Arizona Oasis: A Weekend Log Retreat in the White Mountains

A log home in the White Mountains of Arizona is a frosty slice of paradise in a state known for saguaro cacti and sun-baked deserts.

When you think of Arizona, lush green foliage isn’t the first image that jumps to mind. After all, the state is famous for its landscape of painted deserts with magnificent cacti and richly colored rock, not to mention its notorious 110-degree dry heat.

An Arizona Oasis in the Mountains

Yet travel to the White Mountains and the hamlet of Greer, and you’ll find a refuge of pristine forestland, crystal-clear mountain rivers and pleasurably cool temperatures. The natural beauty that defines this part of the high country inspired Bill and Kelly Nash to build a weekend log retreat. “Bill grew up in South Dakota, and he always loved the beauty of the Black Hills,” explains Kelly. “When we discovered Greer, it reminded him of home. It’s a quaint town that’s just as green and beautiful.”

The couple purchased a 1-acre lot filled with majestic stands of Ponderosa pine trees backing National Forest Service land. At an elevation of 8,600 feet, the site is both a wonderful respite from the stifling heat of Arizona summers and an ideal winter wonderland getaway. “There’s skiing nearby, and our children also enjoy riding four-wheelers around the area,” says Kelly.

A unique bed in this Arizona log home

The decision to build a log home was an easy one—Bill had researched the idea for years, and the couple went on information-gathering quests, attending log home shows and visiting models. After Bill and Kelly selected a log company—Wisconsin-based Golden Eagle Log Homes—they modified one of its stock floorplans to create a custom layout. “We wanted big windows in front, a large open great room and lots of wood inside,” says Kelly.

The couple kept the main components of the original floorplan intact, though they did add some finished areas in the basement, including adding a game room—a hot spot for their three children, Brandon, Brittany and Hunter. The building process went smoothly, and the couple couldn’t be happier with the results. “We just love going up there, getting away from everything and being in the woods,” gushes Kelly. “Once you’re there, you don’t ever want to leave.”  

Bathroom sink on a pedestal made of log

The Log Company’s Story: A long-distance relationship often is synonymous with high stress, yet Bill and Kelly Nash’s “across the miles” association with Wisconsin Rapids’ Golden Eagle Log Homes proves the opposite can be true. “Our collaboration went extremely well,” says Tim Helgren, the log provider’s vice president of sales. “The Nashes didn’t visit our showroom or fly out to meet us beforehand, but they were great to work with, and there were no surprises. I remember calling Bill around Christmastime, just to check in. He was out on a golf course, and I was so jealous!”

Bill and Kelly did eventually meet Tim and other members of Golden Eagle’s staff at a home show they attended in Phoenix, but this was only after they were already in the midst of their project. “In the end, their home turned out even more beautiful than they thought it would be,” recalls Tim. “They thought it was awesome!”

Great view of the great room

The 2,000-square-foot home is based on the company’s “Eagle Prow 4” plan, yet Bill and Kelly modified the design to incorporate a more prominent prow and other minor modifications. The home’s split-log construction features 8-inch Eastern white pine logs, which are peeled with double round ends. Ed Ulrich, owner of Western Eagle Construction LLC, oversaw the building process and created many one-of-a-kind custom accents (including railings and posts) using logs salvaged from the property. “We wanted to put the trees we had to remove for construction back into the house,” Kelly explains.

All in all, the project took about 13 months to complete. Since the family’s primary home is located just four hours away, they were able to visit often while their home was being built. Today, they spend as much time as possible in their White Mountain hideaway. “All of the hard work is definitely worth it in the long run, that’s for sure,” says Kelly. “My advice to others is to just have fun because it’s a long process,” adds Bill. “Also be sure to pick the right builder. It makes life a lot easier.”  

Home Details:

Square footage: 2,000

Builder: Western Eagle Construction LLC

Log Provider: Golden Eagle Log Homes