Northern Comfort

A Minnesota couple builds a home for their log furniture.

The Fisher home exterior

Over the years, Mark and Cyndy Fisher had been buying log furniture because they liked its relaxed, cool and yet very functional feel. As their acquisitions grew, they found themselves facing either remodeling their existing residence to fit the log furniture or building a log home to go with it. With their two daughters, Jen and Jill, no longer living at home, the couple figured it was a good time for a change. The more Cyndy and Mark discussed owning a log home, the more appealing the idea became. The challenge was finding a suitable piece of property in the general area where they had lived for the past 20 years.

“We looked for almost six months and were willing to settle for almost anything, but, at the time, property was at a premium,” Cyndy recalls. “One day we were driving down this country road we had never traveled before and saw a handwritten sign announcing the property was for sale by owner.” Mark and Cyndy got out of their car and walked into the wooded portion of the 11-acre parcel. “This is absolutely perfect,” Mark told Cyndy. “I don’t care what this costs, as far as I’m concerned, we’re buying it.”

With land in hand, the Fishers were ready to plan their log home. “We have been friends with Ted Krause, the owner of Wild River Log Homes and a dealer for Golden Eagle Log Homes, for years,” Mark says. “We often asked him questions about log-home construction." Cyndy and her daughter, Jill, toured some of the company’s homes in nearby Wisconsin. When they returned, Mark asked Cyndy if she could see herself living in any of the homes she saw. “Every one of them,” she exclaimed.

A special outdoor space with a picnic area adds character to the backyard.

Cyndy and Mark began working out the details with Ted, who Mark says advised them “to let the home evolve, to put ourselves into the home and let it take its own shape.” Their starting point was Golden Eagle’s Prow IV model, which they modified by enlarging the master bedroom suite and the attached three-car garage. The 1,544-square-foot main level holds the living room, dining room, kitchen, a half-bath and a laundry closet.

For the 672-square-foot open loft, Mark built a large work surface for their computer and Cyndy’s sewing machine. A sofa bed accommodates overnight guests. Mark finished the walkout lower level with paneling and furniture made from trees that had been felled while excavating the site. It features a large recreation room with a bar and an air hockey table, two additional bedrooms, a full bath and a game closet under the stairs.

Pops of color modernize the bedroom.

Mark served as the general contractor and hired his friend and fishing buddy, Ken Koosman, to assist with the construction. Ken’s work earned praise from the building inspector. For their drywall, Cyndy wanted the rough texture she had seen applied to adobe buildings during trips to Mexico, but the sub-contractor was slow to grasp what she wanted. Finally, in a moment of frustration, he flung a glop of texture on the wall and spread it around with a large paint brush. By accident, it turned out to be just the look she was after.

Much more about this home, including its floor plans, ran in the magazine.