They say you should leave your work at the office, but Diane Kodet doesn’t subscribe to that philosophy. She prefers to take her work home with her. After all, nature is both her business and her passion.
Diane and her husband Al own and operate Foxfire Farm, where they not only cultivate hundreds of fruit trees and thousands of plants, but also operate a country store, a feed-and-seed outlet and a certified FTD flower shop. Lovingly designed in a series of themed gardens and accented with historic outbuildings, Foxfire Farm is a place that folks enjoy even if they aren’t in the mood to shop. And the centerpiece of it all: a 9,300-square-foot log home.
Why log? “I’m really into natural things,” says Diane, “and a log home seems like it’s an extension of nature.” You won’t find any drywall, faux stone or wall-to-wall carpets in this house — the couple wanted every aspect of the home, both inside and out, to reflect their unaffected Michigan-wildlife theme.
To bring this vision to life, Al and Diane chose Rapid River Rustic to provide their log package. The shell is northern white cedar from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and the logs have an 8-by-6-inch D-shaped profile (round on one side, flat on the other). Al points out that the home is the culmination of five years of planning, with a lot of thought put into both their current desires and their future needs. Not only does it serve as the couple’s residence, there’s a separate apartment for the in-laws. Other features include a large indoor swimming pool, seven bathrooms, three full kitchens and six bedrooms.
Although the weather-tight double-tongue-and-groove construction eliminates the need for heavy chinking, the Kodets used the material to give their home the rustic spirit of our pioneering forefathers. Diane even applied all of the chinking herself. “I would chink until my fingers bled,” says Diane. Since she never got the hang of using the trowl, her finger was the easiest way to smooth the thick, white material. A lightly pigmented stain finishes the home inside and out.
Local builders Jim and John Guzdial of Guzdial Construction in Apple-gate, Michigan, built the house, and Al and Diane can’t praise their team enough. “The care and love these people put into our home is amazing,” says Al. “When you have people like that — well, that’s the key to a log home.”
In addition to incredible workmanship, flexibility was a key component of the home’s construction. “We changed a lot of things onsite,” says Mark Malnar, the design superintendent at Rapid River Rustic. “We re-engineered one whole wing of the house on the fly when Al decided he wanted an office with a separate entrance.” Which just goes to show that no matter how long or how well you plan, sometimes being open to new ideas is the best way to wind up with a home that you’ll love for a lifetime.