I always wanted a log home, but
couldnt find one I really liked, Sean said. I think its
a guy thing. Wood is beautiful.
Eventually Walsh took a bus tour of
log homes offered by a Michigan company, Rapid River Rustic Homes
and found a design he and Hartland contractor Anthony Thomas could
work with. They decided to build it in cedar, a low maintenance
option with high R values.
Lynn didnt share Seans dream,
but went along with the idea. Now she loves the spacious
4,100-square-foot, five bedroom house in spite of setbacks
encountered along the way. Construction underwent a major
roadblock when workers digging the basement hit a spring and had
to build considerably closer to the road.
Once inside the foyer, visitors are
flooded with an impression of light and space from wide windows
overlooking the acreage. In most houses you walk into walls
everywhere, Sean said. I didnt want walls here.
Everything is totally open.
To the left is a spacious
state-of-the-art kitchen. Tiled in gray ceramic and accented with
green, the kitchen opens onto one of three decks wrapping around
the house. A large dining space is graced with a uniquely-curved
wall and a comfortable seating area in the great room is set off
by a pretty shade of carpeting in a subtle checkerboard pattern.
The rest of the first floor features natural maple floors. Fans
and track lighting add understated style.
Extra wide patio doors open onto
the log-railed second deck. A cultured stone fireplace rising to
the rafters dominates the wall that separates the great room from
the master bedroom which features a 25-foot ceiling, skylights and
a fireplace that shares a chimney with the great room fireplace.
The master suite incorporates a walk-out balcony, large walk-in
closet, and cabin-style bath with a double shower, private commode
Our master bedroom is the
coolest in town, Sean said.
Just upstairs, the loft currently
serves as Seans office. To the right is what Lynn calls the
babys room in anticipation of a larger family. Its my
favorite room, Lynn said.
Bedrooms for Seans children
Amanda and Brenden, a guest room, bathrooms and a playroom with
lots of storage for toys and games are also located upstairs.
I have really grown to like this
house, Lynn said. The most exciting thing now will be
Eventually, the family plans to add
an exercise room, home theater and bar to the 200-square-foot
walk-out basement as well as a basketball court and garden
outside. With ample space in his four-car garage, he also hopes to
acquire his own toy car.
I have enough projects to last
12 years, Sean said. Building a log home is somewhat more
expensive but, like any house, it depends on what you put into it.
Three years ago, Bart and Kelly
Gaffney were jolted awake by predawn pounding on their front door.
A newspaper carrier had spotted bright flames snaking across the
roof. The couple grabbed daughters Samantha and Hanna who grabbed
their favorite bed quilts. Even Cubby, their cocker spaniel was
rescued, but the family watched while the fire destroyed nearly
everything they owned.
Thankfully the fire program at
school told the kids what to do, Kelly Gaffney said. We had
practiced an exit drill a couple of weeks before it happened.
and Lynn Walsh of Muskego recently moved into this
4,100-square-foot log home built by Rapid River Rustic Homes
in the Town of Erin. The home has an open concept with few
walls separating the rooms on the lower level. The cultured
stone fireplace stands out magnificently in the great room
which also features a 25-foot cathedral ceiling.
At first, the Gaffneys were
devastated. But family, friends, even strangers, did whatever they
could to help. Among those supporters was someone at Kettle
Moraine Log Homes who had a disassembled former model the Gaffneys
could purchase at a modest price and reconstruct on their
Oconomowoc lot in a relatively short time. Kelly pushed for the
I had to do a little bit of
coercing, she said. Bart wasnt sure if he would like
living in a log home.
The 1,500-square-foot house was
built of whole logs, chinked both outside and in. We had to
wait until the logs shrunk, then fill in the chinking, Gaffney
said. We still have the inside to do. Its a lot of work.
One step inside the front door,
however, brings family and guests into a welcoming space that lays
any memories of hard work to rest. Theres a certain warmth
you cant get in a conventional home, she said. Its so
homey, people come in and flop on the furniture. Curled up by the
fireplace, you really get the feeling you are home.
The great room on the main floor is
fully open. A natural oak floor leads to a compact kitchen that
packs an abundance of appliances and clever storage into every
inch of space. Open to both kitchen and living areas, the dining
space features lace curtained windows and homestyle cupboards with
beadboard doors. In the sitting area, a cultured stone fireplace
towers to the high ceiling.
Bart designed the fireplace,
Gaffney said. We bought tons of log home magazines to get
Deep greens on the upholstered
seating pieces and rugs are natural complements in the setting.
Handmade furniture adds a distinctive touch, making the home seem
as if it has been there forever. Kellys father used a footboard
from her great-grandmothers bed to construct a comfortable
bench in foyer. He also constructed the vanity in the main
bathroom and twin beds and nightstands for the girls bedroom
down the hall.
Barts office, sporting an
extensive camera collection is just across the hall. Its patio
doors open onto a deck and the couples one splurge a steamy
Upstairs, a compact loft provides a
quiet reading spot and practice space for budding musicians. The
upstairs also features a master bedroom with a cozy master bath
and built-in dressers tucked into its A-frame design. A display of
old quilts softens the walls and a new fir tree patterned quilt
tops the bed.
Grandma made all the quilts, and
embroidered the shams, she said. This house is really put
together with the help of a lot of people.
Kelly advises homeowners to
communicate regularly with their insurance representative to be
sure that your plan matches with rising costs. Starting from
scratch took a lot of work, both physically and emotionally, but
when she drives up to her home today, Kelly is reminded of what
I only had two goals in life,
she said. I wanted to be a good wife and mom and make a home.
It wasnt what we planned but, when you look at the whole
picture and the things youve learned, its turned out. Its
the home we always wanted.