar tongue-and-groove siding for 37 years, she wanted white cedar logs, which Hiawatha was able to provide. “I wanted the cabin to be easy to maintain,” Barb explains. “White cedar doesn’t require a sealed finish, such as vanish, to prevent it from deteriorating. Over time, it turns gray; however, if you apply a coat of bleaching oil, the logs will gray more evenly.”

When she applied for her septic permit at the local health department, Barb received a list of reputable local builders. Having heard several people sing the praises of Tom Hall, one of the contractors on the list, Barb gave him a call. After talking with Tom and his son, Bromley, for less than an hour, she was convinced they were perfect for the job. “Tom holds the same values I do,” Barb says. “He has great respect for nature, and I knew he would build my cabin with the least possible disruption to the surrounding environment.”

The kitchen features wooden cooking accents

One restriction of the Nature Conservancy easement was that the home had to be smaller than 2,500 square feet. Barb selected Hiawatha’s Norway plan because it fit that requirement, then had the company’s designers make several modifications. On the 1,304-square-foot main level, the open great room combines living and dining areas and the kitchen. A three-season porch is accessible from the dining room through double French doors. A utility room with a half-bath and access to the crawl space is situated behind the living room. The 864-square-foot second story has sufficient space for two bedrooms, separated by a catwalk; a large bath; and a sitting room furnished with a desk and a bookcase. Each of the guestrooms features a cantilevered balcony.

More about this home, including its two oversized two-car garage, was detailed in the July 2008 issue of Log Homes Illustrated.