The Naturals

A California couple builds a log home that's one with nature.

Deciding to build a log home on a whim is not the usual path most buyers take. But for Jeff Krahling, a nephrologist and intensive care physician, and his wife Anne Marie Della Valle, a stay-at-home Mom and former nurse, the idea of building a log home was just that: a spur-of-the moment idea that caught fire.

The two were already fans of natural living spaces. For the last decade, they had lived in an adobe home in New Mexico. But they decided it was time to return to Northern California to be closer to family and seek a relaxed lifestyle.

"We went into the project rather spontaneously," says Anne Marie. "But once we made our decision, we never looked back."

The couple bought a five-acre wooded property in Redding, California. But it was Logcrafters Log & Timber Homes—all the way in St. Ignatius, Montana—that won their business, customizing a floorplan to suit their style and needs.

KitchenSure Fit
Anne Marie and Jeff selected Western white pine logs for the exterior and Douglas fir for the support structure. The logs were hand-hewn with a foot adze, a traditional tool used for centuries to square and flatten logs.

Each corner is then hand-cut into a full self-locking dovetail corner inspired by Scandinavian craftsmanship. The result: a rustic yet elegant line.

To ensure perfect assembly, Logcrafters built the home in its log yard, numbered each piece of timber to match the shop drawings, then disassembled the structure and shipped it to the site.

In the interim, Jeff and Anne Marie hired a local contractor, Northwest Homes, to prepare the foundation and sub floor. When the log package arrived, the crew followed Logcrafters' manual—reassembling the home quickly, without a single hitch.

Here are a few more unique design ideas that went into the Krahlings' building project:

• Natural elements were used in the majority of the home, including marble for the bathroom floors, granite for the kitchen countertops and hickory flooring. The fireplace is faced with beautiful ledge rock.

• The home is filled with uncovered arched Craftsman-style windows, which allow natural light to flow freely inside.

• A redwood porch wraps all the way around the house. The sloped roof extends over the porch, providing the exterior logs and window trim extra protection from the elements.

To read more about the Krahlings' California dream home, check out the November 2005 issue of Log Home Design Ideas.