Smoky Mountain High

Having enjoyed vacationing at the Cataloochee Ranch in the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina for many years, Marsha Madorsky welcomed the opportunity to purchase property there to build her own summer home.

Bedroom in the North Carolina log home

Having enjoyed vacationing at the Cataloochee Ranch in the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina for many years, Marsha Madorsky welcomed the opportunity to purchase property there to build her own summer home. The 2-acre parcel was part of the original ranch and on a steep mountainside at 5,700 feet elevation. Marsha was drawn to Appalachian-style log homes because she felt one would fit in with the ranch’s historical structures. She admired the rough look of the hand-hewn logs and the signature dovetail corners. Choosing a builder was easy, as she had visited several homes built by J. Scott Campbell Construction Company of Clyde, North Carolina, and admired the craftsmanship. Scott in turn recommended Top Notch Log Homes of Waynesville, North Carolina, to produce her logs. Although Marsha initially engaged an architect and maintained his basic footprint design, she redesigned the interior, assisted by her friend, Tom Bendt, who had helped her renovate her primary residence in Coconut Grove, Florida. For the next 18 months, the pair traveled back and forth to the building site. “On one of our trips, we encountered a problem with the placement of the stove,” Marsha recalls. “As the crew was preparing to install the exhaust hood, they realized the duct work would run right through my daughter’s upstairs bedroom. We simply had them switch the placement of the stove with the sink and the problem was solved.” Even though the home totals 6,000 square feet on three levels, Marsha wanted it to appear much smaller. This illusion was achieved by using a cross-gable roof design and extra large dormers to minimize the length of the view side of the home.

Exterior view of the home

Looking to the day she might bid adieu to practicing law and retire to her North Carolina home, Marsha planned it with all of the necessary amenities on the 2,500-square-foot main level. Here, the great room includes a conversation area, complete with game table, and space for the dining-room table adjacent to the open kitchen. The powder room lies to the left of the entry. Her master bedroom suite is down the hallway to the right of the entry. For daughters Whitney and Amy, Marsha integrated two bedroom retreats, each with a full bath, on the second level. One is located above the kitchen-dining area, the other above the two-car attached garage. She included an additional three-quarter bath just off the loft sitting area. Marsha also finished the walkout basement for overnight guests. It features a fourth bedroom with a full bath and adjacent desk area, as well as a bunkroom fitted out with double beds with trundles and bunk beds, which can accommodate at least eight. Just for fun, she equipped the large playroom with three pinball machines, which she enjoys playing herself.

Master bedroom in the Maggie Valley log home

To ward off the cold, damp winter weather common to the Smokies, Marsha included four wood-burning fireplaces, which supplement the home’s propane-fired, forced-air heating and cooling system. These are found in the great room, master bedroom, bunkroom and playroom. The finished home embodies the Appalachian log-building tradition. “One of our goals for this home was to use as much of the native products as possible,” Scott says. “Several years ago, one of the old log cabins on the ranch burned down and was dismantled. We salvaged the wood and converted two of the yellow poplar logs into mantels. In this way, at least a part of the old cabin continues to reside on the mountain.” Scott adds that the home would not have been possible without the talents of the local artisans who reside in the Appalachian Mountains, notably blacksmith Jack Jaynes, cabinetmaker Darrell Mathis of Pines Custom Cabinets and fourth-generation rock mason Steve Cagle. More on this home, including additional  photos, ran in the magazine.
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