Family Affair: Virginia Vacation Log Retreat

A South Carolina couple builds their vacation retreat with fun and family in mind.

Carol and Hugh Dear always dreamed of owning a vacation cabin in the mountains where they could entertain their children and grandchildren. "As a child, my family and I visited friends who owned a log home on a lake," says Carol. "I never forgot how much fun it was, and since then, I've longed for a cabin to call my own."

The custom standing-seam red-steel roof adds farmhouse appeal to the home. We chose this roof for the look and relaxing sound that a metal roof makes in the rain, says Hugh. The couple chose to screen in the front and back porches to enjoy the magnificent views and beautiful landscape while keeping insects at bay.

So, when their son Douglas purchased a farm in Syria, Virginia, with plans to construct a log home on the land, the Dears decided to take him up on his offer to build on the same property. "We really get the best of both worlds—the log cabin my wife always wanted and we're close to our grandchildren," says Hugh. Douglas researched several log home companies before the Dears, as a family, decided to go with Satterwhite Log Homes, a company headquartered in Longview, Texas.

The unique bronze-finish chandelier illuminates the one-of-a-kind eating area Open cabinetry is covered by a red overhang, which is part of the exterior roof and is accented with red recessed lighting underneath.

"We flew to Texas to meet with the salespeople and were impressed with Satterwhite's unique method of construction," says Hugh. Satterwhite specializes in dead-standing timber, trees that die naturally in the forests of the Rocky Mountains. "All logs shrink during the drying process, but with our logs, most drying and shrinkage occurs before the tree is harvested, thanks to the arid climate of the American West," says Danny Grizzle at Satterwhite. Nestled in the valley of Madison County in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountain range, this cozy log cabin blends timeless appeal with old-fashioned charm. The 1,967-square-foot home includes two bedrooms and a sleeping loft, and uses 9-inch-diameter Engelmann spruce round Swedish cope logs with old fashioned, saddle-notch solid corners.  

The two-level abode has porcelain tile floors with pine flooring in the loft and a 22-foot-tall cathedral ceiling. The spacious living room opens to a country kitchen with granite countertops, open wood cabinetry, a butler's pantry, a vintage stove and modern stainless steel appliances. There's also a separate barn that serves as a garage and stable for the couple's miniature horses. Adjacent to the home is the Rose River, a popular fly-fishing spot and site of the annual Project Healing Waters 2-Fly Tournament. Project Healing Waters is a private nonprofit that helps injured veterans find therapy through fly-fishing. "My wife and I are honored to be one of the sponsors for this event. Something about getting the veterans on the peaceful river helps them recover physically and emotionally," says Hugh.

The Dear family also has a peach orchard on the property and produces peach wine. "It's called the Winery at Rose River Farm," Hugh says with excitement. "Our grandchildren even take part in the business by selling peaches to passersby on the main road."

The cozy living room is Carol and Hugh Dear's place for entertaining. The mahogany wood buffet is a family heirloom that we've had for more than 40 years, says Carol. It's identical to Dolly Madison's buffet. The spinning wheel is an antique purchased in Highland County, and the authentic pitch fork on the wall in the stairwell came from a buffalo farm. Hand-hewn Engelmann spruce logs comprise the staircase railing that leads to the sleeping loft.

For Carol and Hugh Dear, owning a vacation log home is truly the fulfillment of a dream. "It's a complete departure from our primary residence in Georgetown, South Carolina," says Hugh. "When we get to our log home in Virginia, it's the epitome of country living, and that's the way we like it. Just being able to spend time with family makes it all worthwhile."

Home Plan Details:

Square Footage: 1,967

Log Company: Satterwhite Log Homes

Log Species: Engelmann spruce