Another Day in Paradise: Planning a Custom Log Home

A Florida home stands as a testament to one man’s lifelong dream and serves as a legacy to those he left behind.

Robert Hirt spent most of his life dreaming about and designing the perfect log home. His vision became a reality in 2003, when he and his family moved into an impressive log home in rural Osteen, Florida, located between Daytona Beach and Orlando.
Log Home Garden

“Robert always knew he wanted a log home,” says Terry Hirt of her late husband, who passed away in September of 2006. “Through the years, he would pore over plans in books and magazines—it was his passion.” While Robert only lived in his log home a few years, he left his wife and three daughters a rustic legacy. “Whenever someone asked Robert how his day was going, he’d say it was just another day in paradise,” recalls Terry. “Now he’s gone, but Robert has definitely left me with a small part of paradise here in our log home.”
Graffiti Art in Cabin Rec Room

When it came time to choose a log home company, Robert was most impressed with Suwannee River Log Homes, based in Wellborn, Florida. He saw the company’s Shenandoah log home plan in St. Augustine, Florida, and fell in love with the floorplan.

The Hirts kept the basic structure of the Shenandoah but completely redesigned the interior, adding a fourth bedroom to replace the original dining room and shifting the kitchen to the center of the house. They also enhanced the home with custom details like etched windows.
Log Home Great Room

“Terry did an excellent job of explaining how she wanted her layout. We try to encourage our customers to really incorporate their ideas,” notes David Miller, vice president of Suwannee River Log Homes.

The 7,600-square-foot house features cypress D-Logs with a saddle notch corner system. “Among the roughly 400 log home companies nationwide, only a couple use cypress,” notes David. “Cypress has a natural oil preservative called cypressiene, which helps protect it from insects and decay.”
Tree in Cabin Kitchen

The log home sits on 20 acres graced with stately trees, vibrant flowers and pastures where the family’s cows and horses roam. Robert loved hunting, and the family spends a lot of time outdoors. “We love to sit on the back porch and take in the gorgeous views of the pasture,” says Terry.

Robert took a hands-on approach with the 18-month-long building project. He had gained valuable experience as the operating manager of a land-clearing business he and Terry co-owned. “His dad started Hirt Construction in the 1950s, and we took over the business after his dad passed away,” explains Terry. Robert contacted local businesses he knew through his company, including a plumber and electrician. He was able to be on the home site almost every day. “He actually did all of the site work because we had so much heavy equipment,” explains Terry. “He cleared the piece of land where the house sits and dug the foundation.” Robert wanted to create a striking log home with an inviting atmosphere for his family—and he succeeded. “He worked so hard for so many years to leave us a wonderful place,” says Terry.