A couple in New England fulfills a lifelong dream by building the perfect log retreat .
Some building lots just seem to beg for a log home. Such was the case for a secluded and pristine five-acre New England property with tall pine trees, mountains and a lake. In fact, it took 15 years and several architectural renderings before owners Tom and Penny Bradley believed that they’d come up with a design worthy of the property. The result, though, is a log home that is ideal for its natural surroundings and manages to be equally impressive and inviting. The 5,178-square-foot summer and winter home seems a direct descendent of the rustic, architecturally wondrous retreats of the 19th century, thanks to its blend of massive, natural structural elements and elegant, sophisticated décor. "It has always been a dream of mine to live in a log home," admits Tom. "The home is absolutely wonderful, and it's even more satisfying to live in it because we spent so much time getting it just right." The idea began to really take hold in the 1980s when Tom first purchased the property, eventually going through several architects and design iterations. The final vision came into full focus, however, when the Bradleys got in touch with Katahdin Cedar Log Homes in Oakfield, Maine, to supply the log materials and then hired independent contractor Wayne McInnis to build the property. The couple chose also to work closely with Katahdin — rather than hire an independent architect — to come up with a final blueprint. Company designers worked closely with the couple and their builder to ensure that their long-time vision was carried out down to the last tiny detail. "The homeowners really did a fantastic job of thinking everything through and making sure that all of the living areas provide beautiful views of the lake — no matter where people are sitting," says David Gordon, president of Katahdin. The personal attention they gave to the home is evident throughout its numerous rooms but can be especially seen in the great room, which Tom says is the couple's favorite spot. The space features a soaring 25-foot cathedral ceiling, a massive granite hearth, a sunken sitting area with purlin structural elements, and a rounded archway that leads into the kitchen. The archway proved to be one of the most challenging aspects of construction. Tom recalls that designers probably went through 20 different versions of the opening and spent at least three months getting it to finally come together. The homeowners opted to utilize a more traditional rectangular walkway on the opposite side of the kitchen, where it leads into a screened-in porch. "We love the effect of the rounded archway," says Tom. "But we didn't want to overdo it."
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